About a year ago, Ms. Chanda Burks met me in my office to discuss establishing a mentoring program for black males. Ms. Burks brought along her adolescent son Jared Michael Francis to take in the conversation. One year later, just a few days ago, I bumped into Ms. Burks at a NOLA for Life event. There, Ms. Burks informed me that her son Jared died from multiple gunshots in front of their home in the hushed neighborhood of Tall Timbers. He died September 15, 2012. He was an 18 year-old senior.
The deadline for voter registration for this year’s elections is Tuesday, October 9. Have you registered?
Regrettably, political and legal battles over voter identification laws compel me to ask, "Have you registered correctly?"
“One percent rapper” Nikki Minaj proclaimed that she intended to vote for Mitt Romney, but later a charged public discovered that darling Nikki hasn’t registered to vote. We’ll chalk that up as an oversight. However, several rappers have made it clear that they’re not voting.
When I used to coach track and field, I would tell my colleagues, “A great leader removes all excuses for their athletes to fail.” The same is true in education. Our systems should make it easy for parents and students to succeed by removing excuses’ door.
While empowering, New Orleans highly decentralized system of charter schools has been as confusing. Parents encounter loopholes when they don’t fully understand their options.
Stakeholders on all sides of the Chicago teachers’ strike trumpeted the phrase “civil rights” so much that it became hard to see who’s fighting for what. Beyond the strike, how many times do you hear advocates start a petition with, “The civil rights issue of the 21stcentury is [insert concern here]?"
It’s downright trendy to root for civil rights. But since we apparently solved for racism, what exactly is the most pivotal injustice that keeps citizens from realizing their full potential?
Although Hurricane Isaac blew out electricity for the entire New Orleans metro area, do we collectively understand what it means to be powerless? For too many residents, neither Isaac nor Entergy will prevent electricity from returning; powerlessness will. The silver lining to our temporary blackout should be that it illuminated our awareness to the day-to-day conditions of the poor in New Orleans.
The recovery phase of Gulf Coast hurricanes means more than cleaning up debris caused by intense winds and torrential downpours. Recovery also means addressing insistent questions of “why do you choose to live in New Orleans?” While askers obviously have not thought deeply about this question, I do think it’s philosophical in nature. So, I offer a philosophical response with special considerations for lukewarm transplants, newbies and temporary residents who have not embraced the idea of being New Orleanian.
This week, a Hampton University dean banned its MBA students from wearing dreadlocks and cornrows. In an era of stark individualism, where anything can be said, worn or done, it’s refreshing for a university to set standards.
Dreadlocks and cornrows have become staple hairstyles particularly among millennials. Hampton University’s hair lockout will undoubtedly pit ole’ school traditionalists against supposed wayward youth. But the politics of hair involve more than just conflicts between generations. This is about who gets to shape professionalism, gender and race.
A parochial school parent recently asked me if it’s too late to transfer their child to a voucher school. After going through the labyrinth of enrollment rules, I asked, “Why do you want to transfer?” The parent replied, “I don’t know if my daughter is learning.”
Louisiana didn’t become 41st in the nation on average ACT score because of public school performance alone. Public schools can’t take all the blame for why Louisiana keeps looking up at its peers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Particularly in New Orleans, where 30 percent of the students attend private and parochial schools, the quality of this sector is critical to our city’s vitality.
Within a week’s time, New Orleans born crooner Frank Ocean released two of the most candid and potentially important documents for a generation. The first offering came in the form of a public love letter, which lays bare his affections for another man. The second is a courageous debut album, Channel Orange, which dares beautifully to reveal how those affections shaped his worldview.