2011-06-10 / Columnists

School Scope

The NAACP Strikes Back
By Norman Scott

On May 26, Eva Moskowitz and other Harlem charter school operators closed down their schools for hours in the morning so that the parents and children could rally at the NAACP Harlem headquarters to try to pressure the NAACP to drop out of the lawsuit they filed jointly with the UFT to stop the closing of schools, a suit if won would force charters to find their own space instead of co-locating in these schools (some people think the schools were denied resources and forced to close for the very reason of bringing charters in). With no school do go to, 2500 people showed up, prompting this headline I put up on my blog:

Rich White Woman Tells Poor Black People to Rally Against NAACP While Shutting Their Children Out of Their Schools for Hours

The over one hundred year old institution that has stood for defending people of color against inequality and was instrumental in the historic Brown vs. Board of Education 1954 suit to end the concept of “separate and unequal,“ fought back with a press conference in front of Moskowitz’ Success Charter School offices on June 3. Tales were told of how charter school co-locations have created a separate and unequal situation in many schools where public school children eat lunch at 10 a.m. are denied access to the better facilities in their own schools, are forced to use shoddy bathrooms and have to hold special ed services in closets and stairways. Many Harlem politicians showed up, along with the UFT led by Michael Mulgrew who pointed to the Bloomberg controlled Panel for Educational Policy as having endorsed these policies as a culprit that should perhaps be replaced. By what, Mulgrew didn’t say.

“The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman” film update

I’ve been telling you about the excitement about our film response to the “Waiting for Superman” film which placed the blame for failing schools on teachers and their unions while calling charters the magic bullet to solve the problems. We have received requests for the film from all 50 states and six continents. (So far the penguins in Antarctica have not been threatened by charters.) The response from teachers, parents, school board members and union officials has been overwhelming. More surprising has been the response from NYC principals who have requested the film to show as part of staff development days. That was a shocker, but it indicates just how deep the attack on public education has reached.

Robotics in New Hampshire

I’m writing this just as I’m leaving for Manchester, NH for my annual trek to check out the FIRST LEGO League for the upcoming season which will focus on the theme of food and keeping food safe – very timely given the news from Germany about the massive Ecoli outbreak. The Food Factor competition asks the following question:

Can FIRST® LEGO® League teams improve the quality of food by finding ways to prevent food contamination? In the 2011 Food Factor Challenge, over 200,000 9- to 16-year-olds from over 55 countries will explore the topic of food safety and examine the possible points of contamination our food encounters – from exposure to insects and creatures, to unsterile processing and transportation, to unsanitary preparation and storage – then find ways to prevent or combat these contaminates. In the Food Factor Challenge, teams will build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT to solve a set of Food Safety missions as well as research, develop, and share their innovative food safety solutions. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under FLL’s signature set of Core Values.

Food, my favorite thing. I’m dreaming of edible LEGO blocks already. Gotta go and beat the traffic.

Norm blogs at: http://ednotesonline. blogspot.com/

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