Tarboro NC – ECPS & EDUCATION: Let’s Compare Apples and Apples

A very brief discussion of education, about back in the day, during a meeting on June 4th, 2009 brought memories flooding back, quite difficult to shut off.

One Apple.

June 1948. The end result of my high school education at W.A. Pattillo in Tarboro was an offer to apply for a chemistry scholarship from the University of Rochester NY . Plus, I received the Bausch & Lomb honorary science award. All thanks to my science teacher Mrs. Suzanna Thomas. In all the years I attended Pattillo schools I never saw a NEW text book. They were all hand-me-downs from White schools, some with pages missing. In winter the heat was off half the time. No Air Conditioning. No lunch room. No gym. No bus transportation. Football uniforms were those discarded by White school teams. Black teachers were paid half that of White teachers.

Now, here is something that I know will work in today’s schools. Back in the day, high school students, beginning with freshmen, were told that they were now young adults and they were expected to act as such and would be treated as such. Being at the silly age we giggled at first. We very quickly became serious however. The faculty would address students as Mr. or Miss.. We as students would acknowledge members of the faculty in the same manner. If you had to be reminded too many times, you would receive a lecture from the principal Mr. W.H. Pattillo. One only wanted one of those. We were taught to say “thank you” and “please” when appropriate. The social graces. You know, hold the door open to let ladies enter a room first. Open car doors for ladies. You know what? They told us they were preparing us for college and for everyday life!

If a student had a problem of any kind he or she could confide in any teacher. All teachers were counselors. And then there was something about a truant officer. Ever heard of one? I never saw him or her, Black or White, but the word was your parents never wanted a visit from one. Your parents told you that.

Some teachers were better counselors than others however. My French teacher, on the very first day of class, took one look at me and I at her and decided not to like each other. Sure enough,one day during French class she sent me packing to the auditorium and told me to start washing the windows during French class for five days. My infraction? I had a song sheet tucked away in my French textbook and I was memorizing the words to the latest song by Nat King Cole. The next day the principal saw me sitting in the auditorium and asked me why. I told him everything and he left. He was back in a few minutes and told me to go back to class. I did. I never made above a D+ in French no matter how hard I tried. But I never washed one window.

The other Apple.

Following is part of a letter in Discover Magazine August 2008, written by Jay Michalsky of Altadena CA : “I was in elementary school in the 1960s and still remember many of the things I was taught in New Math. I know the difference between a number and a numeral. I know what the union of two sets is. I can count in base 8 , and I know the numerals in Egyptian hieroglyphics. I also know the commutative and associative properties. WHAT I CAN’T DO IS ADD, SUBTRACT, MULTIPLY AND DIVIDE!” Can you? I can.

My son was born in 1963. I could not help him in his New Math. I could only pray for him. We never even held a discussion about so-called New Math. Ever.

It is said that problems within our school system(ECPS) are not due to a shortage of money. There is therefore no shortage of supplies and physical plant, one can presume. We have children who are excelling in school each year. However too many are barely average and far too many are below average achievers. So, what’s the problem? Nobody will tell us. So, from that, we are left to draw our own conclusions. One conclusion. Though there is “a plenty of money” it is not being spent wisely. OK, how about teacher pay? Still too low. But at least it is not a Black-White thing. Is it? What about principals? How many Black ones? How many White ones? The last time I asked that question I was stonewalled. OK, so we have lunch rooms. I hear children can get breakfast if they come to school hungry. Money wisely spent. No truant officers? Ugh. Not enough counselors or NO counselors? Ugh.

OK, how about suspensions? Word is the superintendent won’t hear cases where suspensions are less than 10 days long? No Kidding? No Kidding. No matter how many short-term suspensions are heaped upon a child. Easy pickings for revenge. I think the word is retaliation, without the super knowing about it. Another word is “remedy”. “Remedial tactics”. Against our children. Now they say, the reasons or circumstances for applying remedial tactics, they say, are confidential. No Kidding? Why then, are the parents so eager to make public the reasons when ECPS is not? Sounds like tyranny. Though Black students are disproportionately subjected to remedial tactics, the children of White parents are also victims. One in three Hispanics. One in three Other. And it goes on and on.

This discussion is dismal. We should be throwing rose petals at our super and faculty. Instead it’s barbs. We get generalities or nothing when we ask for information. The PR person has form letters at the ready. By the way, that should not be a career appointment. In fact, I think it is ineffective. It serves no useful purpose. By the time one gets to the head office building one is not interested in PR. One wishes to see the super. Now that’s where the bobbing and weaving starts. Vague answers. Approximations. Like 15-20% reduction in suspensions. Reduced from what to what? Approximations are cop-outs. So we still don’t know the rules or events that trigger a suspension. So we still don’t know who gave the super the authority to ignore suspensions under 10 days. So we still don’t know if a child gets enough to eat and has a good place to sleep and to study. We still don’t know if our children are loved and respected and taught the social graces. We still don’t know why our Black children are disproportionately suspended, when they clearly need the most help IN school.

The law says every child in North Carolina is entitled to a good, sound, basic education, guaranteed. It also says a child is not learning if he or she is not in school.

So, get busy ECPS. As someone recently said, “We have exactly enough time, starting now.”

Richard H Parker Jr.

Tarboro NC

27886-5117

RHPJR315@aol.com

Advertisements

Rocky Mount NC – RE: Article “Where does your utility money go?”

Lets break this situation down in a nutshell.

TAXPAYERS NOT JUST RATEPAYERS

2009-06-07_15-40-25-688Over the years millions and millions of dollars have been diverted from the utility fund and gone directly into the City general fund to cover expenses.  That’s the real reason all of these cities got into the electric business in the first place.  It was a good way to make money: to have the city sell power to it’s residence. (ENUF)

Raleigh NC – COMMUNITY ALERT!!!

The North Carolina House of Representatives is currently moving to eliminate the reduction on the North Carolina gas tax. The North Carolina Legislature is also allowing the cap on the gas tax to expire. What does this mean?

This means citizens will likely see increases in the tax on gas in the future. This means a seven cents increase in taxes for every one dollar increase in the price of gas. This means the state is allowing the tax on gas to continue increasing with the price of fuel, and there will be no limits as to how high the tax can increase because the tax will increase with the increased price of gas. Small businesses and trucking firms also stand to be hurt.

We will see changes every six months but this can really hurt working poor citizens traveling distances to work. Fuel prices reflect a substantial amount of the earnings we include in our budgets.

What can you do? You can call your legislator this weekend because the North Carolina House will take the last vote on this legislation on Monday, May 8th. Call your legislator and ask your legislator to oppose Senate Bill 200. Secondly, ask your legislator to oppose the cap on the reduction of the gas tax therefore supporting the continued reduction on the gas tax (SUPPORT THE CONTINUED REDUCTION IN THE GAS TAX). Ask your legislator to extend the cap on any increases in the gas tax, therefore limiting the amount of tax increases on gas (CONTINUE SUPPORTING THE CAP ON THE GAS TAX. DO NOT ALLOW THE EXISTING CAP ON THE GAS TAX TO EXPIRE).

If you have questions, you may call: (919) 607-5900

Rocky Mount NC – Rocky Mount Utility Money: Transfer of funds started decades ago

This is a damn good article. It is past time that truth be made known. Blackwell said “I’d rather have a (property) tax bill increase by $40 or $80 a year than a utility bill increase by $100 a month.” So obviously those such as Councilwoman Chris Miller and the other council members who do not support a tax increase can’t be thinking about the best interest of the citizens.

This article is a confirmation that Blackwell and Knight try to promote  what is in the best interest of the citizens and the city. C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

Over the past five years, the city of Rocky Mount has allocated $17.4 million from electric and natural gas revenues to city programs and services that have nothing to do with the utilities.

The money from customer’s utility bills has been spent on everything from police and fire services to the public school system to administrative expenses for the Carolinas Gateway Partnership. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Rocky Mount NC – District Attorney delivers strong message to Juneteenth audience

It appears our recently appointed D.A. Robert A. Evans gets it. Now that’s what I am talking about speaking truth to power. I have witnessed first hand incidents within the Edgecombe County Public Schools where our children have been under attack. C. Dancy II – DCN Publisher

“Our babies are still under attack from this system,” he said. “They are under attack by the school system. They are under attack by the court system. And whether somebody wants to acknowledge it or not, they are under attack and almost to the point where we are eliminating entire generations, particularly of young black men.”

Evans urged parents to challenge “discriminatory practices in our schools.” He said children are ending up having criminal records for foolish acts that used to be punished by spankings. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Durham NC – NC-NAACP, PEOPLE OF FAITH AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY, AND CIVIL RIGHTS PARTNERS ANNOUNCE SUPPORT OF OVER 500 RELIGIOUS LEADERS STATEWIDE STANDING FOR CLEAN RACIAL JUSTICE ACT

clip_image002

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE

NORTH CAROLINA STATE CONFERENCE

114 W. Parrish Street, Second Floor  Durham, North Carolina 27701

866-626-2227  919-682-4700  FAX 919-682-4711

www.naacpnc.org www.ncprosecutorialmisconduct.com www.hkonj.com

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II Amina J. Turner

President Executive Director

MEDIA ADVISORY

June 5, 2009

NC-NAACP, PEOPLE OF FAITH AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY, AND CIVIL RIGHTS PARTNERS ANNOUNCE SUPPORT OF OVER 500 RELIGIOUS LEADERS STATEWIDE STANDING FOR CLEAN RACIAL JUSTICE ACT

NC Black Leadership Caucus, Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, Committee on Carolina Restorative Justice, Fair Trial Initiative, Center for Death Penalty Litigation, The Nazareth House, NC Coalition for Moratorium on Death Penalty, Murder Victims Family Reconciliation, Franciscan Coalition, NC NAACP joining with People of Faith against the Death Penalty

Rev. Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP:

“We are here to discuss the moral implications of the Racial Justice Act. In North Carolina and throughout the South, we have killed innocent black men. We have given black men the death penalty because of their race or the race of their victim.

The Racial Justice Act is not just a piece of public policy, for this debate will affect the soul of North Carolina. Will the State begin to take seriously the schizophrenic nature of the criminal justice system? The General Assembly, in apologizing for slavery, said that North Carolina would remove any continuing vestiges of Jim Crow racism and slavery. We in the NAACP oppose the death penalty, but we also support the Racial Justice Act because it grants people another appeal in the process of dealing with a death penalty system that is racist in its application.

Since the death penalty was reinstituted nationally in 1976, 129 human beings, while waiting to be killed, have been exonerated. Between 2007 and 2008 in North Carolina, three black men, Jonathan Hoffman, Glen Edward Chapman, and Levon ‘Bo’ Jones, who served a collective forty-one years on death row, were totally exonerated. If you add to these three men Darryl Hunt, who was finally and fully exonerated in February of 2004, that’s four in less than five years. If you add James Johnson, who was wrongly charged with murder but cleared this year, that’s five in five years.

What is troubling about this is that the system’s treatment of these four men failed to create the kind of moral outrage we witnessed when prosecutorial misconduct put three white men in jail for less than twenty minutes right here in this city. We heard about that case all over the world, the prosecutor was disbarred, and every politician that could find a mike to apologize found one. But these black men have not gotten any apologies from the highest levels of government. This seems to say to me that black lives still have less meaning to those in the seats of power than white lives. With the passage of a clean Racial Justice Act, as originally proposed by Larry Wombele, North Carolina would, in some small way, affirm that we take all lives seriously. If we don’t pass the Racial Justice Act, then North Carolina will continue to expose that we have a deep moral deficit.”

Stephen Deer, Executive Director of People of Faith Against The Death Penalty:

The News and Observer reported that the death penalty disproportionately affects black people. Legislation to address this racial injustice has passed the North Carolina Senate and goes to an uncertain future in the House. This article is dated November 18, 1962. For nearly half a century, the NC General Assembly has been shown stark evidence that the criminal justice system is infected with racial and class bias. Our leaders have produced no remedy since the Jim Crow era. The difference between 2009 and 1962, however, is that more than 500 pastors from every corner of our state have recently written of their deep concern about the documented and persistent role that race continues to play in deciding who is sentenced to die in NC and who is not. They view the Racial Justice Act as an indispensable tool in our criminal justice system. These religious leaders represent over 3 million people in North Carolina. Don’t corrupt this corrupt system anymore with amendments that are based in the dirty politics of playing to the base. We don’t want what is being done in our name to continue.”

North Carolina Representative Larry Hall reiterated the importance of the Senate version of the Racial Justice Act by stating that “this has been a long struggle, and [with the original Senate version of the Racial Justice Act] we had legislation that would at least put some credibility in the process. That is something that has to happen if North Carolina is going to be a system of laws and if people must rely on the criminal justice system. At the most critical time when we talk about taking somebody’s life, certainly you have to trust that the system is going to be fair, just, and right… This whole idea of ensuring that District Attorneys and judges have the greatest opportunity to hear and know the truth and to apply it properly, that’s all this Racial Justice Act asks for.”

Al McSurely, Legal Redress Chair of the NAACP, asserted that there are two dirty secrets about why the death penalty remains on the books. “First, it is in the interest of the DAs to keep the death penalty as a negotiating tool in criminal sentencing. Defendants are much more likely to accept a plea deal of a life sentence if the DAs hold out the death penalty as a Damocles sword. With this leveraging power DAs don’t have to work as hard to prove beyond reasonable doubt that defendants like James Johnson were involved in rapes or murders. The second dirty secret is that too often defense attorneys are wary of bringing the issue of race into the courtroom because of the potential for it to negatively impact their clients. At the appeals phase, this translates into “colorblind” transcripts of hearings that leave judges no room to take into account the race of the victim, the defendant or jury members. Every lawyer and legislator knows these two dirty secrets. It’s time we have an honest accounting.

Rev. Barber closed the session by reminding the audience that “we need to move beyond playing tricks and starting false debates about money and other side issues. It’s time that North Carolina stands on the right side of history by passing a clean Racial Justice Act. It’s time for North Carolina to look into its soul and shape these policies toward justice. If people need more evidence, take a look at the faces of the five black men exonerated in the last five years — exhibit A through E.

For further information contact:
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President, NC National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (919) 682-4700,
naacpbarber@gmail.com

Mrs. Amina Turner, Executive Director, NC National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (919) 682-4700, execdirnaacpnc@gmail.com