Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's Worse for Black Kids? Bad Teachers or Bad Police? Or Bad Politicians?

UPDATE: Weds. Sept. 7: I'm reposting this to include the NY Times article.

Where are the ed deformers on the issue of how some police (a minority I believe - I hope) treat young men of color? Maybe those Moskowitz troops will be out there when their HSA kids are teens and instead of calling for the heads of public school teachers they will look at the bigger picture.
reflected a pattern in which the police unfairly single out young black men.
Mr. Williams said he was stopped recently by the police in South Brooklyn while driving a new car with temporary tags; the officer, he said, “wanted to make sure it was my car.”
He said that none of these incidents would have occurred “if I did not look the way I look — young, black, with locks and earrings.”
What their arrests demonstrated, the two concluded, was a classic case of racial profiling and a policing culture exacerbated by the department’s “stop, question and frisk” policies, which critics say are aimed unfairly at young blacks and Latinos.

Sunday, Sept. 4
I got a personal call today from a local guy running for office. He will probably win so I made sure to get my 2 cents in.

We had met when he was campaigning at a supermarket and chatted about education. I guess the call may have come due to my recent column in the Wave (I Have a Feeling We May Be In Kansas---or Texas).

So we talked education. When he said, "We have to retain our best teachers," I cut him off. "That's ed deform code for getting rid of LIFO," I told him. "We don't retain 50% of the teachers - good, bad or ugly - after 5 years and all we hear about is that some 2nd year untenured teacher might be let go while a 15 year (higher paid) teacher maybe retained.

"What about lousy politicians," I said? "You will never open your mouth about another awful politician and they can cause much more harm to children than a bad teacher."

"And cops. Talk to any black kid, even the best behaved. Every single one will tell you of being stopped on the street for doing nothing. But beyond that is the way so many are talked to and treated. Like they were slime. Profiling supreme. How much more damaging to young men than the effect of a poor teacher? Where's the campaign to remove police who abuse their authority? Do I think they are a majority? Not at all. Probably the same percentage of bad teachers.

Given the above, note this Labor Day item from Chris Owens:
Paranoia Will Destroy Ya'
Today's arrest of City Council member Jumaane Williams at the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn is a reminder of the reality facing so many men of African descent in New York City:  prejudice still rules ... and prejudice within the New York City Police Department remains a lingering cancer.

Mr. Williams, a distinguished public servant who happens to be tall, dark-skinned and wears braided hair, was allegedly thrown to the ground and handcuffed when police officers refused to acknowledge his status as an elected official as he was walking in a restricted area along the parade route.

The City of New York owes Mr. Williams an apology -- specifically Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Ray Kelly.  The Police Department owes it to all of us to examine this incident closely and make immediate changes -- again.  How many more times must this prescription be demanded?

This may be the "age of profiling," sadly, but the truth is that "paranoia will destroy ya'!"  Our greatest enemy are our own fears.  And we don't need police officers on duty in Central Brooklyn who fear the people who live there.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

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