Monthly Archives: January 2013

RepubliCon Motto: If we kill it, they will come.

Huffington Post contributor Matthew Lynch, Ed.D, recently welcomed the Charter School Bill passed by the Mississippi Senate as a aid to public schools citing a report which gave Mississippi “F when it comes to building and support capacity.” Of course this remedy, which allows privitization of part of the education system switchs attention away from the program already in place (The Mississippi Adequate Education Program has been underfunded a total of about $980 million since the 2007-08 school year.) The working logic is don’t fund the existing program, complain about failure and produce an entirely new plan that just happens to involve, wait for it, wait for it, privitization, that RepubliCon panecea.

Mr. Lynch lauds the supposed competition the Charter Schools are to bring to the Public Schools. Here again the disinginuity is in the false frame which services the hidden agenda of the RepubliCon party, refuge of the Dixicrats. The deck is stacked in such a way that public education will be further denegrated to make the case for increased privitization. Charter Schools according to the celebrated bill can max-out with 20% fewer children with “economic or academic disadvantages and special ed needs” than public schools have. In essence they are being allowed to cherry-pick who they will serve. This is just the latest attack of the forces which opposed Governor William Winter and fled from the public schools after Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education.

So when Mr. Lynch complains about the teacher to pupil ratio and lack of student achievement someone should tell him that there are methods not involving Charter Schools that Mississippi could have employed if the will for improving public schools was pervasive.
“•Most top-performing countries have a school year that exceeds 200 days, and the school day in many countries begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m.
•In contrast, Mississippi has a 180-day school year – students in top-performing countries get at least an extra month of schooling per year in which to master competencies.”

“Mississippi is the only state in the South that does not provide state-funded preschool, which many say could help reduce the achievement gap.”

“•The top-performing countries teach fewer concepts but teach them much more deeply
•Mississippi is moving to the Common Core State Standards which is based on international benchmarks”

“•In top-performing countries, getting into a teacher education program is like getting into medical school – these countries accept only 10% or less of applicants into teacher education programs – their most brilliant citizens are teaching their children
•Teacher education programs in top-performing countries are extremely rigorous; teacher candidates major in the subjects they will teach and have additional coursework in pedagogy (learning how to teach)
•Teachers are valued and compensated as high-priority professionals – their salaries are on par with physicians, engineers, and attorneys
•In contrast, Mississippi has been willing to lower standards for teacher certification in order to avoid paying teachers a competitive salary; consequently, we are failing to attract enough of our best and brightest into the field of education, and schools of education often have the lowest average ACT scores on a university campus.”

Funneling money to private entities may be an answer but public education has been, can be, and should be the method employed to educate Mississippi children.

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My problems with the “10 Reasons Mississippi needs Charter Schools”

Huffington Post writer Matthew Lynch recently provided cover for a privatization Trojan horse in the form of praise for the Charter school bill passed by Mississippi Senate Republicans. In typical Teabagger fashion he supports a solution that ignores context (“Even in predominantly black school districts, whites controlled many of the administrative positions and held a majority on the school board. In many cases this led to a gradual decline in the financial health of the district as white administrators reduced the tax base necessary to support the district. At the same time many white public school administrators, school board members and teachers were removing their children from primarily black schools and placing them in private schools for white children. Not only were they placing their children in private schools, many public administrators and board members were actually serving in some capacity of leadership in the formation and oversight of the new private school system.”) and a neo-interposition strategy (Mississippi House Bill Would Create Modern-day Sovereignty Commission), a continuing effort to restore a natural southern order (approximating as closely as possible a pre-Alexander v. Holmes-County-Board-of-Education South.)

Inaugural Dress Down?

It’s not surprising that the Obama’s don’t fit in Bridet Foley’s idea of what’s fair . With FLOTUS Michelle Obama selecting inaugural clothing you can’t “rule out a hundred-to-one-shot dark horse. Wu seized the honor in 2009 and soon after cannonballed into fame” ~ The Inauguration: What Should Michelle Obama Wear?
By Rosemary Feitelberg and Bobbi Queen
). If Mrs. Obama wanted Bridget Foley’s opinion, I am quite certain she would have asked for it.  But as things stand, the first lady probably cares about as much about what Bridget Foley thinks as I do about cowpaddies on any given range in Montana.  Thanks Bridget for caring enough to slam someone who has stressed the kind fashion accessibility and commercial boost that J Crew appreciates even if you don’t.

Pathways of Privilege

Being white and male gives you legacy advantages that you probably don’t realize you have, even in the age of Obama. John Kerry is obviously eminently qualified to be Secretary of State. It is the pathway to those qualifications, even in liberal Massachusetts, which played a role in his nomination. I might add that those pathways to qualifications have also greatly restricted African-American access to contributions to represenstation in the South (and to a lessor degree nationally when you take into account U.S. senators from Illinois and Massachuessetts) since the Redemption of the 19th century. Part of the foundation for this observation was the things like the following:

“After sustaining criticism from Republican Senators including John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-Ga., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Rice said in a letter to President Obama, “I am convinced now that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly– to you and our most pressing national interests and international priorities.”

Kerry, in contrast, began his confirmation process with a series of jokes to his colleagues. ”I don’t want this to affect your opening questions. But let me say I’ve never seen a more distinguished and better looking group of public officials in my life,” Kerry said to laughter. In a show of bipartisanship, McCain introduced “[his] friend Senator Kerry” along with introductions from Clinton and newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.” “““`MSNBC

The presence of Secretary of State Clinton and Senator Warren and many other women, along with President Obama is evidence that the pathways are multiplying and opening. This is evidence of the liberal evolution of the nation. But you’ll have to drag the South into this bold new world, because that Republican Southern Strategy intersected with anti-labor pro-corporate strategy that continues to assist in hurtling American labor on a downward trajectory in a fashion that has made certain that there has not been one black U.S. Senator or U.S. Representaive or Governor in places like Mississippi, Alabama, or Louisiana (places with substiantial black populations) since the Redemption. It is in this world that photo ID is used as a new access restriction device. Restrict the number and economic groups of people who participate in the democratic process and you can determine the gender and race of the representatives and the democratic content of the policies (including how widely prosperity is dispersed)that the government produces.

A Toast to a Gorgeous Mind.

Senator John Kerry will make an outstanding Secretary of State and will be an excellent replacement for Secretary of State Clinton, who has through her service enhanced her stature as one of the ablest representatives these country has every had. I like Senator John Kerry. I voted for Senator John Kerry for President of the United States. I thought the whole swift boat thing was a new low in American politics. But having glimpsed Senator Kerry’s confirmation hearings, collegial in many respects, for Secretary of State, I now have a thing for Ambassador Susan Rice. She saw that support for her for Secretary of State from within the party was pretty quiet. Oh, President Obama defended her on the Benghazi thing, but no one really got behind her as a potential Secretary of State candidate. And I thought and wrote about how hypocritical Senators McCain and Graham were on Benghazi vis-à-vis their positions on the Condoleezza Rice-smoking-gun-mushroom-cloud-Iraq thing. But being the intelligent woman she is, Ambassador Rice, could see right through the obvious duplicity to determine who the other candidates were and what was the relationship of the prospective candidates to her attackers. Reminds me of how my grandmother took her children and slipped off from a share-cropping plantation because the usurious, exploitative conditions militated against their survival. When the deck’s stacked, don’t play the game. Here’s to you Ambassador Rice, thanks for the lesson in reasoning. Having seen the unfolding of the Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod situations, your conduct proves that “wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

Tip of the iceberg

There’s always more to the story. We never bother to teach our kids about great Mississippians like Fannie Lou Hamer (view bio piece) and (view 1964 DNC testimony). And not many people teach their kids about Vernon Johns (see James Earl Jones portrayal) who preceded Martin Luther King the way that Claudette Colvin (see story in Mother Jones) preceded Rosa Parks. We are connected in ways that we don’t appreciate and that unconsciousness breeds disrespect. We have forgotten who we are and many of us don’t know from whom we are descended.

Inviting Fiasco

Foreign affairs can sap a nation of it’s energies and divert resources away from unfinished domestic affairs.

A white person with a criminal record is more employable than a black person with a college degree.
I am an Obama supporter but even I know that Lupe’s chance of being invited to an Obama inauguration should have been as likely as the Martin Luther King of 1967 being invited to an LBJ inauguration. My wish is that Black people were more knowledgeable about world affairs but if you look at our incarceration and homicide rates it’s apparent that our understanding is still too primitive to influence foreign policy. Enough of us have gotten through the hole in the fence that we haven’t even challenged the domestic agenda enough to counteract circumstances in which a white person with a criminal record is more employable than a black person with a college degree and no criminal record

Inauguration 2013: Lupe Fiasco leaves concert after antiwar rant

Someone from home, made me emotional

I was overwhelmed by emotion at seeing and hearing a fellow Mississippian (Myrlie Evers-Williams) give the inaugual invocation (President Obama’s 2013), speaking so eloquently and wisely and bespeaking of the dignity which represents generations of striving.

Republican Playing Voted ID Games(2)

Deciding whether to believe the Brennan Center study which “estimated 48,000 low-income Mississippians could have trouble obtaining government-issued photo identification” or an afterthought-study (no federal observers, eligible voter percentages) which suggests only 21,855 Mississippians total would need one?

Mind you, the afterthought was prepared by proponents who requested $395,000 for poll-tax (driver’s licenses aren’t free and Mississippi’s unexpired license requirement is tantamount to a recurring voting fee) ID litigation and requested none for related education and outreach.

A very conservative figure for a Mississippi education and outreach program would be $200,000. Georgia’s costs $840,000 and featured radio and TV public service announcements, direct mail, and packages to government agencies. And then there’s this post-Civil War purge element: “a person can obtain the free voter ID card at a clerk’s office by presenting the same material accepted to register to vote.”

This Haneyism, after Mr. Haney from television’s “Green Acres,” masks the fundamental change in Mississippi voting requirements. Proponent, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann knows full well that Mississippians didn’t need to present a birth certificate to register to vote before the disenfranchisement legislation, therefore this implied ease is most disingenuous. And where, Mr. Haney, is the money for the clerk’s office “to access birth records” and who will pay?

Registered voters have registration cards, and in signing a voter roll are affirming their identity, like swearing to tell the truth in a court of law (without showing a photo ID to the judge). Mississippi Republicans have in effect established the presumption of guilt in voting law and suggest cheating is rampant, when nearly every statewide official is, ahem, Republican.

Mississippi’s Photo ID

In reference to the Clarion Ledger opinion piece entitled “Republicans playing voter ID games”

I am responding to the following comment within the quotes (” “) on the piece

by Trenton Winford

” First, can you not simply reply to the actual post? This is ridiculous.

Second, I honestly do not care what Karl Rove does or does not do because he has no say in Mississippi policy. This is a Mississippi law. Period.

As for preventing something that is not a current problem, that is exactly what preventive medicine, health awareness campaigns, abstinence-plus sex ed, subsidies, etc. are. Do you have a problem with all of those, too? ”
Of course Mississippi RepubliCons would like to convince the unaware that they “honestly do not care what Karl Rove does or does not do because he has no say in Mississippi policy. This is a Mississippi law. Period.”

The initiative which became the Mississippi photo ID law and which a Mississippi state Senator (Joey Filligane) originally put into circulation is oddly, nearly identical to ALEC model legislation. The average Mississippian didn’t know that and probably thinks the law was some sort of home-grown phenomenon. Although this in itself is an indication of the disingenuous faux-innocence which is the Mississippi mask, considering the ubiquity of the proliferation of these laws in RepubliCon spheres nationwide. Some Mississippians will pretend not to know that this voter constriction has been part of the national RepubliCon game plan for some time. And Mississippi Republicans who aren’t aware that they are running plays from this playbook must belong to that know-nothing, Rip-Van-Winkle-Tea party.