Archive for the ‘Facebook’ tag
by CHARLES M. BLOW
This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and, as far as I’m concerned, they don’t get nearly enough.
On Tuesday, the United States Department of Education is hoping that people will take to Facebook and Twitter to thank a teacher who has made a difference in their lives. I want to contribute to that effort. And I plan to thank a teacher who never taught me in a classroom but taught me what it meant to be an educator: my mother.
She worked in her local school system for 34 years before retiring. Then she volunteered at a school in her district until, at age 67, she won a seat on her local school board. Education is in her blood.
Through her I saw up close that teaching is one of those jobs you do with the whole of you — trying to break through to a young mind can break your heart. My mother cared about her students like they were her own children. I guess that’s why so many of them dispensed with “Mrs. Blow” and just called her Mama.
She wasn’t just teaching school lessons but life lessons. For her, it was about more than facts and figures. It was about the love of learning and the love of self. It was the great entangle, education in the grandest frame, what sticks with you when all else falls away. As Albert Einstein once said: “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
She showed me what a great teacher looked like: proud, exhausted, underpaid and overjoyed. For great teachers, the job is less a career than a calling. You don’t become a teacher to make a world of money. You become a teacher to make a world of difference. But hard work deserves a fair wage.
That’s why I have a hard time tolerating people who disproportionately blame teachers for our poor educational outcomes. I understand that not every teacher is a great one. But neither is every plumber, or every banker or every soldier. Why then should teachers be demonized so much?
I won’t pretend to have all the policy prescriptions to address our country’s educational crisis, but beating up teachers isn’t the solution. We must be honest brokers in our efforts to fix a broken system.
Do we need teacher accountability? Yes.
Must unions be flexible? Yes.
Must new approaches be tried? Yes.
But is it just as important to address the poverty, stress and hopelessness that some children bring into the classroom, before the bell rings and the chalk screeches across a blackboard? Yes.
Do we need to take a closer look at pay and incentives for teachers? Yes.
Do we need to lift them up a bit more than we tear them down? A thousand times, yes!
A big part of the problem is that teachers have been so maligned in the national debate that it’s hard to attract our best and brightest to see it as a viable and rewarding career choice, even if they have a high aptitude and natural gift for it.
A 2010 McKinsey & Company report entitled “Closing the Talent Gap: Attracting and Retaining Top-Third Graduates to Careers in Teaching” found that top-performing nations like Singapore, Finland and South Korea recruit all of their teachers from the top third of graduates and then even screen from that group for “other important qualities.” By contrast, in the United States, “23 percent of new teachers come from the top third, and just 14 percent in high poverty schools, which find it especially difficult to attract and retain talented teachers. It is a remarkably large difference in approach, and in results.”
According to the report, starting teacher salaries in 2010 averaged $39,000 a year. Let’s assume that federal, state and local taxes eat up a third. That would leave a take-home pay as low as $26,000. However, according to the Project on Student Debt by the Institute for College Access and Success, a college senior graduating that year carried an average of $25,250 in student loans. The math just doesn’t work out.
Furthermore, jobs in education were slashed substantially from August 2008 to August 2011. According to an October White House report: “Nearly 300,000 educator jobs have been lost since 2008, 54 percent of all job losses in local government.”
If we want better educational outcomes, we need to attract better teachers — and work to retain them. A good place to start is with respect and paychecks. And a little social media appreciation once a year wouldn’t hurt either.
So, on Tuesday, I plan to send this message on Twitter: To the teacher who taught me what it means to be a teacher: My mama. Everybody’s mama.
What will you tweet?
Charles M. Blow is a New York Times Columnist and nationally-known commentator: “I invite you to visit my blog By The Numbers, join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at email@example.com.”
They hear no racism, see no racism
by Chris Stevenson
There’s a growing number of people today who are taking up the challenge to prove the opposite of what has already plainly been proven. They seem to lie in wait for news of a racist attack on generally blacks only, just so they can broadcast their suggestion that it wasn’t a race issue. These people sadly know they’re in the wrong, but could care less, the goal for them is more of a racially selfish nature. If left up only to the Sanford police, the Trayvon Martin shooting wouldn’t even be known. Credit black media and the internet for exposing the efforts of the Sanford FL Police Department’s racist cover-up of suburban-commando George Zimmerman. This week represents roughly a month after the shooting, and news of it has been common knowledge only a couple weeks now.
I mean how in the Hell is it “not about race” when the Dispatcher asks “what was he wearing?” And Zimmerman’s answer was “He looks Black.” But it’s not about race? Really? To Zimmerman he was wearing black skin, which in his mind was illegal and reason enough to call the police. Since racism is devoid of logic, it didn’t matter to him that he knows there are other blacks living in that community. Zimmerman went to a lot of trouble and work to prove it’s about race, so let’s not re-interpret his efforts just because it’s your race that’s in the hot-seat. I think that’s what this is all about when you hear that. Much of this column is really bits and pieces of a Facebook post (in response to a column I wrote) and comments on various pages that I have pasted together regarding my feelings on these mostly self-appointed Race Dialogue Police (RDP).
As an African American with 54 years of experience in this country, I do NOT need and never have needed anyone white or black to tell me what constitutes a race or racist incident, and what doesn’t. But apparently some of you will try your hand with this anyway. Fine. When I write an article, you are fully within your rights, and are in fact invited to disagree with me. But you cannot regulate me or my readers.
Geraldo (Jerry Rivers) says blame the hoodie, Hannity claims it could have been an accident, Beck says Trayvon was a threat, Newt implies Barack’s speculative son is dividing the country (because Barack said he would look like him).
This is what I been noticing on some pages and posts over the last 2-or-3 days now. I’m also wise to those of you who are trying to be slick with it; on my recent column on btweetz.com about the sub-human George Zimmerman one of you made a statement (no need to name names) claiming to support Trayvon but you pretty much made it sound like your support was conditional by stating you don’t want people to view it as a race thing. Here is the exact words:
“I am a resident of [blah blah blah], California and I am forming a day of honoring a day for Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and RaMarley Graham, I need to say this isn’t a color or race thing it is a human rights thing, this could have easily been one of your babies being use as a target, if they I say they (whoever it may concern) want to practice go to the firing range and practice, our babies are human beings, not targets!! This situation could have been one of mines, yours, or someone you knew who live was losted due to gun battle! So Monday March 26, 2012 all day I will do all that I can to get the word out to have everyone to wear their hoodies in honor of all the families. Let them know that they did not die in vain. I’m asking for your help also please post on your site that I [Ms. blah blah blah] is doing whatever I can do help, last but not least change your facebook profile picture, take a picture with your hoodie on and show your support, the internet is a tool just for reasons like this to help.”
Did any one of you out there understand any of this shit? 1st she expresses a desire to represent Trayvon, Ramarley, and Oscar as if she’s doing them and maybe us poor blacks a favor (after all she lives in Cali, she could be out hanging with the Kar-Assians), hell she’ll even toss a hood over her scalp for good measure, tells us to do the same, even on our profiles. It completely passes her by that the hoodie is pretty much half the reason it’s about race. I feel like I’m talking to either Miss Ann or Wendy Williams. You’ll notice she implies “it’s not a color or race thing it is a human rights thing.” This obviously will shock some of you out there. It doesn’t have to be either/or as she is selling, it can be both color AND human rights, as it has been in many cases.
She is one of those types of whites who must frame a black person or situation to her liking, get you to do it (provided you are gullible enough to accept the slop she is dishing on your plate), before she feels comfortable marching side-by-side with you. People like this will even create false delusional scenario’s implying that it could have been her white son in a hood that Zimmerman was stalking, and eventually shot, only to have the police arrive and take his body away (without contacting his family for several days? Yeah right). It could have been her white son in a hood that ran up in Ramarley’s grandmother’s house with several cops in hot pursuit banging in his door and breaking through without a warrant to blast him in his own bathroom, and detain his grandmother or 6 or 7 hours in order to cook up a plausible story. Miss Ann, I missed the wave of headlines and stories of police shooting white male youths in hoodies. Enlighten us Please!
Listen closely. If you have to verbally or in writing tell people ‘it’s not about race,’ then it’s PROBABLY ABOUT RACE. We’re all adults here, give us the benefit of the doubt, I mean really. And it’s really nothing new, pretty much talk-radio-induced. But it’s some of the dumbest, stupidest, most obtuse thinking that is becoming a by-product in the aftermath of an obvious racial tragedy. It’s becoming too common, and it smacks of a selfish people who want to divert dialogue away from black-specific issues onto a more generalized way of interpreting the incident in order to make white would-be supporters feel more comfortable. There are blacks who push this kind of agenda too. You’ll notice they’ll go from being ghetto to hippy instantly, when they feel they are being called-upon to join some black movement, because they fear offending their white best-friend, work-mate, lover, next-door neighbor etc., who may view them differently. So suddenly you’ll notice them talk about love, peace, forgiveness. Most of them don’t believe in those things at all, they just worry that they’ll become useful on the merits of their own skin color to only their own people. Where’s the thrill in that?
Whites who engage in this RDP nonsense are not going to change the way they look at us. They may be accepting us in NBA and NCAA Basketball, TV sit-comms, and relationships with the opposite sex, these have done nothing but lull us to sleep. When it comes to fear of their personal safety all those other things like March Madness becomes anti-black madness and their selfish relationships get tossed-out the window. You will notice these race-discussion regulators have one glaring weakness, they have no record of confronting or correcting racists, or hard-bitten bigots. They are the only thing that’s worse than the so-called “good people” who stand by and do nothing. The prime reason for this is what you pretty much have guessed the point I’m trying to make; many of them are racist themselves. When they look at situations like the Trayvon shooting and listen to the 911 voice of Zimmerman, coupled with the final result, and the far worse treatment of the Sanford police in the handling and attempted cover-up, they see themselves and the commonality in how they probably would have handled it. They “understand.” Social networks are doing a good job of smoking out racists in some of the simplest situations, and RDP; who only prove to be a weak faction of undercover racists. More information is coming out all the time regarding the comparatively uneducated nature of right wing White America. Only blacks can change this conversation, and the New Black Panthers are the only ones offering a different solution than those that no longer work.
The same people who criticize the NBPP for posting wanted posters and conducting their own independent search for Zimmerman know little or nothing about a group of rich white panthers calling themselves ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) that pushed an adjustable model of the Castle doctrine, i.e. “Stand Your Ground,” “Shoot First,” “Make my Day,” across the country, and 16 states have adopted their own version of this measure. Members of ALEC include representatives of ExxonMobile, Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart, NRA, and and the Koch brothers. In my opinion this is a law that took blacks completely by surprise, until it virtually pulled the trigger on a 17-year-old, and inspired inaction on the part of Sanford law enforcement. No rational humans dream up ideas like this, but it proves how tireless and scheming the white right can be. In my opinion “Stand Your Ground” seems to be a law based on the late President Ronald Reagan’s fictional white “rugged individualism;” the right to use deadly force when in imminent danger, as an alternative to, or option to “duty to retreat.” For one thing retreating, just like fighting, are personal choices, human nature, but I digress.
Race could be the only factor in a homicide, or there may be other elements added to it. In this case the more information is leaked, the more racist it looks. The RDP took on quite a challenge when they decided to whitewash the Trayvon incident in the first place. This episode has racism from different classes of whites; 1-Poor burned-out white male loser (Zimmerman), 2-Corrupt Obstructionist Police Chief (Bill Lee), 3-Retired high-powered Judge no-doubt calling in a whole slew of favors on the night of Feb. 26/27 and writing a letter that attempts to declare his son as the victim, to the daily paper (Zimmerman’s father–> } ).
Even though that redneck gun law is the going excuse by Lee, the Seminole County State Attorney Norman Wolfinger, and the City Manager Norton Bonaparte as to why they can’t arrest Zimmerman, I don’t buy it. Activist Dick Gregory recently aired a great idea for some legislation that blacks need to look into with all the tireless energy that the group ALEC did to push their “make my Day” law into reality in 16 states. 1-Push for police to have to require a license to be a cop, subject to be taken away by community if he is proven to have engaged in conduct where he misused it 2-A national Anti-profiling law that also holds cops accountable and punishable if they step out of line.
Recently there have been reports of Trayvon’s girlfriend having been admitted to the hospital. Shortness of breath and fear of police-harassment due to her co-operating with investigators (it’s not as if she didn’t give the police a chance to hear her out). We keep dying, they keep living. We keep going to the hospital, they keep staying healthy. We keep going to funerals, they keep hiding out. Non-violence in the long-run didn’t change a thing about too many white people, either we got to push Gregory’s ideas into law (Obama of course wrote and signed an anti-profiling law years ago as a Senator), or we have got to get in the habit of reversing some of these conditions ourselves.
Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, Political Affairs Magazine, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook, you don’t have to join any of them. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice and The Network for clbTV. Sign his Petition to permanently Abolish the Death Penalty @ Change.org. Respond to him on the link below.