Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Incarceration Gap: School to Prison Pipe Line, Racism and Stop and Frisk

I received a phone call from a former student in an upstate prison serving 15 to life for murder one Thanksgiving while surrounded by 20 guests in my home. "Hey Scottie, guess who's here with me? M---." "What, he's back in prison," I said, shocked? M, one of my favorite students, came on the phone and we chatted. "There are 9 guys from the our block here," M said. ---- Norm Scott
Everything connects with everything, but the role that the incarceration of black men in America has played and continues to play seems suddenly a greater crisis than bad schools, or even poverty. If we—white Americans—were truly concerned about the "achievement gap," it's the gap in incarceration rates where we might start. No, it isn't a fact that it all starts with "pathology" or the "culture of poverty." --- Deb Meier

Yes, there's an incarceration gap. Ed Deformers blame that gap on US. Bad teaching you know.

All these issues are ignored when asshole ed deformers talk about the civil rights issue of our time being focused on getting rid of a few so-called "bad" teachers. As if the number of kids who have a dad or another close relative serving time has no relevance. Two articles featured here by Debbie Meier and Michael Powell though seemingly independent, are interrelated.

Deb connects the dots. But let's add in the series on "stop and frisk" Michael Powell has been doing at the NY Times. He has a good piece yesterday. Just about every one of my make students have been stopped.

Here are the links to Powell.
  1. Time for Kelly to Drop Stop-and-Frisk in New York - NYTimes.com

    www.nytimes.com/.../reducing-crime-squandering-good-will.html
    Apr 9, 2012 – New York's police commissioner once said the use of stop-and-frisk tactics “sowed new seeds of community mistrust,” ... By MICHAEL POWELL ...
  2. Arguments for Stop-and-Frisk Don't Hold Up - The New York Times

    www.nytimes.com/.../gotham-arguments-for-stop-and-frisk-dont-hol...
    By MICHAEL POWELL. Published: May 28, 2012. I grew up in the New York City so often invoked as the horror to which we might return if the police stopped ...
  3. 'Officers, Why Do You Have Your Guns Out?' - The New York Times

    www.nytimes.com/.../fatal-shooting-of-ex-marine-by-white-plains-po...
    Mar 5, 2012 – By MICHAEL POWELL ... James Estrin/The New York Times ... and her voice cracks; she is speaking for the first time about what she saw.

'The New Jim Crow'

Dear Diane,
I've had a startling experience—even though "I knew it all" before. But it didn't add up until I read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow.

Everything connects with everything, but the role that the incarceration of black men in America has played and continues to play seems suddenly a greater crisis than bad schools, or even poverty. If we—white Americans—were truly concerned about the "achievement gap," it's the gap in incarceration rates where we might start. No, it isn't a fact that it all starts with "pathology" or the "culture of poverty."

Alexander's rigorously researched and passionate book was hard to put down and equally hard to pick up. We (white Americans) keep inventing new ways to maintain racism in its most naked form—even as we about talk colorblindness. I think I have fallen into the trap, too, when pointing out that the white poor face many of the same obstacles that the black and Hispanic poor do. I, too, have been urging a more colorblind attack on our school system's miseducational policies. Tactically, it might have seemed wise, but factually, it's nonsense.

Read Deb's entire piece: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2012/05/_my_25_dear_diane.html 
 
And let me add Jose Vilson's

An Open Letter To NYS Education Commissioner John B. King [Testing Isn't Natural]

Jose ties into the testing movement as a way for the deformers to control the system -- and make more than a few bucks for their buddies. King is one of the bigger asshats and total suckup.
I’m in no way outraged because, as it turns out, I expected you to show your hand when it came to these things. The same money used to draw the huge contract recently doled out to Pearson to create (and probably fix) these tests could have been used to hire more adults to our neediest schools. Plus, your department asked the rest of us to carry out your agenda in the form of a memo. As if the kids haven’t already picked up that most of these tests shouldn’t be taken seriously. As if testing them this many times will actually matter in the lives they hope to lead after K-12.
Read all of Jose's piece:

And speaking of testing, did you know that Change the Stakes is meeting today at CUNY at 5:30 rm 5409 (34th and 5th ave -- bring id. Join the parents and teachers working on opting out or boycotting the Pearson field tests in June. And keep an eye out on ed notes for our exclusive reveal of test passages and questions in advance of the test.

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The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.

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