Thursday, August 06, 2009

(Selections from) The Soulvine: SAY WHAT?

The Soulvine is a column by Betty Pleasant. Contributing Editor of the Los Angeles Wave.

NAACP STEPS IN — Los Angeles NAACP President Leon Jenkins wrote an open letter last week to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa decrying the Spanish-language-only summer instruction that was implemented at John Ritter Elementary School in Watts. The school is one of the 10* LAUSD public schools taken over by the mayor. Jenkins told the mayor that such segregation, regardless of how compelling the reason or justification, violates the fundamental principles of Brown v. Board of Education and the 1963 Civil Rights Act.

Jenkins writes about the dangers of engaging in any decision-making process “that decides which student gets educational opportunities based on ethnic origin or group and not on academic need, disadvantages, or income disparity, which exclude other equally disadvantaged and academically needy students based on ethnic origin.” Jenkins wrote something else that’s important, to wit: “It is equally appalling that this kind of segregation comes at the hands of another disadvantaged minority. Regardless of the intended goodwill, acts that advance the vestiges of discrimination and segregation cannot be tolerated.”


* – Going on 11

BREWER DID IT — The Villaraigosa-controlled Los Angeles Unified School District is touting the fact that the district has shown a significant decrease in its dropout rate and a similarly substantial increase in its high school graduation rate between 2007 and 2008. Wasn’t the Black man, David Brewer, the superintendent of schools during that period? Wasn’t David Brewer the man who put the mechanism in place that resulted in these significant ups and downs? Isn’t David Brewer the man the mayor had unceremoniously, humiliatingly, and expensively thrown out of his job for no good reason so Ramon Cortines, his own hand-picked crony, could take over? We already knew that while Superintendent Brewer was still on the job, students’ reading and math scores went up, and now we know their dropout rate went down and their graduation rate went up. So what the hell do people want from the head of a school district? I know, and I still say Brewer’s ouster was an act of racism.

ASSEMBLY SPEAKER KAREN BASS this week called on community-based organizations to challenge the constitutionality of the line-item veto Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently made to California’s health and social safety net programs. “The latest round of cuts the governor hand-selected and unilaterally made — many of which are illegal under the Constitution — will have a disproportionate impact on the African-American and Latino communities,” Bass said. “The community needs to be aware of the governor’s actions and join in efforts to ensure his illegal cuts are blocked.”

Full Column

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