Friday, October 2, 2015

Fwd: Upheaval of Newark's Public Schools; Mentoring Works, Join Us; Mentoring Is Desperately Needed in Black Community; Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad at DuSable Museum

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From: The Black Star Project, USA <>
Date: Fri, Oct 2, 2015, 7:35 AM
Subject: Upheaval of Newark's Public Schools; Mentoring Works, Join Us; Mentoring Is Desperately Needed in Black Community; Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad at DuSable Museum
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Newark's Public Schools' Upheaval
Our Children Need You
Mentoring Works!
Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad at DuSable Museum
Stop The Violence Rally in Gary, Indiana
Justice or Else!

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Assessing The $100 Million Upheaval Of 
Newark's Public Schools
left to right, Oprah Winfrey, Coey Booker and Mark Zuckerberg
Terry Gross, Host
September 21, 2015

In 2010, Cory Booker, who was then mayor of Newark and is now a U.S. senator, wanted to create a series of reforms in the Newark schools that could serve as a model for other cities.  He enlisted the support of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg donated $100 million with the understanding it would be matched by another 100 million from other sources. The optics were perfect - an African-American Democratic mayor, a white Republican governor and the cofounder of a social media giant come together to rescue the schools.

Dale Russakoff writes that almost everyone on all sides was well-intentioned, and that makes the failures, as well as the successes, of this five-year experiment important to wrestle with. Russakoff chronicles this experiment in school reform in her new book "The Prize: Who's In Charge Of America's Schools." Dale Russakoff was a reporter for The Washington Post for 28 years, covering politics, education and social policy.

DALE RUSSAKOFF: Yes. I think this is one city where the ideas of the education reform movement were tried all in one place. Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, had the idea that just to bring of these ideas to one city and use the extraordinary powers of a governor who controlled that school district and the money from Mark Zuckerberg of a hundred million dollars to try everything that - as he said, what was working in the school reform movement. So in that view, it was dramatically expanding charter schools, getting rid of teachers whose evaluations found them to be weak, judging other teachers by their test scores and rewarding them and streamlining the management of the school district so that it ran more like a business.

TERRY GROSS: So right from the start, there's a problem. Booker and Zuckerberg announce this gift of a hundred million dollars to reform the Newark schools. They announce it on "Oprah."

RUSSAKOFF: Well, it played disastrously in the community because, immediately, nobody understood why do we have to turn on "Oprah" at 4 o'clock to find out what's going on in our own city? And if you want to save the schools for the benefit of our children, why weren't we told? 

GROSS: So Cory Booker takes the Zuckerberg money and creates a local foundation to handle the Zuckerberg gift and the matching donations. It's called Foundation for Newark's Future. But you're right that the seats on this foundation went only to donors who gave $10 million or more. That was later reduced to $5 million or more, which meant that virtually no one from Newark could afford to serve on this foundation that was trying to change the Newark schools. How did that play in the community?

RUSSAKOFF: Well, that was again totally alienating of the community because there were a number of local foundations in Newark that had been involved for years in education. And, you know, $5 million as an annual gift just was not in their budget. And so they were excluded from having any say, but more importantly, there was no way for the parents, the teachers, the principals, the community leaders - just, you know, really, really intelligence, smart, committed people who had been in the fray for years in the lives of children in education - to be part of this. 

GROSS: One of the criticisms of how the money was handled was that $20 million went to consultants, and a lot of the consultants were paid, like, a thousand dollars a day. And you compare that to what teachers make in a year, and that what was their response to that?

RUSSAKOFF: Well, that was another case of, like, you know, this enormous gap between the people who have come to save the Newark children and the people who actually cared for and taught the Newark children. And it became a huge flashpoint because Mark Zuckerberg had indicated that he wanted to give teachers enormous bonuses if they were the top teachers in the district. And that wasn't possible because the district just didn't have the money to pay those bonuses beyond the time that they would have the Zuckerberg money. So there were some merit bonuses put into the contract, but they were relatively small. And the new contract that came out of this reform effort also required teachers in quite a few schools to work longer hours, longer years and to work some weekends for a pretty small stipend that was added to their annual pay. 

Click Here to Read Full Story 
Click Here to Listen to This Story. 
The Black Star Project's 
Student Motivation Mentor Program is looking for 100 men and 100 women to mentor, inspire, guide, nurture and support students in Chicago-area schools. 

We are looking for technologist, bankers, construction workers, government workers, police and fire personnel, transportation personnel, retail workers, business people, lawyers, health care professionals, manufacturers, housing industry members, communications professionals, clergy, educators, performing artist, not-for-profit employees or any other person, retired, unemployed, student or currently working, who wants to help change the the lives of students and to help transform schools and communities.  

Please call 773.285.9600 to become involved in our Student Motivation Mentor Program and to start inspiring young people to be better today. 

Mentoring Is 
Desparately Needed in 
the Black Community
Photo provided by The Black Star Project

By Matt Drayton
September 28, 2015

Having served as Executive Director of a nonprofit that provides mentoring services to minority boys, and having been a mentor to three African American boys, I believe mentoring is needed in the African American community now more than ever before.

When Barack Obama was elected as POTUS in 2008, I was sure we would see an uptick in academic improvement amongst African American males. I was sure that pride amongst young African American boys would swell, and we would see a new generation of black leaders, academics and professionals pursuing excellence after witnessing the historical election of the nation's first African-American president.

Instead, what statistics show, and what I have personally witnessed is a continuing decline in leadership and achievement in school amongst African-American males. In some cases there is a flat out disdain for education and being perceived as a smart in school. When I was in school it was a badge of honor to get good grades. Now many of our boys are dumbing themselves down to fit in. I don't know when this trend started, but it has to stop now.

2014 article on statistics of black males in the classroom reports only 54 percent of African Americans graduate from high school compared to 75 percent of their Caucasian and Asian peers. Many of these African-American males are from single parent homes, and do not have fathers in their lives.

Why mentoring matters? As a mentor of African-American boys, I can tell you our young men are in a lot of trouble. Many young African-American men today do not care about education, their appearance, or hard work, and many of them do not have respect for their elders or women. This does not apply to all young African-American men, I know there are some out there that are doing, and trying to do the right thing and are the complete opposite of the young men I described earlier.

I have seen the positive effects of mentoring, and the positive change it can bring to a young person's life. The problem is there aren't enough mentors stepping up! I encourage anyone who is reading this article to become a mentor to a child, and a donor to a mentoring program. Do it today, because there is a child out there that needs you.

Click Here to Read Full Story

Click Here to Donate to The Black Star Project's Young Black Men of Honor Mentoring Program or our school-based Student Motivation Mentoring Program.  
Dr. Kahlil Gibran Muhammad
Director for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York
will lecture and sign books
Freedom Stories
at the
DuSable Museum of 
African American History
740 East 56th Street
Chicago, Illinois 
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Door open 6:00 pm - Session at 6:30 pm
Admission - $10.00 | $5.00 DuSable Members

A native of the South Side of Chicago, Dr. Muhammad graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor's degree in economics. In 2004, he received his Ph.D. in American history from Rutgers University specializing in 20th century and African American history. His work has been featured in the New York Times, The Nation, The New Yorker, Washington Post and Atlanta Journal 

Please join us for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Admission is $10 and group rates are available at $5 per person for groups of ten (10) or more. Reservations are required and you may reserve your space at 773.947.0600 ext. 255.
Stop The Violence Rally 
Gary, Indiana
Saturday, October 3, 2015
12:00 noon
starting at 
13th and Broadway
Gary, Indiana
Please call 708.792.3683 for more information.
This Sunday, October 3, 2015
come out to see the movie
The Spook Who Sat 
By The Door

Book and Screenplay by Sam Greenlee

Sunday, October 3, 2015
2:30 pm - FREE!!!
The Black Star Project
3509 South King Drive
Chicago, Illinois
Parking in Rear

Fathers Incorporated and The Honorable Man Campaign are asking 20,000 Black fathers to sign the pledge and to meet them in Washington, D.C. on 10/10/15 at the second Million Man March 
Click Here to connect to the campaign or for more information about this effort. 
Click Here to sign the Pledge.
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