A couple pieces on school inequality worth checking out

This piece was written Yohuru Williams, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University (my new dean, by the way, something I couldn’t be happier about, both in my joining Fairfield and having him as a dean) on school inequality, why charter schools are not the answer and outlining why those salivating over charter schools are misappropriating the Civil Rights Movement. There’s one thought that really stands out in a piece that makes incredibly strong arguments:

“This is really the crux of the problem. The Civil Rights Movement was about inclusivity, while those who appropriate its language to buttress corporate education reform do so largely in support of programs that promote exclusivity at the public’s expense.”

This rings especially true after I listened to the most recent episode of This American Life, which was about how Missouri accidentally desegregated schools. The accident happened when the state pulled accreditation from the Normandy School District. That district borders Ferguson, Missouri, and is the district that Michael Brown graduated from. The accidental desegregation resulted in higher test scores for students who ended up in better schools, but the state quickly took care of that “accident,” so the inner city kids ended up back at the schools that were failing them originally.

 

 

 

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Reaction at the fairgrounds: ‘I think we’re at war’

From The Daily Record in Wooster, Ohio. This is the first story I wrote on Sept. 11, 2001. It ran in a special edition that the newspaper put out the same day as the attacks. I was at the Wayne County Fair working the subscription tent when what was happening finally started to dawn on everyone there. I ended up using the back of subscription forms to take notes.

img_7215By Matt Tullis
Staff Writer

WOOSTER — People gathered around the WQKT 104.5 FM radio booth Tuesday morning, straining to listen to the live feed from CNN radio that was carrying the latest news on the apparent terrorist attack in the eastern United States earlier that morning.

Outside the fairgrounds entrance, flags flew at half-mast. Inside the grandstand, the only noise was the bits and pieces of news that spewed from the half-dozen radios that were sitting in booths advertising everything from pianos to real estate.

As people gathered around the WQKT booth, “The Star-Spangled Banner” began outside, the start of what was still to be a day of harness racing.

Eyes welled up. Anger poured out.

“I think we’re at war,” said Art Clappe, an Akron resident who came to the fair. “If we ain’t at war, we’re damn close to it.”

Wayne County Fair Board member Herb Berry said there were no plans to cancel any fair activities as of Tuesday afternoon.

Mike Brekenridge, program manager at WQKT, said people were stopping by the booth as soon as the news broke. They would stay for 10 or 15 minutes before moving on, but ultimately they came back, unable to stay away from the horrific news updates, he said.

“It’s really disturbing,” Breckenridge said. “Nobody is smiling around here today, that’s for sure.”

Breckenridge said the radio station would carry continuous coverage well into the night.

“No other programming seems appropriate, at least not at this time,” he said. “This is far more important than anything else we could put on the air.”

While Breckenridge stood next to the booth, several people expressed absolute rage at what happened. One woman assumed Osama bin Laden, a Saudi terrorist and known enemy of the United States, was to blame for the attack.

“We should murder the son-of-a-bitch,” she said before walking away.

Murel Cameron of Canal Fulton said it was hard to express exactly what he was feeling.

“It’s hard to put it into words,” Cameron said. “Everybody is pretty much in shock. We get bits and pieces. Shock is the main word.”

John Weeman and his family vacationed in New York City last year. During the visit, they went to the World Trade Center.

It’s terrible,” he said. “The number of people that died.” Weeman paused. “We were in the Trade Center last year on vacation, and it could hold all of Wayne County.”

Linda Flory has 3-year-old and a 4-year-old daughters. While she takes solace in her faith, Flory said this is something that her children won’t be able to understand, at least not for now.

“I believe God is in control,” Flory said. “We don’t know the future, but we know who holds the future if you just put your trust in him.”

As she handed out tracts of Christian literature, labeled “The Beginning of the End,” Flory said she has noticed people are definitely not in a typical fair-going mood.

“People are all scared, dazed,” she said. “I just feel sick about it.”