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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Can Eastern High School Be Saved?

The Future of Eastern High School

Eastern High School is not part of the Superintendent's Master Plan. Here's what we already knew [about Eastern];

q Eastern is not on the list of high schools scheduled for modernization.

q Central Office has never hired a permanent principal since the opening day debacle last September. The school continues to operate with an interim principal

q SEED Public Charter Boarding School is brokering a land deal with Congress and the City to build a 600-student residential campus on Kingman Park, right in Eastern's backyard. I have just now spoken with someone in the Eastern community who has added more details:

q All the high school bands except for Eastern’s received money from DCPS Special Programs to purchase new instruments.
q Eastern has had to cancel its trip to California for a Battle of the Bands competition due to lack of funds.

q The new assistant. principal at Eastern, Ms. Durham, came from Walker-Jones Elementary, from which she was removed for having false credentials.

q Eastern's administration is turning away new ninth graders, even though their enrollment is at an all-time low of some 700 students

Unofficially, everyone agrees that Eastern will be turned into condos.
Can Eastern High School be saved? I still believe that Eastern could be restored to its former greatness, and I believe that Ward 6 deserves and needs a quality, open-enrollment, comprehensive traditional public high school. What is happening at Eastern is emblematic of what's happening throughout our city.

Lee Glazer, Co-Founder of the Save our Schools Campaign in DC

Were DC Schools Ready to Open

DC VOICE's READY SCHOOLS PROJECT

DC VOICE and collaborators have been involved in the READY SCHOOLS PROJECT 2005- focused on documenting the systemic supports in place for the opening of school this year. Over 50 community volunteers are being trained to conduct checklist interviews with 50 school principals. The checklist will cover school staffing, training on the new standards, teaching and learning conditions, facilities, and parent and community involvement.

The next phase of the READY SCHOOLS PROJECT involves focus groups with parents on these same issues, to be sure their voices are heard. It would be great if you and/or others would be willing to participate.

Parents can attend the following focus group meeting;

Elementary School(ES)parents: Mon., Sept. 26th @ THE ARC: 1901 Mississippi Ave., SE
ES parents: Wednesday, Sept. 28th @ DC VOICE: 1436 U St., NW, Suite 401
ES parents: Thursday, Oct. 6th @ SE Library: 403 7th St., SE
MS/JHS parents: Tuesday, Sept. 27th @ MLK Library: 901 G St., NW
HS parents: Monday, Oct. 3rd @ DC VOICE: 1436 U St., NW, Suite 401

Each focus group should take about 90 minutes, and includes food and childcare. I have also attached a project overview for more information.

Thanks!
Corae Briscoe
Community Engagement and Policy Coordinator
DC VOICE
Phone:(202) 986-8549
Fax: (202) 986-1243

DC Teachers are Invited to Arthur Ashe Foreign Policy Library

You are invited to attend the

ARTHUR R. ASHE, JR.
FOREIGN POLICY LIBRARY
12TH ANNIVERSARY RECEPTION
Mistress of Ceremonies
Diane Weathers
Editor At Large, Essence Magazine
Our Featured Guest:
Maryse Condé
Critically Acclaimed Novelist, Playwright, Critic and Scholar
Will share her considerable insight into contemporary social
issues—reading from the heart and engaging us in a provocative and lively
discussion.


Saturday, October 1, 2005
3:30 pm to 5:30 pm
General Reception
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Mimi’s American Bistro
2120 P Street, NW
Washington, DC

Business or Traditional Attire

Please RSVP by Wednesday, September 28, 2005
202.223.1960 ext. 116/ events@transafricaforum.org
For more information visit
http://www.transafricaforum.org/calendarmain.html#ashelibanniv
PDF version
http://www.transafricaforum.org/documents/2005LibrAnniv_000.pdf

A Council Bill to Establish An Incentive Grant for DC Teachers

A BILL IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Councilmember Kathy Patterson introduced the following bill...
...to establish an incentive grant for teachers in the District of Columbia to achieve certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards; and to allow District of Columbia school teachers to deduct from gross income expenses paid for classroom materials and supplies and tuition paid for post-graduate education and professional development.


BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the “District of Columbia Quality Teacher Incentive Act of 2005”.

Title I – National Board Certification Incentive Grant
Sec. 101. Definitions.
For the purposes of this title, the term:
(1) “Eligible teacher” means a full-time classroom teacher who:
(A) Holds a standard professional certificate or an advanced professional certificate;
(B) Is currently employed by the District of Columbia Board of Education or a District public charter school and has held this employment for at least three years;
(C) Meets the eligibility requirements and applies to be a candidate for National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
(2) “National Board Certification” means a certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
Sec. 102. National Board Certification Incentive Grant.
(a) Grants.
(1) General. From amounts appropriated for this program, the Mayor shall award grants to eligible teachers who apply for and complete the National Board Certification process. The grant award shall be used to pay toward the fee for the National Board Certification.
(2) Maximum grant amounts. An eligible teacher shall receive a grant amount of $1,500.
Sec. 103. Administration of the Grant Program.
(a) General. The State Education Office shall administer the program on behalf of the Mayor, including the creation and collection of application forms.
(b) Application Form. The State Education Office shall create an application form that shall request at least the following information from teachers seeking a grant award:
(1) Name; date of birth; social security number; permanent mailing address; ward of residence if a District resident; email address; phone number; name and address of school employer; dates of employment; subject area taught; degree and major of undergraduate and post-graduate education; date of application for National Board Certification candidacy; proof of payment of NBPTS application processing fee.
(c) Return of grant award. In the event that a teacher recipient of the grant award does not complete the National Board Certification process, obtain the National Board Certification, or leaves employment with the District of Columbia Public Schools or the District public charter school before achieving the National Board Certification.

Title II – Quality Teaching Tax Incentives
Sec. 201. Section 47-1803(b) of the District of Columbia Official Code is amended by adding a new subparagraph (2) to read as follows:
“(2) An individual who is a classroom teacher who holds an advanced professional certificate, who teaches in a public school in the District of Columbia, who is a resident of the District of Columbia and who has taught in the District of Columbia for the full academic year prior to the year in which they are applying for the deduction may deduct, up to a maximum of $500, from gross income expenses paid for basic classroom materials and supplies necessary for teaching.”
Sec. 202. Section 47-1803(b) of the District of Columbia Official Code is amended by adding a new subparagraph (3) to read as follows:
“(3) An individual who is a classroom teacher who holds an advanced professional certificate, who teaches in a public school in the District of Columbia, who is a resident of the District of Columbia and who has taught in the District of Columbia for the full academic year prior to the year in which they are applying for the deduction may deduct, up to a maximum of $1,500, from gross income tuition and fee expenses paid for post-graduate education, professional development, or professional certification necessary to become a highly-qualified teacher, to improve teaching credentials, or to maintain professional certification.”

Title III – Fiscal Impact Statement
Sec. 301. The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal impact statement required by section 602(c)(3) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1-206.02(c)(3)).

Title IV – Effective Date
Sec. 401. This act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), a 30-day period of Congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1- 206.02(c)(1)), and publication in the District of Columbia Register.

The Loss of Sandra Feldman, Former AFT President

On September 21st, WIN aired a story about the loss of former AFT president Sandra Feldman. Here is an excerpt from our coverage:

"Labor is mourning the death late Sunday night of Sandra Feldman, former president of the American Federation of Teachers. Feldman began her career in education as a second grade teacher in New York City, and was president of the city's United Federation of Teachers for eleven years before moving to the presidency of the 1.3 million-member national union in 1997."

This story is being broadcast on radio stations across the country. Listen to the rest of the story at http://www.laborradio.org/files/lo/winsheadlines.ram, or read the text version at http://www.laborradio.org/node/1509. (It's free!)

The Opening of Bushboys and Poets Bookstore

Busboys and Poets Books

Progressive books to activate your mind and communityBusboys and Poets Books, operated by Teaching for Change, is Washington, DC's newest source for books and films that encourage children and adults to question, challenge and re-think the world beyond the headlines. The bookstore is in the Busboys and Poets restaurant, performance space, and coffeehouse, which features a dynamic events schedule. Busboys & Poets is a new venture of peace activist Andy Shallal of Mimi's and Cafe Luna. We carefully select every title to ensure access to: ·

High quality progressive politics, poetry & literature ·
Anti-bias children’s books ·
Young adult literature with real-world themes ·
Multicultural titles for pre-K–12 teachers & parents ·
Independent publishers ·
People’s history...African American, Latino, Asian-American, Arab-American, women and more!

Busboys and Poets is located at 2021 14th St. NW, Washington, DC two blocks from the Cardozo/U Street Metro. The bookstore General Manager is Don Allen. Hours for bookstore are 10am – 11pm. Restaurant will be open for longer hours – call to check, as the hours will be extended gradually – 202-387-POET..

Upcoming Events Note in particular for September the book signing by Jonathan Kozol (September 17) and the launch of Teaching for Change’s new publication, Caribbean Connections: Dominican Republic (September 30). For a full calendar of events and updated information, visit: Teaching for Change. For additional equity focused events for educators at other locations, such as the Américas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, and a free children’s concert by Jose Luis Orozco, click here.

September 20, 2005: Passion v. Arrogance: A Dana and Goliath Story of Wine, Women, and Wrong by Margaret Broderick at 6:30 pm

September 21, 2005: Taught by America by Sarah Sentilles, Author reading and book signing, 6:30pm

September 22, 2005: We are All Suspects Now: Untold Stories from Immigrant Communities after 9/11 by Tram Nguyen, foreword by Edwidge Danticat, Author reading and book signing, 6:30pm

September 23, 2005 Pacifica Radio Fundraiser with Michael Eric Dyson, Amy Goodman, and more. (Langston Room)

September 25, 2005 Open Mic - "For Peace and Justice" Sponsored by DC Poets Against the War (Langston Room)Please bring your poems of protest and hope to share with the community. www.poetsagainstthewar.org 3 pm

September 27, 2005: Truth, Torture, and the American Way: The History and Consequences of U.S. Involvement in Torture by Jennifer Harbury, Author reading and book signing, 6:30pm

September 29, 2005: Book Release party for It's a Sprawl World After All by Douglas Morris 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

September 30, 2005: Caribbean Connections: The Dominican Republic book launch, featured speakers include book editors, Zenaida Mendez (President and Founder of the National Dominican Women’s Caucus and Racial Diversity Programs Director at the National Organization of Women) and a poetry reading with high school students and community members, 6:30-8:30 pm

October 5, 2005: Stand Up: Student Organizing in DC, Film Viewing, testimonials from teachers and students, group discussions, 6:45 pm. Co-sponsored by Teaching for Change, SALSA and the Youth Education Alliance.

October 6, 2005: "The Legacy Tour" featuring the poets of Moore Black Press including Etan Thomas and Jessica Care Moore.

October 9, 2005 Open Mic - "Nine on the Ninth" Hosted by Busboys and Poets "Poet-in-Residence:" Derrick Brown(Langston Room) 9pm

October 25, 2005 Film - Race is the Place Hosted by the Independent Television Service (ITS) An award-winning documentary film on racial stereotypes and artists' responses to them. (Langston Room) 7pm www.itvs.org This event is free and open to the public.

October 26, 2005 Tribute to Langston Hughes Hosted by Kim Roberts, Editor Beltway Poetry QuarterlyLangston Hughes published his first poems here in Washington, DC and also conducted his first public readings here. Please join us in honoring Hughes and enjoying several of his poems read by contemporary poets. (Langston Room) 6:30pm

October 27, 2005: Octavia E. Butler, The Fledgling, Author reading and book signing, 6:30 pm

November 7, 2005: James Loewen, Sundown Towns (author of Lies My Teacher Told Me), author reading and book signing

November 11, 2005: Fraud: How The Bush Machine Manipulates The Media And The Truth by Paul Waldman, Author reading and book signing, 6:30 pm
December 4, 2005: Howard Zinn

The Mayor's Web Log

The latest post on the Mayor's blog (http://blog.mayor.dc.gov/index.aspx) is about his support for schools:

It couldn't hurt to try to engage him on his commitment, in a quasi-public forum. Apparently, the mayor's press people decide whether or not specific responses are published.

The blog entry..

"On August 18th, I graciously received a check from Kaiser Permanente to allow us to extend the use of pools to promote health in the city. (Yes, I know we need a big effort to expand the number of lifeguards.) Anyway, during the event a constituent sang a refrain I’ve heard so often lately. “Why don’t you stand up and do something about the state of the schools?”

My answer to her and to our city continues to be the only responsible one: I will fully support Superintendent Janey, giving him every opportunity to improve student outcomes. Where a case can be substantiated for greater resources and help, I have been and will be there. But I don’t see any value in standing on the sidelines offering color commentary on the state of the schools. And standing on the sidelines I am.

I’m not complaining, but yes, the citizens, through the council, have made the considered judgment that they don’t want ultimate authority for the schools to lie with the mayor. Logically, and consequently, they therefore don’t want responsibility to lie there as well. This is not just a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of good management of our school system.

The buck must stop somewhere and I think that place is the Office of Superintendent. And I think Clifford Janey is definitely up to the job."

Mayor Anthony Williams

Councilmembers Patterson and Fenty to Meet with Ward 6 Democrats on Funding and Repairs of Schools

The Ward 6 Democrats' meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27 begins at 7 p.m. at the Eastern Branch Boys & Girls Club, 261 17th St. SE. (at Mass. Ave.). The panel discussion on funding repair and renovation of school facilities will begin about 7:15 p.m. with Tom Sherwood as moderator.

Panelists include Councilmember Kathy Patterson, who serves as Chair of the Council's Committee on Education, Recreation and Libraries. The DCPS School Modernization Act of 2005 was referred to her committee in July.

Other panelists are Ward 6 school board member Tommy Wells; Jordan Spooner, Deputy Director of the 21st Century School Fund; Mark Dixon, parent coordinator at Terrell Jr. High and ANC6D chair; and Marc Borbely of Fix-Our-Schools and ANC6A Commissioner.

We will learn about the deliberations in the Council on proposals to provide a reliable, adequate and steady stream of income for the development of what the 21st Century School fund calls "high performance school buildings" and we will find out if proposals are being considered to include other services (ambulatory health centers, etc..) in neighborhood school buildings.

Jan Eichhorn, President
The Ward 6 Democrats
202-547-8855

DOE's Teacher-to-Teacher Training Corps

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the formation of the Teacher-to-Teacher Training Corps. The corps will consist of effective teachers and practitioners who will provide on-site technical assistance and regional workshops for teachers and districts over the next 12 months. This team is an expansion of the Teacher-to-Teacher Workshops that have been offered in cities across the nation for the past two summers.

We are looking for teachers and school leaders who are using scientifically based research strategies and have data to demonstrate effectiveness. Trainers will share the research underlying these practices and their experience with implementing them in classrooms and schools. The goal of the Teacher-to-Teacher Training Corps is to support district level professional development efforts by providing demonstrations by expert teachers and administrators of ways to improve academic performance through increased content knowledge and improved pedagogical skill. Participants should leave sessions with ready-to-use strategies and an understanding of why and when those strategies are effective.

Members of the Teacher-to-Teacher Training Corps will be eligible to participate in workshops for teachers during 2005 and 2006. They will also be eligible to make presentations at the Department's summer workshops in 2006 and work with interested districts in ways that align with and support continuing district efforts during the school year and summer. Sessions in each site will be aligned to districts' academic goals and student data. It may be that a district's needs are best met with monthly in-service for its literacy coaches. It may be that a district wants the corps to work with secondary math teachers on several districtwide in-service days. Or, it may be that a district wants a series of Saturday offerings for its science teachers.

The members of the corps will also support participants through e-mail mentoring, e-Learning presentations, webcasts and follow-up visits, some of which have already begun with the Teacher-to-Teacher workshop providers.

To apply for this corps, you must submit a complete proposal, which should include your PowerPoint presentation and handouts. You may be asked to modify the presentation content or format for particular audiences (teachers, administrators or trainers) and district goals. In order to be considered for the Teacher-to-Teacher Training Corps, your proposal must be received by October 10, 2005. Please visit our Web site at http://www.ed.gov/teacherinitiative for additional information about submitting your presentation.

If you are selected, the U.S. Department of Education will provide travel, accommodations, and a $1,000 honorarium for planning, preparation and participation for each training event. You will have the flexibility to determine the level of your participation in workshops scheduled around the country during 2005 and 2006.

Guidelines

· We are looking for presenters who weave content and pedagogy together.
· Presentations in the content areas of reading, writing, mathematics, science, arts, history, civics and foreign language are of particular interest.
· We are interested in research-based classroom strategies that help teachers to differentiate instruction, to teach successfully in inclusive or mainstream classrooms, to work well with English-language learners, to use technology to help meet standards, to use data to increase student achievement, and to take advantage of learning strategies that improve student behavior. Sessions on pedagogy must be embedded in a content area; they should not be stand-alone presentations.
· We are also interested in sessions on school leadership, professional learning communities, analysis of student work, teacher evaluation strategies, strategic planning, assessment and the use of data.
· Each presentation should include relevant research.
· Each presentation should include evidence that your work has made a difference in student achievement.
· Each presentation should be interactive and use principles of adult learning.
· Each presentation should be 90 minutes long; however, you may be asked to adapt It to fit the needs of a district.
· If you work directly with students, you must be highly qualified according to your state's definition in order to participate. Please include proof of this with your application.
All presentations will be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education.

More information on the Department's Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative is posted on the Web at http://www.ed.gov/teachers/how/tools/initiative/about/information.html. You may also wish to view workshop sessions from our e-Learning at http://www.paec.org/teacher2teacher/. Forward any questions to teacherquality@westat.com or call (888) 831-1338

Monday, September 19, 2005

Teachers Coming to Terms With Computers

Study: Teachers coming to terms with computers
Dinesh C. Sharma, Special to CNET News.com

Teachers are increasingly incorporating computers into their workdays, but more for administrative record-keeping than as teaching tools, according to a study released Monday.

The majority of U.S. teachers are comfortable using computers for daily tasks like e-mail, attendance and posting information about classes on school intranets, according to CDW Government, which provides advice on technology to schools and government agencies.

Seventy percent of middle- and high-school teachers use e-mail to communicate with parents, while just over half use intranets to take classroom attendance. About 54 percent integrate computers into their daily curriculum, the survey found.

That pattern may arise from the nature of the training available to teachers, which has tended to focus on administrative rather than instructional applications, the study notes. A good portion of teachers--more than 85 percent--say they are trained on the Internet, word processing and e-mail software, but 27 percent say they have had little or no introduction to integrating computers into lessons. Thirty-one percent said they had no technology training in 2004 or 2005.

Still, overall use of technology in schools this year has grown among elementary and secondary teachers compared with last year, CDW Government said. The survey, conducted by Scholastic subsidiary Quality Education Data, sampled 1,000 public school teachers in March and April.

Of those surveyed, more than 61 percent of teachers said there were not enough computers in their classrooms.

Additionally, elementary-school teachers are more likely to use computers in instruction than their middle- or high-school counterparts, by a margin of 12 percent, the survey said. Elementary teachers are nearly 20 percent more likely to have access to computers in the classroom, as opposed to having the equipment in a computer lab or media center.

"Closing the gap between administrative use and instructional use appears to be more a question of where computers are located, as opposed to just the number of computers available," Chris Rother, vice president for education at CDW-G, said in a statement.

The Rehnquist Death

The Rehnquist Death
by David Corn
www.davidcorn.com.

I confess: I have a hard time saying William Rehnquist, rest in peace. Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist, who died on Saturday night, spent much of his adult
life trying to restrict the rights of American citizens
and to empower further the already-powerful. He rose to
prominence as a right-wing attorney who decried the
Earl Warren court for being a hotbed of judicial
activism (left-wing judicial activism, as he saw it).
He then became, as a Supreme Court justice, a judicial
activist of the right-wing sort, overturning laws made
by Congress (that protected women against domestic
violence, banned guns near school property, and
prohibited discrimination against disabled workers) and
steering the justices into Florida's vote-counting mess
in 2000 (an act that only coincidentally--right?--led
to George W. Bush's presidency). In that case--Bush v.
Gore--Rehnquist, for some reason or another, placed
aside his much heralded belief in state sovereignty,
which led him on other occasions to grouse about limits
on the abilities of states to execute criminals. When
it came to states frying prisoners, he advocated a
hands-off approach. In vote-counting, he was all for
intervention.

But let's be clear: in recent years there has been no
other Supreme Curt justice who had a personal history
so loaded with racism--or, to be kinder than is
warranted, tremendous insensitivity to racial
discrimination--as did William Rehnquist. As a law
clerk for Justice Robert Jackson in the early 1950s--
when the Court was considering the historic Brown v.
Board of Education school desegregation case--Rehnquist
wrote a memo defending the infamous 1896 decision,
Plessy v. Ferguson, which established the separate-but-
equal doctrine. Rehnquist noted, "That decision was
right and should be reaffirmed." In other words, he
favored continuing discrimination and racial
segregation. During his 1971 confirmation hearings,
after he was nominated to serve as an associate justice
on the Supreme Court, he said that memo merely
reflected Jackson's view not his own. But few
historians have bought that shaky explanation.

It's not hard to conclude that Rehnquist was on the
wrong side of history and then lied about it--
especially given actions he took later. In 1964,
Rehnquist testified against a proposed ordinance in
Phoenix that would ban racial discrimination in public
housing. As The Washington Post notes in today's
stories on his death, Rehnquist wrote at the time, "It
is, I believe, impossible to justify the sacrifice of
even a portion of our historic individual liberty for a
purpose such as this." In other words, people are not
truly free if they are not free to discriminate. In his
1971 hearings, Rehnquist repudiated that stance. But
did he really mean it? Twelve years later, he was the
only justice to say that Bob Jones University--that
hotbed of racial discrimination and religious bigotry--
had a legal right to keep African-Americans off its
campus.

"He Lived for The Law"--that's how AOL headlined the
story on Rehnquist's death. But it's not that Rehnquist
had a blind spot on race. He was an active proponent of
discrimination. Yet this fellow--without truly making
amends--became chief justice of the highest court of
the land. Only in America.

What will George W. Bush do now? Elevate Antonin Scalia
to chief justice? Appoint someone who's not already on
the court to the job? Will he wait until after the
hearings on John Roberts to name his pick? That would
be good politics. It would be foolish to add any other
factor to the Roberts confirmation process, which, from
a White House perspective, is going rather well. In the
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, might Bush look to
Edith Clement, a conservative federal appellate judge
from New Orleans? Or how about Janice Rogers Brown, an
African-American woman and sharecropper's daughter who
is now a far-right California state judge (who seems to
hate the federal government)? After all the recent talk
about poor black people being shafted in New Orleans by
the US government, Bush might enjoy standing in the
Oval Office with Brown and talking about her personal
story.

No doubt, Bush will make a selection that's better for
him than the country--and he will announce his choice
at a time and in a manner that best serves his
administration. In the meantime, as Rehnquist's impact
on America is considered, it ought not be forgotten--
particularly at a time when we see how the poor of New
Orleans have been neglected--that Rehnquist was at
times all too willing to forget about the rights of
those less fortunate than he.

A Former DCPS Teacher Comments on Sports and Resistance in the U. S.

Popular sportswriter and commentator Dave Zirin's new
work chronicles sports and resistance in the United
States, uncovering the hidden history of radical
politics in the multi-billion dollar world of
professional sports both in the past and now. This is a
book for sports fans who hate politics, activists who
hate sports, and athletes themselves.

Dave Zirin's new book What's My Name Fool? Sports and
Resistance in the United States"

You can receive his column Edge of
Sports, every week by e-mailing edgeofsports-
subscribe@zirin.com. Contact him at
whatsmynamefool2005@yahoo.com.

The Superdome: Monument to a Rotten System

By Dave (What's My Name Fool) Zirin
(a former DCPS Teacher)

There is nothing 'unnatural' about the disaster of New
Orleans. When politicians smirk at global warming, when
developers look at our wetlands and dream of mini
malls, when billions are flushed in the name of war and
tax-cuts, when issues of poverty and racism don't even
register in Presidential debates, all it takes is wind,
albeit 145 mph wind, to expose a sturdy super power as
a house of cards.

Nowhere is this personified more painfully than in a
monument to corporate greed that has rapidly become the
earth's most damnable homeless shelter, the Louisiana
Superdome.

The Superdome is perhaps the most unintentionally
appropriate name since Mr. and Mrs. Cheney looked at
their newborn son and said, 'Dick.' It was birthed in
1975 with pomp and bombast, as the largest domed
facility in the world. It was also funded entirely on
the public dime. In a case of brutal foreshadowing that
would shame a B horror flick, the dome was constructed
on an old cemetery for the poor. The burial grounds
were dug up and discarded with a promise that the
Superdome would the centerpiece of a New Orleans
'Central Business District' that would benefit all.
The results are certainly now in plain, ugly view. This
past week, 25,000 people, walked through its doors,
many for the first time. They entered a stadium where
tickets go for 90 bucks a pop, season passes cost
$1,300 and luxury boxes can run for as much as
$109,000. The arena boasts of having a capacity that
can comfortably seat 72,000 people, with 9,000 tons of
air conditioning, and 88 massive restrooms. But for the
25,000 that can't afford the oxygen, there has been no
air conditioning and bathrooms without electricity,
running water, or working toilets. Feces and garbage
now pack the upper decks. The traumatized people
finally emerging tell of dead bodies on the 50 yard
line. One man even committed suicide, throwing himself
off the upper deck. Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco
called the Superdome shelter strategy an "experiment",
when asked if it could hold the storm or the flood.
Chuck D's line about Housing Projects comes to mind
when he said, 'What is a project but another word for
experiment?'

Saints' receiver Joe Horn has looked at the place where
he has set receiving records and said that football
couldn't be farther from his mind. "It's devastating to
us. I've cried three or four times. Seeing kids without
any food, elderly people dying and the government
saying that help is on the way - that's the most
shocking part.'

He's right. That is the most shocking part. Leading
this carnival of disgrace is 'Mr. Shock and Awe'
himself, George W. Bush. Everyday, President Bush doles
out comments that signal his removal from any basic
notion of humanity. Perhaps the most galling, "The
good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now --
that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic
Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of
Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house --
there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking
forward to sitting on the porch."

But happy visions of mint juleps with Trent, while
Mamie and Prissy tighten Scarlett's corset, just will
not sell. The discussion instead, from right wing
editorial pages in New Hampshire and Mississippi to an
vocal, angry, Civil Rights community, is about the
racism, profiteering and vile hypocrisy at the heart
of this system.

As Norman Solomon wrote, 'The policies are matters of
priorities. And the priorities of the Bush White House
are clear. For killing in Iraq, they spare no expense.
For protecting and sustaining life, the cupboards go
bare The problem is not incompetence. It's inhumanity,
cruelty and greed.'

Frederick Douglass said it even better a century ago in
his speech, 'What to the Slave is the 4th of July,'

'[Y]our national greatness, swelling vanity; your
denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your
shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your
prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with
all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him,
mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy
- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a
nation of savages.'

I would amend the great Mr. Douglass just to say that
we are not at present a nation of savages. The unreal
outpouring of both aid and the furious call for answers
are not the actions of beasts. But it is now clear that
savages rule our lives. The echoing cry from the Gulf
Coast is that we deserve better than living under a
system that weeps over spilled oil, and rolls its eyes
at our spilled blood.

Katrina Reveals the Separate But Equal Eduacation System

KATRINA UNVEILS "SEPARATE BUT EQUAL" EDUCATION

The Wall Street Journal reports that Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will ask Congress to waive a federal law that bans educational segregation for homeless children.

The Bush administration is arguing, along with states like Utah and Texas, that providing schooling for evacuees - who, in this case, are likened to homeless children - will be disruptive to public school systems, so they want to have sound legal backing for creating separate educational facilities for the 372,000 schoolchildren displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

The State of Mississippi is opposed to waiving the Act because they argue the law helps evacuees enroll in schools without red tape.
[WSJ, "Schooling Evacuees Provokes Debate," 9/14/05]

Virginia L. Simmons Paralegal,
Disability Rights Project
Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
11 Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Tel: (202) 319 - 1000 ext 123

2005 DC Schools Summit on Nutrtion & Physical Activity

The D.C. Action for Healthy Kids is sponsoring

2005 DC Schools Summit on Nutrtion & Physical Activity

September 26, 2005, 9:00-3:30 pm
at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, in Washington, DC.
sponsored by D.C. Action for Healthy Kids

Cost? Free.

Who should attend? Principals, Teachers, Health & Physical Education Staff, School Nurses, Food Service Directors, Special Education Coordinator, Parent-Teacher Organization Representatives
Goals:

Learn how to implement a healthy school environment for better learning and compliance with No Child Left Behind

Obtain new resources to promote a healthy environment in your school
Mobilize to take action towards ending childhood and adolescent overweight by improving nutrition and physical activity in schools

Using the CDC School Health Index, develop an action plan for your school
To register: Fill out the registration form and fax it back!
http://www.dchunger.org/pdf/2005summit.pdf

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Auditor to scrutinize DCPS problems

Auditor to scrutinize DCPS problems
By MICHAEL NEIBAUER Examiner Staff Writer

In a new effort to root out waste and inefficiency in public schools, the District's inspector general will install a full-time audit team within the administration to scrutinize the system's most complex problems, from security and capital projects to contract billing and grant management.

The four-member, $300,000 audit shop was introduced as part of the inspector general's recently released fiscal 2006 audit plan, which lays out the IG's tentative schedule for the year. Having auditors based with school administration will "enable the audit team to aggressively follow up on past recommendations and advise school officials of the actions needed to resolve recurrent deficiencies," says the plan.

"We're saying schools are an ongoing problem and everybody knows that," said Cheryl Ferrara, deputy assistant inspector general for audits. "We've identified risk areas. We see that schools are such a vulnerable risk area and we thought we should put in place a lot of audit emphasis there."

She added: "We just make the recommendations. It's their job to accept them."

The IG's office is no stranger to the school system, having audited aspects of it numerous times in previous years. But this is the first time it will have staff dedicated to the effort, augmenting the schools' internal compliance office, which tends to look at day-to-day issues rather than the larger, systemic problems.

"My hope is that it will add to the credibility of the [school] system, add to its transparency, send a message that it is in fact a new day at DCPS, and send that message internally and externally," said Board of Education Member Victor Reinoso.

Robert Rice, special assistant to Superintendent Clifford B. Janey, said the IG and schools are establishing a partnership. Janey, Rice said, participated in talks to establish the audit team and "was willing to give it a try."
"We recognize if things come up it makes you kind of squirm, but our intent is to deal with those issues," he said.
Iris Toyer, chair of Parents United for the DC Public Schools, said she hoped the audit wouldn't be a "paper exercise."
mneibauer@dcexaminer.com < mailto:mneibauer@dcexaminer.com>

The Anacostia Watershed Society

The Anacostia Watershed Society has changed the start date for its teacher training. It will now be starting next week on Sept. 20.

Details on the training are attached. There is still room if the new schedule works! We will have classroom sessions and 2 outdoor experiences.

This is a great time of the year to explore the Anacostia River! If you are interested please fax or e-mail the attached registration back to me and don't worry about the deposit.

Ric Zeller, Environmental Educator
Office 301-699-6204 Cell 240-988-9673
Fax 301-699-3317
Anacostia Watershed Society,
4302 Baltimore Ave, Bladensburg, MD 20710-3317
www.anacostiaws.org

"Grants for Teaching and Learning Resources and Curriculum Development"

National Endowment for the Humanities supports projects that improve specific areas of humanities education and serve as national models ofexcellence.

Projects must draw upon scholarship in the humanities and use scholars and teachers as advisers.

NEH is especially interested inprojects that offer solutions to problems frequently encountered by teachers.

Maximum Award: $1000-$100,000. Eligibility: Any U.S. nonprofitorganization or institution with 501(c)3 status; state and local government agencies are also eligible.

Deadline: October 14, 2005.http://www.neh.gov/grants/guidelines/teachinglearning.html

For DCPS Science Teachers: The Wonders of Wetlands

News from Garden Resources of Washington ....

September 19, 2005: WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands, sponsored by Environmental Concern --

If you are interested in joining the wetland revolution - don't let these unique opportunities pass you by. Plan to be at the Lightstone Foundation in Moyers, West Virginia for the "WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands" (with follow-up Facilitator training) and "POW! The Planning of Wetlands Facilitator Workshop".

Join Environmental Concern for a fun day of learning about wetlands and leave with activities to use with your students! Environmental Concern and the CSU Watershed Institute would like to invite you to a unique one -day workshop based on the award-winning environmental curriculum, WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands. WOW! is an instructional guide for educators that provides a resourceful and creative collection of wetlands activities, information and ideas.

The guide includes: hands-on multi-disciplinary activities in lesson plan format, extensive background information on wetlands, ideas for student action projects and wetland resource guide. Correlated to national and state science standards so schools can combine science curriculums with actual environmental stewardship, WOW! has been called "the most comprehensive introduction to wetland issues and definitions" by the North American Association for Environmental Education.

This workshop will be a fun, hands-on exploration of wetland education activities. Come dissect a cattail, dipnet for aquatic insects, and play nutrient tag! Come Explore the Wonders of Wetlands! Audience: Formal and non-formal educators; Cost: $25.00
--------------

Optional: September 20, 2005: Follow-up WOW! Facilitator training -- Learn how to teach others about the Wonders of Wetlands and lead trainings in your own community. Join a nationwide network of environmental educators and receive book discounts and on-going support from Environmental Concern. Audience: Formal and non-formal educators; Cost: Course is FREE!
--------------------

October 5-7, 2005: POW! The Planning of Wetlands Facilitator training -- The POW Facilitator workshop is designed for those interested in working with schools and communities to build schoolyard habitats as areas for outdoor education. You will leave this course with:
  • The knowledge to effectively design, construct and monitor a wetland:
  • Choosing appropriate plants,
  • Balancing water budgets,
  • Creating design specs,
  • Building a project budget,
  • Designing a monitoring plan,
  • The tools to effectively work with school administration officials and facility managers.,
  • Funding ideas and sources, and
  • The ability to involve students and teachers in the project through a variety of dynamic and engaging hands-on activities.

See Environmental Concern's website for example of schoolyard wetlands designed through the POW! Method: http://www.wetland.org/educ_sucess.htm. Audience: Environmental education specialists, consultants, natural resource professionals; Cost: $25.00 includes POW! books
For more information or to register - contact Suzanne Greene at (410) 745-9620 or at wow@wetland.org. Suzanne Greene, Environmental Concern, PO Box P, St. Michaels, MD 21663, (410) 745-9620

For Science Teachers: The Wonders of Wetlands

News from Garden Resources of Washington ....

September 19, 2005: WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands, sponsored by Environmental Concern -- If you are interested in joining the wetland revolution - Don't let these unique opportunity pass you by. Plan to be at the Lightstone Foundation in Moyers, West Virginia for the "WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands" (with follow-up Facilitator training) and "POW! The Planning of Wetlands Facilitator Workshop".

Join Environmental Concern for a fun day of learning about wetlands and leave with activities to use with your students!

Environmental Concern and the CSU Watershed Institute would like to invite you to a unique one -day workshop based on the award-winning environmental curriculum, WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands. WOW! is an instructional guide for educators that provides a resourceful and creative collection of wetlands activities, information and ideas. The guide includes: hands-on multi-disciplinary activities in lesson plan format, extensive background information on wetlands, ideas for student action projects and wetland resource guide.

Correlated to national and state science standards so schools can combine science curriculums with actual environmental stewardship, WOW! has been called "the most comprehensive introduction to wetland issues and definitions" by the North American Association for Environmental Education. This workshop will be a fun, hands-on exploration of wetland education activities. Come dissect a cattail, dipnet for aquatic insects, and play nutrient tag! Come Explore the Wonders of Wetlands! Audience: Formal and non-formal educators; Cost: $25.00
--------------

Optional: September 20, 2005: Follow-up WOW! Facilitator training -- Learn how to teach others about the Wonders of Wetlands and lead trainings in your own community. Join a nationwide network of environmental educators and receive book discounts and on-going support from Environmental Concern. Audience: Formal and non-formal educators; Cost: Course is FREE!
--------------------

October 5-7, 2005: POW! The Planning of Wetlands Facilitator training -- The POW Facilitator workshop is designed for those interested in working with schools and communities to build schoolyard habitats as areas for outdoor education. You will leave this course with: The knowledge to effectively design, construct and monitor a wetland: Choosing appropriate plants, Balancing water budgets, Creating design specs, Building a project budget, Designing a monitoring plan, The tools to effectively work with school administration officials and facility managers., Funding ideas and sources, The ability to involve students and teachers in the project through a variety of dynamic and engaging hands-on activities.

See Environmental Concern's website for example of schoolyard wetlands designed through the POW! Method: http://www.wetland.org/educ_sucess.htm. Audience: Environmental education specialists, consultants, natural resource professionals; Cost: $25.00 includes POW! books
For more information or to register - contact Suzanne Greene at (410) 745-9620 or at wow@wetland.org. Suzanne Greene, Environmental Concern, PO Box P, St. Michaels, MD 21663, (410) 745-9620

TIMIDITY NO ANSWER TO RACISM IN KATRINA DEBACLE

By Adrienne Washington-----------------------------------------------------------
In polite dinner conversation, religion and politics are taboo. But if you really want to set someone's stomach to boiling, mention the topic of racism in America.

Racism and its Siamese sister, classism, are simply not acceptable issues to discuss in mixed company, let alone to mass audiences. Black or white, we prefer to tiptoe around the testy topic for fear of offending the "other," the oppressed or the oppressor.

Now is not the time for timid niceties. Now is the time when "the best of us must help the rest of us," as the Rev. Al Sharpton said. First, we must honestly face what we try too hard to hide.

Witness what happened to rapper Kayne West during NBC's fundraising telecast for Hurricane Katrina victims. He created a firestorm of gasps and denials when he went off script and said that "[President] George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Too harsh? Alabama-born Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: "Nobody, especially the president, would have left people unattended on the basis of race."

As unbelievable as it may seem, Miss Rice will never be able to convince folks who now see her as the symbolic face of successful blacks leaving brethren behind. As evidence, I received an e-mail making the rounds that asked every black person in America to immediately go out and purchase two copies of Mr. West's CD to show appreciation for the "young brother's courage."

Mr. West simply said aloud what far too many outraged black Americans have whispered to one another after it took Mr. Bush and his "Badministration," as one of numerous e-mailers wrote, a full week to provide basic necessities to the predominantly black and poor storm victims in New Orleans. These were the same government officials, they furiously note, who managed to get aid to unsuspecting tsunami victims around the globe in less than two days.

"If a tragedy of this magnitude had occurred in the Palm Beach area or any other resort, I do not believe the response would have been so delayed," said the Rev. Donald Eugene Braxton, pastor of the historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Yesterday, members of his Northwest congregation were busy collecting diapers, antacids, clothing, toiletries, school supplies and undergarments for distribution on the Gulf Coast.

Is it any wonder that these citizens, like the working poor all across America, felt abandoned long before a powerful storm blew off the cover of their ignored and invisible lives?

Now these Americans feel abused by their own government and by the press that concentrated on the despicable minority of "looters." The black Internet grapevine was ablaze last week, for instance, with one troubling and discriminatory press item that depicted two photographs of hurricane victims wading in water in what appeared to be the same location. Each was carrying a loaf of bread from a nearby grocery store. However, in one caption the black man was characterized as "looting," while in the other, the white woman was characterized as "finding" her goods.

Blacks such as Pamela Cousins of Prince George's County were also livid about the press dubbing predominantly black hurricane victims "refugees." She was so incensed that she looked up the term in the dictionary to find it means "people voluntarily running from war, religious persecution or government oppression."

Barely containing his rage during a belated Congressional Black Caucus press conference on Friday, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, said "these are not refugees; these are American citizens," to give public voice to the offense and insensitivity the denigrating moniker represented to black Americans. Blacks were livid and worried that "refugee" conjured an image that set apart the evacuees and could marginalize their circumstances and need for help.

Thank goodness that the vast majority of private citizens, churches and nonprofit groups see this horrific, historic calamity through colorblind lenses. Here we find hope for America.

Still, after characterizing the unprecedented human degradation he witnessed in the New Orleans arena as "the hull of a slave ship," the Rev. Jesse Jackson added that "the issue of race as a factor will not go away." Why? Because black Americans are angry. They are not just angry at an unresponsive government that forced a quarter of a million poor black residents of New Orleans to wallow in their own feces. They are angry at a society that they don't trust to treat them equal even in the face of disaster, destruction and death.

Blacks are so distrustful of their government that some New Orleans evacuees are circulating the conspiracy theory that their poor neighborhoods were flooded deliberately to keep rich areas such as the French Quarter and the Garden District dry. The anger rose in black Americans the way the floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina rose in the 9th District of New Orleans. Yet, unlike the evacuees, who were displaced and had nowhere to go, a mobilized black America is finding a place to put that understandable anger into action.

While it was welcome to witness whites and blacks helping each other, black Americans, like those at Metropolitan AME Church, are realizing that it is their greater responsibility and task to provide assistance to the masses of displaced Gulf Coast victims.

"To whom much is given, much is required," is the new mantra making the Internet rounds as scores of black Americans sound the call from anger to action. One such fundraiser named after this biblical scripture scheduled last night at the downtown jazz club H.R. was sponsored by the law offices of Donald Temple in conjunction with radio D.J. Tom Joyner's efforts (www.blackamericaweb.com).

Hurricane Katrina's devastating aftermath undoubtedly provided a much-needed global wake-up call with its demonstrative exposure of what the foreign press dubbed "Third World America." It also provided a poignant wake-up call to black Americans who might think they have "made it."

The long-term loss wrought by Hurricane Katrina will be even greater if those difficult issues of race and class that surfaced during these dark, angry days are swept up and pushed back into Lake Pontchartrain along with the storm's debris.

TIMIDITY NO ANSWER TO RACISM IN KATRINA DEBACLE

TIMIDITY NO ANSWER TO RACISM IN KATRINA DEBACLE
By Adrienne Washington, The Washington Times

In polite dinner conversation, religion and politics are taboo. But if you really want to set someone's stomach to boiling, mention the topic of racism in America. Racism and its Siamese sister, classism, are simply not acceptable issues to discuss in mixed company, let alone to mass audiences. Black or white, we prefer to tiptoe around the testy topic for fear of offending the "other," the oppressed or the oppressor. Now is not the time for timid niceties. Now is the time when "the best of us must help the rest of us," as the Rev. Al Sharpton said. First, we must honestly face what we try too hard to hide. Witness what happened to rapper Kayne West during NBC's fundraising telecast for Hurricane Katrina victims. He created a firestorm of gasps and denials when he went off script and said that "[President] George Bush doesn't care about black people." Too harsh?
Alabama-born Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: "Nobody, especially the president, would have left people unattended on the basis of race."

As unbelievable as it may seem, Miss Rice will never be able to convince folks who now see her as the symbolic face of successful blacks leaving brethren behind. As evidence, I received an e-mail making the rounds that asked every black person in America to immediately go out and purchase two copies of Mr. West's CD to show appreciation for the "young brother's courage."

Mr. West simply said aloud what far too many outraged black Americans have whispered to one another after it took Mr. Bush and his "Badministration," as one of numerous e-mailers wrote, a full week to provide basic necessities to the predominantly black and poor storm victims in New Orleans. These were the same government officials, they furiously note, who managed to get aid to unsuspecting tsunami victims around the globe in less than two days.

"If a tragedy of this magnitude had occurred in the Palm Beach area or any other resort, I do not believe the response would have been so delayed," said the Rev. Donald Eugene Braxton, pastor of the historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Yesterday, members of his Northwest congregation were busy collecting diapers, antacids, clothing, toiletries, school supplies and undergarments for distribution on the Gulf Coast. Is it any wonder that these citizens, like the working poor all across America, felt abandoned long before a powerful storm blew off the cover of their ignored and invisible lives?

Now these Americans feel abused by their own government and by the press that concentrated on the despicable minority of "looters." The black Internet grapevine was ablaze last week, for instance, with one troubling and discriminatory press item that depicted two photographs of hurricane victims wading in water in what appeared to be the same location. Each was carrying a loaf of bread from a nearby grocery store. However, in one caption the black man was characterized as "looting," while in the other, the white woman was characterized as "finding" her goods.

Blacks such as Pamela Cousins of Prince George's County were also livid about the press dubbing predominantly black hurricane victims "refugees." She was so incensed that she looked up the term in the dictionary to find it means "people voluntarily running from war, religious persecution or government oppression."
Barely containing his rage during a belated Congressional Black Caucus press conference on Friday, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, said "these are not refugees; these are American citizens," to give public voice to the offense and insensitivity the denigrating moniker represented to black Americans. Blacks were livid and worried that "refugee" conjured an image that set apart the evacuees and could marginalize their circumstances and need for help.

Thank goodness that the vast majority of private citizens, churches and nonprofit groups see this horrific, historic calamity through colorblind lenses. Here we find hope for America.

Still, after characterizing the unprecedented human degradation he witnessed in the New Orleans arena as "the hull of a slave ship," the Rev. Jesse Jackson added that "the issue of race as a factor will not go away." Why? Because black Americans are angry. They are not just angry at an unresponsive government that forced a quarter of a million poor black residents of New Orleans to wallow in their own feces. They are angry at a society that they don't trust to treat them equal even in the face of disaster, destruction and death.

Blacks are so distrustful of their government that some New Orleans evacuees are circulating the conspiracy theory that their poor neighborhoods were flooded deliberately to keep rich areas such as the French Quarter and the Garden District dry. The anger rose in black Americans the way the floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina rose in the 9th District of New Orleans. Yet, unlike the evacuees, who were displaced and had nowhere to go, a mobilized black America is finding a place to put that understandable anger into action.

While it was welcome to witness whites and blacks helping each other, black Americans, like those at Metropolitan AME Church, are realizing that it is their greater responsibility and task to provide assistance to the masses of displaced Gulf Coast victims.

"To whom much is given, much is required," is the new mantra making the Internet rounds as scores of black Americans sound the call from anger to action. One such fundraiser named after this biblical scripture scheduled last night at the downtown jazz club H.R. was sponsored by the law offices of Donald Temple in conjunction with radio D.J. Tom Joyner's efforts (www.blackamericaweb.com).

Hurricane Katrina's devastating aftermath undoubtedly provided a much-needed global wake-up call with its demonstrative exposure of what the foreign press dubbed "Third World America." It also provided a poignant wake-up call to black Americans who might think they have "made it."

The long-term loss wrought by Hurricane Katrina will be even greater if those difficult issues of race and class that surfaced during these dark, angry days are swept up and pushed back into Lake Pontchartrain along with the storm's debris.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Building African Libraries

Building African Libraries Project

The library project of the Sunrise School in Accra, Ghana is underway. This project is a book and fund raising drive that, through our efforts, will provide much needed reading and study materials for the children of the Sunrise School, ages 6 - 14 years, grades 1 - 9.

Every child deserves a quality education, and access to books is essential to the development and expansion of young minds. We are all children of Africa and its future is not only in our hands, but in the hands of its young people. Education of Africans is crucial to our fight for liberation, not only of the continent, but of all Africans globally.

No library anywhere in our world should be empty, especially not a school library, and especially not in Africa. Unfortunately, far too many libraries in the birthplace of humanity are just that, empty, and frankly, given our resources, this tragedy is inexcusable. This is a small effort that has the potential to make a huge impact in the lives of some of our children. If we are truly serious about the sovereignty of our people, mentally, physically, and politically, we can pull together and make this project a success.

On behalf of the Building African Libraries committee, I would like to thank all of you in advance for your generosity and undying dedication to the future of Africa.

Please send all of your book and fund donations to:Hamara HoltP.O. Box 764College StationNew York, NY 10030. Please address all checks and money orders to: Building African Libraries Foundation
Receipts will be kept for every donation ( books and funds ), and will be issued in triplicate - one to Dr. Rashidi, one to our Foundation board (BAL), and one to the donor. We will be working with the National Heritage Foundation, and they will also keep records of each donation.

Your receipt from the BAL Foundation, and your cancelled check will provide proof of your donation. All donations over $250 will be issued a charitable receipt directly from the NHF as well.
All book donations should be appropriate for children ages 6 - 14.

We are seeking books on history, literature, science, math, etc. Textbooks and storybooks would be greatly appreciated as well ( please keep in mind the age range of students when selecting your book donations).

In love of Africa,
Runoko Rashidi and Hamara Holt

Powerful Women Making A Difference

D.C. COMMISSSION FOR WOMEN
Presents

Powerful Women Making a Difference


WHEN: Tuesday, September 13, 2005
WHERE: Bethlehem Baptist Church
MLK and Howard Road,, S.E. WDC
TIME: 6:30 pm

Guest Speakers:

Karen Smith, Principal of Ballou Sr. High School
Hannah Hawkins, Director of Children of Mine Center
Jacqueline Massey, Wheeler Creek Estates
Guest Soloist: Myrna Summers

DC Housing Needed for 3 New Orleans Students

DC Housing Needed for Three Students Stranded
from New Orleans

I'm looking for housing near Howard University for three Xavier University students who now can't return to their college in New Orleans. Howard is allowing them to apply and hopefully, attend college there beginning next week, but there is no dorm space left.

We have found a place for them to stay for a few days at least until early next week, but need longer term housing so they can attend school here. I'm working with the Howard housing to track down some place for these students to live but, in case we run into a wall and can't find space, can anyone recommend places to go for student rentals in the vicinity of Howard? They will not be able to return to New Orleans for at least a semester and perhaps a whole year.Another problem is that these students have only the clothing on their backs or only one change of clothing. Any recommendations would be great.

Anna Reid Jhirad
Marigold Productions
3009 Daniel Lane, NW
Washington, DC 20015
(202) 537-0308

The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America

Hear Jonathan Kozol
acclaimed author of
Savage Inequalities,
on the release of his new book,
The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America


Saturday, September 17, 2005
2-4PM
Blair High School Auditorium
51 University Boulevard
Silver Spring, MD 20901
This event is brought to you by the
Center For Teacher Leadership

and co-sponsored by the
Equity in Education Coalition in Montgomery County
Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA-MSTA-NEA)
Prince George’s County Educators’ Association (PGCEA-MSTA-NEA)
Progressive Maryland
NAACP Parents Council
Blair Students for Global Responsibility
Montgomery County Education Forum

Book signing following presentation. Book sales by Busboys and Poets Books of Teaching for Change.

The Mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina Protest

Black Voices for Peace & The National Black Environmental Justice Network

is Co-Sponsoring:

MISMANAGEMENT OF HURRICANE KATRINA PROTEST

FRIDAY, SEPT. 9, 2005

12:00PM-2:30PM

LAFAYETTE PARK IN FRONT OF THE WHITE HOUSE

Join Black Voices for Peace and The National Black Environmental Justice Network as we demand accountability from the State and Federal Goverment and the Bush Administration and to protest the mistreatment of hurricane Katrina victims.

For more details call (202) 265-4919

The DC Schoolyard Greening Consortium’s 2nd DC Schoolyards Tour

The DC Schoolyard Greening Consortium’s 2nd
DC SCHOOLYARDS TOUR
Saturday, OCTOBER 15th, 2005
9AM - 3PM
LIMITED SEATING – SIGN UP EARLY! $15/person before September 30th
$20 for late registrants
Bus transportation & lunch providedSpecial prize for any school with 3 or more teachers attending the tour!

You’ll See: Five DC schoolyards used for various teaching purposes and in different stages of development:

Bertie Backus Middle School: Former patches of grass are now woodlands, ponds, paths, flower gardens, and rain gardens, through partnerships with the DC Watershed Protection Division, Environmental Concern, and the National Wildlife Federation.

A new wetland habitat is being added just in time for the tour.
Cardozo Senior High School: Started in 2002 in response to the events of 9/11, the Peace Garden has been used by both history and science teachers. In the past year, students planted new trees and a sculpture was donated by a group of international artists.

Horace Mann Elementary School: The schoolyard has been transformed from an underutilized patch of asphalt into an outdoor learning center used regularly by students and staff. It has six theme beds, including a butterfly garden, herb garden, and sensory garden.

Roosevelt Senior High School: With a small start in 1999, this schoolyard now includes a greenhouse, pond with a solar pump, composting area, vegetable garden, butterfly garden, and a native garden. Students installed the gardens themselves and routinely manage upkeep.

Sharpe Health School: This once-plain courtyard is now a series of wheelchair accessible theme gardens for students with special needs. It has a gently rolling hill, a bridge, sensory gardens, edible gardens, an alphabet garden, and native plantings.

* You’ll Learn: How to get started, tips for teaching outdoors, curriculum connections, funding opportunities, and more!
* Who Should Attend: PreK-12th grade teachers of all subjects, principals, librarians, counselors, administrators, PTA members, after-school program staff, school volunteers, parents, community members, etc.
* Questions? Call Ashley Lidman at 202.833.4010 x120 or email alidman@caseytrees.org. For information about the DC Schoolyard Greening Consortium, its citywide email list-serve, teacher trainings, and other resources for ‘greening’ schools, visit www.dcschoolyardgreening.org.
Please arrive promptly by 9:00 am at Horace Mann Elementary School, 4430 Newark Street NW, Washington, DC 20016.

Street parking is available. See www.maps.yahoo.com for driving directions, www.wmata.com for public transportation information.

To Register: Mail a $15 check payable to DCEEC, with the registration form, before Sept 30th to: Ashley Lidman, DC Schoolyard Greening Consortium, c/o Casey Trees, 1425 K Street NW #1050, Washington, DC 20005 ($20 after Sept 30th)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - clip & mail this form with your check - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
DC Schoolyards Tour Registration
PLEASE PRINT
Name: ___________________________________________________
Address: _________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
Daytime Phone: ___________________________________________
Evening Phone: ___________________________________________
Email: ___________________________________________________

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Tell Bush to Accept Cuba's Offer to Send Doctors to the Hurricane Victims

Urgent Alert - Take Action Now!
Tell Bush & Congress:Accept Cuba's offer to send doctors to the hurricane victims!

Given the grave humanitarian situation in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and other Southern states, I believe the U.S. government must accept the humanitarian offer of the Cuban government to send 1,100 doctors with 26.4 tons of medications and diagnosis kits from Cuba to the Gulf region.

Cuba's doctors, nurses and professional healthcare staff are world renown for their medical expertise and their ability to provide assistance even in the most difficult conditions, and have traveled throughout the Americas and the world providing care to those in need.

There is no excuse to allow people to suffer and die needlessly when help is available.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has set up an easy-to-use way to send Bush and Congress a message. Use the link below to tell them: "Accept Cuba's offer to send doctors to the hurricane victims!"

On the evening of September 2, Cuban President Fidel Castro reiterated Cuba's offer (first made on August 30) to send doctors and medical equipment to provide desperately-needed assistance to those who have become the victims of both Hurricane Katrina and of the Bush administration's meager and dilatory response.
Specifically, Cuba is offering to send 1,100 medical doctors with 26.4 tons of medications and diagnosis kits at no expense to the U.S. (they will even bring their own food and water). There is now a dire need for medical attention in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and in other Southern states.

The Cuban doctors, nurses and professional healthcare staff are world renowned for their medical expertise and their ability to provide assistance even in the most difficult conditions, and have traveled throughout the Americas and the world providing care to those in need.

The people of Cuba, even with far less resources than the United States, have survived extreme hurricanes and flooding because the government mobilizes to put people first, evacuating hundreds of thousands and providing necessary food, water and medical care immediately.

These doctors and the medicine and equipment stand ready to fly to Houston and can arrive within hours as soon as they get permission - permission that thus far has not been given by the U.S. government. In their public statements about countries that have offered assistance, the Bush administration has not even acknowledged this offer from Cuba.

Bush's racist and cavalier conduct towards the dying and suffering in New Orleans has been criminal. For him to withhold this medical support from people in need is cruel and outrageous. He will let even more people die needlessly just to support his right-wing political agenda against Cuba.

You can send a letter to Congress and Bush today demanding that the U.S. allow the Cuban doctors to enter the country and begin assisting in the relief efforts! A.N.S.W.E.R. has set up an easy-to-use mechanism to facilitate sending a quick email to George W. Bush and the Congressional Representative in your District and Senators in your state with your demand. We have provided a sample letter, but you can customize your message to get your point across. Please take a moment now, by clicking here, to send a message to Bush and Congress. (http://www.pephost.org/CubaAidAlert)

Cuban President Fidel Castro reiterates medical care offer to the American people in his remarks during the TV round table,September 2, 2005, 6:00 pm:
"Our country is ready to send, in the small hours of morning, 100 clinicians and specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine, who at dawn tomorrow, Saturday, could be in Houston International Airport, Texas, the closest to the region struck by the tragedy, in order to be transferred by air, sea or river to the isolated shelters, facilities and neighborhoods in the city of New Orleans, where the population and families are that require emergency medical care or first aid.

"These Cuban personnel would be carrying backpacks with 24 kilograms of medications, known to be essential in such situations to save lives, as well as basic diagnosis kits. They would be prepared to work alone or in groups of two or more, depending on the circumstances, for as long as necessary.

"Likewise, Cuba is ready to send via Houston, or any other airport of your choosing, 500 additional specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine, with the same equipment, who could be at their destination point at noon or in the afternoon of tomorrow, Saturday, September 3rd.

"A third group of 500 specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine could be arriving in the morning of Sunday, September 4. Thus, the 1100 said medical doctors, with the resources described tantamount to 26.4 tons of medications and diagnosis kits, would be caring for the neediest persons in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

"These medical doctors have the necessary international experience and elementary knowledge of the English language that would allow them to communicate with thepatients.
"We stand ready waiting for the US authorities' response."

Send your letter to Bush & Congress!(http://www.pephost.org/CubaAidAlert)
Please circulate widely. Ask your friends and family to send a letter too!

FREE: Federal Resources for Educational Excellence

News for Teachers!
Make Use of the (FREE) Federal Resources for Educational Excellence Website

The Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site (http://www.ed.gov/free/index.html) makes it easy to find teaching resources on federal government Web sites.

The site was developed with the cooperation of more than 35 federal agencies and is updated each week with new materials and highlights.
FREE offers quick access to more than 1,500 resources in the arts, sciences, history and other subjects from the Library of Congress, National Archives, Smithsonian, NASA, the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies.

Here's a sample of what you'll find at FREE.

Constitution Resources -- Resources for teaching and learning about the U.S. Constitution. View high-resolution images of the Constitution from the National Archives, read the biographies of the founding fathers and much more (http://www.ed.gov/free/constitution/index.html).
Born in Slavery -- 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery with 500 photos of former slaves (http://memory.locgov/ammem/snhtml/snhome.html).

Our Documents -- 100 milestone documents in U.S. history, including speeches, treaties, Supreme Court cases, patent designs and Constitutional amendments (http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/cfapps/free/displaysearch.cfm?searchword=%22our+documents%22).

Nationalatlas.gov -- Make a map of your state or community by selecting features to display: cities, roads, rivers, population, crops or water quality. Find an aerial photo of your neighborhood (http://nationalatlas.gov/).
Explore Themes in American Art -- 10 genres of American art: landscapes, portraits and more (http://www.nga.gov/education/american/aasplash.htm).

Exploring Earth -- 100 animations and images illuminating key concepts in earth science, including coal formation, nuclear fission and hurricanes
http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/navigation/visualization.cfm

Mathematics Across the Curriculum -- Materials for teaching math in art, history, literature and music, as well as science, engineering and other disciplines traditionally associated with math (http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/~matc/eBookshelf/index.html).

More information about the U.S. Department of Education's Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative is available at our web site: http://www.ed.gov/teachers/how/tools/initiative/about/informationhtml.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Help Students Apply to City At Peace

City at Peace!

Looking for youth who want to...

  • use their voices and ideas to make change
  • become leaders and meet other teens
  • learn how to communicate more effectively

Apply to City at Peace!

City at Peace is a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural understanding, conflict resolution, positive community change and prevention of violence and self-destructive behaviors using the performing arts. Now in its tenth year, City at Peace provides an outlet for self-directed young people who are interested in engaging deeply around issues that affect their lives. We seek teenagers who are interested in using their ideas and creativity to promote community change and welcome young people with backgrounds in community service, arts, activism, student government, conflict resolution and peer mediation as well as young people who are still finding their places. More information about our program can be found at www.cityatpeacedc.org.

In our most recent independent evaluation, 88% of participants reported that City at Peace improved their leadership skills, 51% of participants reported that City at Peace improved their abilities to solve conflicts and 87% of participants had an increased drive to make a difference in their community. The average participant’s GPA rose by .15 during participation in the program. Young people learn how to collaborate intensively in diverse groups, solve problems, deal with interpersonal issues and group conflict, and clearly explain their ideas, gaining teamwork, communication, and expressive skills in the process. Participants are also challenged to question their assumptions about other groups, share their cultures, and act as peacemakers within their communities. Our new weekly tutoring program will allow participants to receive academic assistance if they need it, and will also provide an opportunity for other teens to engage in teen-to-teen academic support work. Many of our participants win community service awards because of their intensive and meaningful work.

What will you have to do?

Our application process is non-competitive and fun! You will write about
your life and interests, participate in improvisation exercises, learn a
short dance routine, and sing. Come dressed to move. We are looking for
teenagers ages 13-19 who are leaders or who want to become leaders.
You should be willing to try out new things, interested in learning, and
excited about promoting positive community change. You must be
willing to work with us almost every Wednesday and Saturday for the
entire school year.

What is City at Peace?

City at Peace teaches young people how to resolve conflicts, prevent
interpersonal and self-directed violence, and promote intercultural
understanding using the performing arts. Participants receive intensive
leadership development, communication and performance training. The
program is free, challenging, and full of interesting, dedicated teens. If
you have something to say to the world, this is the place for you.

When: Saturday, September 17th, 1pm
THIS IS THE FINAL 2005 APPLICATION SESSION!
Where:1328 Florida Avenue NW, Washington DC
4 blocks from the Metro…
Second floor, first door on the left.
The offices are between the intersection of 13th & 14th Streets, NW.
Call us or check out our website www.cityatpeacedc.org for directions.

From the Metro: Take the Green Line to U Street – Cardozo. Exit on the
13th Street side. Walk several feet forward to the intersection of 13th Street
and U Street. Walk up 13th Street – the letter streets you pass should be
going up (V, W). Walk up 3 blocks to Florida Avenue. Go left.

Participants had these things to say upon program completion:
“I liked learning from a tight, diverse community of people my age.”
“I have learned to accept me for me.”
“I don’t think it’s so hard anymore to stand up for what I believe in.”
“Within my school I make my voice heard because now I know how.”
“I’ve gotten to see how my art can be used in a way that really moves people to make change.”

Interested young people must come to our final application session on Saturday, September 17th at 1pm. Applicants are judged based on their willingness to try new things, their interest in engaging deeply with people who are very different from themselves, their dedication to promoting violence prevention in the DC area, and their ability to seriously commit to participating in the program for an entire school year. They must be between 13-19 years old and willing to meet every Wednesday evening and Saturday.

The application session will take place at the City at Peace offices at 1328 Florida Avenue NW. Our offices are Metro and disability accessible

Thank you very much for your time and for sharing our information with your teens!
Please contact us at 202-319-2200 / ekugler@cityatpeacedc.org

SCHOOLING THE EVACUATED CHILDREN

Houston-Area Schools to Enroll Evacuated New Orleans Children
By Christina A. Samuels

In buses and in cars, by the dozens and by the hundreds, the students left homeless by Hurricane Katrina’s devastation are arriving in Houston.

When Texas officials announced Aug. 31 that the state would provide a haven for Louisiana residents in the 45,000-seat Astrodome, emergency coordinators thought they might have to absorb 5,000 children into Houston-area schools. Then, the count rose to 8,000.

“Today, we just don’t know,” John E. Sawyer, the superintendent of the Harris County Department of Education, said Sept. 1. The department is coordinating the efforts of the 26 independent school districts in the Houston area, all of which may see students from the storm-damaged regions, at a cost that is still unknown.

The Astrodome will house the New Orleans residents who rode out the hurricane in that city’s Super-dome.
Even before the New Orleans evacuees arrived, Houston-area school districts were seeing the effects of Hurricane Katrina. A spokesman for the 55,000-student Aldine district said a teacher rounded up 10 children from her neighborhood who had fled the storm before it hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

In the 12,000-student North Forest district, in northeast Harris County, 650 out-of-town students showed up to register the day the Texas education commissioner made her announcement, Mr. Sawyer said.
And the day after the announcement, a group of teenagers and children in a school bus they had apparently commandeered showed up ahead of the rest of the Superdome refugees, seeking shelter. The passengers on the renegade bus were accepted into the Astrodome, according to news reports.
Able to Help

The students will be accepted for enrollment under the federal law governing the education of homeless children, which waives residency requirements. Districts have set aside policies such as those requiring full immunization records or setting specific pupil-teacher ratios. Teachers who retired within the past several years have been called and pressed into service, said Gayle Fallon, the president of the Houston Federation of Teachers.

Authorities first thought they might hold classes for the evacuees in the Astrodome itself, Mr. Sawyer said. Now, it appears likely that after a short period in the stadium, the Louisiana residents will be moved to smaller shelters around the city and children will enroll in nearby schools.

Most of the evacuated students will be absorbed into the Houston district, the state’s largest, with an enrollment of about 209,000.

“We have the resources to do it,” said Terry Abbott, the spokesman for the Houston district. “We feel like we’re really going to be able to help these kids.”

How Schools Have Dealt With Natural Disasters

A Look Back at How Schools Have Dealt With Natural Disasters
By Erik W. Robelen

Here are examples of the impact on schools from previous hurricanes and other natural disasters.

2004: HURRICANE CHARLEY
Areas Hit: Florida, South Carolina

Last year was a bad one for hurricanes, with Florida suffering four, including Charley. The storm caused 10 American deaths and caused an estimated $15 billion in damages, making it the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

Most Florida districts lost only a few days of class time, but some systems were closed for a total of nearly three full weeks of classes. Gov. Jeb Bush signed a series of executive orders allowing schools flexibility on the required 180-day school schedule, teacher contracts, and other state laws. Districts also asked for leniency in other areas, including state testing and accountability requirements. The state granted some extensions for the testing. Some districts asked that they not be rated under the state accountability program in 2004. The state responded by creating a “hurricane grade appeal” process, in addition to the normal appeals process, for schools that met certain criteria. A successful appeal would require, among other criteria, that the district show that the hurricanes directly contributed to a lower school rating.

1999: HURRICANE FLOYD
Areas Hit: Much of the East Coast, starting in North Carolina

Floyd took a heavy toll, with 56 U.S. deaths and damages of $5.8 billion, but it may be memorable to some educators as an example of overreaction.
More than 2 million students missed school because of closures for at least part of the week of the September storm, which was especially notable for its heavy rains, leading to flash floods. But a few days later, some school leaders debated whether it had been right to shut their doors so early, since many areas did not see any serious problems. Still, some places, such as North Carolina and New Jersey, suffered substantial flooding.

1994: NORTHRIDGE EARTHQUAKE
Areas Hit: Southern California

The costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, causing damages estimated at some $50 billion, wasn’t a hurricane, but the earthquake that hit Southern California on Jan. 17, 1994. The earthquake measured 6.6 on the Richter scale and caused 57 deaths.

It also hit area school systems hard, with schools in 43 California districts damaged.
In the Los Angeles Unified School District, early estimates suggested half of schools were harmed, at a cost of $700 million in 1994 dollars. Classes there resumed after being closed six days. But some repairs were slow in coming. Three years later, major renovations at one Los Angeles high school, for example, were on hold pending negotiations between local and federal officials. Among the points of dispute were whether to rebuild the school’s gymnasium or simply fix it.

1992: HURRICANE ANDREW
Areas Hit: Florida, Louisiana

The costliest hurricane in U.S. history, Andrew caused damages of $43.7 billion and led to 23 U.S. deaths. It was rated a Category 5 hurricane, the most severe.

Nearly all of the 287 schools in the Miami-Dade County, Fla., district sustained some damage. The public school system opened schools two weeks late. U.S. Army, Navy, and National Guard troops, as well as district personnel, helped with repairs. Ten schools were deemed too badly damaged to open. Their students were reassigned to other schools. Some 3,000 students enrolled in nearby Broward County schools. In Louisiana, schools opened as much as 11 days late.

1989: HURRICANE HUGO
Areas Hit: U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, North Carolina

Hugo caused 21 deaths on the U.S. mainland, plus five in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. U.S. damages were estimated at $12.3 billion.
The hurricane caused tens of millions of dollars of damage to hundreds of schools in the Carolinas, and forced more than 200,000 students to miss some school days. In Charleston, S.C., alone, school damage was estimated at $50 million in 1989 dollars.

Disaster assistance to schools was poor, a federal study found two years later. Districts affected, as well as California districts affected by the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, received disaster aid late or not at all because of a lack of coordination by federal and state agencies, the U.S. General Accounting Office concluded in a 1991 report.

1969: HURRICANE CAMILLE
Areas Hit: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio

Camille, a Category 5 hurricane, was the strongest hurricane to directly strike the United States in the 20th century. It caused 256 U.S. deaths and $8.9 billion in damage, much of it in the Gulf Coast regions hard hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Camille has the unusual distinction of getting caught up in the debate over the desegregation of Southern schools. The New York Times reported in August of 1969 on disagreements within the federal government over whether 16 segregated school districts in Mississippi should get money to repair and rebuild facilities.

Note: All damage estimates are in inflation-adjusted dollars, except where otherwise noted.
SOURCES: National Hurricane Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Southern California Earthquake Center, University of Southern California; Education Week
Web Only

Katrina's Victims Were Largely Black and Poor

From Margins of Society to Center of the Tragedy

By David Gonzales

The scenes of floating corpses, scavengers fighting forfood and desperate throngs seeking any way out of NewOrleans have been tragic enough. But for many African-American leaders, there is a growing outrage that manyof those still stuck at the center of this tragedy werepeople who for generations had been pushed to themargins of society.

The victims, they note, were largely black and poor,those who toiled in the background of the touristhavens, living in tumbledown neighborhoods that werelong known to be vulnerable to disaster if the leveesfailed. Without so much as a car or bus fare to escapeahead of time, they found themselves left behind by afailure to plan for their rescue should the dreaded dayever arrive.

"If you know that terror is approaching in terms ofhurricanes, and you've already seen the damage they'vedone in Florida and elsewhere, what in God's name wereyou thinking?" said the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, pastorof Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. "I think a lotof it has to do with race and class. The people affectedwere largely poor people. Poor, black people."

In the days since neighborhoods and towns along the GulfCoast were wiped out by the winds and water, there hasbeen a growing sense that race and class are theunspoken markers of who got out and who got stuck. Justas in developing countries where the failures of ruraldevelopment policies become glaringly clear at times ofnatural disasters like floods or drought, many nationalleaders said, some of the United States' poorest citieshave been left vulnerable by federal policies.

"No one would have checked on a lot of the black peoplein these parishes while the sun shined," said MayorMilton D. Tutwiler of Winstonville, Miss. "So am Isurprised that no one has come to help us now? No."

The subject is roiling black-oriented Web sites andmessage boards, and many black officials say it is aprime subject of conversation around the country. SomeAfrican-Americans have described the devastation wroughtby Hurricane Katrina as "our tsunami," while noting thatthere has yet to be a response equal to that whichfollowed the Asian tragedy. Roosevelt F. Dorn, the mayor of Inglewood, Calif., andthe president of the National Association of BlackMayors, said relief and rescue officials needed to actfaster.

"I have a list of black mayors in Mississippi andAlabama who are crying out for help," Mr. Dorn said."Their cities are gone and they are in despair. And noone has answered their cries." The Rev. Jesse Jackson said cities had been dismissed bythe Bush administration because Mr. Bush received fewurban votes.

"Many black people feel that their race, their propertyconditions and their voting patterns have been a factorin the response," Mr. Jackson said, after meeting withLouisiana officials yesterday. "I'm not saying thatmyself, but what's self-evident is that you have manypoor people without a way out."

In New Orleans, the disaster's impact underscores theintersection of race and class in a city where fullytwo-thirds of its residents are black and more than aquarter of the city lives in poverty. In the Lower NinthWard neighborhood, which was inundated by thefloodwaters, more than 98 percent of the residents areblack and more than a third live in poverty. Spencer R. Crew, president and chief executive officerof the national Underground Railroad Freedom Center inCincinnati, said the aftermath of the hurricane wouldforce people to confront inequality.

"Most cities have a hidden or not always talked aboutpoor population, black and white, and most of the timewe look past them," Dr. Crew said. "This is a moment intime when we can't look past them. Their plight iscoming to the forefront now. They were the ones lessable to hop in a car and less able to drive off." That disparity has been criticized as a "disgrace" byCharles B. Rangel, the senior Democratic congressmanfrom New York City, who said it was made all the worseby the failure of government officials to have planned.

"I assume the president's going to say he got badintelligence, Mr. Rangel said, adding that the danger tothe levees was clear. "I think that wherever you see poverty, whether it's inthe white rural community or the black urban community,you see that the resources have been sucked up into thewar and tax cuts for the rich," he said. Outside Brooklyn Law School yesterday, a man sellingrecordings of famous African-Americans was upset at thefailure to have prepared for the worst. The man, whosaid his name was Muhammad Ali, drew a damningconclusion about the failure to protect New Orleans. "Blacks ain't worth it," he said. "New Orleans is ahopeless case."

Among the messages and essays circulating in cyberspacethat lament the lost lives and missed opportunities isone by Mark Naison, a white professor of African-American Studies at Fordham University in the Bronx.

"Is this what the pioneers of the civil rights movementfought to achieve, a society where many black people areas trapped and isolated by their poverty as they were bysegregation laws?" Mr. Naison wrote. "If Sept. 11 showedthe power of a nation united in response to adevastating attack, Hurricane Katrina reveals the faultlines of a region and a nation, rent by profound socialdivisions."

That sentiment was shared by members of other minoritygroups who understand the bizarre equality of poverty. "We tend to think of natural disasters as somehow even-handed, as somehow random," said Martín Espada, anEnglish professor at the University of Massachusetts andpoet of a decidedly leftist political bent who is PuertoRican. "Yet it has always been thus: poor people are indanger. That is what it means to be poor. It's dangerousto be poor. It's dangerous to be black. It's dangerousto be Latino."

This Sunday there will be prayers. In pews from the GulfCoast to the Northeast, the faithful will come togetherand pray for those who lived and those who died. Theywill seek to understand something that has yet to befully comprehended. Some may talk of a divine hand behind all of this. Butothers have already noted the absence of a human one.

"Everything is God's will," said Charles Steele Jr., thepresident of the Southern Christian LeadershipConference in Atlanta. "But there's a certain amount of common sense that God gives to individuals to prepare for certain things." That means, Mr. Steele said, not waiting until the eve of crisis. "Most of the people that live in the neighborhoods that were most vulnerable are black and poor," he said. "Soit comes down to a lack of sensitivity on the part of people in Washington that you need to help poor folks.It's as simple as that."

New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/02/national/nationalspecial/02discrim.html

Contributing reporting from New York for this articlewere Andy Newman, William Yardley, Jonathan P. Hicks,Patrick D. Healy, Diane Cardwell, Anemona Hartocollis,Ronald Smothers, Jeff Leeds, Manny Fernandez and ColinMoynihan. Also contributing were Michael Cooper inAlbany, Gretchen Ruethling in Chicago, Brenda Goodman inAtlanta and Carolyn Marshall in San Francisco.