News from The Black Star Project and Phillip Jackson


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If you are not willing to take your child to a free, Saturday small-group learning center, then you are part of the cause for your child’s failure. And if you are not willing to volunteer your time to educate Black children, please do not criticize us for educating Black children. 

  1. Saturday University – Greater Bethesda Campus
  2. Saturday University – Black Star Campus
  3. Saturday Univeristy – HumanThread Campus
  4. Saturday University – Chicago Hope Campus
  5. Saturday University – Parkway Activity Campus
  6. Saturday University – South Side Help Campus
We educate children of color and all children

We need tutors, administrators, mentors, chaperones and new, additional sites for the Saturday University.  Please call 773.285.9600 to become the solution to the problem of educating our youth. You must register for these classes before your child attends class.

Professor Michelle Alexander

and the

New Jim Crow

American Social Justice Campaign 

Is Coming to New York City, New York

People from Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, Long Island, New Rochelle, Yonkers and White Plains – New York; Stamford, Danbury, Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury – Connecticut; and Newark, Paterson, Jersey City, East Orange, Trenton and Elizabeth – New Jersey are invited to this event.

 If you are not supporting the work to keep innocent Black and Latino men out of prison,
“you are a criminal!”

A Saturday Afternoon with


Author of “The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration In The Age of Color Blindness”


Professor Michelle Alexander

Saturday, May 21, 2011

12:30 pm to 4:00 pm

at the

Historic Riverside Church

490 Riverside Drive

Manhattan, New York

Click Here to Register

Review by Mumia Abu-Jamal


The book, The New Jim Crow, offers an unflinching look at the US addiction to imprisonment, and comes up with a startling diagnosis; American corporate greed, political opportunism and the exploitation of age old hatred and fears have congealed to create a monstrous explosion in the world’s largest prison industrial complex.  Further, the author, a law professor at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, Michelle Alexander, digs deep into US history, and deeper still into US criminal law and practice to conclude that the barbarous system of repression and control known commonly as Jim Crow, had a rebirth in this era.  That’s why she calls it: The New Jim Crow.


This system of legal discrimination came into being much as the first one did. After the rout of the South by the Civil War, millions of newly freed Africans exercised these new rights under Reconstruction.  Black men became senators and legislators across the South. But this period was short lived, and as soon as possible, states passed harsh laws known as  Black Codes, which denied rights and criminalized behavior by Blacks, and exposed them to the repression of southern prisons, where convicts were leased out to labor for others; it was the rebirth of slavery by other means. 


This present era began at the height of the US Civil Rights Movement, when millions of Blacks fought for their rights denied for more than a century.  Alexander concludes that this new system, this new coalescence of economic and political interests, targeted Blacks, especially those engaged in the drug industry, as the human capital with which to provide massive construction, huge prison staffs, and the other appendages of the apparatus of state repression. 


But perhaps Alexander’s most salient point is her finding that America’s Black population constitutes a ‘racial caste’ that feeds and perpetuates mass incarceration  [195]
Indeed, every other societal structure supports this superstructure, from broken schools, to de-industrialization, to population concentration in isolated urban ghettoes, to the violence of police, and the silence of the Black Middle class. 


One might argue that such a claim seems unsustainable when we see a Black president, hundreds of black political figures and those in entertainment and sports.  But Alexander explains that every system allows exceptions, for they serve to legitimize the system and mask its ugliness and its gross effects upon the majority of Blacks. 


For example, while it’s well-known that apartheid was an overtly racist system, it allowed Asian and even African American diplomats to live and work in such a regime, by the political expediency of identifying them as “honorary whites” in their official papers.  When comparing both systems, Alexander argues that the US imprisons more Blacks both in raw number and per capita than South Africa at the height of apartheid! 


The New Jim Crow – indeed!



Mumia Abu-Jamal (born Wesley Cook on April 24, 1954) is an American who was found guilty of and sentenced to death for the December 9, 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. He has been described as “perhaps the best known Death-Row prisoner in the world”, and his sentence is one of the most debated today. Before his arrest, he was an activist, radio journalist, and part-time cab driver. He was a member of the Black Panther Party until October 1970.

Is it worth one day of your time to learn how to successfully teach Black boys to become strong, positive, educated Black men from four of the best educators in the United States?

Four of the top educators and speakers in the United States who successfully teach educators to help young Black men to excel academically will be in Chicago on Saturday, May 14, 2011. Will you?  
These teachers of teachers of strong, positive, educated Black boys and young men will convene in Chicago for a once in a lifetime conference on Educating Black Boys for Academic Success!  
Paul J. Adams III 
President and founder of Providence St. Mel (PSM) and Providence Englewood School.  PSM is a high school of national distinction that has sent 100% of its graduating Black boys to college for 29 straight years!


He will teach parents, community members and educators to create high schools that successfully educate young Black men.    
Umar Abdullah Johnson
CEO of African American Psychological
& Educational Services For Children
Author: The Psycho-Academic War Against Black Boys and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Black Boys  
He will teach parents, community members and educators to keep Black boys out of special education and away from the psycho-chemical drugs designs to trap Black boys in a chemically induced slavery.  
Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu
Author: The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys; Understanding Black Male Learning Styles; Raising Black Boys and Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education
Founder: African American Images 
He will teach parents, community members and educators to create elementary schools that successfully educate Black boys.    
  Dr. Alfred Tatum
Author: Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement Gap and“A Roadmap for Reading Specialists Entering Schools Without Exemplary Reading Programs: Seven Quick Lessons,” The Reading Teacher.
He will teach parents, community members and educators to teach Black boys and young Black men to become outstanding readers.
The cost of the conference is $225.00 until April 29, 2011 and $275.00 after April 29, 2011. Space is limited.  A full breakfast and a full lunch will be served.  The conference will be at the Ramada Inn Hyde Park on 50th and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois, on Saturday, May 14, 2011. Please call 773.285.9600 for more information or to register for one of the best conferences in decades on educating Black boys and young men. You will leave this conference with skills and the knowledge to immediately improve the way you educate Black boys.  This conference is sponsored by The Black Star Project.

“The Parent Trigger Law” In California Allows Parents to Call for Charter School



Parent in Compton, California 1st to use new law to convert school to charter campus 

Dec. 8, 2010

By Adolfo Guzman-Lopez 

Photos by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

Parents in the Compton Unified School District became the first in the state to use a new California law. It allows parents to petition school districts to convert low-performing campuses into charter schools.

After lawmakers debated its principles in the marble halls of the state capitol, the law became real in Lorena Bautista’s modest back yard in Compton. An interpreter helped Bautista welcome about a hundred people. “Thank you for coming and being here in my house,” said Bautista, through the interpreter.

Bautista’s one of a few dozen parents who detailed the instructional shortcomings of nearby McKinley Elementary School. Ismenia Guzman has a first grader at the school. “I just want a better education for my daughter and for all Compton school kids attending Compton Unified. I just don’t want our kids to be struggling due to poor education.”

Test scores back up her concerns. While it has raised its Academic Performance Index by more than 30 points in the last year, McKinley Elementary still trails more than a hundred points below the state’s 800-point goal for all schools.

The Parent Trigger law allows parents at under-performing schools to request that the place start over as a charter – a publicly funded campus independent of school district control.
Ben Austin heads Parent Revolution, the organization that helped these parents pull the legal trigger. He joined the activist mothers and fathers in this little backyard in Compton. “For the first time in the history of America parents are going to lead a transformation of their failing neighborhood school.”

Who’s leading what is up for debate. Austin’s group, a non-profit birthed by the Green Dot charter school company, was the catalyst for the law – and for this signature drive.
It provided staff to gather signatures, presented parents with a short list of charter school operators to choose from and facilitated tours of those charters. Parent Revolution also organized and paid for publicists, catering and transportation for the day’s event.

That’s not grassroots transformation, California Federation of Teachers president Marty Hittlelman told KPCC’s “AirTalk.” He said he’s watched how the Parent Trigger law is working in Compton Unified. “We hear reports that parents are being harassed at their homes in order to sign petitions, that they’re going after specifically, they’re targeting non-English-speaking parents. They pulled away from the African-American community when people started asking questions.”

McKinley Elementary parent Karla Garcia pulled up as buses readied to drive toward school district headquarters. She said she’d signed the petition, but she changed her mind and hoped to withdraw it, because the signature gatherer asked her if she wanted the school improved.

Garcia said that’s not the same as agreeing for it to become a charter. Besides, she added, the new principal is turning the school around. “The kids have more homework, my daughter is reading more. She is better in math. They have tutoring programs so I see a lot of better changes at McKinley.”

A Parent Revolution organizer said the petitions clearly stated that the intention was to create a charter school.

After a four-mile school bus ride to Compton Unified headquarters, parents delivered their petitions. District Superintendent Karen Frison received the requests.

Ismenia Guzman held up a letter from Frison on white district stationery that acknowledged receipt of the petitions. “We’re going to push them. We’re going to give them time to check on the petitions, making sure that our kids are in there, parents have signed, signatures are all right. But after that it’s something that they’re going to take care of.”

Behind her, State Senator Gloria Romero, the author of the Parent Trigger law, beamed. Education is the most urgent civil rights issue today, Romero said. She called Guzman and her fellow parents the new freedom riders, emboldened by the new law to hold administrators to a higher standard.

Race to the Bottom
“These corporate reformers are pursuing a strategy based on ideology, not on evidence. It is demoralizing teachers and setting up public schools to be de-legitimized, as they are called upon to meet impossible goals. This is not an improvement strategy, it is a privatization strategy.”

Diane Ravitch
former assistant secretary of education
U.S. Department of Education

Race to the Bottom: Ravitch Says ‘School Reformers’ Scapecoat Teachers, Ignore Poverty


Friday, February 11, 2011

By Roger Bybee

Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.

President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have formed an alliance with billionaire “school reformers” whose agenda is to downgrade U.S. public education and blame its shortcomings on “bad teachers,” warns educational historian Diane Ravitch.
Ravitch spoke Thursday night before a crowd of more than 1,000 education professors, students, public school teachers, and community activists at the University of Wisconsin.
“These corporate reformers are pursuing a strategy based on ideology, not on evidence,” she charged. “It is demoralizing teachers and setting up public schools to be de-legitimized, as they are called upon to meet impossible goals. This is not an improvement strategy, it is a privatization strategy.”
Ravitch, once assistant secretary of education under George W. Bush, has undergone a remarkable transformation after observing how the education system became fixated on test results, the scapegoating of teachers and the promoting of a privatized approach to education.
She has now emerged as one of the leading critics of the Obama-Duncan approach to public education, which has been driven by funding from several huge foundations–the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edith Broad Foundation, and the Walton Family foundation. 
The essence of this corporatized approach to public education is “choice, competition, deregulation, accountability, and data-based decision-making,” as Joanne Barkan summarizes it an important Dissent article.
With progressive reforms for education generating little attention, the corporate model has managed to make surprising inroads among some  liberals who have become persuaded that a market-driven education system is key to America’s future.
The corporate style of reform began with “No Child Left Behind” enacted under George W. Bush, which promoted a preoccupation with standardized testing and the conclusion that children’s failure to measure up was a direct result of inferior teachers.
This was followed by Duncan’s “Race to the Top” program which embraced the same core beliefs, including the closing of “failed schools.” Duncan and Obama, for example, applauded the decision of the Central Falls, Rhode Island School Board to close the high school and fire all 91 staff members, absurdly including the cafeteria and maintenance staff, based on the assumption that low test scores reflected the failures of the teachers.
The poverty of the students and the fact that a high percentage were immigrants learning English were seen as irrelevant to the low test scores. Eventually, both Duncan and the local school system were forced to back off due to public outcry.
But Duncan, along with the three huge foundations, is still pressing ahead with imposing what Ravitch calls their “punitive” and “market-based” assumptions on the nation’s schools. 
However, as both Ravitch and Barkan have pointed out, all the major studies show that the key elements of corporate-style education reform are simply not working: No improvement in learning: The most comprehensive study of de-regulated “charter” schools, conducted by conservative economists at Stanford University, examined education results among students at 2,400 charter schools nationally. They found 83% of charter schools perform either worse or no better than public schools.
Merit pay: The new wave of corporate reformers have argued that merit pay is vital to incentivize” and reward better-performing teachers. But a 2010 Vanderbilt University study clearly demonstrated that merit pay does not generate higher standardized testing.
A National Research Council report, backing up numerous other studies, found that standardized test scores fail to effectively measure student learning  The main result observed by Ravitch has been the tendency of school curriculums to get narrower and narrower, focusing almost exclusively on “teaching to the test” in reading and math. Supposed “success” stories of market-based, mayor-driven “reform” in Chicago and New York quickly unraveled once newspapers began independently evaluating the test scores of students.
Nonetheless, the combined PR clout of the Gates, Broad, and Walton foundations has generated a massive wave of favorable publicity for their crusade against what Ravitch called “the Bad Teacher Syndrome. This included a cover story in Newsweek, a weeklong series on NBC that “celebrated privatization and scapegoating teachers,” as Ravitch put it, and two segments of Oprah devoted to discussing Waiting for Superman, which  Ravitch called a badly-biased documentary.
All of these high-profile attacks on teachers, their unions, and union-won rights avoid the real causes of poor school performance. “Most of the nations that the US is comparing itself with have much lower rates of poverty among their children. It’s 20% nationally here, and I know it’s much higher in this community.” (32 percent of children in Milwaukee are poor.)
“Poor performance is mostly due to poverty and racial isolation,” Raitch said. Barkan further illuminated this point in Dissent:
The over-emphasis on testing, the targeting of teachers, the senseless closing of schools, and the substitution of a market model for the basic democratic right of public education are all generating an increasingly vocal backlash from both teachers and parents.
“Teachers are going to be marching on Washington D.C. July 28 to 30 to protest the ‘testing and punishment’ regime in education,” Ravitch announced. 
The top-down corporate-style reform championed by Obama and the billionaires threatens a further deterioration of education for poor kids, and is an imminent threat to America’s democratic traditions, Ravitch concluded.

Join COSEBOC in Philadelphia with

Best Practices for Educating Boys of Color


The Fifth Annual Gathering of Leaders:


Boy, Don’t You Turn Back: The Power of Resilience

 Hosted by:

Temple University in Philadelphia, PA

April 28 – 30, 2011 


COSEBOC is pleased to report that preparations are well underway for our 5th Annual Gathering of Leaders at Philadelphia’s Temple University. Our Gathering will be hosted by Temple University, Philadelphia, PA from April 28 0 30, 2011.


The theme is Boy, Don’t You Turn Back Now: The Power of Resilience.
Please click links below to read more…

Save the Date

Welcome Letter from Ron Walker »

“Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes »

Call for Workshop Proposals »

Fees and Registration »

Lodging Reservations »

Click here to reserve your room at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing.


Click Here to download the “Save the Date” card [PDF]



This year’s gathering is generously sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit



Milwaukee, New Orleans and Atlanta Prepare for Responsible Fatherhood Grant Seminars

These events are sponosred by
Open Society Foundation’s
Campaign for Black Male Achievement

Support the Work of

The Black Star Project

For more information on our other programs and how you can get involved, click on these links below or please call 773.285.9600:

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