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Poor black kids can and do learn

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(Printed in the St. Louis American on May 8, 2014.)
Open Letter to Dr. Kelvin Adams and the State Appointed Board

Once again the St. Louis Public School district is at a crossroads. Yet, instead of reviewing evidence-based successful public school models in the country or listening to local stakeholders close to the issues of education, the district wants to revisit the failed practice of hiring a turn around company to save its low-performing schools.

There seemed to be surprise at the intensity of public push-back to this portion of the superintendent’s district plan. Many of us are still suffering from Educational Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (EPTSD) from the psychological, financial and academic destruction wreaked on the district by William “Demolition Man” Roberti from Alvarez Marsal LLC. Given a cool $5 million contract a decade ago, Roberti closed down 21 schools, laid off 1000 employees, privatized services, froze teacher salaries and hired highly-paid friends to assist in the demolition. After his year’s contract, Roberti left the district in shambles. His cheerleaders included Mayor Slay and former mayor Vince Schoemehl who’s on record saying he wished Roberti could’ve stayed another year.

U.S. post racial, you say?

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From my upcoming column in the St. Louis American:

The Cliven Bundys and Donald Sterlings of the world also keep us grounded in the reality of whether or not America is in a post-racial period. While they represent very different economic strata, their opinions about blacks are not that far apart. Bundy has been leeching off the government for 20 years in unpaid grazing fees. His statements about negroes “being better off as slaves” fit right in with Sterling’s plantation notion of taking care of his black basketball Clippers.  “I…give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses.”

When racism blinds your logic & your eyes

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The actions of avowed racist Frazier Glenn Miller provokes memories of the hate killing of Vincent Chen back in 1982. Miller, once a KKK Grand Dragon, has a long history of hate acts against Blacks and Jews. Last week he was on the deadly prowl for Jews to kill. He ultimately gunned down a man and his 14 year old grandson at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City and a woman at a Jewish assisted living facility. None of them were Jews, all were Christians.

Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz, were Chrysler workers. A hate-filled atmosphere  in Detroit blamed the Japanese for the slumping sales of U.S. cars back in the 80s. Armed with baseball bats, the two went looking for some Japanese heads to crack. They came across an innocent Vincent Chin who was Chinese American and an only child. Chin’s death galvanized Asian American communities and other freedom-loving people across the country.

Ebens and Nitz, who couldn’t tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese,  received no jail time and received three years probation, outraging Chen’s supporters.

Time will tell what fate awaits Miller.