Thursday, May 14, 2009

Student Film for Education Equality Day in Washington, D.C.

"Say It Loud is a youth film that explores the importance of education for African-American boys. When Jordan Coleman was 10-years-old he became a voice over actor on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. show The Backyardigans; he's the voice of Tyrone the moose. Jordan's parents challenged him to use some of his earnings to make a positive contribution to his community ... he hired a film crew and began interviewing African-American boys and men for his Say It Loud film."

Check out this 13-year old's blog. He has important things to say to our youth. He will be traveling the country this summer sharing his film and his insight with teens and their parents.

To contact him, send an email to


Cerebration said...

Education Equality Day:

A Call to Action to help close the achievement gap

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
Former Governor Roy Romer
District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty
Education Equality Project founders Rev. Al Sharpton & Chancellor Joel Klein
Special Musical Guest and others

Join Strong American Schools as we support the Education Equality Project on the 55th Anniversary of
Brown v. Board of Education
White House Ellipse
May 16, 2009


Cerebration said...

Contrarily - from the Schools Matter blog - a cogent argument for a different solution.

Laura Varlas wrote this about another presentation at the recent Education Writers' Association conference:

"In a later panel, University of Chicago professor Charles Payne presented data from his latest book, "So Much Reform, So Little Change", which emphasizes the importances of maximizing schools' social capital, and how many reform efforts neglect this keystone to supporting any lasting improvements.

"Payne said in schools with low academic achievement, building high levels of trust makes academic improvement three times as likely than in schools with low levels of trust among educators and students. He cited a ten percent improvement in graduation rate in schools where students say they know and trust their teachers.

"The way schools are being closed in Chicago has eroded an enormous amount of social capital by not including parents in the process. These parents care about their kids and schools, and have been marginalized by people doing things for their children, without including them in the process."
It can't help the level of trust, either, when the entire school staff is fired and replaced. Illogical.
What to do instead?

We agree with Dr. Mathis and will forward his recommendations on to Obama and Duncan:
stop expanding the number of charter schools and relying on takeovers, privatization and other restructuring efforts for school improvement, and
focus on making sure that all schools have adequate resources and support so that they can improve, and support such proven strategies such as early education, smaller class size, small school communities, intense personal intervention, and strong counseling and social support systems.If you would like to voice your opinion to Obama and Arne regarding their plan to close 5,000 schools, here's their contact info -

You can e-mail the President at
Here's Arne's contact info:
Primary Phone:
(202) 401-3000
Principal Office: (OS) Office of the Secretary
Department of Education Organizational Structure and Offices
E-Mail Address:

Cerebration said...

Just moving this conversation - it's more appropriate here --

Re: Harlem's Promise Academy- David Brooks wrote a column about the results -

here's a clip -

Over the past decade, dozens of charter and independent schools, like Promise Academy, have become no excuses schools. The basic theory is that middle-class kids enter adolescence with certain working models in their heads: what I can achieve; how to control impulses; how to work hard. Many kids from poorer, disorganized homes don’t have these internalized models. The schools create a disciplined, orderly and demanding counterculture to inculcate middle-class values.


Apparently, the program (Harlem's Childrens Zone/Promise Academy) has suffered - due to investors being ripped off by Bernie Madoff.

However - once again, Obama comes into play with plans to replicate the program all over and creating "Promise Neighborhoods" based on the model -


If you would like to listen to the creators talk about the program, you can watch a discussion (a pretty long one) here

Harlem Children's Zone is America's most ambitious and closely watched effort to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. HCZ aims to create a "conveyor belt" for Harlem's poor children, a series of rich and effective supports-from a "Baby College" for parents, to an all-day pre-kindergarten and extended-day charter schools, to health clinics and community centers, all the way to help in succeeding in college. Together, these efforts aim to give poor children the stimulation and the opportunities that most kids growing up in middle-class neighborhoods receive from birth. This year, HCZ will serve 8,000 children living in the 97 block Zone. The initiative has been featured on 60 Minutes, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and in the New York Times Magazine.

Policymakers have long talked about the lessons of HCZ for anti-poverty policy nationwide, and now there are proposals to replicate the HCZ model nationally. This panel brings together Geoffrey Canada, HCZ's President and Chief Executive Officer; Roland Fryer, a Harvard economics professor and the founder of Harvard's new Education Innovation Laboratory, a major effort to identify and evaluate promising approaches to closing the achievement gap; and Paul Tough, a New York Times Magazine editor and the author of the new book, Whatever It Takes, a critically acclaimed look at HCZ in the broader context of American poverty and education policy. They will talk about HCZ's experience to date and its implications for national policy.

Cerebration said...

This plan of Arne Duncan and President Obama's is nothing to take lightly. If they are successful, the plan (as I understand it) is to close 5,000 schools - firing all of the teachers and staff - and reopening with new staff - most likely as a charter school. This is a huge "Change" and if it has momentum, could have a serious effect on public education, quite possibly, effectively dismantling it and replacing it with private schools paid with vouchers or public/private charter schools. (This is all part of ARRA)

Check out this US News report

Cerebration said...

There's private money behind the charter school effort as well --

"Broad Foundation Awards $2.5 Million in New Grants to Expand Premier Public Charter Schools in New York City Uncommon Schools and Success Charter Network to triple number of schools in next five years"

Cerebration said...

oy! that's all I can say about this one -

ATLANTA – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has appointed Governor Sonny Perdue to the National Assessment Governing Board. The board sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), sometimes referred to as “The Nation's Report Card.”

The 26-member panel includes a bipartisan group of governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators, business representatives and other citizens. While members are chosen by the secretary of education, the board remains independent of the department.

“Governor Perdue will be a great addition to the board,” Secretary Duncan said. “During his two terms as governor, he has maintained and expanded on ambitious initiatives to improve education for children from the cradle to college. We look forward to his contributions to the board.”

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the only continuing assessment administered to a representative sample of students in each state in various subject areas, including mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, and U.S. history.

“NAEP is considered the gold standard in terms of measuring our progress in education across states,” Governor Perdue said. “Georgia’s math and reading NAEP scores have risen to an all-time high and are now at or near national averages in many categories. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to serving on the National Assessment Governing Board.”

The governing board's responsibilities include:

· Selecting subject areas to be assessed

· Setting appropriate student achievement levels

· Developing assessment objectives and test specifications

· Developing a process for the review of the assessment

· Designing the assessment methodology

· Developing guidelines for reporting NAEP results

· Developing standards and procedures for interstate, regional and national comparisons

· Determining the appropriateness of all assessment items and ensuring the assessment items are free from bias and are secular, neutral, and non-ideological

· Taking actions to improve the form, content, use, and reporting of results of the national assessment

For more information on NAEP, see . For details on the board, visit .