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On Saturday, August 18, 2012 at approximately 12:15 p.m. – African American Leadership Forum’s Gary Cunningham patronized Sunnyside Café for lunch. This chance encounter with Mr. Cunningham gave me the opportunity to tell him the following: “We need to put our petty differences behind. The attack on Harvest Prep and it’s headmaster needs us ALL to come together and address not only the Star Tribune, but a system that says, Blacks don’t deserve to get paid for hard work educating our children.” On Saturday, I along with my affiliates extend the olive leaf to AALF and its principals to join together in fighting a common threat: The war on Black education and Jim Crow in 2012.
Other related stories:
An Attack on Black Studies and Black Scholars-The Chronicle on Higher Education
by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/The Independent Business News Network
Minneapolis, MN (IBNN/Education and Politics 101/August 20, 2012)…If you’re familiar with the cable television show “Mythbusters,” this group goes around and investigates urban legends and tries to make sense of the “myth” or event that has viewers glued to the edge of their seats.
In the Twin Cities we have our own Mythbuster. His name is Eric Mahmoud, the leader of Harvest Prep, Seed Academy – the highest ranked Black charter school in the state. In under 10-years, Mr. Mahmoud had busted the “myth” of the Achievement Gap between White and Black students with real results and having some of the best grades in the state, outranking Minneapolis Public Schools who dabble in the average of a 30% or less success rate for students of color.
Mahmoud is under fire by the Star Tribune who’s motives are still unclear but IBNN speculates it has a lot to do with the teacher’s union and officials at the Minnesota Department of Education who in our opinion need a major overhaul. The Star Tribune’s latest missive, “Mahmoud’s 273K salary raises eyebrows,” dabbled in the mundane when attempting to expose that Mahmoud’s salary, “raises eyebrows.”
Let’s look into the issue of education for Black children and why Mahmoud’s model of education and counseling is needed in the Twin Cities. The Journal of African American Males in Education (Feb/Mar 2010- Vol. 1 Issue 1) reports, “High academic performance and educational attainment constitute valuable assets which enable students to compete for desirable employment opportunities in a growing global economy (Bailey & Bradbury-Bailey, 2007; Fredricks, Blumenfeld & Paris, 2004; Henfield, Owens & Moore, 2008). Jackson and Moore III (2006) assert that “today, education is arguably more important than at any other time in American history. The traditional role of professional school counselors as mere facilitators of in-class guidance lessons is a thing of the distant past. The transformation of the professional school counselor role has created the expectation that counselors “can no longer operate solely from the comfort of their office if they wish to better serve their constituencies” (Ratts & Hutchins, 2009, p. 269). This transformation was realized when, in an attempt to be more responsive to the changing student demographic (e.g. increased racial/ethnic and linguistic diversity) and educational disparities between majority and minority students, ASCA (2003) revised its national model for professional school counselors.”
If Mahmoud’s salary was based on performance – in comparisons with the Minneapolis Public School System-District 1 and parts of the Saint Paul Public Schools, we estimate that Mahmoud’s salary would be in excess of $400, 000.00 per year – consuming Minneapolis Public School’s superintendent Dr. Johnson and Minnesota Department of Education’s commissioner Brenda Cassellius’ salaries for a generational failure of closing the Achievement Gap in inner-city schools. If Mahmoud could be the heir apparent to take over the roles of MPS superintendent and state education commissioner, Minnesota would compete with countries like Singapore, Finland and Japan.
If you want to talk about performance, just peek into Minneapolis Public Schools like Nelly Stone Johnson and Lucy Laney, which have lost their education edge to become nothing more than a minority-base drop-in day care for students of color with education being a low priority. (Test scores show this to be true, it can’t be denied.)
An obvious disgruntle White union official made the following statement about Mahmoud’s salary in the Star Tribune saying, “When the public is funding these schools, they’re expecting that those dollars are going to directly impact the students,” said Tom Dooher, president of Education Minnesota, who called Mahmoud’s salary “extremely hard to justify.”
This statement by Dooher is what hypocrites make when ignorance is mixed with institutionalized racism. First of all, the “dollars” are already going to the “students” in the form of a leader who is dedicated to student success, which can be seen in “real-time” from resent scores and past student who now have went on to college and received masters and other lettered degrees. Secondly, we need to ask Education Minnesota, what plan have they put into affect besides being a lobbying arm for the teachers union, which get support from checks of teachers statewide; also taxpayer money going to Education Minnesota. You now can see the irony of the frivolous attack on Mahmoud?
I expect the Black leadership in the Twin Cities to come together despite petty differences and hold a press conference to address what is simply a war on Black education Jim Crow style.
Stay tuned; I’m just getting started…