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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Can Schools Foster the Conversations Necessary to Create Justice? | John Thompson

Can Schools Foster the Conversations Necessary to Create Justice? | John Thompson:

Can Schools Foster the Conversations Necessary to Create Justice?

In 2000, Pat McGuigan, the conservative editor of the Daily Oklahoman, visited our high school Government class. This was an exciting time when a bipartisan school improvement coalition, MAPS for KIDS, was sponsoring an ongoing conversation between the full range of community stakeholders and our diverse student bodies.

The class challenged McGuigan regarding that day's editorial in the newspaper on community policing and crime sweeps in their neighborhood, the North Highlands. Pat described crime sweeps as irregular patrols of high-crime neighborhoods. From all over the room, the students retorted, "Yeah, every Tuesday and Thursday in the Highlands."
Pat then explained that sweeps had to be unpredictable or they would not be effective.

"Yeah, every Tuesday and Thursday!"
Pat added, "sweeps could not stop drivers just because of their race because that would be racial profiling..."
"Yeah, they also stop us for just walking!"
Pat shifted gears and listened to the true experts on community policing, crime sweeps, and racial profiling.
In the wake of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, that class discussion speaks to many aspects our society's racial polarization. Pat had always been open to interactions with all types of people, but the cross-generational, cross-cultural conversations of MAPS contributed to the journalist's decision to become a teacher at an alternative school for at-risk students.
Of course, my current students and I have been discussing the Brown and Garner cases in class. By the way, we have done so within the context of mastering our Social Studies Standards of Instruction.
If more adults could confront the anguish of poor children of color who are often seen as alien threats when just living in their home neighborhoods, we might overcome our reluctance to touch the issues of race, class, and segregation. If more adults could experience the joy of sharing a classroom with students who are empowered to question authority, study their history, contribute their insights, and debate the best ways to create equity and justice, I doubt we would have a teacher shortage in the inner city.
As usual, the poet/teacher Jose Luis Vilson, is more eloquent than I in expressing a similar insight. Vilson writes:
If you ever get the opportunity to talk to students who are most disenfranchised by  Can Schools Foster the Conversations Necessary to Create Justice? | John Thompson:

Another Charter School bites the dust….after founder lies… - Wait What?

Another Charter School bites the dust….after founder lies… - Wait What?:

Another Charter School bites the dust….after founder lies…

 At the same November meeting that the New York Board of Regents approved Capital Prep Steve Perry’s application to open a charter school in Harlem, they voted to grant a charter to Ted Morris Jr. and the Greater Works Charter School to open a charter school in Rochester, New York.

Days later, the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper of Rochester reported that the Greater Works Charter School “will no longer open in Rochester in 2015, part of the continuing fallout over lies in the resume of its 22-year-old founder.”
The newspaper, along with fellow education bloggers led by Mercedes Schneider, have been reporting on the school and its founder, Ted Morris Jr. who  “represented himself to the New York State Education Department as a precocious businessman and educational adviser with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.”
However, it turns out that Ted Morris Jr. has no college degrees at all.
According to the Greater Works Charter School application,
 “Ted [Morris Jr.] is the Lead Applicant for and Founder of GWCS. He is a life-long resident of Rochester, NY. Currently, Ted is an education consultant with the Morris Firm and has previously held positions such as the Director of Operations, Finance, Development, and Assistant CEO with various non-profit youth, education, and human service-related agencies. He has 7+ years of experience in these fields. Ted has a B.S. in Human Services, an M.S.W. in Non-Profit Leadership and is finishing up his Ed.D. in Administration.
But Morris doesn’t have a Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree nor is he finishing up his Education Doctorate.
In fact, at age 22, Morris doesn’t even have “7+ years of experience” in the education management field.
But the fact that his resume was obviously falsified and the charter school application was a fraud, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Department of Education and Board of Regents Another Charter School bites the dust….after founder lies… - Wait What?: