C.L.I.C.K. for Justice and Equality is an agent of communication alerting our social community of injustices and inequalities among the socially disadvantaged and disenfranchised individual. C.L.I.C.K. developed and created this website to assist the socially disenfranchised or disadvantaged individual in litigating their issues in Federal and State courts.

Friday, January 06, 2012

In Connecticut, Black Male Crisis Tied to Lack of Education; Will Race to the Top Help American Students?; England Looks to Longer School Day to Teach About World of Work; Baltimore Public Schools Embrace Saturday University Concept

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In Connecticut, Black Male Crisis Tied to Lack of Education
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Black Males Need Schooling To Stay Out Of Jail 
By Stan Simpson
January 6, 2012

Black Star LogoI ran into "Stormin" Norman Bailey the other day. The one-time UConn basketball standout (in the 1980s) is a state juvenile detention officer.

Baily, a man of faith and community-minded, and I usually end up chatting about the plight of urban youth. Too many times he sees the unfinished products as they come out of Juvie. As a journalist and urban school educator, I see them before they get to Bailey.

Frankly, it's not hard to pick out the ones headed for beds in C Block. They are the ones with report cards chock full of F's. That's if they choose to attend class at all.

For the most part, we are talking about males. And if you really want to cut to the chase - black males.
A few years ago, the national dropout rate for African American males was 70 percent. Today, the high school graduation rate for black boys is about 50 percent.

Bailey recently emailed me a link to "Bring Your 'A' Game,'' a fast-paced, 23-minute documentary that showcases an array of high-profile and successful African American males speaking about the value of education and establishing a work ethic.

Produced by actor-director Mario Van Peebles and Karen Williams, it is a must see for every urban school student in America. In it, high achievers such as entertainers P. Diddy and Ice Cube; corporate leaders Richard Parsons and Bruce Gordon; author-actor Hill Harper and Newark Mayor Corey Booker (the latter two Ivy League-educated), keep it real about the consequences of dropping out of school.

"It's all about your intellectual strength," says Booker, adding that physical prowess "can be taken away from you in an instant."

Although many African American boys have misguided aspirations of being professional athletes, the could reality is that most won't. Any shot at a college scholarship is lost when, as the college scouts say, they have "no pencil" - the grades to qualify for college.

So, college is out, as are the long-shot prospects of being a pro baller. The result is a high school graduate (or dropout) with few options.

As Van Peeples cautions: "You still gotta eat. You've still got to make money. You've still gotta pay rent. You still want all the fly lifestyle, the women, the jewelry, all of it. So how do you get it legally? ... You don't."

The viability of the multibillion-dollar prison industry is sustained by underperforming urban schools. These dropout factories produce a precious prison commodity: uneducated urban boys.

"Failing schools equal successful prisons," the Rev. Alfonso Wyatt of New York says in the film.

Connecticut spends about $720 million a year on its prison system. The Department of Correction, despite recent downsizing, has historically been one of the fastest-growing line items in the state budget.

The ethnic makeup of Connecticut's prisons provide fodder for conspiracy theorists. Blacks and Latinos make up about 25 percent of the state's population, but they represent 75 percent of the inmate population. Also,75 percent of the inmates come from the large urban centers - Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven.

The state has the widest academic achievement gap in America between white students and their black and Latino peers. In our prisons, 75 percent of the inmates do not have a high school diploma. Some say poverty (or even racism) is the primary reason for these alarming racial disparities. To me, it is about illiteracy. Education - let's just start with reading - is the great elixir.

It is no urban legend that many for-profit prison systems base their population projections on third- and fourth-grade reading scores. Or, that there are more African American men incarcerated than there are on college campuses. One in three black males, studies show, will spend time in prison.

The plight of the black male has long been a crisis. Black men talking to young brothers about handling their business in the classrooms is a powerful tool. But "Bring Your 'A' Game" is not enough.

"We have to show up on a consistent basis and demonstrate to our children that we care," said Stanley F. Battle, former interim president at Southern Connecticut State University. "And we have to tell them something that makes sense. We can't wait until they're locked up and in the prisons."

Norman Bailey would agree.
Will "Race to the Top" Help American Students Perform?
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States Hit Turbulence in School Overhauls
December 28, 2011
The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on states to make good on their commitments under its Race to the Top competition, after all 12 winners either scaled down plans or pushed back timelines to overhaul their public-education systems.
The U.S. Department of Education warned last week that Hawaii, which won $75 million in Race to the Top funding, is so far off track that the state could lose its money if it doesn't start making good on its pledges. It was the first state to receive such a stern warning, though federal officials have threatened in the past year to withhold smaller amounts from Rhode Island and Delaware.
"If things don't change, Hawaii is going to end up in a tough spot," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said during a press call Thursday. Hawaii education officials say they are making progress but acknowledge they have hit stumbling blocks to following through with the state's promises.
Race to the Top, President Barack Obama's signature education initiative, offered $4.3 billion to states that promised to transform their education systems. Competition for the grants prompted dozens of states to change laws governing teacher evaluations, adopt new academic standards, alter their approach to fixing low-performing schools and support the growth of charter schools, which are public schools run by nongovernment groups.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia won the competition and then submitted ambitious overhaul agendas with timelines for completion. But all the winners since have applied for-and received-permission from the U.S. Department of Education to alter their plans.
The Education Department has approved scores of waiver requests, including allowances for Massachusetts to delay plans to develop online courses for teacher mentors and for Rhode Island to push back plans to open more charter schools. Some states, including Florida, got sidetracked by overly optimistic target dates to hire contractors for developing student data systems or to create mathematical formulas for linking teacher evaluations to student test scores.
Delaware, Rhode Island, Georgia, Maryland and Hawaii got permission to push back by a year efforts to link student test scores to teacher evaluations that, in some cases, were to be used for tenure decisions.
New York was held up by a court battle with the New York State United Teachers union over a proposed evaluation system.
The delays and adjustments could give ammunition to critics of Race to the Top and affect future funding for the program, which has come under attack from House Republicans who object to a competition that rewarded states only if they adopted Obama-favored initiatives.
Mr. Duncan acknowledged that some states have "further to go" but said, overall, he is "extraordinarily pleased" with the progress. "This is really, really tough, hard work. There is a reason this work hasn't happened for decades in this country."
Most states are moving forward. Tennessee this year launched a teacher-evaluation system that rates all educators based on test scores. The policy has faced criticism because most teachers work in grades and subjects that aren't part of standardized testing. Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman acknowledged the policy might need to be tweaked but said he was "thrilled" state officials didn't wait to launch it.
The widespread delays are causing concerns beyond the Education Department. Chiefs for Change, a group of 10 state superintendents who advocate for education overhauls, sent Mr. Duncan a letter in August saying the winners "must be held accountable" for implementing plans on time.
Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonprofit group that advocates judging teachers on performance, said she isn't surprised by the delays. "A lot of the states promised the moon and now, some of them are having trouble delivering," she said.
Hawaii officials have sought permission to postpone almost every major component of their plan. Federal officials had gone along, until last week when the department sent the letter demanding that state officials get permission before spending any Race to the Top dollars. Federal officials also will send a team into the state in early January 2012 to assess the progress.
The major stumbling block is the state's inability to reach contract agreement with the Hawaii State Teachers Association. Hawaii promised in its application to link student test scores to teacher evaluations and use them for tenure and merit-pay decisions. They planned to launch the new system in the lowest-performing schools. All of that has been delayed.
Stephen Schatz, assistant superintendent in the Hawaii education department, said his state has lived up to some promises, including online student assessments and training some teachers on new, more rigorous statewide curriculum standards.
"We know implementation has been a bit rocky at times," Mr. Schatz said. "But I am confident we will get back on track."
Alvin Nagasako, executive director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, declined to comment and referred questions to association president Wil Okabe, who couldn't be reached.
In England, a longer school day is contemplated to get students ready for the world of work.
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Labour call for a longer school day in education overhaul
The school day should be extended to get children ready for the world of work, according to Labour.
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By Graeme Paton, Education Editor
January 5, 2012
Pupils should be required to remain in school long after the conventional 3.30pm finishing time to acclimatise them to a "work-like timetable", it is claimed.

Stephen Twigg, the shadow education secretary, says an extended day would keep children off the streets, stop them being sucked into local gangs and give the most deprived pupils a place to study away from "chaotic" home lives.

In a speech on Thursday, he will also suggest that pupils should be grouped by ability or interests within schools - rather than age.

The comments are made as he announces a Labour review into the relationship between schools and the world of work.

The project - led by Barry Sheerman, the Labour MP for Huddersfield and former chairman of the Commons education select committee - will investigate the extent to which education meets the needs of the modern economy.

It comes after a survey by business leaders found that as many as a third of young people were not fit for the workplace.

Launching the review at the North of England Education Conference in Leeds, Mr Twigg will say that 21st century schools are often "still organised like factories".

"The workers down tools when they hear the bell ring, and are strictly separated into production lines, focussed on building the constituent parts of knowledge, maths, science etc," he says.

"At the same time, students are rigidly separated. Taught in batches, not by ability or interest, but by their own date of manufacture.

"While noble in its origins, this 19th century form of industrial education feels distinctly ill at ease with the demands of a modern, globalised economy, which demands collaboration, innovation, entrepreneurship, and an appreciation that developing value comes not from a more efficient forms of production, but more skilled ones."

Some of the Government's flagship academies and free schools have already taken advantage of powers to shake up the academic year by axing traditional holidays and staging booster lessons outside the normal timetable.

One school in Norwich is open for six days a week - 51 weeks of the year. Others are planning to keep pupils in school until at least 5pm or stage regular weekend lessons.

In his speech, Mr Twigg suggests a longer school day for all pupils, saying it "appears to be a smart way forward for a number of reasons".

"First, for secondary pupils it would mean getting used to a work-like timetable," he says. "A long hours culture has its drawbacks, but how many employers expect their workers to leave the office at 3.30pm?
"Second, a longer day can be progressive in nature. Too many pupils who suffer from poor housing conditions struggle to find a quiet place to study or do their homework.

"Providing a longer school day will give these students a haven away from what in some cases can be chaotic and troublesome home lives.

"Third, it can take young people, quite literally, off the streets. Numerous studies have shown that gang activity is often most prevalent in the hours immediately after schools close, and providing longer school based activities may prevent some from getting into trouble."

He also praises some schools that extend the number of years they run GCSEs - from two to three. It allows pupils to start exam syllabuses at an earlier age if they are ready.

Mr Twigg says it represents a "realisation that effective collaboration must reflect a pupils' stage, not their age and enabling both academic and practical learning".
The Black Male Achievement Movement needs Black men in 100 cities to mentor Black boys and young Black men in January and February 2012. 85 cities have already signed up. If your city is not on the list, why not? 
Join with strong, positive Black men from around the country and the world working for Black Male Achievement.
Join the
Black Male Achievement Movement 
during January and February 2012, as we mentor tens of thousands of Black boys and young men across America. 
Black Star LogoThe only way to get this...(Morehouse Men)
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 ...is with this!!!
To become one of the the Servant Leaders in your city planning and directing this effort, please call 773.285.9600. We will provide you with an organizing kit that will help you step-by-step to create, manage or support an outstanding mentoring program in your city.  We will also provide technical assistance and ongoing support. Schools, faith-based organizations, fraternities, Masonic organizations, veterans associations, community-based organizations, affinity organizations, military service personnel, social service agencies, companies and corporations will
participate in this effort. Most mentoring events will occur on January 31, 2012.  Please see cities that are expected to participate as of December 27, 2011:   
  1. Albany, New York
  2. Atlanta Georgia
  3. Aurora, Colorado
  4. Baltimore, Maryland
  5. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  6. Blandensburg, Maryland
  7. Boston, Massachusetts
  8. Buffalo, New York
  9. Carbondale, Illinois 
  10. Chicago, Illinois - South Side
  11. Chicago, Illinois - West Side 
  12. Chicago, Illinois - South Suburbs
  13. Cincinnati, Ohio
  14. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  15. Dallas, Texas
  16. Danbury, Connecticut
  17. Danville, Illinois
  18. Delray Beach, Florida
  19. Detroit, Michigan
  20. Denver, Colorado
  21. Durham, North Carolina
  22. East Chicago, Indiana
  23. East Orange, New Jersey
  24. Englewood, Colorado
  25. Flint, Michigan
  26. Flossmoor, Illinois
  27. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  28. Gary, Indiana
  29. Gilbert, Arizona
  30. Hammond, Indiana
  31. Hartford, Connecticut
  32. Harvey, Illinois
  33. Hillside, Illinois
  34. Houston, Texas
  35. Indianapolis, Indiana 
  36. Irvington, New Jersey
  37. Jackson, Mississippi
  38. Kansas City, Missouri
  39. Kenesaw, Georgia
  40. Lexington, Kentucky
  41. Lithonia, Michigan
  42. Los Angeles, California
  43. Louisville, Kentucky
  44. Macon, Georgia
  45. Manassas, Virginia
  46. Matteson, Illinois
  47. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  48. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  49. Munster, Indiana 
  50. Nashville, Tennessee
  51. New Orleans, Louisiana
  52. New York City, New York - Manhattan
  53. New York City, New York - The Bronx
  54. New York City, New York - Brooklyn
  55. New York City, New York - Queens
  56. New York City, New York - Long Island
  57. New York City, New York - Harlem
  58. Newark, New Jersey
  59. Oakland, California
  60. Oak Park, Illinois
  61. Omaha, Nebraska
  62. Peoria, Illinois 
  63. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  64. Phoenix, Arizona
  65. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  66. Richmond, Virginia
  67. Riverdale, Illinois
  68. San Bernardino, California
  69. San Francisco, California
  70. Santan Valley, AZ
  71. Seattle, Washington
  72. Shelbyville, Indiana 
  73. Southaven, Mississippi
  74. St. Louis, Missouri
  75. St. Paul, Minnesota
  76. Tampa, Florida
  77. Toledo, Ohio
  78. Tshwane, Botswana
  79. Tuscaloosa, Alabama 
  80. University Park, Illinois
  81. Vicksburg, Mississippi 
  82. Washington, D.C.
  83. Waukegan, Illinois
  84. White Plains, New York
  85. Yazoo City, Mississippi  
participate in this effort. Most mentoring events will occur on January 31, 2012.  Please see cities that are expected to participate as of December 27, 2011:
This event was inspired by the life and life principles of Muhammad Ali (Rumble Young Man Rumble!).  The Black Male Achievement Movement was born in Louisville, Kentucky in September 2011.  Guidance, support and encouragement for this movement is provided by Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement.  The National CARES Mentoring Movement and Mentoring U.S.A have signed on as national supporters.  For more information, please call 773.285.9600.
 The Baltimore Public Schools Follows
the Lead of The Black Star Project
with System-wide Saturday School
More School Districts to Soon Follow with The Black Star Model
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City schools launching  
Saturday School initiative

Program was promised by Alonso after declining test scores

By Erica L. Green
November 22, 2011

The Baltimore school system will launch its first districtwide Saturday School initiative in December, a program promised by city schools CEO Andrés Alonso to help remedy declining scores on state tests.

The $3 million Saturday School program will run for 10 weeks, primarily targeting students who scored basic in math on the 2011 Maryland School Assessments. Students in grades four through eight are eligible for the program, which will offer between 20 and 30 hours of additional math instruction for up to 7,000 students before the 2012 assessments in March.

A principal whose school will host one of the programs said she is convinced that the additional instructional time will benefit her students.

"There's just not enough time in the regular instructional day," said Yorkwood Elementary Principal Deborah Sharpe. "I've always been a supporter of extended learning time because it adds more support, more time to build skills. And we're excited for Saturday because it will be a different approach, more inviting and fun."

Alonso had said that he would explore the concept of extending the school week after noting the first academic slide of his tenure this year.

The city had the largest drop in math in 2011, with 61 percent of city students in grades three through eight scoring proficient or advanced, a decrease of about 5 percentage points from 2010. The system also noted a 3 percentage point decline in reading.

While the concept of Saturday School was spurred by the test score decline, city school officials said that it's just one tool to help the system bounce back.

The program, during which students will spend two hours honing one math concept each session, is designed to supplement other efforts, such as strengthening the city's curriculum, and builds on what students are learning the rest of the school week.

School officials said they hadn't set any major goals for the program, besides providing the additional instruction and support to students who need it most.

"One Saturday learning program is not going to turn the whole system," said Sonja Santelises, chief academic officer for the school system. "So we don't want to make [the stakes] too high because if we're only dependent on Saturday school to reach the level we have to reach, we're going to be in trouble. This is important because we believe we have to partner with family and community in our students' achievement."

Michael Thomas, executive director of the George B. Thomas Sr. Learning Academy Inc., a nonprofit tutoring and mentoring program that has been operating Saturday school sites for Montgomery County students for 25 years, said that Baltimore's combination of certified teachers and efforts to build upon students' current lessons will give the system a good start.
Sixty-six elementary and middle schools have opted to host their own programs, and 600 teachers will receive professional development training to staff them. The district will work with community organizations to host four other central sites, which will offer students in grades six through eight instruction and enrichment programs.
The four central sites will begin on Dec. 3 with registration due Monday. Individual schools will set up their own schedules.

In addition to test scores, officials said, the initiative will help tackle the problem of elementary students not being adequately prepared for middle-school math.

About 1,100 fewer elementary school students - with fifth-graders experiencing the sharpest decline - passed the math assessment in 2011 compared with 2010, according to a presentation from the city's teaching and learning office, and about 60 more middle school students passed than the previous year.

The Saturday School model will mirror the city's summer school program, which focused on math and science skills and included instructional and hands-on or project-based learning. The summer school program has been lauded across the country and was recently awarded a highly competitive $3 million innovation grant from the federal government to continue.

"They're going to have to provide the support to make it work," Thomas said. "But, in terms of effectiveness, I think it's one additional tool that research says works. You have to start somewhere."

The Learning Academy serves about 3,000 students, half of whom are minority and poor, for 20 to 22 weeks at a time. Thomas said, the academy has posted test gains, though not consistently in the middle grades. He added that almost as important are the testimonials from students who had a boost of self-esteem as a result of the extra time.

"The academic piece is important, but we also have to build self-confidence," he said. "Getting kids to believe in themselves, and believe that if they work hard, they can do it: That may be most important."


Schools Districts, Boards of Education, State Boards of Education, Mayor's Offices and Community Organizations may call Jami at 773.285.9600 to bring the Black Star Saturday University to your city or state.
As many/most Black children in American schools are failing academically, the only way to successfully educate them is with the support and actions of their parents, families and communities.  The only question not answered is, "Will Black people take control of the education of their children?"
To Open a Saturday University in Your City, please call 773.285.9600.
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We have 15 free Saturday Universities operating in and around Chicago.  Please call 773.285.9600 to register your child for free academic enhancement or for more information about Saturday University.
Women, men and children are not safe! 
Join us on Monday, January 9, 2012, 6:30 pm at 3509 South King Drive in Chicago to "Pray The Devil Back To Hell!!! If the women of Liberia can end violence by praying and acting, so can we!  We must pray and we must act, now!!!
With an 18-year-old woman brutally raped and beaten by six-to-eigth men on New Year's Eve in Chicago and left bloodied and naked on a public sidewalk -- why won't the men and women of Chicago come out to pray the devil of violence in Chicago back to hell?  You can do nothing or .... at the very least you can pray! Click Here to read story!
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An 18-year-old woman was raped and beaten by six-to-eight men after being denied entry to a New Year's Eve concert at this theatre.
Join us for the film -
Pray The Devil Back to Hell! 
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 Tears, chaos and impending threats of more violence descend upon a community after a shooting in Chicago during Christmas week.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Film: 6:30 pm 
Discussion and Prayer: 7:30 pm
The Black Star Project
3509 South King Drive, Suite 2B
Chicago, Illinois
$5.00 for members - $10:00 for non-members.  Please call 773.285.9600 to RSVP your seat.
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Being sick and tired of being sick and tired is not enough!  You must pray and you must act. On Monday, January 9, 2012, the men and women of Chicago will gather to see the powerful movement and documentary of women that brought peace to war torn Liberia, Pray The Devil Back To Hell.  And the men and women of Chicago will work to pray the devil of violence and despair that is in Chicago back to Hell! Join them. 
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Men and women across America can join this movement to Pray the Devil (of violence) Back to Hell in your city or town by calling 773.285.9600.  Click Here to view a trailer of the documentary.  Those who have attended previous showings of this documentary will be admitted free.

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