Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hispanic Population, Rising Faster Than Anticipated, A 'Huge Weapon' For Obama

Rahm Emanuel burns phone lines to Springfield, gets results - Chicago Sun-Times

The newly-elected mayor was able to use his formidable lobbying skills to change the political equation without making a personal trip to the state capital.


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Emanuel, Comcast Partner For Cheaper Student Internet | NBC Chicago

The partnership will allow broadband Internet access, usually priced at $48.95 a month, at a reduced rate of $9.95 a month for families of about 330,000 low-income students.


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      "A block away from Cain’s sleepy childhood street, congregants arrived at the Greater Fair Hills Baptist Church. Most had never heard of Cain. But Saunja Lawson, 69, lived across the street from him growing up. She called Cain a “beautiful person” who wouldn’t get her vote. His tea party association, she said, had proved vexing. “A lot of people in the community are very shocked because of the upbringing he had,” she said.
      Cain said his former neighbor’s reaction was common among blacks who “are shocked that I have become a tea party guy because they have drunk the Kool-Aid on this racist thing.” Cain, who describes himself as an “American black conservative” but also the party’s “dark horse,” said any talk about racism in the movement was “bull feathers.”

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Monday, May 30, 2011

A Hole in the Head ---must see video

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Maria Jordan-Smith



Never heard about this ............... tragic!



              Dr. Wilbert Smith is doing the film and the book. He would like for this link to be sent to as many people as possible. 
                He needs the hits.   




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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Melissa Harris-Perry: Breaking News: Not All Black Intellectuals Think Alike | History News Network


"I vigorously object to the oft-repeated sentiment that African-Americans should avoid public disagreements and settle matters internally to present a united front. It’s clear from the history of black organizing that this strategy is particularly disempowering for black women, black youth, black gay men and lesbians, and others who have fewer internal community resources to ensure that their concerns are represented in a broader racial agenda. Failing to air the dirty laundry has historically meant that these groups are left washing it with their own hands...."

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Chicago’s chief technology officer has vision of Digital Second City - Chicago Sun-Times


The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, or CMAP, partnered with the Chicago Community Trust to create MetroPulseChicago.org, which lets people see data as a map, a chart, a table or other visual element to quickly assess a situation.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

http://politicalwire.com: Clyburn Says Obama Problems Due to Racism

May 26, 2011 Clyburn Says Obama Problems Due to Racism Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) blamed most of President Obama's political problems on racism, the Columbia State reports. Said Clyburn: "You know, I'm 70 years old. And I can tell you -- people don't like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is -- the president's problems are in large measure because of the color of his skin." In particular, Clyburn suggested the "birther" movement is fueled by racism. Clyburn: "I don't know why anybody didn't ask for John McCain's (birth certificate). He wasn't even born in this country.

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How To Give To Charity - SmartMoney.com

Give where you believe your dollar will have the biggest impact. Most experts advise that healthy charities spend around 75 cents of every dollar on programs and services, with no more than 15 cents going towards administrative expenses. You can find out that breakdown from the organization or from Charity Navigator and Guide Star. Also try Philanthropedia.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Xantrion Inc. Named One of America's 100 Fastest-Growing Inner City Businesses -- OAKLAND, Calif., May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

"The Inner City 100 list provides unmatched original data on the fastest growing inner-city businesses in the U.S. In the last 13 years, 661 different companies have earned positions on the Inner City 100, collectively generating more than $2.2 billion in annual revenues and creating nearly 70,000 new jobs."


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Is the Attack on Prof. Melissa Harris- Perry's Article Criticizing Prof. Cornel West Due to Male Academic Cronyism?

Is the Attack on Prof. Melissa Harris-Perry's Article Criticizing ...
Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree . Is the Attack on Prof. Melissa Harris- Perry's Article Criticizing Prof. Cornel West Due to Male Academic Cronyism?
Melissa Harris-Perry vs Cornel West | Black Agenda Report
Obama Wall Street Mascot |; Melissa Harris-Perry vs Cornel West |; Cornel West on Obama |; Black Obama supporters |; Obamarama |; NewRoots ...
Prominent African American Academic, Woman, Victimized | Veterans ...
Is the Attack on Prof. Melissa Harris-Perry's Article Criticizing Prof. ... But when Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, West's female colleague, indicated that ...

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Mobile - House committee OKs new legislative districts :: The Republic

"While we are concerned with advancing the interests of the Latino community, we recognize and accept that the Illinois Legislature must strike a balance with other minority groups, particularly the African-American community," said Juan Rangel, CEO of the United Neighborhood Organization in Chicago and a leader of the Latino Coalition for Fair Redistricting."


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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On The Chopping Block: Investing In Illinois Preschoolers | Progress Illinois

Advocates for early education are rallying against a proposed 5 percent cut to the Early Childhood Block Grant in the FY 2012 budget with a comprehensive 23-year study (PDF) that shows preschool proactively saves the state of Illinois $530 million a year.

The research touts savings from things like special education and criminal justice costs, while also strengthening the tax base with a better-educated workforce. In FY 2010, a 10 percent funding cut to the same grant meant 8,000 fewer children in Illinois were enrolled in state-run preschool programs. If the proposed 5 percent cut is passed in this General Assembly for the upcoming fiscal year, the option of attending a state-funded preschool would be eliminated for another estimated 4,300 young children, the study said.

The cost-savings analysis was commissioned by the Ounce of Prevention Fund, Illinois Action for Children and Voices for Illinois Children. The data dates back to the late 1980s, when Illinois began to funnel money to preschool programs that were meant to prepare young children between the ages of 3 and 5 years-old for success in K-12 education, something the study calls “an investment.”

That investment, according to the study, has  resulted in tremendous savings for schools and taxpayers alike. In K-12 savings, it’s estimated $21.9 million to $32.9 million are saved in school spending for special education because preschool can often prevent or remedy potential issues through early intervention for things like speech or language problems. Another $2.5 million to $3.7 million is saved in grade repetition -- attributed to school readiness through preschool -- alone. Between $172 million to $259 million is also reduced in government spending -- some $146.8 million of that is attributed to having fewer youths in the juvenile criminal system.

Taxpayers, the study says, also benefit in the $5.2 million in increased income and sales tax revenue generated by disadvantaged children who attend preschool and enter the workforce as adults. Another $2.9 million is saved in unemployment benefits costs from the same category of disadvantaged youth who reach adulthood and gain “improved employment outcomes,” the study said.

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Members of Congress Get Abnormally High Returns From Their Stocks

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/24/members-of-congress-get-a_n_866387.html?igoogle=1 (sent via Shareaholic)

What's their secret? The report speculates, but does not conclude, it could have something to do with the ability members of Congress have to trade on non-public information or to vote their own pocketbooks -- or both.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

I Played By The Rules' -- 'The Rules Have Changed

On the eve of my 60th birthday and without marketable skills I have no chance of ever finding a job again in the traditional economy," writes a North Carolinian who's been out of work nearly two years. "I am determined to survive this horror show. But my survival will not be determined by our broken economy. It’s 'think outside the box' time. Traditional methods obviously won’t work for people like me.

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Suburbs Appear Slighted in New Legislative Maps - Chicago News Cooperative


"The latest push for a Chicago-based casino is one example where suburban constituents could get thumped by the city’s stronger fist. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has indicated he wants a city casino, a proposal likely to compete for legislative support against a proposal for an additional riverboat for the south suburbs, where mayors have long pleaded their case for one. 
“If you’ve got a legislator who represents both the city and suburbs, where do his or her loyalties lie?” asked Ed Paesel, executive director of South Suburban Mayors and Managers, an organization that represents 42 communities. “It makes it more difficult for them.”
Construction of a third regional airport near Peotone is another issue that often divides city and suburban legislators, along with education proposals that include vouchers and charter schools."

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chicago’s Best Ever: Dare We Say Isiah? - Chicago News Cooperative

post-img to 642x310px - Zoom Crop of 0 - Quality 75% -->

by DAN McGRATH | May 22, 2011

The game within the game in the N.B.A.’s Eastern Conference playoff finals is for bragging rights: Who is the best Chicago-bred basketball player, active division? Right now it’s Miami’s Dwyane Wade, on the strength of a championship ring, an Olympic gold medal and a style of play that’s vaguely Jordan-like, although the Bulls’ Derrick Rose and his M.V.P. stature as a precocious 22-year-old are closing fast.

Chicago’s best ever? Rose (especially) and Wade (maybe) are still young enough to build a more compelling case, but neither man is there yet.

I can hear the hoots and the catcalls, and I’m bracing for a blizzard of hostile emails. But I’d vote for Isiah Thomas.

I know, he’s a pariah in his hometown, and the damage was self-inflicted. But Thomas’ outcast status can’t obscure the fact that he was a tremendous basketball player, as tough and smart as he was talented, a ruthless steal-your-eyeballs competitor beneath that angelic smile.

Those traits aren’t ideal in a neighbor, don’t add up to Mr. Congeniality, and Lord knows Thomas’ professional life has been a recurring train wreck since he hung up his sneakers. But two N.B.A. rings, an N.C.A.A. championship, a Hall of Fame plaque and that ferocious will to win underscore his stature as the best average-size man ever to play his game.

Remove Wade and Rose from the election because they’re still campaigning. Who else is there? If your Chicago area includes Joliet, George Mikan merits a thought as the game’s first great big man, but man, was it a different game back then. Ol’ George would have his hands full with, say, Dwight Howard. Otherwise, the frontcourt is a little light on candidates beyond Mark Aguirre, Terry Cummings, Eddie Johnson and Cazzie Russell. Kevin Garnett is a South Carolinian who played here one year. Eddy Curry? Just kidding.

The backcourt, though, is rife with possibilities, especially at point guard. I’m old enough to remember DuSable slickster Kevin Porter, who followed in Norm Van Lier’s collegiate footsteps to little St. Francis, Pa., and had a similarly productive, if far less combative, 10-season N.B.A. career than Stormin’ Norman.

Then came Mo Cheeks, Quinn Buckner, Billy McKinney, Isiah Thomas, Doc Rivers, Tim Hardaway and, finally, Rose.

I would like to have seen Ronnie Lester on healthy knees, and an homage here to Dunbar’s Billy Harris, gone too soon two years ago at age 58. Billy the Kid had only the briefest sniff of an N.B.A. career, but he was an amazing shooter, as good as I’ve seen, a shooting guard who took the job title literally.

Point guard, though, is Chicago’s specialty position, and if Rose emerges as the best of the line, it stands to reason he’s the city’s best player. He’s a better scorer than Cheeks or Rivers and better at everything than little McKinney. Hardaway was a better shooter and a pit-bull-nasty defender, but he never got to the rim the way Rose does. For three years we’ve been seeing how good things happen when Rose is attacking the basket, and how they don’t when he doesn’t, as was the case against Miami in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Plus he gains an immeasurable emotional boost from playing in his hometown, which none of his rivals ever did. Rose is beloved here, a monster talent, to be sure. But his humility and his fealty to his family and his South Side roots have done just as much to erase the memory of the test-score scandal that wiped Rose’s lone season at Memphis from the college record books. The episode simply doesn’t come up in coverage of him. It’s as if he has rewritten history.

Thomas forfeited his favorite-son status before he left the West Side as a teenager. His college choice was Indiana over DePaul in those pre-Oprah days when the Blue Demons were Chicago’s No. 1 winter attraction and the city was as small-town provincial as it is now. Then came the freeze-out of Michael Jordan, barely passing him the ball at the 1985 N.B.A. All-Star game, and the unconscionable walkout he organized in which the Pistons refused to shake hands after being swept by the Bulls in the ’91 conference finals, the classless culmination of years of animosity between M. J.’s Bulls and Isiah’s Pistons.

Chicago has never forgiven Thomas. It never will. The nerve of the man when he let it be known he might like to become the DePaul coach 10 months after Florida International pulled him off the bone pile when he was still radioactive from a disastrous stint running the Knicks.

“What were you thinking?” has been the soundtrack of Thomas’ life since he quit playing.

Wade does not evoke such enmity. He’s a great player and a good guy who overcame a lot, and he shows his gratitude by giving back to the community in meaningful ways. But there was something contrived about his interest in the Bulls during last summer’s free-agency circus. He and running buddy LeBron James knew what they were up to all along. The lusty boos that have greeted them during pre-game introductions at the United Center are Chicago’s way of saying, “Don’t play us.”

Beat us, if you think you can, but don’t play us. That would be an Isiah move. It doesn’t work here.

Ricky Green, Earl King, Tim Bryant should be added

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Target makes mobile a service channel with pharmacy offering - Mobile Marketing - Content

Target launched a mobile pharmacy site in January that lets shoppers refill prescriptions from any smartphone. It joins mobile pharmacy solutions from Walmart, CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

BRONZECOMM ALERT: Join Authors to Discuss: The Almighty Black P Stone Nation

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Brian Banks" <brianlbanks@gmail.com>
Date: May 19, 2011 9:53 AM
Subject: Fwd: BRONZECOMM ALERT: Join Authors to Discuss: The Almighty Black P Stone Nation
To: "Roberta Douglas" <roberta.douglas@chicagoyouthcenters.org>, "Tracie Worthy" <tracieworthy@sbcglobal.net>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Raynard Villa Hall" <radarnard@mindspring.com>
Date: May 19, 2011 9:43 AM
Subject: BRONZECOMM ALERT: Join Authors to Discuss: The Almighty Black P Stone Nation
To: "Raynard Villa Hall" <radarnard@mindspring.com>


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All Mighty Black Peace Stone Nation documentary

Anyone trying to understand inner city life needs to understand youth gangs

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dr. Boyce: Attacking Cornel West Does Not Resolve the Black Political Problem

In this article Dr. Watkins writes
"Let’s be clear, I am no fan of the disposition against President Obama taken three years ago by Tavis Smiley.  I took Tavis to the carpet for his very personal assault on Obama, which I speculate might explain why he hasn’t ever spoken to me (I could actually care less, to be honest).  I am neither an Obama critic nor am I a super fan.   My agenda is simple:  I want to see leading politicians address massive black unemployment, mass incarceration, rampant racial discrimination in the workplace and the dysfunctional educational systems that are destroying black children and families.  To date, politicians are not standing strong on nearly any of these issues, and given that our surveys show that these problems affect the vast majority of the black community, this should be a concern."

I agree with Dr. Watkins, we need to make sure unemployed youth, exoffenders & low-skilled/low-wage workers are engaged in upcoming city, county, state and federal budget processes to insure  training and access to good jobs is included in budgets and 2012 Presidential Election--- starting to engage them now in community summits for each group (ie individual youth, exoffenders, business owners , etc events that lead to a community wide summit that generates interest inside and outside the community. Let's start our collaborations around this rather than a grant opportunity to generate the support needed for more impact. Let's talk soon



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Scott Walker Quietly Consolidating Power In Wisconsin


It's turning Wisconsin's state government from a body that is charged with serving the needs of the people of Wisconsin, into making its first priority serving corporations -- both inside and outside of Wisconsin," added Scot Ross, executive director of the progressive group One Wisconsin Now. "This is the most massive turn toward privatization of public services in not only the history of the state of Wisconsin, but possibly across the country.

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Cornel West v. Barack Obama | The Nation


Melissa Perry:
"I have many criticisms of the Obama administration. I wrote angrily about his choice of Rick Warren to deliver a prayer at the inauguration. I have spoken on television about my disagreement with drone attacks in Pakistan and been critical of the administration’s initial choice to prosecute DADT cases. I worked for more progressive health care reform legislation and supported organizations that resisted the reproductive rights “compromises” in the bill. I’ve been scathing in public remarks and writings about the President’s education policy. My husband leads a non-profit that is suing HUD for its implementation of a discriminatory formula in the post-Katrina Road Home program. The president has never called me. I got my ticket to the inauguration from Canada! (Because Canadian Broadcast Television who gave me a chance to narrate the day’s events.) But I can tell the difference between a substantive criticism and a personal attack. It is clear to me that West’s ego, not the health of American democracy, is the wounded creature in this story."

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With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Huey garnered 21.87 percent of the vote to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's 21.48 percent. A total of 206 votes separated the second-and third-place candidates.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "POLITICO Breaking News" <breakingnews@politico.com>
Date: May 18, 2011 1:56 AM
Subject: POLITICO Breaking News
To: <brianlbanks@gmail.com>

POLITICO Breaking News

Republican businessman Craig Huey appears to have advanced to a July 12 runoff for California's 36th District House seat, a major victory for the party given predictions that two Democrats would place first and second in Tuesday's vote.

Huey will face Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who won 24.66 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns from the L.A. County clerk's office.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Huey garnered 21.87 percent of the vote to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's 21.48 percent. A total of 206 votes separated the second- and third-place candidates.

Hahn and Huey topped a crowded field of candidates running for the seat vacated by Democratic Rep. Jane Harman.

For more information... http://www.politico.com

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why Chicago Will Change Rahm | NBC Chicago

Emanuel campaigned as a celebrity, and he wants to govern as a president. That federal attitude impressed the voters more than it will impress city employees. Every mayor would like to rule as an autocrat, but Emanuel wants to be more autocratic than most. Emanuel has already declared his intention to ignore the Chicago Teachers Union’s insistence on more pay for a longer school day.


312 985-7715

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Chicago Way kicked to Curb


For the last few weeks, Richard M. Daley's accomplishments have filled the newspapers and broadcasts, but nothing he has done compares with Emanuel's promises of what's to come from this day forward.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Nonprofit News - Marketing: Individuals Creating Successful Cause Marketing Campaigns While Many Nonprofits Overlook The Huge Potential



Emily Schreiber, MaryMargaret O’Neill, Hannah Turner, Jim Davis Hicks and Dave Wolfsen share a common trait ... inspiring action for a cause.

What really intrigues me is that individuals such as Emily, MaryMargaret, Hannah, Jim and Dave create their own cause campaigns and yet many non-profits don’t engage their members/donors in such efforts.

Is it because it is easier for individuals to get inspired and act than it is for an organization to move forward? And, if so, what is it about our organizational structures that don’t provide flexibility to inspire others and act?

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Professor Calls for a National Movement Against Mass Incarceration

If there were ever an illustration of Professor Bell's theory that whites will support racial justice only to the extent that it is in their interests, this would seem to be it


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Are Cell Phones Killing The Bees? [Updated] | Fast Company


Active mobile phone handsets have a dramatic impact on the behavior of the bees, namely by inducing the worker piping signal.In natural conditions, worker piping either announces the swarming process of the bee colony or is a signal of a disturbed bee colony.

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Aretha Franklin’s roots of soul - Chicago Sun-Times

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Strange Springfield Budget Process

As Senate Democrats seek to trim more than a $1 billion in spending, they are taking aim at their pet projects, including tuition assistance, substance abuse and domestic violence programs. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are demanding deeper cuts but have not put their ideas into legislation, fearing the Democrats might portray them as cold-blooded come election season.


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Greising: Rahm’s Team a Mirror of the Man - Chicago News Cooperative

Brayden King, a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, is watching Emanuel with a careful eye. He plans to teach a course next fall using Emanuel as a term-long case study in how a new chief executive manages change.

“The most interesting part of what he has done so far is that in a city where politics is all about insiders, he’s clearly trying to disrupt that,” King said. “It’s quite an experiment.”


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Job Training Groups Fear Budget Ax - Chicago News Cooperative

Employers say that even with high unemployment, there is a dearth of workers qualified for “middle skills” jobs – including computerized machine operation, welding and health care — that require more than a high school education but less than a college degree.


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Harlem Children’s Zone founder inspires similar effort to protect Roseland kids - Chicago Sun-Times

It will cost $7.5 million for the first five years, according to SGA. Already, $2.3 million has been committed through donations and pledges — with $1 million coming from Joseph Pedott, a childhood SGA client who became founder of the company that makes Chia products. The Roseland Children’s Initiative also is hoping for a grant this summer from the Obama administration.


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CDC: U.S. murder toll from guns highest in big cities - USATODAY.com

"One of the strongest correlates for homicide is 'concentrated disadvantaged,' where everyone living in an area is poor and unemployed," he said. "There are a lot of sociological factors at play here that make some urban communities at high risk for youth and gun violence," he explained.


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Chicago Environment Chief

CBC Chairman Mum On Obama's Response to Joblessness In Black Community

In the lead-up to the meeting with Obama, the CBC used its Facebook page to ask supporters which priorities lawmakers should bring up with the president. The response was “unbelievable,” Cleaver said. “I’d say 97 percent said to ask about jobs.”

Is our leadership so timid & scared because we are so timid & scared? Or apathetic? Or unorganized?


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NYT: Chicago Firefighter Bias Case

"The city could have cleared this up a long time ago." Congrats Ezra et al


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The Root- Hopkins vs McNabb

But it's not a problem that their backgrounds and formative experiences are starkly dissimilar, because plenty of blacks with unfavorable upbringings have overcome and worked toward enlightened views. The problem is Hopkins' holding on to the mind-set that equates "blackness" with high levels of crime, poverty and dysfunction, and low levels of education, prosperity and normalcy.


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Emanuel backs scholarships for illegal immigrants - Chicago Breaking News

Emanuel attended a rally Friday to support the Illinois Dream Act that would create a panel to raise private scholarship money.


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MacArthur Foundation media veep is ‘the most important woman in Chicago journalism’ | Poynter.

She’s tough, I’ll tell you that. She’s very businesslike, and she’s very direct with her questions, her comments, and her observations. Basically, you have to deliver for her. You can’t just think, ‘Well, I’m OK because she’s given me one grant.’ She’ll actually make you walk the walk. I have an enormous amount of respect for her.


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Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Study: Low-Income Communities Can’t Get to Jobs | EquityBlog

New report released today by the Brookings Institution presents a clear and dire picture of the significant transportation challenges facing low-income workers and job applicants. The report, "Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America," reveals the stark and enduring obstacles faced by low-income people and communities of color in getting to regional job centers. The first-of-its-kind analysis of transit access in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan regions found that: Across all metro areas, the typical worker could reach only about 7 percent of their region's in a one-way, 45-minute transit commute. Three-quarters of low-and middle-skill jobs cannot be accessed even by a one-way, 90-minute transit commute. Residents of low-income suburban neighborhoods face some of the biggest challenges.


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Americans favor tax & deficit reduction

"We're not going to raise taxes. That was decided in last November's election," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday. "I think the American people pretty clearly believe that we have the deficit problem because we spend too much, not because we tax too little." Tackling rising deficits to keep the eco


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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rahm Emanuel’s transition report chock full of ideas, but not details - Chicago Sun-Times

On Tuesday, he also zeroed in on the $350 million that the city spends each year on job training programs that produce dubious results.
“There are over 40 programs in job training alone. And I can’t honestly say — with openings, yet high-unemployment — that we’re achieving the best bang for the buck,” he said.


312 985-7715

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Rahm Emanuel Outlines Goals for First 100 Days in Office as Mayor of Chicago

"  Our Government. Our plan to make government more effective, to deliver better services at a more competitive price, and to open government to the public.
"  Our Communities. Our outline of initiatives that will strengthen the communities and neighborhoods that make Chicago so vital and vibrant.
"  Our Children. Our strategy to provide Chicago’s youth with an education that prepares them for lifelong opportunities and a safe environment in which to learn and live.
"  Our Growth. Our plan to develop Chicago’s assets as a center for commerce and industry and to develop the infrastructure needed to support that growth.


312 985-7715

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NYT: The Missing Fifth

Jobs to 2008 MobileMe Team: Why The %@&# Doesn’t It Do That? | News | The Mac Observer

According to Fortune,  straight talk and personal accountability is at the heart of how Apple does what it does. The magic we see as users is due in part to the reality that, “[Apple] is a brutal and unforgiving place, where accountability is strictly enforced, decisions are swift, and communication is articulated clearly from the top.”


312 985-7715

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Michelle Boone on her new cultural commissioner job - chicagotribune.com

Boone realizes she'll need to form a unified vision for the non-profit arts in Chicago – and how city government can use its shrinking budget to promote it.


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Training Young People to Design, Market Apps - US News and World Report

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Joakim Noah’s mom hopes son ‘enjoys the journey’ - Chicago Sun-Times

Daley’s appointees ranged from good to bad to embarrassing - Chicago Sun-Times

Billionaires gather in Arizona to discuss giving away money - Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail is hiring correctional officers

Black leaders have ‘fair share’ fears - Chicago Sun-Times

Ethnic and racial politics are embedded in the DNA of big-city governing. Interest groups — and the mayors who appoint them — have long played racial “gotcha” politics with top appointments. Mayors — and their enemies — keep excruciatingly close tabs on the racial composition of their Cabinets and other top appointments to ancillary agencies and boards and commissions. Hence, black/white or black/Latino “teams” are transparently common, especially in areas like education, human services and police services.


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My mother Janet Mae Banks

Jill Brooke: What All Single Divorced Mothers Can Learn From Barack Obama's Mom

"In my daughters, I see her every day, her joy, her capacity for wonder. She was the kindest most generous spirit I have ever known and that what is the best in me I owe to her."


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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Derrick Rose: It's always Mother's Day for Derrick Rose - chicagotribune.com

"When Derrick and his brothers were growing up, I'd always say, 'You can't leave the house without telling me you love me.' I was raised to do that because that could be the last thing you would hear. So I taught my sons. … That's the most important thing — love."


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Sorry about the birth certificate I’ve been hunting Osama

A Recipe For Success - Regional News - Lehigh Valley Story - WFMZ Allentown

A Kitchen that The Caring Place Director Mary Ellen Griffin says will be used as a business incubator to caterers, bakers or food dressers and a culinary school for inner city teens."What you would do is rent the kitchen and the one thing you must do is take one or two kids and show them your trade," Griffin said.


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Raspberry Pi: Computer on a stick for only $25 | Crave - CNET News

"We plan to develop, manufacture, and distribute an ultra-low-cost computer, for use in teaching computer programming to children. We expect this computer to have many other applications both in the developed and the developing world," reads a description of the project on the foundation Web site.


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Paper Computer Could Lead to Booklike E-Books, Paper Phones : Discovery News

My idea is this: a paperback that's about 250 pages long, give or take. It would be made of paper. You could leaf through it and read it the way one reads books. But the whole thing would be electronic. The cover might have a touchpad interface not unlike the iPhone. The user could scroll through the list of books stored in memory. Once they chose the book, the 250 pages of electronic paper would automatically fill with the words and/or pictures (for those of you less inclined to read).


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Motivated learners an easy read for tutors - Lake County News-Sun

“Tutors awarded have made a commitment to volunteer by tutoring adults who have low literacy skills, and have selflessly given hours well beyond a typical commitment and grown literacy programs through their dedication and open-heartedness,” Literacy Volunteers officials said in a statement.


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InformationWeek Mobile Edition - Personal Tech >> - Google 'Panda' Update Kills Content Farming Jobs

The Freelancer Fast 50 is based on data from 107,449 jobs posted on Freelancer.com during the first quarter of 2011.   


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Amid job growth, 'total unemployment' rises to 15.9 percent - CSMonitor.com

Today’s Employment Situation report showed that in April “total unemployment” including all marginally attached workers increased to 15.9% while the traditionally reported unemployment rate increased to 9%.


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Friday, May 6, 2011

What Kind of Democrat is Rahm Emanuel? | NBC Chicago

Strongly pro-government.

Upbeat about the country's ability to solve problems and an individual's ability to get ahead through hard work.

Approve of regulation and environmental protection.

More positive about business than other Democratic-oriented groups.

Generally liberal on racial issues.

Hospitable to immigrants: 78% believe they strengthen society.

Very religious and socially conservative.


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City Year Receives $20.3 Million From Comcast | PND | Foundation Center

"Every twenty-six seconds a student drops out of high school in America," said City Year CEO and co-founder Michael Brown. "Comcast is a remarkable partner who is working with City Year to help end this crisis."


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Senate approves private-school scholarship bill | Tulsa World

Senate Bill 969 would allow people who contribute to the scholarships to obtain a tax credit of 50 percent of the amount of their gifts. Individuals would be limited to a donation of $1,000, couples to $2,000 and corporations to $100,000.


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Trump's disrespect for President Obama - CNN.com

It is a sad situation that a man who has earned a degree from Columbia University, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, has been elected as president of the United States and received a Nobel Peace Prize has to continuously prove himself as a man worthy of respect. He simply shouldn't have to.


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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Presbytery of Chicago » Self Development of People grants due June 3

Link: http://www.chicagopresbytery.org/self-development-of-people-2/ (sent via Shareaholic)

The Presbytery of Chicago’s Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) enters into partnership with people who:

are oppressed by poverty or by social systems;
have organized to do something about their own conditions;
have decided what they are going to do, in order to produce direct, long-term benefits;
will control the projects that they initiate and the funds for those projects.
The Committee normally provides small grants ($500 to $5,000). Its work grows out of the Civil Rights movement and a desire to support groups who are empowering themselves. The Committee’s work is based on a belief that these groups—not other people—know what they need to overcome the conditions of poverty, injustice and oppression.

In addition to the Chicago Presbytery’s SDOP Committee, there is also a national, PCUSA Committee, which funds larger projects.

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CJC Working Group Meeting- Tuesday, May 10 2011 (at the Chicago Jobs Council)

Link: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=nyud5pbab&v=001FD0CiKT5DjpIDUjZGHZAe1727WHmkO9YQze5-9RY8PtGelXq7aDZnAmiJ2wFXyX1plyl3Mg9OU-4FQunVorhSHiHwEPT7BzElk6Zp15bdYf7rhzhd2Ihgg== (sent via Shareaholic)




Federal Budget Overview and Update

Come learn about the federal budget process and timeline; potential overall impact of spending caps; and talking points for effective budget advocacy. 


State Lobbying Essentials

David Weisbaum from the Office of Illinois Secretary of State will share important information regarding the state's lobbying guidelines and registration requirements. What is the difference between advocacy and lobbying? Who must register with the state as a lobbyist? What type of reporting is required? This is important information for anyone engaged in advocacy! 

Chicago WIA Training Program Resource Guide 
Beth Weigensberg, CWICstats Coordinator at Chapin Hall, and Mike Balcsik from the Department of Family and Support Services will present this new online 
training program resource guide and demonstrate its key features.   

Working Group Participant Spotlight 

We will highlight a participant organization at each Working Group meeting. Whether you are a long-time participant or new to the Working Group, this will be an opportunity to learn more about one another. This month Goodwill Industries of Metropolitan Chicago will be presenting information on their services and programs.



Tuesday, May 10

9:30 am - 11:30 am

We will start promptly at 9:30, so please be on time! 

We welcome your valuable perspective and participation and look forward to seeing you! New participants are welcome!  



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4 Ways Mobile Tech Is Improving Education

Link: http://mashable.com/2011/05/04/mobile-education-initiatives/ (sent via Shareaholic)


"Communication centers, computers, laptops, mobile phones and tablets have all been spoken about at one point or another as technologies with promising applications for education.

But mobile phones stand apart in an important way. In United States high schools, 98% of students have access to some kind of smartphone, according to a report by Blackboard and Project Tomorrow"

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Bannon drafted by Kansas City

This guy created his own highlight
reel & circulated it to NFL teams! His thesis was on how Obama used new media in 2008 campaign. I love this guy. We should look @ how our digital programs can promote our students & programs


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Make It Pay to Teach

Care2 subscriber since Dec 9, 2010 Unsubscribe  |  Forward to a Friend  |  Take Action
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Hi brian,

Let's face it: Money matters. It affects where we live and what jobs we take. It's a sign of how much we value a thing -- or a profession.

We might pay a lot of lip service to how important teachers are, but we don't pay them what really counts: a decent salary. Support paying good teachers the salaries they deserve »

President Obama has said that America needs to invest in education if we're going to "win the future." He's dead right. Our schools are filled with America's future engineers, entrepreneurs and presidents. We need our smartest and most qualified people to help our kids learn and grow »

Teachers are some of the most influential people in a child's life. When we undervalue our great teachers who help students reach academic heights, we do our kids a terrible disservice.

It's high time we elevate the teaching profession and reward effective teachers with the salaries they've earned. Support investment in great teachers and our children's futures »

Thanks for taking action!

Emily V.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Pay Teachers the Salaries They Deserve
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Black Star Project: Why are there Fewer Black Teachers in New York City, Chicago and Around the Country?

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We appreciate the work of

teachers and educators this week

and every day of the year!

An Open Letter From Arne Duncan to America's Teachers

In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week

By Arne Duncan

U.S. Secretary of Education

Arne Duncan

I have worked in education for much of my life. I have met with thousands of teachers in great schools and struggling schools, in big cities and small towns, and I have a deep and genuine appreciation for the work you do. I know that most teachers did not enter the profession for the money. You became teachers to make a difference in the lives of children, and for the hard work you do each day, you deserve to be respected, valued, and supported.
I consider teaching an honorable and important profession, and it is my goal to see that you are treated with the dignity we award to other professionals in society. In too many communities, the profession has been devalued. Many of the teachers I have met object to the imposition of curriculum that reduces teaching to little more than a paint-by-numbers exercise. I agree.
Inside your classroom, you exercise a high degree of autonomy. You decide when to slow down to make sure all of your students fully understand a concept, or when a different instructional strategy is needed to meet the needs of a few who are struggling to keep up. You build relationships with students from a variety of backgrounds and with a diverse array of needs, and you find ways to motivate and engage them. I appreciate the challenge and skill involved in the work you do and applaud those of you who have dedicated your lives to teaching.
Many of you have told me you are willing to be held accountable for outcomes over which you have some control, but you also want school leaders held accountable for creating a positive and supportive learning environment. You want real feedback in a professional setting rather than drive-by visits from principals or a single score on a bubble test. And you want the time and opportunity to work with your colleagues and strengthen your craft.
You have told me you believe that the No Child Left Behind Act has prompted some schools-especially low-performing ones-to teach to the test, rather than focus on the educational needs of students. Because of the pressure to boost test scores, NCLB has narrowed the curriculum, and important subjects like history, science, the arts, foreign languages, and physical education have been de-emphasized. And you are frustrated when teachers alone are blamed for educational failures that have roots in broken families, unsafe communities, misguided reforms, and underfunded schools systems. You rightfully believe that responsibility for educational quality should be shared by administrators, community, parents, and even students themselves.
The teachers I have met are not afraid of hard work, and few jobs today are harder. Moreover, it's gotten harder in recent years; the challenges kids bring into the classroom are greater and the expectations are higher. Not too long ago, it was acceptable for schools to have high dropout rates, and not all kids were expected to be proficient in every subject. In today's economy, there is no acceptable dropout rate, and we rightly expect all children-English-language learners, students with disabilities, and children of poverty-to learn and succeed.
You and I are here to help America's children. We understand that the surest way to do that is to make sure that the 3.2 million teachers in America's classrooms are the very best they can be.
The quality of our education system can only be as good as the quality of our teaching force.
So I want to work with you to change and improve federal law, to invest in teachers and strengthen the teaching profession. Together with you, I want to develop a system of evaluation that draws on meaningful observations and input from your peers, as well as a sophisticated assessment that measures individual student growth, creativity, and critical thinking. States, with the help of teachers, are now developing better assessments so you will have useful information to guide instruction and show the positive impact you are having on our children.
Working together, we can transform teaching from the factory model designed over a century ago to one built for the information age. We can build an accountability system based on data we trust and a standard that is honest-one that recognizes and rewards great teaching, gives new or struggling teachers the support they need to succeed, and deals fairly, efficiently, and compassionately with teachers who are simply not up to the job. With your input and leadership, we can restore the status of the teaching profession so more of America's top college students choose to teach because no other job is more important or more fulfilling.
In the next decade, half of America's teachers are likely to retire. What we do to recruit, train, and retain our new teachers will shape public education in this country for a generation. At the same time, how we recognize, honor, and show respect for our experienced educators will reaffirm teaching as a profession of nation builders and social leaders dedicated to our highest ideals. As that work proceeds, I want you to know that I hear you, I value you, and I respect you.
Arne Duncan is the U.S. secretary of education.

In New York City, Chicago and around the country, fewer Blacks are hired as teachers

More Black Students...Fewer Black Teachers


Fewer Blacks, More Whites Are Hired as City Teachers

By ELIZABETH GREEN, Staff Reporter of the Sun
September 25, 2008


The percentage of new teachers in New York City public schools who are black has fallen substantially since 2002, dropping to 13% in the last school year from 27% in 2001-02, city figures show.
The change has dramatically altered the racial makeup of the new teacher workforce, which last year included about 400 more white teachers than it did in 2002 and more than 1,000 fewer black teachers.
The overall teaching force has been less affected: Black teachers made up 20% of the workforce in fiscal year 2008, down from 22% in 2001, while the percentage of white teachers has stayed constant at 60%.
The changing demographics come in a school system that is increasingly made up of non-white students.
Educators and advocates said they have been troubled by the data for several years - and they said they are especially troubled this year, the 40th anniversary of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville crisis, in which black community leaders challenged the city to make school staff more representative of the city.
"We want a school system that values educators who are invested in their students and who reflect the communities of which they are part," a member of the Center for Immigrant Families in uptown Manhattan, Donna Nevel, said.
The Department of Education's executive director for teacher recruitment and quality, Vicki Bernstein, said responsibility for the declining diversity lies with a state requirement that all public school teachers be certified by 2003.
The requirement was introduced in 1998, forcing the New York City public schools to scramble; before 2003, 60% of new teacher hires were uncertified, and 15% of the overall teaching corps in the city was not certified.
School officials said the mandate had a chilling effect on diversity, because the state certifies very few black teachers. According to a state report, in the 2006-07 school year, black people made up just 4% of new certified teachers who identified their race.
Ms. Bernstein said that she joins educators who are concerned by the trend.  Since last fall, she said she has made recruiting black and Latino teachers a priority for her staff.
She convened a working group to plot ways to raise the city's figures.
She said her strategies so far include visiting historically black colleges to recruit possible teachers; publishing advertisements that focus groups show appeal to black and Latino applicants, and making a concerted effort to follow through with those candidates as they make their way through the application process.
The city has also halted a program to recruit teachers from outside of America and kicked off an initiative to attract teachers who themselves attended city public schools, by offering a special award to new recruits who are city school graduates.
The 50 recipients of the Gotham Graduates Give Back award receive a $1,000 stipend before the start of the school year and are featured in recruitment materials.
"This is a high priority for us," Ms. Bernstein said. "We're looking at it across every level of teacher recruitment."
The techniques were more aggressively instituted in recruiting for the group of teachers who earn certification while teaching, the Teaching Fellows, Ms. Bernstein said.
Those results are showing up. In the 2006-07 school year, 32% of fellows were black or Latino.
This year, 37% were, school officials said.
Teaching Fellows make up between 20 and 25% of new teachers in the city, Ms. Bernstein said.
The president of the teachers union, Randi Weingarten, said the city should consider another move: encouraging people who are already working in the school system but not as fully certified teachers to become teachers.
"I never want to see the mistakes that were made in the '60s and the '70s," Ms. Weingarten said. "Just in watching, in being at new teacher events in the last few years, and in just scanning the
crowd, I'm really, really concerned."
Pictures provided by Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence.

Teaching Teachers to Manage Bullying


Teaching the teachers

to keep bullies at bay



by MATT WILHALME, Staff Reporter

April 26, 2011
A quiet student at a Chicago middle school silently dealt with older boys calling him names and cutting him down. He put up with their comments, but one day he had enough. "He decided to fix things himself," said Sandra Guzman, a counselor with Youth Outreach Services.
He grabbed one bully by the shirt to choke him and a fight broke out, but when it was broken up he began violently throwing chairs, Guzman said.
The bullies were suspended, the victim expelled.
A Roosevelt University class, "Navigating Peace: Exploring Bullying, Conflict and Social Justice Issues in Education," brings teachers and counselors together to find ways to help students develop paths to deal with bullying at school so the abused don't end up with harsher punishment than their abusers.
Ernest Crim worked at a Chicago public school where there was no clear manner of handling such tensions, he said. "They just expected the teachers to deal with it," Crim said.
But the Roosevelt class has given him and others ways to handle these situations and tools to deal with bullying instead of resorting to expulsions as a first resort.
"Conflict is inevitable [for students]," said Kristina Peterson, the Roosevelt assistant professor who teaches the class. "We teach kids how to handle it in a way that isn't violent. We're helping from the ground up, instead of dealing with shooting violence and beatings."
In the class, they explore ways not only for instructors to manage these crises, but also how to teach their students to understand their feelings and the right steps to resolve them.
Role-playing exercises are based on actual incidents in the news, Peterson said. Students dissect each individual's reactions and determine ways to de-escalate the situation.
Almost every week, news stories of students pushed to their limits by cyberbullying - some of which have ended in suicides - become part of the lesson plan. The lessons need to be continual so they can react instinctively, Peterson said.
At his school, Crim recognized a girl who was bullied by several people. "The last week, she got into a fight, but the sad part was it was someone she considered her friend," Crim said. 

The South Suburbs Will Rise

with Saturday Universities!

On Thursday, May 5, 2011, 6:00 pm, people in the Olympia Fields, Matteson, Chicago Heights, Richton Park, Country Club Hills, Park Forest, Glenwood, Homewood-Flossmore, Ford Heights, University Park and other south suburbs of Chicago will come together to discuss opening Saturday Universities in south suburbs.  We are on track to open fifty Saturday Universities in Chicago and suburbs this year. Will you join us by attending a meeting of Saturday University volunteers, tutors and teachers for the south suburbs at 56 Graymoor Lane, Olympia Fields, IL 60461?  Please call 773.285.9600 for more information about this planning and training session. We thank Helen L. Burleson for this opportunity.  

  1. Saturday University - Greater Bethesda Campus
  2. Saturday University - Black Star Campus
  3. Saturday University - HumanThread Campus
  4. Saturday University - Chicago Hope Campus
  5. Saturday University - Parkway Activity Campus
  6. Saturday University - South Side Help Campus
  7. Saturday University - DeVry University Campus
  8. Saturday University - Riverside Resource Campus
  9. Saturday University - World Outreach Campus
  10. Saturday University - 7th District Campus
  11. Saturday University - New Bethel Campus

 We educate children of color and all children

We need tutors, administrators, mentors, chaperones and new, additional sites for the Saturday University.  Please call 773.285.9600 to become the solution to the problem of educating our youth. You must register for these classes before your child attends class.

 Seven Days Left to Sign Up for Outstanding Conference on Educating Black Boys 

Black Star Project Will Hold Conference To Improve Education For Black Boys

Dr. Alfred Tatum

Chicago, Illinois -
The Black Star Project, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works to improve children's education with the support of students, parents, schools and communities, will hold a one-day conference with top educators to develop strategies and techniques to improve the education of black boys.
Four of the educators who are scheduled to speak at the conference on Saturday May 14 at the Ramada Inn Hyde Park in Chicago are Paul J. Adams, III, founder and president of Providence St. Mel School, a kindergarten to 12th grade school, and Providence Engelwood Charter School; Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, founder of African American Images, a Sauk Village, IL-based publisher and distributor of Africentric books. Dr. Kunjufu also the author of 33 books, including Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys, Understanding Black Male Learning Styles and Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education; Umar R. Abdullah-Johnson, a Philadelphia-based nationally certified school psychologist, who speaks on topics such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD-ADHD) and black boys and classroom management for teachers; and  Dr. Alfred Tatum, associate professor and director of  the University of Illinois at Chicago Reading Clinic. Dr. Tatum is the author of Reading for Their Life: (Re) Building the Textual Lineages of African American Adolescent Males.

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

Dr. Tatum will train teachers to reconceptualize literacy instruction to help black boys read well above the third-grade level.
Adams will share his ideas about creating exemplary high schools. One hundred percent of the students who graduated from Providence St. Mel have been accepted at the nation's best colleges and universities for the past 30 years.
Dr. Kunjufu will teach principals how to build elementary schools that produce academically high-performing black-male students. 
And Abdullah-Johnson will show parents how to keep black boys free from disruptive behavior-disorder labels and out of the stream of special education.
Paul Adams, Jr.
Black boys suffer from the lowest grade point average and lowest graduation rates. They also have the highest school suspension and dropout rates, which lead to high unemployment and prison-incarceration rates. Two reports in the last year have addressed the issues facing young black males who attend the nation's schools.  In November 2010, the Council of the Great City Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition that represents the nation's largest school districts, called the lack of black male achievement in America a "national catastrophe." 
"And Yes We Can, The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males" reported that only 47 percent of black boys graduate from high school. "Currently, the rate at which black males are being pushed out of school and into the pipeline to prison far exceeds the rate at which they are graduating and reaching the high levels of academic achievement," the Schott Report concluded (http://blackboysreport.org/). The Schott Foundation for Public Education is based in Cambridge, Mass.

Umar Abdullah-Johnson.

Phillip Jackson, founder of The Black Star Project, said the conference is an important step in addressing issues that affect black boys. "When we are able to successfully change the trajectory of education for black boys in America, we will have made America better," Jackson said. "We will have made America stronger. We will have made America more humanistic. And if not, all Americans are to blame."
The conference is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost per person is $275. For more information about the conference, call 773-285-9600 or visit the website www.blackstarproject.org.
Click here to read the complete The North Star News and Analysis.
The Northstar News & Analysis, Inc.
Chicago, IL | 312.498.9214

Founder & Publisher: Frederick H. Lowe

Editor: Susan M. Miller

Reporter: Frederick H. Lowe II

Michelle Alexander and the New Jim Crow

Social Justice Campaign Arrives

in New York City, New York


These public school mothers decided that no one would stop them from creating a great school for their children!


"Desperate women will do all kinds of things. We just wanted Nettelhorst to be viable. What has happened has surpassed my wildest dreams." 


Jacqueline Edelberg

The Nettlehorst Moms


Nettelhorst Elementary School's Remarkable Turnaround



January 14, 2011
THE MOM BRIGADE: Nettelhorst was a failing educational backwater in Lake View (Chicago, Illinois) when some determined moms got involved-and sparked a tremendous improvement.
On a windy morning this past fall, 20 parents gathered inside Nettelhorst Elementary School in east Lake View, some with paper coffee cups and notebooks in hand. Greeting them was Jacqueline Edelberg, an apt choice for a guide given that the 43-year-old mother of two spearheaded the school's remarkable turnaround and wrote a book about the experience.

Jacqueline Edelberg

With her auburn hair pulled back into a ponytail, Edelberg lifted a black-and-white tote bag bearing the words "Obama, Hope, Change" over her shoulder and ushered the group down the hallway. "Everything you see with an ounce of color, we've done," she told the parents, explaining how, roughly a decade ago, eight mothers set out to perk up their ailing neighborhood school.
What began as a quick six-month makeover-painting halls, floors, doors, and walls and renovating the school library-evolved into what some call "the Nettelhorst revolution," and it's now one of the more celebrated tales in Chicago urban education. An early stop on the tour showcased one of the newest-and most impressive-parent-propelled capital improvements: a $130,000 kitchen designed by Nate Berkus, complete with stainless-steel appliances from Home Depot and white wooden tables and black chairs donated by Pottery Barn. "This is nicer than my kitchen," Edelberg quipped.
The group then traveled to the French-bistro-inspired cafeteria, accented by a long mural of a café scene with boxes of faux flowers in the painted windows. Edelberg drew attention to the colorful soundproofing pads (donated by a dad) and the surround-sound system (donated by Audio Consultants) that pipes in jazz or classical music during lunch. "Wow, how amazing is this?" one woman asked her husband. Edelberg continued on, explaining how one parent was working on placing solar panels atop the school.
Later the group passed another colorful mural, donated by the National Museum of Mexican Fine Arts, and visited the so-new-it-still-smells-like-paint science lab, christened recently by Rahm Emanuel and funded by grants of $100,000 from U.S. Cellular and $50,000 from the Anixter Family Foundation. Then it was on to the air-conditioned gym, where a class of kids was shrieking, running, and laughing during a game of shark. There, the touring families saw a glimpse of the $100,000 fitness center, made possible by a donation from the Chicago Blackhawks: It's filled with treadmills and exercise bikes, which are connected to flat-screen televisions equipped with Nintendo Wii games. There are stations where students can play the interactive video game Dance Dance Revolution. "Look at this," one dad whispered. "Oh. My. God." Pointing toward the bikes, Edelberg explained, "The TVs only turn on when the kids start pedaling."

Parents and neighbors listen to the Nettelhorst story.

Parents would be hard pressed to find a smart fitness center or gleaming community kitchen in many other public schools in Chicago-in fact, some local schools don't even have gymnasiums, auditoriums, or libraries. By many measures, Nettelhorst is an exception. Just 11 years ago, the facility at Broadway and Melrose Avenue was a failing school on the verge of closing. Shunned by the surrounding neighborhood (not one child who lived nearby attended), it was a catchall for kids from other, overcrowded schools, 90 percent of whom were considered below poverty level. Test scores showed that only 30 percent of students performed at or above grade level.
Then, in 2001, Edelberg and seven other determined moms teamed with the principal at the time, Susan Kurland, to turn the school around. "Desperate women will do all kinds of things," Edelberg says. "We just wanted Nettelhorst to be viable. What has happened has surpassed my wildest dreams." 
Today the pre-K-to-8 school, with 632 students, is held up as a model of public education revitalization. So many neighborhood children attend Nettelhorst that the school rarely takes students who apply through the Chicago Public Schools lottery. Most important, test scores have jumped dramatically. In 2001, roughly 35 percent of students met or exceeded state math and reading standards; by 2010, the rate had jumped to 86 percent. Meanwhile, the demographics shifted. In 2001, the majority of students came from poor neighborhoods. Now about one-third of the students live below poverty level, according to data on a 2010 state report card.
In a city where mothers in Pilsen staged a month-long sit- and sleep-in to campaign for a school library, Nettelhorst serves as an example of what a committed group of parents can achieve. "You've got a community seizing the reins of a school," says Timothy Knowles, director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. "That's a very powerful story for how more Chicago schools might flourish."
But a decade into the experiment, Nettelhorst has found that the fiercest fundraising campaigns and the most involved families can only do so much. Despite the donations and the parade of politicians, Nettelhorst has yet to break into the top tier of elementary schools academically, with its test scores lagging behind some of its stronger-performing neighbors.
Principal Cindy Wulbert knows she has work to do. "We need to increase rigor," she says. In fact, according to Knowles, landing the nationally syndicated talk-show host Nate Berkus may be easier to orchestrate than a 10 percent increase in test scores. "There's no doubt it's easier," Knowles says. "To improve a building you need money and clout," whereas to exact educational change you need strong leadership, committed teachers, and parental involvement. "It doesn't happen overnight." 
Click here to see a video of the transformation of Nettlehorst School

Support the Work of

The Black Star Project

For more information on our other programs and how you can get involved, click on these links below or please call 773.285.9600:

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