Insight News

Nov 27th


From Head Start to Harvard

The colors were brighter than any she had seen before. Shapes, letters, and lots and lots of colors adorned the walls; around the room, children worked together building high rises with colored blocks and “read” colorful picture books.  “I had never seen so much color,” Angelica Salazar recalls of her first days as a Head Start preschooler in Duarte, Calif.  She remembers the discovery of library books and spending hours curled up on the reading rug.  Head Start was Angie’s first formal experience learning English. Her parents, who spoke mostly Spanish, enrolled her in the program knowing that their little girl would need English to succeed in school.

Investigate standardized testing

For several years, ever since the No Child Left Behind Act took effect, students, teachers, and school districts have felt the pressure that comes from living in a nation that uses standardized tests as its sole method for measuring student proficiency.  When too many students at one school perform poorly on these tests, teachers can be fired, principals replaced and schools closed.  Hundreds of teachers were fired in D.C. schools because of poor performance by students on test.  The stakes are high.  But, no one would have guessed that the pressure would lead to alleged cheating on these exams.

Celebrating and protecting health reform for children

A year ago President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “Affordable Care Act”), guaranteeing access to health coverage for 32 million uninsured people in America including 95 percent of all children. Racial minorities are disproportionately uninsured today and the Affordable Care Act will have a particularly positive impact in communities of color if allowed to go forward.

Unemployment down, Black unemployment up

More than 200,000 jobs were created last month, 216,000 to be exact.  Coming after the February lift of more than 200,000 jobs, there are those who are saying that economic recovery is around the corner.  I don’t know what corner they are standing on, but the African American corner took a hit in March, and the Black unemployment rate rose from 15.3 to 15.5 percent.  No other racial/ethnic group saw unemployment rates rise.  Some will say the slight increase is statistically insignificant.  Try telling that to the African Americans who don’t have jobs, or to those who are not in the labor force.  Indeed, while the number of Whites who had dropped out of the labor force went down, the number of African Americans out of the labor force went up.

Revisiting Marks, Mississippi

During her research for the Children’s Defense Fund’s recent report “Held Captive”: Child Poverty in America, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julia Cass visited the Mississippi Delta, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban Long Island, New York to profile three different kinds of child poverty. Her trip to Quitman County, Mississippi covered sadly familiar ground: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the Black sharecropping community in Marks, the seat of Quitman County, in the summer of 1966 to preach at the funeral of a friend, and Marks was later chosen as the starting point of the mule train that left Mississippi for Washington, D.C. during the Poor People’s Campaign.

America's first Black president invades Africa

Saying that "It's time for Gadhafi to go," President Barack Obama joined a coalition of colonialist countries to invade Africa.  Ignoring protests from leaders of the African Union, Obama partnered with NATO’s (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) league of neo-colonialists to “get Gadhafi”.

Black Americans would do well not to drink from the same cup of Kool Aid as has Obama.  We should be aware that Western media’s characterizations of Gadhafi as “crazy” and “a brutal dictator” deserve due scrutiny.   Mainstream media in NATO countries have played a major role in demonization of Gadhafi to get the acceptance across the world these imperialists’ intervention in a civil matter.

We movin' to the outskirts of town

Black Americans are losing political clout.  The loss of voting power is not from white peoples’ skullduggery, but due to our own movement choices.    2010 Census data show that 20 of the 25 cities that have at least 250,000 people and a 20% Black population lost political clout.  These declines happened in traditional Black strongholds such as: Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Cleveland and Washington, DC.  Black American political and population losses were fueled by middle-and-upper-class Blacks leaving cities for the suburbs and large percentages of Blacks leaving Northern cities for thriving centers in the South.
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