Most of my academic life I’ve questioned how schools impact settlers’ integration into communities: How do people become members of society? How do recalcitrant gatekeepers become welcoming neighbors? These questions have moved me literally and figuratively around the world. Nine years ago, those questions carried me to New Orleans and helped transform me into a New Orleanian. Until recently, I haven’t spent much time considering what full-fledged community members go through when they voluntarily leave their homes. That is until I decided to take a job in another state.
Teachers have taken a by any means necessary approach to closing the achievement gap even at the expense of student learning. Georgia’s Fulton County District Court indicted 35 educators, including former Superintendent Beverly Hall, for a cheating scheme that ultimately produced the wrong kind of results. Dozens of Atlanta public schools teachers, leaders and other personnel are turning themselves in to authorities.
However, are teachers completely at fault? An accountability system predicated on achievement test growth may be a co-conspirator.
According to units sold, America apparently loves it. White soul man Justin Timberlake sold approximately a million copies of his new album The 20/20 Experience in its first week — his highest first week gains to date. His totals are outpacing his black contemporaries.
A few weeks ago, the New Orleans Inspector General reported that he could not tell if the NOPD institutionalized racial profiling, because the department used such crude methods in collecting data during its stop and frisk program.
I found this report almost insulting, in that all one has to do is garner opinions from law-abiding black men who’ve been stopped for no apparent reason. While the latest controversy over racial profiling stems from the recent implementation of Chief Serpas’ “field interview cards,” the practice is far from new.
Did you remember we’re in Black History Month? Whether you’re hobnobbing at a ball, chaired along a parade route, or drinking it up in the Quarter, raise at least one glass to New Orleans history makers. The onslaught of beads, high heal shoes and pink wigs can easily have you forget about Black History Month, but Carnival should always remind us of the tremendous contributions of Ernest “Dutch” Morial.