Monday, March 21, 2011

Now is time to think Summer for students

I hope that families have put something aside for summer enrichment for their children or grandchildren or a child you care about.  With shrinking public funds, the days of others paying for our children's enrichment is close to be over.

Hire A Tutor
Summer is a good time to catch children who are behind in school.  I am surprised by the number of children who do not have their own tutor, yet are not at grade level. A tutor paid for is good investment.  It is a good way for college students and teachers to earn a little extra money and a good investment into the academic achievement of children.

 There really is no reason that children can not expand their interest beyond video games and television watching and exert their creative selves.  A working parent can not take a course in something that makes them interesting, and elder  can and should learn how to use a computer, navigation system or how to send a text message.  Stop being bored and boring.

Here are a few things for young people this summer:

NWABR Student Research Fellows, funded by the National Institutes of Health, supports 10-12 rising sophomore and junior high school students (especially those from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in science) in a 2-week paid summer fellowship.  The dates of the program are June 27 - July 8, 2011 - no program July 4. Students visit a broad variety of research institutions throughout the Seattle area and learn how new medical treatments are developed.
The application deadline is April 8, 2011.  We encourage you to nominate students who you feel would be a good fit for this program and to forward this on to your colleagues.

 Here is one for ages 15 - 19 Teens in Public Service helps find summer jobs for at non profits. Applications need to be in by Friday March 25.

This is a parent lead, funded and managed opportunity for children and an extension of Saturday Math Academy. This is for elementary to middle school students,   an expansion of the 2010 Math Camp held last summer by Brian and Twanda Hill along with Norman Alston at Zion Prep Academy in Seattle.  This summer the camp is expanded to include parent involvement in ways that expand the participation of adults in classroom and field expeditions. Tuition has not yet been set but we expect the slots to fill quickly.  

The March edition of Seattle Child has hundreds of summer camps and activities for children.  Now is the time to apply and meet deadlines.  Do this for your child or the child of someone you care about.  I am always amazed by the number of inquiries I receive in late June and even July from parents and grandparents asking do I know of any jobs or activities for their kids. Also please plan summer for kids into the budget.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Village is Alive and Well March 14, 2011


The first two weeks of March have come and gone so have the media reports about state audits with allegations of misappropriations of public school funds, the false illusion of self appointed leadership and Superintendent Maria Goodloe Johnson. We are not surprised by any of this.  Carter G. Woodson in "The Miseducation of the Negro," tells us of the false leaders in our community and churches, Elijah Muhammad, in Message to the Blackman, speaks to the behavior of those who keep us moving backward, and the Bible is filled with warnings of those who deceive.  We are not surprised and the Village is moving forward despite any real or alleged offenses. 

I believe there will be more assaults and insults waged regarding what is important to African Americans. Hopefully, those who appoint themselves as our mouthpiece have learned their lesson. The same media that selects "African American Leaders,"  are  the same who will take them down with just one article. 

Here is the real issue and real scandal. 

Seattle Public Schools has, after receiving not millions but billions of dollars, 
failed to bring an equitable benefit to African American students. $12,000 of federal, state and local public funds are given to Seattle School Board to educate all children. The most recent performance report gives great detail in how brown, black and poor children have been cheated of an equitable education. That is and will remain the issue until equity is reached. 

Maria Goodloe-Johnson, was hired for a reason and negotiated a pretty lucrative severance package. 

The Seattle School Board turned a blind eye when what African Americans collaborated to establish for the good of our children was dismantled by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson; TT Minor (and their "little Grambling Marching Band.")  MLK School, The African American Academy with a focus on cultural competency were dismantled. To this injury was added the insult of her refusal to negotiate alternatives to closure put together by a well organized collaboration of some of our best African American educators and organization professionals.  Programs unassociated with the well being of African American children replaced them without any cost savings. Other than former School Board member, Mary Bass, none on the board were alarmed or even concerned about these decisions of "no benefit" to African American students? And for her concern for us, a well funded campaign was waged against Ms Bass.

What We Have Lost and What Others Have Gained From Us
Back in 1990 an African American Legislative Day was established. Rosa Franklin and Jessie Wineberry were our Legislators. It was African Americans who pushed for the Commission for African American Affairs and others gained from our push. When I was a legislator (1995-1999) the legislative Day was that  one day when we were assured that all African Americans in WA came together, attended workshops, and met with their legislative delegations. The nature of the Commission on African American Affairs has changed , Senator Franklin (Tacoma) has retired and for the first time in two decades we did not have an African American Legislative Day. Washington's Hispanic population has stepped into the spotlight that used to belong to African Americans, relative to being organized and on top of policy issues; education, economic development and health and well being. They have formed their own Latino Civic Alliance.

On Monday, I met Rev. Paul Stoot, Sr in Olympia, we were there for Gov. Gregoire's Roundtable on Education with Secty of Education, Arne Duncan and WA Legislators. Rev. Stoot who is Sr. Pastor of Greater Trinity Church in Everett and participates in African American Christian Leaders organizing that A. Phillip Randolph Institute is funded to accomplish. So while the Commission on African American Affairs has shifted their focus to suit the desires of those who fund them, A. Phillip Randolph Institute and the African American Ministerial Alliance are keeping our people engaged. On March 2, more than 200 African Americans from along the I-5 corridor arrived in Olympia for the purpose of meeting with law makers and briefing them on our experiences as African Americans residing in WA.

On March 2, more than 200 African Americans went to Olympia to brief legislators and and Governor Chris Gregoire on issues of key importance; education, economic development, health and well being. Organized by A. Phillip Randolph Institute, this replaced the now defunct African American Legislative Day that was in the past organized by the Commission on African American Affairs. This commission works at the pleasure of the Governor and it seems that the Governor has no interest in hearing from African Americans. So, as will occur when a government turns a blind eye to the people the people will organize and with Pastor Rhodes and Rev. Baber as co-chairs legislative issues are being addressed.

At the Junction of an Opportunity
With adversity comes opportunity. There is now  in place an interim Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, Dr. Susan Enfield. Please read SPS statement.  

The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle has appointed an Interim Director of the Seattle Urban League, Tony Benjamin. We asked him to join a gathering (of primarily women,) at Life Enrichment Books, for a conversation about moving forward and increasing the good of the village. This is not the first time women have gathered  to discuss how we want to be served by any organization that uses the condition of our children and families to attract funding to themselves. 

With Dr. Maxine Mimms, an Elder of distinction, guiding us through a very positive and respectful conversation, we got to know and Mr. Benjamin a little better. It was nice to have young people included and the voices of people who work hard within the "I-5 Corridor Village" heard. Dr. Mimms reminded us; "Seattle is not be and end all of African Americans in this part of the world."  Tacoma has an African American Mayor, Marilyn Strickland and City Council member, Victoria Woodard. They are placing education as a priority and continuing moving Tacoma forward as a vital urban city. The Urban League of Tacoma is rebuilding,

Bremerton has an active African American community, they are 10% of Bremerton's population. They like Seattle has a Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church. There are more African Americans living in Tukwila, Renton and Kent than in Seattle and to the north Snohomish County has a growing population of African Americans and beyond Tacoma to the South, there is Lakewood, Dupont and Lacy, with many established military families working, running businesses and raising children. The Village is growing and doing much better than those who see and think in the vacuum of exclusivity might depict. 

Fear No Number Math Academy
Norman Alston and Parents for Student Success continue to amaze and attract students and parents on Saturday morning. Before anyone ever again says anything negative about our school age children's behavior, their ability to learn, or their parents, come visit.  Saturday 9-11:00 at Zion Prep Academy 32nd S and S. Alaska St, Seattle. In the future is a winning Math Olympiad Team which is more than just learning and the performativity, the children of our village are building confidence, discipline, and thinking skills. It is not unusual for Mr. Alston to pose to his students ages 6 - 12 a difficult concept or question and then tell them "This requires thought, we need some thinking music, and then dims the lights and cranks up smooth jazz while they think about the question."  He reminds them that there are mathematical problems that mathematicians have been working on for hundreds of years.  Trish Millines Dzinko another deliver of excellence in technology to our children, says knowing math builds confidence, because it is about problem solving.  Please come visit and consider making the love of math and fearing no number a gift for to your child and yourself. The parents are able to sit with their children and learn right along with them in a safe and collegial environment. 

The Positive Media Reports
We acknowledge the many good things that have appeared in the media; Marcia Tate Arunga, and her book and now play, The Stolen Ones, made it to the pages of the Seattle Times and was profiled in Seattle Woman magazine. Jeffrey Williams, the winning Ultimate Designer graced the pages of Harper Bazaar with Mary J. Blige wearing his winning design and also the front pages of the Medium Newspaper, as was Seattle Councilmember Bruce Harrel who after serving us well, is seeking re-election, in fact he has engaged himself so well in the African American community and other unrepresented peoples that he may end up with a challenger. And Larry Gossett will be likewise seeking to maintain his seat at the King County Council.  

Love is Still With Us
We extend best wishes to our sister, Rev. Gwendolyn Phillips Coates and her husband,  Donald Dotson on their marriage. She was a beautiful bride and he an awe struck groom. It was one of the longest salutes most in attendance had ever witnessed. 

Waiting for Superman
This documentary about the condition of schools and learning in the USA is worth seeing. To accommodate this the Rainier Valley Rotary has purchased a copy of the film and as a service to the community, making it available in as many places as possible. The initial showing was at Mt. Zion Church on March 11, 40 people engaged in a lively discussion following the viewing.  The next viewing are throughout Rainier Valley in Seattle (all are 6:30) :

March 16,  at Life Enrichment Books on Rainier Ave just south of Hudson St.

March 24,  MC Electric Vehicles 1200 So.Dearborn St.

April 7  Lakewood Seward Park Community Club 4916 So. Angeline St

April 20 WEllspring Family Services 1900 Rainier Ave S. 

All showings are FREE and refreshments are served.