Great pivot, Tavis! Welcome to the education of young Black males
Ph.D. | 9/14/2011, 5 p.m.
What President Obama was not intending to do is continue to reward failing education and failing public schools, but putting more money in alternative (and proven) education models that will produce results for our children. Single-gender schools, or Black male academies, was one such model. Obama, by the way, put more money in alternative education than any other president. I know you don't want to hear it, but it's true.
When California applied for the Race to the Top money, do you know who was the first in line?
Big, dysfunctional-ass LAUSD looking to use Race to the Top money to supplement school budgets. The Public School Choice Initiative that the people voted for has been a joke. The Latino community has gotten five (or six) charter schools to model success in their communities (largely the east side). How much money do you think the Black community has gotten? Take a wild guess. That's right--zero. Now back to the accountability conversation, you should roll your cameras up to LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia's office and put her on blast like you put Obama on blast. You'd have legitimate reason.
Former LAUSD Superintendent, David Brewer, left a whole plan for Black males that has not been implemented. After his buyout, I met with Garcia, along with Urban League President, Blair Taylor and National NAACP board member, Willis Edwards, to ask that the Brewer plan be implemented. Her response to us was, "What's the Brewer plan?" Once we informed her, she promised to get back to in two weeks. That's been more than two years ago.
The sentiment is high for Black male schools now. School board member Marguerite LaMotte is now for it. I heard even deputy superintendent George McKenna might be for it now. These are the folk who need to be held accountable to make it happen.
Even the shadow governor of the Los Angeles School Board, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, participated in a recent panel discussion on Black males, to which Toldson also presented data. The time is right to get a Black male academy in Los Angeles. Even though the Public School Choice Initiative is still feeding failing schools in South Los Angeles to the "big box" profiteers (Green Dot, Edison Learning), a huge spotlight on this disingenuous process is just what L.A. needs.
So, I welcome Tavis Smiley to the state-of-the-Black-male conversation. I believe the best way to effectuate this issue is to start in your own backyard. While we don't have your back on Obama, we'd definitely have your back on this. That is, if you are indeed sincere about the issue, not just promoting the documentary on PBS. Young Black males do need your voice ... and your advocacy for "accountable government."
Let's see how we can move forward. Hopefully it's more than just a pivot move.
Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of the upcoming book, "Real Eyez: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st Century Popular Culture." He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com or on Twitter at @dranthonysamad.
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