Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) must retool to Maria Montessori’s scientific pedagogy for early childhood learning
“If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man’s future. For what is the use of transmitting knowledge if the individual’s total development lags behind?” ~Maria Montessori
By Donald Allen, Founder – IBNN NEWS
Here’s the problem.
You go out into the “zone” and find parents with pre-school aged children to join a program that has attempted to recreate the wheel of pre-K education. Putting a t-shirt on a toddler citing, “College Graduate 2035” is much like putting a gun in the mouth of a small rabbit and pulling the trigger.
Maria Montessori’s “Montessori Schools” are awarding winning educational institutions with artisans utilizing scientific observation and experience gained from their work with young children. Maria Montessori designed learning materials and a classroom environment that fostered the children’s natural desire to learn. News of the school’s success soon spread through Italy and by 1910 Montessori schools were acclaimed worldwide.
Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) even with its a five-year, $28 million federal grant – accepted with a pledge to improve life in north Minneapolis, one of the city’s and state’s most depressed neighborhoods, still cannot show, place or guarantee any successes in 2035.
Unfortunately for NAZ, when politics get involved with education it creates a “dead end” of sorts. The ideologies that both motivated and justified NAZ’ misstep in pre-K early development to overlook Ms. Montessori’s model shows no real concrete design has been established, tested or executed. Both the public school system (Minneapolis Public Schools) and NAZ have no idea how to geo-target successful parent involvement that can be defined as the active, ongoing participation of a parent or primary caregiver in the education of his or her child.
NAZ must go public with its operation and incorporate the broader community into their process of learning.
No small strain is involved in mental action without the usual means of information and control.
K-12 educational failures have been named, established, polished and branded as a gap. Unfortunately, the gap has nothing to do with the word “achievement.”
Donald Allen, Founder – IBNN NEWS
Minneapolis, Minn. – Somewhere in the book of fairy tales, “achievement” was the name given to the “gap” of racial inequality in education. There are several ways the achievement gap has been defined. The National Center for Educational Statistics wrote: “The achievement gaps occur when one group of students outperforms another group and the difference in average scores for the two groups is statistically significant (that is, larger than the margin of error).” Other common explanations tend to refer to the observed, persistent disparity of educational measures between the performance of groups of students, especially groups defined by socioeconomic status (SES), race/ethnicity and gender.
The distractions of poverty are types of economic violence that blankets communities of color and the poor across the United States. The hoodlum manifesto of the achievement gap tells us that economic violence is not limited to one race, but has selectively sought out and set up camp next to students of color and poor white students in the public school system. There is but a small amount of sophistication within the leadership caste in local and national educational policy making circles to come up with better policies and definitions, no matter what the degree. To define the failure of public schools to teach students of color and poor as an “achievement gap,” goes against the very meaning of the word achievement.
St. Thomas law professor and education advocate, Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds wrote, “For one, the term ‘achievement gap’ is deficit-based language that implies that blame for children’s failure to ‘achieve’ falls upon their own shoulders and is a result of their unwillingness or lack of motivation to work hard in school.”
According to Webster’s, the meaning of the word achievement “is to do something that has been done or achieved through effort–a result of hard work.” It can also mean “the act of achieving something or the state or condition of having achieved or accomplished something.”
Minnesota’s challenge with educating its students has become an epidemic of finger pointing while local school districts CEO’s continue to distribute money and valuable resources among their administrators like it’s Christmas time. Making cash resources available to the lone teacher in the classroom is not a concern. Cash resources are not delivered past the district headquarters’ front door.
For example, In mid-February, Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson gave out bonuses to two district officials. She justified this move by using authority she was given two years ago following controversial retroactive salary increases in 2011. Two district administrators received bonuses of a combined total of $17,000 in spite of less than 50 percent of Minneapolis Public School children not graduating from high school and one of the largest “racial education gaps” in the United States. It seems there is no motivation by the MPS administration to spread the wealth in the form of education and knowledge to its students, teachers or parents.
If bonuses were based on district performance, these bonuses should have been zero.
Some parents of children of color have started the mass exodus from the inner city schools. This has become a dead end of sorts. Reports from the Minnesota Department of Education and local public school districts report: “Studies have found little academic difference for poor Minneapolis students who enroll in whiter suburban districts. A few charter schools excel with poor black students; others flop.”
Again, this is not a simple black and white argument. The argument is about the have and have-nots, the big and the small, the rich and the poor. A bad economic environment can befall any caste of people at any time. Celebrated author Toni Morrison wrote, “Black people [including the poor] are victims of an enormous amount of violence. None of those things can take place without the complicity of the people who run the schools and the city.”
Although the disparity in education I attest to is a racially motivated construct developed from the evolution of Jim Crow. There is reason to suspect that the word “achievement” was selected to purposely point back to the poor children of color and their families versus the educational system in which children fail to learn. We must remember, public schools were never set up to teach children of color or poor non-black students.
Drop Outs to Drop Ins [Minnesota] founder Wesley Smith, who was instrumental in bringing 300 Minneapolis and St. Paul school children back to school with 200 graduating in 2013, said, “I’ve seen how these K-12 children achieve, especially as dropouts. Their parents don’t have jobs; they might not have food in the fridge – but each of the children I’ve worked with have moved forward, choosing education over being beat down by an economic situation. It’s only when they get to the schoolhouse their achievements become negative and void. There is no such thing as an achievement gap; it’s a lie and I’ll be the first to stand up against any lie about poor children.”
Why is it not an achievement gap? Let me explain:
When a baby is born, the child cries when it is wet or hungry; smiles when happy; frowns when sad. As that child develops, words and expressions are learned. These are all achievements of a child even before he or she enters any formal system of learning. One can argue that most children from birth to five years old perpetually achieve by discovering and learning in the environment around them. When these children arrive at the front doorsteps of a public school, it is assumed that perpetual achievement of child development and learning stops. Inappropriately, this is what’s represented by the term “achievement gap,” but unquestionably not the case.
Deconstructing the lie of the achievement gap is important to students who are education majors or thinking about leaning in that direction. Most education programs are in the business of developing solid leaders whom might one day be in positions of political and educational power within an infrastructure to change and reformat a system that is currently blinded by benign neglect and malfeasance.
For the record, there is no such thing as an achievement gap. Using words as a smokescreen to point the blame to student and their families while public school administrators take over inside the classroom leaving no room for the teaching creativity is only the beginning of what should be called the Educational Exiled Recessive Gap (EERG), in K-12 administrated education.
Special interest groups have suggest to the MSFA (Minnesota Sports Facility Authority) they need to hire more African Americans. The MSFA fired back with a report showing the MSFA has exceeded their hiring goals Y-T-D. Read the full February 13 report here: PowerPoint at Sen Champion TownHall Meeting Feb 13 2014 by The MSFA-2. What troubles me (and its a question that needs to be asked), is where are all the “trained” people from local African American “training programs” that need work. Secondly, DEED says they need people…where are the people?
Hey, don’t take my word for it…look at the chart below from DEED:
With two-thirds of manufacturing vacancies in the state classified as hard to fill, employers are getting creative in their search for workers, including training new hires internally.
There are many questions that need to be answered. If Summit Academy OIC is training African Americans, why is it DEED is sending out a message like this? The chart below is a tell-tale sign that training that leads to jobs in the black community is a myth.
Read the full story from DEED here: http://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/publications/trends/dec-2013/hiring-difficulties.jsp
by Ronald A. Edwards, Originally posted on Feb. 19 Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
Velma Korbel’s reappointment by newly elected Mayor Betsy Hodges to continue as Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) director is a huge mistake that nonetheless exposes the city culture we have long reported: that city government, regardless of who is in charge, is a culture opposed to diversity (the silence on this by the DFL, churches, foundations, and Black nonprofits places them in the same culture). Shamefully, leading Black organizations participate in this culture as they compete for their share of the spoils at the expense of those they are supposed to serve and represent.
Velma Korbel’s reappointment continues a departmental disaster going back through two permanent directors and one interim director. The African American community will continue to be ill served as seen by the 99 percent White work force of the Vikings stadium.
Last week the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an investigative report on former regulatory services director Rocco Forte, former Chief of the Fire Department. Reporting that he served with distinction and effectiveness, it then incorrectly reported that he was a bully and disgrace to his position of authority.
For the Star Tribune to be accurate, it must report the biggest bully and the department producing the most law suits costing tax payers money: Velma Korbel and her Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). A local weekly paper, City Pages, last November, reported on the bullying and discrimination within the MDCR.
Although ineffective in fighting for diversity, she is highly effective in fighting against diversity, hence her reappointment. She will gladly massage stadium work force numbers (people working categorized by race and gender). The MDCR expects a significant payday from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) for assisting in developing bogus numbers.
The MDCR demonstrated for the Twins Ball Park Authority that they could help further Chicago-style corruption in Minneapolis. Consequently, with the exception of two contracts awarded to African American firms, the kickbacks went to majority firms as part of their “arrangement” from which the African American community was excluded.
The same is true regarding the construction of the University of Minnesota’s TCF Gopher’s stadium: African Americans excluded. Ted Mondale admitted the lack of diversity for the Twins stadium. He pledged it wouldn’t happen with the Vikings stadium.
Yet he continues it. A former African American MDCR director bragged Minneapolis could meet minority hiring requirements without having to hire a single Black person. The laws suits settled or currently in litigation involving the MDCR under Velma Korbel are smoking guns, including the cases of the late Marvin Taylor, the late Lauren Marker, and former compliance director, Ronald Brandon.
Diversity is a sham in the MDCR, as it shreds evidence and documentation, especially regarding the Twins Stadium. This is a disturbing pattern and practice of corruption that continues the falsification of information pertaining to compliance on the Twins stadium, which has strategically positioned Mr. Tittle to help facilitate a second round of falsified numbers about the Vikings stadium. Watch for falsified existence of personnel and falsified compliance of the goals set by Kevin Lindsay, Minnesota Commissioner of Human Rights.
Mayor Hodges and her new administration know of the MDCR musical chairs and obviously believe they can continue this practice with impunity. Looking back: for two years many scoffed at my reporting that Star Tribune land was all part of the Grand Stadium Deal, and that it, too would also exclude Black Americans.
Deny no longer: Star Tribune headline, Feb. 11, 2014: “Star Tribune land sold to Ryan [AND] stadium authority.” Why? For their “proposed $400 million project next to the new Vikings stadium.”
For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.
It was militia intelligence officer Paul Revere who warned American colonists that the British were coming; it was NSA contractor Edward Snowden who warned Americans about the NSA.
by Donald Allen, Originally published in the Hamline Oracle Magazine (2.14)
The actions taken by former National Security Agency (NSA) technical contractor Edward Snowden are to be commended. Snowden single-handedly dismantled a system filled with lies, deceit and benign neglect for the American people’s right to privacy. He exposed the U.S. regime’s cruel tactics and its ruthless “world police” role. Snowden also revealed to the world that the NSA is watching us, in many cases listening to every word on what should be private cell phone conversations. U.S. citizens with nongovernment cell phone accounts through Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and other carriers learned they were helpless when it comes to the power of the federal government and its need to control our private data. The U.S. continues to violently disrespect the American right for a reasonable amount of privacy, but lucky for us, something happened inside Edward Snowden that unlocked his moral compass. Snowden’s spiritual awakening led him to purposely leak documents and data about the men and women who work for the United States’ most top-secret organization, the NSA.
Snowden told the Guardian: “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of thingsâ€¦I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.”
The world has learned that it is not little green men from outer space spying on us, it’s the NSA and private government contractors who have circumvented due process and replaced it with contempt prior to investigation for the American people. Conspiracy theorists across the globe have been validated in their suspicions that “black helicopters” and the U.S. government are spying on their own people as well as other countries.
In June 2013, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, with information supplied by Snowden, reported that the U.S. (NSA) is collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers under a top secret court order granting the government unlimited authority to obtain communications data for a three-month period. The liberal mainstream media in the United States was given its marching orders to report Snowden as a low-level government contract worker gone rogue (Fox News was not fooled about Snowden or his identity). Fox News did not collaborate with the left-wing media on what started out to be a cover up in altering of the facts about the NSA contractor . However, soon it became evident that this “low-level government contractor” was making well over six figures a year and the U.S. government had something to hide: A man named Edward Snowden and the information he leaked as part of the NSA information breach.
The documents leaked by Snowden show that the NSA created and spread a flawed formula for generating random numbers to create a “back door” in encryption products by rolling it into a software tool called BSAFE, which is used to enhance security in personal computers and many other products. The BSAFE tool is widely used by developers to enhance security protocol by setting up firewalls and for easy back-door recovery. Essentially what they have done is opened a doorway, in your home, on your personal PC or Apple product, for easy access to any and all information saved on any computer with a downline program that can track, assess and report a user’s current keystrokes.
Many foreign news agencies, including the Guardian and the BBC-UK reported that the NSA is accessing the systems of U.S. Internet giants, including Google and Facebook, and collecting data under a previously undisclosed surveillance program called PRISM. International Business Times reporter Ryan W. Neal wrote, “Microsoft helped the NSA circumvent Microsoft’s own encryption software to intercept users’ private communications. Microsoft launched the Outlook portal to the public in February 2012, just two months after coming up with the solution. Microsoft also allowed PRISM to access Hotmail, Live and Outlook.com emails before they got encrypted.” Now we know why most users of Microsoft products only use Window’s Explorer to download Safari, Firefox or Google Chrome; safer, more private and less government browbeating. Read the rest of this entry »
KFAI (90.3 in Minneapolis and 106.7 in Saint Paul), will celebrate Black History Month (BHM) with a special day of programming on Tuesday, February 18, 2014. KFAI will celebrate Black History Month (BHM) with a special day of programming on Tuesday, February 18, 2014, featuring the 3rd Annual Black History Month Live Remote Broadcast “SoundStage” to celebrate BHM 2014. Listen online worldwide at www.kfai.org (see full schedule here).
Show #1: Tuesday, Feb. 18th, 8am-9am – TUNE In – Tavis Smiley Exclusive Interview on The Lennie Chism Show.
Time selected Smiley as one of America’s 50 most promising young leaders. Newsweek profiled him as one of the “20 people changing how Americans get their news” and dubbed him one of the nation’s “captains of the airwaves.” With his late night television talk show, Tavis Smiley on PBS, and his radio show The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR, Smiley was the first American ever to simultaneously host signature talk shows on both PBS and National Public Radio.
Show #2: Tuesday, Feb. 18th from 4-5pm Black Minnesotans: Where do we go from here? With Ronald A. Edwards (Black Focus) and Ed McDonald, Executive Director state Council on Black Minnesotans.
Tune with your host Don Allen, editor-in-chief of the Independent Business News Network for an interview with the two most important black leaders in Minnesota. We will talk about Money, Politics and Education – of course Minnesota’s black history and future.
Show #3: Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 5-6pm tune in to hear Shannon Gibney and Danielle Mkali talk on “The Ongoing Struggle for Equity in Higher Education MN”.
Dr. Shannon Gibney is on board for the conversation about the “Ongoing Struggle for Equity in Higher Education MN.”
When will America have a Black, Brown, White, Red and Yellow History Month?
Black History Month as it stands all too often entails a series of empty remembrances. What is celebrated are sanitized events, stripped of their political and historical significance. Yet we sit collectively in an America troubled by both its racial past and present.
The past troubles us in part through the inaccurate and partial accountings of history that we receive. Via the erasure, or marginalization, of non-white and of working-class and poor voices from the annals of Great Men (not to mention women).
Tune into the Ron and Don Show on BlogTalkRadio – Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. for an announcement that will tear the fiber of understanding. If you have questions, please call in. To listen to the program on Wednesday, click here.
Minneapolis, Minn – Louis King would always ask me, “What have you done for the community?” Then he would rattle off his many accomplishments.” King, a good guy and fellow veteran had a point. Really, what have I done for the “community” in Minnesota?
In December 2013, I caught wind there was to be a new start up of the Minneapolis NAACP. This was my opportunity to do something in and for the community. I went to the election, won Second Vice Chair and it went downhill from there. The fact was nobody expected me to show, or place. I watched the shock of the people in the room, upset because democracy had worked in my favor. Maybe this is one of the many issues community members have about free public discourse, solutions and problem solving, some community leaders have sunk their ships before leaving port.
On Wednesday’s program, The Ron and Don Show, I will walk listeners through a jungle of unmanaged processes and melancholy of many community failures that have made black Minnesotans leery and questionable of our current leadership.
Tune in, the phone lines are always open.
In 15 days, the state Council on Black Minnesotans will present “Building the Foundation for Allophilia at the Capitol.” This rally and coming together of people from all walks of life presents a new beginning for the council, its board, employees and of course, black Minnesotans.
By Donald Allen, Founder – OurBlackNews.com
People always ask me, “Who do you like?” In 2013, with the leadership of Mr. Ed McDonald, executive director and Mr. Patwin Lawrence, board chairperson, the council has shown a growth in community engagement that has not been seen in Minnesota for over 30 years. The Council on Black Minnesotans continues to gain ground by submitting legislation based on the needs of Minnesota’s minority community.
Executive director Ed McDonald has always stated, “The black community’s voice is wide and very important. We must work in unity, trust and partnership to make a change.”
In 2013, the Council on Black Minnesotans has re-organized, facilitated and maintained the highest of integrity in the representation of black Minnesotans.
The Minnesota Legislature empowered the Council on Black Minnesotans to ensure that people of African heritage fully and effectively participate in and equitably benefit from the political, social, and economic resources, policies and procedures of the State of Minnesota. Generally, the Council is charged with the responsibility of:
- Advising the Governor and the Legislature on issues confronting Black people;
- Advising the Governor and the Legislature on statutes, rules and revisions to programs to ensure that Black people have access to benefits and services provided to people in Minnesota; Serving as a liaison to the federal government, local government units and private organizations on matters relating to Black people in Minnesota;
- Implementing programs designed to solve problems of Black people when authorized by statute, rule or order; and
- Publicizing the accomplishments of Black people and their contributions to the state.
The Council’s work over the past 32 years has yielded impressive achievements and mobilized innovative community leaders committed to advancing Minnesotans’ quality of life. As you explore our web site you will learn about those achievements and the people behind the work. Today, the Council hears the growing voices of a New Generation of Minnesotans chanting move FORWARD with new innovation, energy, ideas, and direction to address the socioeconomic and sociopolitical challenges Minnesotan’s face. They tell us our state needs to move to a new level that goes beyond constructs, tolerance, respect and diversity to practicing ALLOPHILIA. To reach Allophilia it will require Minnesota stakeholders to establish these pillars to our coexistence:
- Make equal access to opportunities a practice.
- Create innovative policies and administrative approaches that eradicate all forms of disparities.
- Constitutionalize Human/Civil Rights Enforcement.
In Minnesota, the human stories maybe singular but our destiny is shared – we rise or fall as one state – as one people, and the power of human unity must prevail
Residents of Minneapolis must call the national NAACP and talk to Ms. Lorraine C. Miller, Interim President and CEO-NAACP (410) 580-5777. We must let her know that Minneapolis has to many issues that need to be addressed and the current board will not achieved a process of success.
By Reverend Danny Thomas, Guest Contributor – IBNN
Minneapolis, Minn – On Saturday, February 8 at 9 a.m. the Reverend Jerry McAfee, who is also the newly elected president of the Minneapolis NAACP suspended second vice president Donald Allen. This was done inside of the reverends church and two of his “church workers” were summoned to remove Mr. Allen if he asked any questions about procedures which in this case have not been followed by McAfee or the current board. At the meeting this morning was Lisa Clemons (Al Flowers sister), Kim Flowers (Al Flowers niece), Tee McClenty, Spike Moss, McAfee and Louis King.
Mr. Allen is a “constitutional” officer of the Minneapolis NAACP and Jerry McAfee was out of line and operated outside of his authority. Also, by Rev. McAfee “trespassing” Mr. Allen from the church property, McAfee puts at risk his church and the Southern Baptist Convention, the organization that allegedly owns the property.
Also, on Thursday, February 6, 2014 a community activist and north side political stakeholder resigned her position on the Minneapolis NAACP due to a busy schedule.
The argument remains in question is why McAfee suspended Allen? Allen did ask why the checks from the December 13 election and meeting had not been deposited. He [Allen] also asked, why were there only checks when people paid with cash also? Historically, the Minneapolis NAACP does not function when being held accountable.
According to the NAACP bylaws, Allen cannot be suspended and what comes into play is defamation by the Minneapolis NAACP and no warning or hearing. Allen has the upper hand depending on how he works this. My knowledge of the NAACP is vast. McAfee has not shown probable cause nor has he received national authorization. Now there must be a hearing convened by someone other than the Minneapolis NAACP. The evidence is solid and Mr. Allen could possibly be in a position to change the Minneapolis NAACP while still being the second vice president. This is what happens in our community when people who should not be leading try to lead.
In my 30-year opinion as a member of the NAACP, this is a clear violation of the NAACP bylaws and Mr. Allen’s civil rights.
Allen has suggested a number of competent community members for positions on the NAACP. Each suggestion per NAACP national bylaws was never acknowledged. When Allen attempted to suggest a white person who runs a small school in Minneapolis and has written many grants, McAfee and some board members spoke in disgust about white people and how they don’t need white folks in this organization.
Allen also suggested the lobbying of the NAACP to remove Mr. Ronald A. Edwards expulsion, which fell of deaf ears. It was reported on last Monday (2.3.14), during an executive committee meeting Clemons and McAfee argued about Clemons alleged position as the Education Chair of the Minneapolis NAACP.
Allen is a very active user of social media and understands the complexities of voice and leadership. On Thursday (2.6.14), Allen received several text messages from first vice president Lisa Clemons taunting him about not being invited to an alleged upcoming meeting. I personally saw the “unedited” message from Clemons that read:
“glad you wont be sitting in the big meeting with me and the President…. 2nd Vice presidents have no rank…therefore you aren’t invited hahahahaha.”
“I got it fool… He already called to tell me and to invite me to the big meeting …Life looks good from the 1st VP chair… How does it look down there. Donnie Boyyyyyyyyyyy LOL.”
(Text messages sent to Don Allen, 2nd VP Mpls. NAACP on 2/6/14 from Lisa Clemons)
Rev. McAfee fired back on social media citing that Allen was lying, “It sure is sad as Don has lied again,” said McAfee.
Unfortunately, Allen’s truth’s are solid by the text sent from the phone number that I called and Ms. Clemon’s answered.
Many concerned members of the Minneapolis NAACP asked McAfee when the next general meeting would be. One person in particularly, Mr. Lennie Chism asked the question about the schedule of the next general membership meeting. McAfee’s reply was shocking and vile:
“Well you certainly have me scared Lennie, if you were half as adept as you like to sound, you would have known that Don and his light weight reporting has Lied again. I have nothing to prove to you and if it was a meeting I wouldn’t tell you.”
McAfee also has denied Allen due process and accuses him of being “white.” “Don and Lennie are the white man,” wrote McAfee on Allen’s thread.
Allen said, “Rev. Mac has is own agenda. It has nothing to do with assisting people of color based on the long historic process of the NAACP. This is the reason we must recall the election on December 13, 2013 due to collusion inside of Rev. McAfee’s church and his stubbornness not to let anyone else be a part of the Minneapolis NAACP. Having board meetings at his church is problematic for obvious reasons.”
I must agree, the Minneapolis branch of the NAACP has not addressed anything for over eight years. Shakedowns do not work anymore, we have a black president…come on Mac, and you can do better than being petty.