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Hardy L. Brown

California Teachers Happy over Loss of 'Race To The Top' Money

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The state of California was denied federal funding on “Race to the Top” in education and as usual the teachers association and some professional educators are saying that is alright. We have Black students lagging at the bottom of every category of every indicator of a successful education and they say that is alright that we did not get funding. Now when it comes to their salaries they scream that it is the money that counts. In doing a quick survey of Black publishers in California they are fed up with these associations wanting more money with our support with no accountability for educating our kids.

In a front page article by reporter Chris Levister, she quotes the head of the California Federation of Teachers Association Marty Hittelman as saying; “I won’t say that I’m in sorrow of California losing it. There wasn’t a great deal of support. The teachers union had opposed for example, basing teachers evaluations on standardized test they say are flawed”. Now mind you last year when these same teachers got lay off notices and President Barack Obama sent federal stimulus money to save their jobs not one peep came from them about lack of support.

As a matter of fact these teachers were out stirring up the community that our children would be harmed if teachers were impacted.

Let us take a look at who is impacted. The staffing of teachers in California is 70.1%white with only 27.9%ofthe students being white. You can see who gets the money but what about accountability and what is happening in our schools when it comes to African American students.

Black students make up 7.3% of the student population with 4.3%of us as teachers. According to the Department of Education African American students score (674) at the bottom of the Accountability Progress Reporting, Performance Index Report. The California High School Exit Exam places Blacks at 23% passing Math and 33% passing English Language Arts. They list our adjusted dropout rate at 32.9%which is 10%higher than the closest group. In some districts the dropout rate for Blacks is greater than 50 percent. Then when you look at over20,700 are expelled and over 770,000 are suspended each year, the question is who is in school to teach?

Now I am not teacher bashing but taking a realistic view of how African Americans are being treated in our educational system as students, teachers, and taxpayers, we are getting the short end of the stick. For your information when I ran for the school board I was the leading champion for higher teachers’ salaries. So I support teachers.

All I am saying teachers is you cannot have it both ways when it comes to receiving federal monies: you accept it when it comes to saving 72% white teachers jobs but refuse federal dollars when it comes to saving African American children.

Somebody Has to Pay for the Census

We are in the last inning of informing our communities to make sure to fill out their census form and mail it back in so federal dollars can return to our community. As always the people in charge get millions of dollars to educate the public on how important it is to be counted. And as always they pay people in non-Black communities and then in a last ditch effort come to us with a request to volunteer our services or provide free space to get the word out. They even go to local churches and ask the clergy to motivate and rev up the congregations to fill out the forms.

In the majority community they buy ads in papers, magazines, on television, sides of buses, billboards, sporting events and any place someone can think of. One thing I have learned in my dealing with public and private organizations is when you want something done that they are not currently doing somebody has to pay for it. When I was on the school board and came up with an idea, Dr. E. Neal Roberts would say where is the money? Somebody has to pay for it.

On my job at Kaiser everybody had ideas but top management would respond, sounds good but somebody has to pay for it.

In my personal budget when something needed to be done that was not a part of the budget the question I ask is: who is going to pay for it? The census wanted a spot on television during the Superbowl the commissioner said in response, who is going to pay for it, and the census did.

Locally we had some advertising dollars come into the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino specifically designated to be used in ethnic media where undercounts have always occurred that had not been reached by other means. Well, some well meaning staff person decided that they would send press releases to the Black Voice News and other community publications while taking the money and spending it in radio and even at the Date Festival. Then they told us they had no information on us when we contacted them. My question to them is how could you locate us for press releases and not for advertising?

Once again you pay to get the word out in high response communities then want us to volunteer and give our business up for free. Somebody has to pay for it.

Now what these county employees are doing is a disservice to the county’s policymakers because when the federal reallocations are done they will not have enough funds to provide for the people needing the services. Somebody has to pay.

Ray Smith, Riverside Public Information Officer, when questioned why we were not brought in on the plan earlier said staff was doing the plan but his office on Tuesday said they had to confer with the committee, he had no explanation. He also said that Latinos are considered the hard to count in Riverside. He was informed that the only legally adjudicated Black newspaper in the County is The Black Voice News to which he just said they would be placing ads after the Census forms hit.

That makes me believe there is an undercurrent to make sure Blacks are not counted and then blame it on those same Blacks.

Jose Medina for 64th Assembly an Educational Leader

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Jose Medina has been an active citizen in the Inland Empire for many years seeking no recognition but serving his community anyway he could. He has been active in education as a teacher, school board member, community college trustee and volunteer in countless other civic activities with the last being Barack Obama for President. As a leader in education for several decades, one might ask why recommend Jose for the Assembly.

For starters we have term limits and that has resulted in many inexperienced individuals being elected into office which has led to a short learning curve. Then we have an educational crisis in our state and the Inland Empire especially when it comes to Black and Hispanic children. We need state policy makers with practical experience of local decision making that understands the intricate needs of districts in the community which is not based on political party affiliation.

Currently we have too many politicians making those kinds of decisions.

That brings me back to Jose’s experience as a teacher, school board member, community college trustee and an activist in our community to solve problems. On the political activist side, Jose was one of the very first supporters of now President Barack Obama in this area. He did not waver in his support nor did he wait to see what the polls indicated or who was supporting who. You might ask how I know; well he came to my office with the Obama statewide coordinator to discuss the campaign, well before the California primary election. Jose then went out to other states to work on behalf of Obama, and Jose has done this kind of thing all his life. With some of the racial issues that sometimes surface between our people, it is never an issue with Jose Medina.

Jose will also bring a sensible approach when it comes to restoring fiscal responsibility to spending our tax dollars. He understands the legitimate needs of our most valuable citizens, small business owners and the need to expand our economic and transportation corridors in the Inland Empire.

I urge you to support Jose Medina for Assembly in the 64th District.

A New Atmosphere At San Bernardino City Council Meeting

This past Monday at the San Bernardino City Council meeting I could not believe what my eyes were seeing nor what my ears were hearing.

They were discussing agenda item 19 concerning a program to help ex-offenders get back into the mainstream of society once released from prison. In past meetings, this topic would bring animated gestures and accusatory remarks from certain corners of the council at each other.

At the end of this particular discussion I was surprised when Councilmember Wendy McCammack said she was in support of this program with a smile on her face. I don’t know what has happened to change her support but her demeanor and attitude was a very welcome sight.

One might speculate that the recent election is over with two new members who spoke with civility and support for this type of approach to solving a community problem.

One might speculate the city attorney, Jim Penman who lost to Mayor Morris, was not sitting at the table during the discussion. One might speculate that Wendy will have to seek re-election next year and by the people sending Morris back, it is clear what direction the citizens want the city to go. I am sure you have your on speculations but whatever the reason, it was a surprise and welcome sight.

Setting the Stage for this Year's Campaign Season

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Another political season is upon us that will require our decision to vote on people and issues that will serve our interest in the public arena.

When it comes to candidates none of us have found a fool-proof way of voting for someone who will do everything we want. However if you are like me you seek to talk with as many of them as you can while reading as much about them as possible. You also read the propositions to better understand what is presented before you as well as who is behind them.

Sometimes they sound good but in reality not practical or worth the money, let alone of benefit to the African American community.

What we try and do hereat the Black Voice News is what I described above and offer you our opinion on who will represent our best interest in the office the candidate is seeking.

So until the primary election in June and the general election in November I will be offering you our endorsements aswe make decisions on various positions.

Wilmer Amina Carter for Assembly A Proven Leader

The citizens residing in the 62nd Assembly District have been well served by Wilmer Amina Carter as their Assemblymember. She has demonstrated the training and political leadership she acquired while working with Congressman George Brown and that is working with everyone including the opposition party. She has conducted many hearings in the district to garner information before making a vote while publishing timely newsletters to keep us informed.

Having been a small business owner herself she understands and has supported legislation to increase our participation in the vendor programs of the state.

Her commitment to our young people is evident in her staff and the recognition she has given to academic and leadership achievement. She reaches out to a diverse constituency by supporting and attending the many functions in all communities.

Now while I have focused on her ability and skills to work with a diverse population and across political lines, Amina is busy a legislator writing, reading and supporting many bills onthe following committees: education, health, transportation, budget, utilities, commerce, census and select committee on higher education.

Even with her busy schedule whenever the Black media owners in California are visiting in Sacramento, which is twice a year, she always finds time to meet and inform us on the latest issues.

Return Wilmer Amina Carter to the 62nd Assembly District seat.

Stan Sniff for Sheriff: A Committed Leader

Several years ago the Black Voice News and Riverside County Sheriff Department under then Sheriff Bob Doyle, started a program to change the perception of how African Americans inRiverside County viewed law enforcement and to recruit more of us into the profession. (I shared with Sheriff Doyle that because of our long history as adversaries and not that of protecting and serving so it must be a longtime commitment from the departmentand us to make a change.) Well Doyleretired and we have a new sheriff in town.

Not knowing Sheriff Sniff I proceeded to observe his actions, and talk withhim and others who interacted with him. I must say he did meet with my staff to commit and continue the relationship and program of reaching out to the Black community not just with words but with dollars. In my conversations with him he is trulysincere in his desire to keep the county safe and in a much better place on race relations and employment than where he found it.

He has made some strategic promotions within the department and can be seen consistantly engaged with the community. It is refreshing to see the sheriff at NAACP events, church functionsand at the past Black Voice Foundation gala, Sheriff Sniff attended rather than sending a representative.

Sheriff Sniff is respected by his peers and supported by hisstaff. He leads the county by example.

I urge the voters of Riverside to keep Stan Sniff as our sheriff.

The Black Farmers are going to get their money

At last, the Black Farmers of America might just get the $1.7billion, from the Federal government for years of racial discrimination by the department of agriculture. We have followed this story for 40 years when it was brought to our attention by Cheryl’s cousins in Sanford, North Carolina. Then we met andtalked with the organizers several times after that. I met withSecretary Blocker in the Clinton administration to talk about the issue after the courts ruled in the farmers favor but did not force the money to be paid. Well it is long overdue but it looks as if it will be completed under President Barack Obama’s Administration.

Reps/Dems Step Up To The Plate

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The past several weeks some members of the Republican Partyand the newly found Tea Party have had a field day in scaring thepublic not to support President Obama and the Democratic Party’s health care bill or any bills for that matter. They haveeven used a photo showing Republican Gov Charlie Crist of Florida hugging President Obama as a negative. Saying thatGovernor Fist is too chummy with President Obama because hetook the stimulus money to help the people of Florida. Now mind you the people of Florida pay taxes and arehurting like everybody else. This is how far some people will go when it comes to money and race when it involves African Americans. Most Americans have forgottenthe Reconstruction Era and Jim Crow Laws that followed. After the Civil War nine Blacks were elected to Congresswhich set off a fire storm of Ku Klux Klan activities all over this country which shut Blacks out of Congress for almost 100years. Jim Crow was legal by law into the 60’s and is still practiced today by elected officials in the south and other parts ofthe nation when it is convenient.

I was not going to write anything about my thoughts on these political games until I remembered my experience with GeorgePepper, the past Grand Master of the California Ku Klux Klan in Fontana across from Kaiser Hospital at the old Thrifty Restaurant. George Pepper had heard me say at a public meetingI didn’t care what a person thought or believed in America aslong as they did not put it into action that would deny a personsrights because of the color of his skin, sex, religion or national origin. I did not know him by face but he came up to me afterthe session to invite me to do a radio program with him in adebate. I told him I would think about it so later in the week he called my office at Kaiser and said asked if I would meet him for coffee at the Thrifty Coffee shop. I agreed and when I walked in he was sitting in the booth and I extended my hand for a shake.

He replied I can’t shake your hand in public. He said it was an“image” thing. I won’t go into some of the other things that wetalked about because of space but it was an eye opener on theracial divide and public image.

That brings me to the current way the Republicans are acting towards President Obama. They cannot appear to be supportiveof his policies, take pictures with him in public or make sure noAfrican Americans receive help and Lord knows do not let anymoney into the hands or under our control. Growing up in North Carolina during segregation federal money would come into thecounty and still does, according to Johnson Willis, and beforethey would give it to Black people they would let it go back.

This is what the white Republicans of South Carolina are doingtoday. Another Republican voted against the stimulus moneyand went home to take pictures with his white voters, who gotstimulus money, and said look what I got you from Washington.

In Florida some members in the Republican Party are using apicture that Governor Crist took with President Obama saying Crist does not deserve your vote. The Tea Party is saying wewant to take this country back to what the founding fathers established it on, as one of their signs stated, let’s stop progress. Which I translate into let us remove Blacks from office and keep them out of decision making of public policy.

According to CNN 67% of this conservative party followersare non educated white males or blue collar labor workers. That is why Sarah Palin criticizes President Barack Obama for beingeducated, brilliant and able to use or not use a teleprompter, while she writes notes on her hands like students did to cheat in school.

The stimulus money will help every one in Florida regardless of race, sex, creed or color. Remember George Pepper statement to me, we have an “image” to uphold.

I also recall the KKK saying that the Republican Party platform looked like it was written by them back when Ronald Reagan defeated then President Jimmy Carter. People in the Tea Party Movement or some in the Republican Party say I always notice these tactics when money is mixedwith race. In districts where African Americans are not a signif- icant factor these kinds of racial attitudes are not displayed.

When President George Bush was doling out billions to “white only” corporations these same uninvolved 67%population saidnot one word.

When I took my first typing class in high school, we had to type over and over again: Now is the time for all good men tocome to the aid of their country. I say now is the time for those Republicans who really believe that they are the party of Lincoln to step up to the plate and marginalize that kind of thinking. It is also time for those Democrats who also say onething yet do another to step up to the plate and call these tactics for what they are, racial scar tactics, not Christian conservative values. Before these now southern Republicans becameinto existence they were old Dixie Democrats doing the samething.

Big Lots settles race discrimination Lawsuit

The Big Lots Store in Rancho Cucamonga settled a $400,000 lawsuit where a Hispanic supervisor and other Latino employees repeatedly used the N word when referring to African American employees. Big Lot has 71 stores within a 50 mile radius of zipcode 92411 in San Bernardino where they sell all of their products. If they think this way of the Black employees I wonder what they think of their Black customers.

Big Lots corporate office is in Columbus, Ohio where they say “we encourage each member of our team to develop strongbonds in the community where we live and work.” They forgotto tell the employees in Rancho Cucamonga to do that with the Black community as a matter of fact they forgot to tell all of the California employees about the Black community. They go onto say “We are committed to making a difference to those weserve by stocking food banks, supporting volunteerism, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to schools andsocial services agencies.”

My question to the Black community is: has Big Lots made adifference in your community or organization with a donationor your food bank program? If not ask your local Big Lots storemanager, why not.

They also said they have launched a national advertising campaign to help vendors learn more about their buying power; again they ignore the Black media.

Shame on you Big Lots and congratulations to the AfricanAmerican employees of Rancho Cucamonga.

Target's Celebration of Black History Month Called Dare-Dream-Do

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Target Stores or now Target Corporation, because of a recent name change, has been celebrating Black History Month since 2006 and they always notify the owners of Black newspapers to carry their message for free. The Target Corporation is one of the nation’s largest advertisers yet they fail to see us as advertising partners.

They see Black Americans and our news papers as customers and contributors to this great nation, in my opinion, but only as a means to get its message to our people.

The Target ad for this y ear shows four Blacks who are successful because they “Dare-Dream and Do.” If you s aw the ad it would say to you Target cares so come and spend your money with us so we can continue to care but share your money with other communities . Target donates over $3 million each week to community organizations but falls short when you look at what they give to Black-run organizations as benefactors o f this generosity. The other known reason for this type of ad with Black faces in them is it will attract us as loyal customers into their stores when it comes to spending money.

Target, like its competitors and other corporations in America, have policies on corporate responsibility, community outreach, and diversity in employment and supplier services. These are well meaning written policies but always come up short when it comes to the African American people. According to a statement on their website, they are proud of their diversity investment programs and opportunities but did not list those investments. They only listed one Black organization in Los Angeles that they contribute to which is the Afro American Museum. Locally, I have not seen nor heard of any efforts of the 31 Target Stores in the Inland Empire communities. Yes they have 31 stores in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Maybe you should inquire of the s tore manager the next time you visit the store in your community.

Like their ad implies I “Dare” you to ask them to give back to the community to help you fulfill your “Dream” of a good education from their scholarship program, or a job to help with their diversity employee opportunities o r better y et a contract for supplies or service. Then we can change the “Do” into a we Did it together.

Charter Schools: If You Build It, They Will Come

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times on February 4th, charter schools are returning to the past of racial separation or racial isolation according to a study completed at UCLA.

This was one of the drawbacks from some voices when charter schools were first put on the table as one of the solutions to improve public education. I have no doubt that the study is correct but there is more to educating our young people than what race is in the classroom with you. It is important but only if our children are improving their education.

I remember the nation saying integrate our schools with full deliberate s peed which is still our nation’s goal. Part of the problem is we have spent the last 50 years counting bodies instead of teaching our kids to count. So I hope we don’t get caught up in that distraction again especially Black Americans. While we were counting racial bodies Whites were leaving the inner cities to legally separate school districts in newly formed communities. We were hopping on buses to segregated class rooms on integrated campuses. I witnessed whites bused into minority community schools only to be taught by experienced teachers with no Blacks or Hispanics in that special, white-only, magnet class. I witnessed the suspension and expulsion rate of Black and Hispanic students go through the rooftop especially boys. I witnessed the dropout rate of this same population hit the 50 percent level in many districts. I witnessed the dumbing down of student curriculum to Black and Hispanic students implying we cannot l earn. I witnessed the closing down of schools in minority communities which s ends the signal, education is not important to us, yet studies have shown that Blacks and Hispanics vote at a higher rate for school bond funding than any other group of people.

While all of this was going on administrators and teachers salaries were on the rise with fewer Blacks going into education. The cost of books kept going up and up with les s diversity in them to reflect a diverse nation. And I might add the integration policies o f our public schools leaves a lot to be desired as our Black students fall further and further behind.

So now that more Blacks are saying put the money in our hands so we can have a greater say in the education of our children, UCLA wants to do what they did in the sixties put another topic in the mix. They told us in the sixties we could not l earn because of our income, while it has an impact it has nothing to do with a child’s l earning ability. Mom would say your job is to learn to read, write, and count while in the class. You can eat when you get home. Now I know some people will say that some don’t have it that well but I use to put sugar in a saucer with water then sop it with a biscuit after school, then go into the tobacco field and help before dark.

So now I see the value of well intended people that are committed to putting education at the top of the agenda for African American children and I am all for that. One thing I have l earned in my years of working in education, if you build a high achieving student body, people will come regardless of race.

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