Bill Gates Unplugged

Thursday, December 13, 2007

America has lost a generation of Black boys

There is no longer a need for dire predictions, hand-wringing, or apprehension about losing a generation of Black boys. It is too late. In education, employment, economics, incarceration, health, housing, and parenting, we have lost a generation of young Black men. The question that remains is will we lose the next two or three generations, or possibly every generation of Black boys hereafter to the streets, negative media, gangs, drugs, poor education, unemployment, father absence, crime, violence and death.

Most young Black men in the United States don't graduate from high school. Only 35% of Black male students graduated from high school in Chicago and only 26% in New York City, according to a 2006 report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education. Only a few black boys who finish high school actually attend college, and those few Black boys who enter college, nationally, only 22% of them finish college.

Young Black male students have the worst grades, the lowest test scores, and the highest dropout rates of all students in the country. When these young Black men don't succeed in school, they are much more likely to succeed in the nation's criminal justice and penitentiary system. And it was discovered recently that even when a young Black man graduates from a U.S. college, there is a good chance that he is from Africa, the Caribbean or Europe, and not the United States.

Black men in prison in America have become as American as apple pie. There are more Black men in prisons and jails in the United States (about 1.1 million) than there are Black men incarcerated in the rest of the world combined. This criminalization process now starts in elementary schools with Black male children as young as six and seven years old being arrested in staggering numbers according to a 2005 report, Education on Lockdown by the Advancement Project.

The rest of the world is watching and following the lead of America. Other countries including England, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil and South Africa are adopting American social policies that encourage the incarceration and destruction of young Black men. This is leading to a world-wide catastrophe. But still, there is no adequate response from the American or global black community.

Worst of all is the passivity, neglect and disengagement of the Black community concerning the future of our Black boys. We do little while the future lives of Black boys are being destroyed in record numbers. The schools that Black boys attend prepare them with skills that will make them obsolete before, and if, they graduate. In a strange and perverse way, the Black community, itself, has started to wage a kind of war against young Black men and has become part of this destructive process.

Who are young Black women going to marry? Who is going to build and maintain the economics of Black communities? Who is going to anchor strong families in the Black community? Who will young Black Boys emulate as they grow into men? Where is the outrage of the Black community at the destruction of its Black boys? Where are the plans and the supportive actions to change this? Is this the beginning of the end of the Black people in America?

The list of those who have failed young Black men includes our government, our foundations, our schools, our media, our Black churches, our Black leaders, and even our parents. Ironically, experts say that the solutions to the problems of young Black men are simple and inexpensive, but they are not easy or popular. It is not that we lack solutions as much as it is that we lack the will to implement these solutions to save Black boys. It seems that government is willing to pay billions of dollars to lock up young Black men, rather than the millions it would take to prepare them to become viable contributors and valued members of our society.

Please consider these simple goals that can lead to solutions for fixing the problems of young Black men:

Short term
1) Teach all Black boys to read at grade level by the third grade and to embrace education.
2) Provide positive role models for Black boys.
3) Create a stable home environment for Black boys that includes contact with their fathers.
4) Ensure that Black boys have a strong spiritual base.
5) Control the negative media influences on Black boys.
6) Teach Black boys to respect all girls and women.

Long term
1) Invest as much money in educating Black boys as in locking up Black men.
2) Help connect Black boys to a positive vision of themselves in the future.
3) Create high expectations and help Black boys live into those high expectations.
4) Build a positive peer culture for Black boys.
5) Teach Black boys self-discipline, culture and history.
6) Teach Black boys and the communities in which they live to embrace education and life-long learning.

Friday, December 7, 2007

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

I ask all of my students, upon meeting them, “What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

You should see the wheels start turning inside their heads.

I cannot remember who first posed this question to me. But it sounds like something I would have learned in prison. In real life, there is no “irresistible force” and no “immovable object”. The question is meant as merely a mental exercise. But it accomplishes two ends. First, it provokes critical thinking. Second, it develops a strong mental attitude.

Suppose you are an irresistible force headed toward an objective. Nothing can stop you (unless maybe it’s an immovable object). Now imagine that you are an immovable object, able to stand your ground against any force (except maybe an irresistible force).

If you are going to come at me, Tiger, you better bring everything you have, because I’m not budging. But if I coming at you, there is nothing that you can put before me to stop me- not even money.

Thursday, November 29, 2007



Without commercial interruption or commentary, I proudly present the masterpiece of the truth behind “American Gangster”, done by none other than Frank Lucas and Nicky Barnes themselves in collaboration.

The documentary opens with the statement: They (Frank Lucas and Nicky Barnes) killed in the name of commerce… They shot a man at point-blank range and the man’s short caught afire.

It reminded of Fort Worth outlaw Luke Short, owner of the White Elephant saloon, friend of another top-hat wearing outlaw named Bat Masterson. They both wore top hats and carried .45 caliper derringers up their sleeves. It was with one of these concealed handguns that Short shot a man and his shirt caught fire.

In 1883 Short settled in Dodge City, Kansas, where he purchased a half interest in the now famous Long Branch Saloon. This put him at odds with the mayor of Dodge and his allies, who made attempts to run him out of town as an "undesirable". In what became known as the Dodge City War, Luke's friends rallied a formidable force of gunfighters to support him, including Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Charlie Bassett. Faced with the threat of force, Short's opponents allowed him to return without a shot being fired. Later that year he sold his interest and moved to Fort Worth, Texas.

In Fort Worth, Short was involved in another of the most famous historical gunfights. Short had developed an invested interest in the White Elephant Saloon. "Longhair" Jim Courtright, who was then Marshal of Fort Worth, reportedly had a protection rackett, in which he offered his "protection" to saloon and gambling house owners. Short turned him down, telling him he could protect his own place. This irritated Courtright, and many now believe that Courtright felt it was necessary for his other protection interests to make an example of Short as to what could happen if his services were declined.

On a cold February 8th night, in 1887, Courtright called Short out of the White Elephant saloon. Courtright reportedly had been drinking, some words were passed, and the two men walked down the street about one block. There, facing one another, Courtright said something in reference to Short's gun, apparently to give the impression that the inevitable gunfight was in the line of duty. Short stated he was not armed, although he was. Short then indicated that Courtright could check for himself, and walking toward Courtright, he opened his vest. When he did so, Courtright said loudly "Don't you pull a gun on me.", and quickly drew his pistol.

However, Courtright's pistol hung on his watch-chain for a brief second, at which time Short pulled his pistol and fired one shot. The bullet tore off Courtright's right thumb, rendering him incapable of firing his single-action revolver. As he tried to switch the pistol to his left hand, Short fired at least four more times, killing him.

This story was told to the Fort Worth newspaper, but later in life Bat Masterson would tell a different story. That the saloon had already been sold to the Ward Drugs boys. As Short walked Courtright around the side of the White Elephant with his arm around his shoulder, in the moonlight under the window of Bat Masterson, Luke shot the marshal at point-blank range with a derringer's bullet to the heart. The evidence was staged as a shootout.

So goes the story of a Fort Worth outlaw named Eddie Griffin, who grew up in a city Where the West Began and where he saw the Old Wild West come to An End.

Friday, November 9, 2007

All not well in education, former U.S. secretary says

by Nacole Battee, Reporter
Tarrant County College Collegian

FORT WORTH, TEXAS The future will be a testament of today’s education system, a former U.S. secretary of education told more than 500 grade school and college students Oct. 30 on South Campus.

Dr. Rod Paige, the seventh education secretary, served during President George W. Bush’s first term.

“All is not well with the public education system,” he said. The political bickering and status quo politics have overshadowed the public’s real concerns, Paige said. Too many have been protecting the system, and now society needs to protect the children.

Paige said the public education system is not a structure but rather a concept of ideas that need to be narrowed. He said being crystal clear on standards, obtaining an accountability system, having visibility to see the system and giving students the choice of which schools to attend will help the education system.

Having the lowest high school graduation rates and knowing that 2/3 of young people do not achieve academic standards is a civil rights issue, Paige said. “Will society survive when the achievement gap has only closed 5 points in the last 15 years and at this rate will take over 55 years to close?” he asked.

The public education system will be successful when they become free to do what they want to do, Paige said. However, he said, testing is necessary to measure the success of the educational system.

“It is time now for talking about a lost generation,” he said. “If they are lost, it is we the adults who have lost them.”

Paige said the public education system should be here to serve the children. A question-and-answer session with the elementary students followed the speech. “There is nothing wrong with your DNA,” he told the group. Paige used Terrell Owens from the Cowboys to illustrate that even when trying their best, people sometimes drop the ball. Never giving up is the key to being successful, he said. To concerned parents, Paige said a change in the public education system should be able to produce quality students who will be on a global competitive level. He said in order to change the system, people should be more aware of who is on their school boards. The officials, he said, should have the students’ best interest at the forefront and be held accountable.

South Campus was one stop on Paige’s Texas Hope Tour (Help Our People Excel), sponsored by the Ministers for the Education of America. The tour spotlights issues discussed in his book, The War Against Hope: How Teachers’ Unions Hurt Children, Hinder Teachers, and Endanger Public Education.

In his book, Paige says the greatest obstacle to public school reform is “the enormous, self-aggrandizing power wielded by the teachers’ unions.” The book is an analysis of America ’s crisis in the classroom. It traces the history of the National Education Association from its beginnings as an advocate of educational excellence to what he says is “the early radicalization by left wing ideology.”

The South Campus African American Male Enrichment Network hosted the event.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

AfroSpear Bloggers Call for a Freedom Technology Christmas


AfroSpear bloggers are encouraging Blacks to give "the gift of technology" to their children, parents and others, to empower them to communicate in the Internet Age, with recommended gifts of computers, digicams, broadband and open source software.

This Christmas, the same AfroSpear Black bloggers who organized the March on Jena are spear-heading the "AfroSpear Freedom Technology Christmas" (FTC) campaign.

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Sixty-thousand Blacks Responded to the AfroSpear's Call.

One hundred AfroSpear bloggers in forty US states and five countries are mobilizing their readers to give Christmas presents that increase citizen journalism within the Black community.

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The AfroSpear's Field Negro, courtesy LA Times.

"When you have a blog, what happens to you in a small town can become international news, said Field Negro, who won a Black Weblog Award this year. He cited the case of Shaquanda Cotton, a 14 year-old who was unfairly sentenced to 7 years in prison for pushing a high school hall monitor, but who was released when her Freedom Blog caught national attention.

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The AfroSpear's Eddie G. Griffin (BASG) believes word will spread.

"We're going to teach our children to communicate with the world and give them the tools to do it," said Eddie G. Griffin (BASG), an ex-Black Panther who helps lead the group's outreach to Blacks in the criminal justice system.

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Shawn Williams, AfroSpear's Dallas South Blog

Shawn Williams, of the AfroSpear's Dallas South blog, featured on MSNBC and in the Chicago Tribune for his Jena Six advocacy, says the success of the March on Jena has convinced Black bloggers that "Freedom Technology" is essential to their movement. He said, "This Christmas, our children and families need modern communication tools, like 24-hour broadband connections and digital cameras. These tools can be used to document injustices like the Jena nooses, while at the same time help to narrow the technology divide that continues to widen."

"The gift of communication technology like computers and webcams is the best gift that you can give your children and family, because it empowers them to educate and advocate for the Black community and for themselves," said the African American Political Pundit. "Black blogging encourages writing skills and critical thinking, which are precisely the skills our children need," said the African American Political Pundit.

“Black children are going to jail at a rate 6 times higher than that of white children in America”, said Eddie G. Griffin (BASG), a leader of the AfroSpear's Black Accused Support Groups movement.

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The AfroSpear's Atty. Francis L. Holland

"We are expanding the national Black media that focuses on the needs of black people in the context of America and the world. And AfroSpear bloggers will announce the ways in which Freedom Technology Christmas presents have dramatically improved communication among AfroSpear bloggers in five countries and four continents," said Atty. Holland.

Freedom Technology Christmas recommended gifts are laptop or home computers, headphones with microphones and webcams (for computer- to-computer conversations), digital cameras and camera "memory sticks," "pen drives" for saving documents, photographs and music, foreign language software, music production software and writing skills software.

Many excellent Christmas computer software presents are available for free. Open Source alternatives are abundant. For example, the cost of Microsoft Vista Home Premium at Amazon: $219.99, Cost of Ubuntu Linux: $0; Cost of Adobe Photoshop CS3 at Amazon: $619.99, Cost of Gimp: $0; Cost of Microsoft Office Standard 2007 at Amazon: $324.99, Cost of Open Office: $0, and Cost of Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 at Amazon: 398.99, Cost of Nvu: $0.

Many communication programs are available for free download and include Skype (free computer telephone), ooVoo (free televideo communication) Yahoo and MSN (e-mail and instant messages), all available at Download.Com.
Contact: Francis L. Holland
AfroSpear Freedom Technology Blog
AfroSpear Bloggers in the News
AfroSpear Think Tank Blog

Monday, October 29, 2007

Addressing Criticisms & Shortcomings in School Bond Package

By Eddie Griffin

Monday, October 29, 2007

The needs of our Fort Worth school children are ABSOLUTE, not RELATIVE. Any time our children turn on their Windows 95 based computers and the lights in the schoolhouse go out, we know it is be time for a major overhaul of our infrastructure. It is evident that the FWISD curricula delivery system is so antiquated that our schools are not able to utilize the latest multimedia teaching and learning tools.

Therefore, our first priority must be to get our children as much educational resources as possible- and do it ASAP.

Even with a price tag of $587 million, we recognize there will still be needs unmet. As I noted in my article supporting the November 6 bond package, this is not a panacea for all the deficiencies in our assets of educational resources. The learning gap between different school districts directly correlates with the disparity in resources. The bond package attempts to bridge that ever-widening gap, in a thoughtful, foresighted way- with built-in contingencies for the life of the bond cycle.

Of course, I am disappointed that we will not have students coming out of school, with machine shop technology skills, knowing how to set up machining operations and how to read measuring instruments, and using scientific calculators. Also, someone else has pointed out that there is no budget for upgrading alternative schools to put them on par with regular schools. These are terrible, terrible shortcomings for the critical needs of our students and local job market.

But shortcomings cannot be the basis of rejecting the bond package, when the overriding needs of our children are so high. If we reject the bond package this time around, we will only come back with a much larger bond package proposal next year, or the year after. In the meantime, another year or two is lost for the students. It would be better to take part now and part later. Therefore, I agree with Black Chamber Dee Jennings. Approve this bond package and come back with another one in the near future. In the meantime, we would hope that our local industries make financial investments and commitments to supplement the education of our future workforce in the local FWISD.

We realize that, historically, minority schools receive the short end of the stick, in terms of educational resources and quality teachers. But Superintendent Melody Johnson promised “parity” in distributing resources coming out of the bond package. And, the budget itself is transparent.

The question can only be: If everything is done according to the bond’s proposal, will the ISD achieve “parity”? Maybe not as we hope, but it provides a measuring rod to determine which schools are better equipped. Therefore, we must insist that, at a very minimum, inner city school children get every dollar allocated to them by the state. It is up to the school district to repair the breach created by previous disparities.

Secondly, there is the question of leadership- at the institutional and board level. Now I can criticize leadership from here to Washington, but in the final run we must dance with the one that “brung” us. Always get as much money as possible for the kids first. Then, if leadership is lacking, at least we have the money. We can replace the leadership, if necessary, without ever disturbing the pot.

Pastor Kyev P. Tatum writes: I am dazed and confused by your support of the over half billion dollar school bond.

As I said above, it is not necessary for the bond package to be perfect in order to support it.

Tatum further writes: How can you ask us to boycott and call for a "Sliver War" on November 2Th and then turn around and ask us to vote for the "largest" tax bonds increase in the history of Fort Worth ISD on November 6Th... Double standard and message

This is not a ‘double standard” nor a mixed message, unless there is a misconception between “Silver War” and “Civil War” (spelled with an S). The objective of a civil war by economic boycott relates specifically to issues of injustice carried out by the state against our youth and the hate crimes that have followed. The presupposed tax increase from the bond package is a different issue, altogether.

According to the graphic rendition, actual property tax rate is supposed to go down over the next few years as a result of a previous legislative measure. To compensation for loss revenue from reducing property taxes, the state raised cigarette sales taxes- an unwise tax swap, seeing the number of cigarette smokers are declining. Nevertheless, we were very conscientious of how the state robs Peter to pay Paul- in this case, by inflating property values. If memory serves me correctly, we put a cap on how much property values can be appraised from year to year. Of course, this means we have to stay vigilant.

Again Tatum says: We are tired of not receiving our "fair share" and equal justice for our children... You are asking people to give FWISD more money to "refinance" debt from the last bond which you and I both know was grossly mismanaged.

For sure, we can do nothing about past mismanagement other than send the crooks to jail (which we did). A portion of the new bond package will liquidate the balance of the previous bond, which is the normal course for any new bond package. Does that say we condone the previous schemes and scams? With the old bond package balance from the Toco administration out of the way, Dr. Melody Johnson can start with a clean slate. There would be no vestige of the past affecting her administration’s performance. After all, Dr. Johnson has been stuck with “old baggage” from the day of her arrival.

Low performing and unsafe schools are NOT ABSOLUTES either. They are as RELATIVE as the politics involved in school administration and oversight. Things can and do change. I agree: We need more education for our money rather than more money for our education. But wherever there are largest sums of money being spent, there will be sales people “selling the Brooklyn Bridge”. I believe that we are already paying too much for the new accounting system and that we underestimate the learning curve for assimilating new hardware and software.

But then again, if we were looking for perfection, we would just put God in control and let the system run on its own. Otherwise, we have to made do with partial solutions and imperfect people.

Former Sec. of Ed. Rod Paige to Lecture at Texas Schools


Media contact person: Rev. Kyev Tatum at 817-829-5455

TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS—Rod Paige, the former Secretary of Education (2001-2005) under President George W. Bush, will speak at Everman High School, Tarrant County College South Campus, and The University of Texas at Arlington on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007. Dr. Paige's lectures are entitled "Help Our People Excel" in which he will encourage local educators, parents and students to continue to pursue excellence in education.

On January 21, 2001, the United States Senate confirmed Dr. Rod Paige as the 7th U.S. Secretary of Education. For Paige, the son of a principal and a school librarian, that day was the crowning achievement of a long career in education. Born in 1933 in segregated Mississippi, Paige's accomplishments speak of his commitment to education. He earned a bachelor's degree from Jackson State University and both a master's and a doctoral degree from Indiana University.

Paige is the first school superintendent ever to serve as Secretary of Education. His experience as a practitioner—from the blackboard to the boardroom—paid off during the long hours of work needed to pass President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The driving force behind his work as Secretary was his belief that education is a civil right, just like the right to vote or to be treated equally.

Paige's visit to the area is part of his Texas Hope Tour, sponsored by the Ministers for Education of America. "We are honored and humbled to host an American Hero in our community," said, the Rev. Kyev Tatum Sr., President of Ministers for Education of America. "Dr. Paige will go down in history as a leader who helped to change the course of history in education for years to come," Rev. Tatum said.

All lectures are free and open to the public. Dr. Paige tour will begin at Joe C. Bean Everman High School at 1000 S. Race Street in Everman, Texas at 9:00 a.m. and at Tarrant County College-South Campus at 5301 South Campus Drive in Fort Worth at 1:00 p.m.

The UTA event will be from 7 to 8 p.m. in the sixth floor parlor of the Central Library, 702 Planetarium Place.

For media opportunities, contact Rev. Kyev Tatum at 817-829-5455.

9:00 A.M.
1000 S. Race Street
Everman, Texas 76140
Mr. Cutis Amos

1:00 P.M.
5301 S. Campus Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76134
Mr. Zeb Strong

7:00 P.M.
701 Nedderman Drive
Arlington, Texas 76019
Mr. Daniel Woodward

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Eddie Griffin Supports $587 Million School Bond Package

I will have seen most everything when I see an elephant fly. This is a big baby- Fort Worth Independent School District’s half-billion dollar bond package.

I have a confession to make. Secretly, I confided to some friends that I would oppose the November 6 proposition up for voter approval- not because of the size of the bond, but I was not altogether confident in the school’s leadership to fly this big baby.

Our kids need a massive capital infusion to reinvigorate our public education system. Most of our schools are 50 years old or older, and some 100. While children in Japan and India are racing light years ahead of our children in the competitive global economy, our Fort Worth children are still wrestling with Windows 95. They cannot access new digital curriculum without major upgrading and too much online activities will cause the lights in the school to go off. The technological infrastructure is woefully inadequate.

Yes, we are that far behind in the Fort Worth ISD.

So, it was with great anticipation that School Superintendent Melody A. Johnson brought her school bond presentation to Wednesday’s Minority Leaders and Citizens Council. It was the first time I heard what Dr. Johnson had in her plan.

She wants parity for all schools- that is to say, we wants each school brought up to its full educational potential. This would technological infrastructure, curricula upgrade, capital improvements, and expansion. In order to relieve overcrowding, Dr. Johnson proposes building six new schools, adding 342 new classrooms altogether (including expansions at eight existing schools). She offers improvement of science labs and other upgrades, with built in contingencies for changing technology and future needs over the life of the bond.

What I saw, I like immensely, and most other minority leaders also. But woefully missing from the wish list was the re-capitalization of trade skills programs, particularly in machine and manufacturing technology critically needed for our local aerospace industry. That would take more money. The current bond package was not a big enough elephant.

Nevertheless, I commend Dr. Johnson for doing the best she could for a school district that has fallen so far behind the times. She was wise enough to bring in professionals to assess the needs and pull together a committee of 400 to evaluate the plan. Even so, the Providence, Rhode Island native has yet to get her feet on the ground after only three years in office. She has yet to realize that she is now a Fort Worth Texan. Nevertheless, she is learning who’s who and the “Fort Worth Way” of community collaboration. Her presence at the MLCC weekly luncheon was a big step in reaching out to the minority home base.

Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks spoke for all of us in “unequivocally” endorsing the bond package. But Black Chamber leader Dee Jennings went further in addressing the immediate need for skill sets for our business and manufacturing industries not being fulfilled by the public school system.

“We will support this bond package and look forward to supporting the next bond package to address those needs,” Jennings declared, as he presented Dr. Johnson with a Chamber resolution.

A recent news article appearing in the Dallas Morning News describes new vocational education centers cropping up in Grand Prairie, Frisco, Lewisville, Birdville, and now Dallas. People are looking at career and technology school programs like those offered at Denton’s state-of-the-art LaGrone Advanced Technology Complex, which offers advance technology at the junior and senior high school level, and certification in professional career fields.

Compared to our rich neighbors, our FWISD inner city schools are just now getting started. LaGrone ATC offers its students courses in Advanced Engineering with curriculum that includes, Principles of Engineering, Digital Electronics, Civil Engineering and Architecture, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, and Engineering design. And, that is just the Advance Engineering Academy.

There is an Advanced Visual Arts & Communications Academy offering exciting courses in Advertising Design, Animation, Media Technology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), NASA Space Technology, and Spatial Technology and Remote Sensing.

LaGrone has an Advanced Computer Technology Academy offering Computer Maintenance Technician training and Cisco Networking. On and on, the school offer Aerospace Manufacturing, Computer Numerical Control (CNC), Programming, Automotive Technology, Welding, Culinary Arts, Accounting internships, Marketing, E-Commerce, Financial Planning, Securities Operations, Banking internships, and a Medical/ Allied Health Academy, Education Career Academy, and Personal Services Academy.

Fort Worth ISD offers little by comparison, with no financial commitment to doing so. The issue is cost. Although it is rumored that LaGrone only cost $30 million, that would be thirty million more than the big elephant can swallow.

So I asked Dr. Johnson had she heard of the Texas Workforce Solution’s $1 million exploratory grant for an Aerospace Space Academy. She had barely heard of the agency, and no one had spoken to her about the academy. No surprise- she is still new. And, at last sight, TWS was looking at Birdville ISD as a potential site for the Aerospace Academy.

How can our Fort Worth children compete in the global economy against China, Japan, and India, if all the resources are going to cities like Grand Prairie, Frisco, Lewisville, Birdville? Sure, we need the $587 million bond package, and then some. We need the Fort Worth-base business community to step up with financial commitments to assist educating our children to meet the future needs of their industries. We need fairness in grant giving, such as the million-dollar grant to explore a Space Academy. And, we need trickle down funding for the myriad of support services that go unrecognized in contributing to our students’ success.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Senator Deuell Announces Start of 2007-2008 High School Aerospace Scholars

Contact: Don T. Forse, Jr.
October 4, 2007
(512) 463-0102

Senator Deuell Announces Start of 2007-2008 High School Aerospace Scholars

( Austin ) - Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) is pleased to announce the launch of this year's High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS). HAS will enable selected Texas students to explore and become a part of NASA's plan for space exploration, which will send humans back to the moon, then on to Mars and beyond. After they employ their math and science skills to complete 10 web-based assignments during the school year, they will travel to Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston during the summer and use those same skills to help investigate options for sending humans to Mars alongside their peers and real NASA scientists and engineers.

Eligible students are required to meet the following criteria

1.) U.S. Citizen
2.) Texas resident
3.) Currently a high school junior
4.) Interest in science, math, or engineering
5.) Able to commit to a relationship with JSC, including a one-week residential experience during the summer
6.) Access to the Internet and e-mail (home, school or public library)

The State of Texas , in partnership with JSC and the Texas educational community, developed High School Aerospace Scholars in 1999 to encourage more students to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Additional partnerships include the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, University of Houston System , and Rotary NASA. More than 1,750 students from across Texas have participated in the program.

High school juniors interested in applying for the 2007-2008 program should visit the web at:

Read Eddie Griffin opinion column
White Rats and Black Mice

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Grandpa Day at School could be Freaky Experience

Tomorrow is a very important day for me. It’s Grandparent Day in the Crowley ISD.

Yep! Grandpa is on the hook.

I will be with my first grade granddaughter, Dee Dee, during the first lunch period, and with my second grade grandson, Little Ed, during the second lunch break. As you can see, this is a first for me.

How in the world did Eddie Griffin survive long enough to become a grandpa? A bank robbing Black Panther, kidnapper who cheated death in the electric chair, who cheated death in prison in hand-to-hand combat, only to survive another day?

I think I’m going to cry on Grandparent Day, and none of the teachers will know why. I only hope the kids will understand.

You see, my grandkids are by mix marriage, but they look more white than black. Lately, Dee Dee has been letting all the Negro come out of her. So, Grandparent Day will be the day that grandpa meets little Dee Dee’s teacher.

I have already instructed Dee Dee to apologize to the teacher. But she has a terrible speech impediment. Even I can barely comprehend her and she is six years old. All four grandkids have the same speech problem and all are supposed to be in speech therapy… the damages caused by boom box parents that love blast their babies’ ears with loud vibrating music… damaged eardrums… damaged babies… frustrated babies… imagine “crack babies” coming of age.

The Crowley ISD was once a predominantly white school district. More and more, it’s becoming interracial.

When my son went to school here in 1990s, I was one of the few black parents in the PTA. With more integration came “white flight”, depreciating property value, and lower income residents and renters.

My daughter-in-law is a white welfare mom, struggling to raise three children, after divorcing my son while he was in prison… tough life… tough consequences. But grandpa is grandpa, and grandpa doesn’t play the race card, hate card, or political card. Grandpa loves his babies. Damn the mama and the daddy for their sins.

Okay, Grandpa is nervous about his first day of grandparent school. Some kids are going to freak when they find out my grandchildren are not white. The teacher is going to freak when my grandson boast about my being a Black Panther bank robber and kidnapper, who took a police squad car. Damn! I think grandpa might panic. Y’all pray for grandpa.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Comprehensive School Completion Plan

Project Prevail is a comprehensive effort to increase the number of students graduating from high schools fully prepared for post-secondary education or gainful employment. We will use what works and we will call upon students, parents and the larger community to support this initiative.

It is time to engage the larger community. The actions outlined here are a starting point, for discussion, for development, and for implementation. High school graduation for all of our students is much more than a worthy goal. The individual, community and societal consequences of an interrupted education are both tragic and costly. Working together, we will prevail.


What Businesses Can Do

Develop and support business practices that encourage school success and completion.

Make school enrollment a condition of employment for school age workers.

Provide employee (student) incentives for school performance and attendance.

Limit employee (student) work schedules to 10 p.m. on school nights.

Monitor school attendance and performance by requesting report cards, progress notes, etc.

Allow hourly employees (non-student) to participate in the education of their children by allowing them to attend school/teacher conferences without penalty.

Participate in outreach efforts such as neighborhood walks and phone banks/telethons to recover dropouts.

Establish, solicit for and award college scholarships for students.

Establish college trust funds at local banks and match student/parent contributions.

Establish internships leading to certifications/licensure and other school-to-work opportunities.

What Parents Can Do

Insist that your child is in school all day, every day, on time – and with homework and materials in hand.

Monitor homework and grades.

Read and respond to progress reports, failure notices and report cards.

Ensure your child attends middle and high school (6th/9th grades) summer transition camps.

Insist on a rigorous schedule or classes.

Communicate with teachers and administrators.

Visit schools.


Insist on the recommended graduation plan.

Review child’s individual Learning Plan every year of school.

Participate in parent training and education classes offered at school.

Be an active member of the PTA or other parent/school groups.

Refuse to allow your child to drop out.

What Students Can Do

Attend school every day, arrive on time and have homework and materials in hand.

Actively participate in class and ask questions.

Develop short and long-term goals as part of your high school individualized Learning Plan and discuss them with your parents.

Take rigorous courses to prepare for post-secondary education.

Be responsible for your own learning through (1)Monitoring your own test results; (2) Attending tutorials; (3) Joining a study group; (4) Asking for help when needed; (5)Participate in extra-curricular activities; (6) Study/read every day, whether there are homework assignments or not; (7) Find at least one adult, other than a parent, who will support your success in school; (8) Say “no” to drug, alcohol & tobacco use; (9) Stay healthy through proper eating and exercise.

What Higher Education Can Do

Waive tuition & fees for high school students taking dual credit courses.

Increase number of needs-based scholarships and work-study opportunities.

Provide middle & high school students: (1) College student mentoring programs; (2) Life-skills/college readiness retreats; (3) Leadership development training; (4) Collaborate with the FWISD in the development of an early college high school; (5) Develop strategies to engage parents; (6) Sponsor campus “VIP” tours to acquaint parents with college options and opportunities; (7) Provide representation at campus-level career fairs, career days and college nights; (8) Give priority to FWISD for student-teacher and intern placements to better equip future teachers for the challenges and benefits of teaching in the urban environment.

What Schools Can Do

Establish District-wide focus and organization for school completion initiatives.

Redirect human and financial resources to support the initiatives.

Establish protocols for early identification, support for and tracking of “at risks”.

Expand prevention and intervention counseling and support services at all levels.

Expand initiative that support students’ pursuit of post-secondary education: AVID, AccuPlacer testing, financial support for SAT preparation, PSAT administration and others.

Design and implement peer study groups.

Enhance truancy enforcement at all levels.

Provide summer transition programs (5th – 6th and 8th – 9th grades).

Expand dropout recovery opportunities at the district and campus level (i.e. Success HS, AdvancedPath, and District charter school).

Implement alternative learning opportunities with flexible schedules and expanded hours.

Actively engage all stakeholder groups: parents, students and families, businesses, social service agencies, higher education and faith-based organizations.

Clearly communicate organization vision, mission and goals.

Evaluate programs and services for outcomes and impact.

Conduct annual transcript audits to monitor students for on-time graduation.

Insist on annual Parent/Student/School review of the high school individual Learning Plan.

What the Faith Community Can Do

Assist in locating and registering all students within parish or attendance boundaries.

Support school-aged students and parents in school success, character development and church attendance.

Provide homework help/tutorials at the place of worship.

Host school events and community forums and key dates to include open house, report card dates, test dates, etc.

Announce school events and key dates to include open house, report card dates, testing dates, etc.

Celebrate academic and school accomplishments at church events and in newsletters.

Develop community-service and work opportunities that provide financial support for college.

Establish scholarship fund for aspiring youth members.

Assist with school clothing and supplies.

Set annual and long-term goals for increasing youth attendance at worship service

What Social Services Can Do

Expand campus-level and Family Resource Center collaborations and services.

Expand medical/health services through the Family Resource Centers and campus-based clinics.

Include information about educational requirements and opportunities during service delivery.

Sponsor back-to-school events that include provision of school clothing and supplies.

Collaborate with school to make educational outcomes a part of the agency’s service plan.

Consider on-site tutorial and homework support.

Thanks to the Fort Worth Independent School District
The District has reviewed the literature and best practices, conducted an audit of existing programs and services, and prepared a report and recommendations for action. Already, human and financial resources are being identified and redirected to accomplish this goal.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Mind over Matter to the Outer Limits

Don’t go there, because I don’t even want to hear it. You cannot offer me a better standard less than perfection. If being the best that I can be means what I think it means, then it agrees with the Bible. Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Who would argue against Perfection being the highest standard to which to aspire? Bring on the standard bearers of low expectation, and I will fight them head on. Indeed, I welcome the challenge, rather than lose their friendship.

But no one is perfect, and no one can be perfect, they say. And, who are you to judge, seeing that you yourself is not perfect.

I know, I know. But it is kind of like what Paul said: “I press towards the mark”.

It’s all about pressing to be the best that you can be.


On the television set of my mind, our society looks like Cartoon World. I cannot turn it off, even if I wished. When I came out of a prison death chamber, being given a reprieve to see the light of a new day on the outside, the world has looked different to me, ever since- kind of two-dimensional like a cartoon.

I had experienced the world in a different way during my incarceration. You see, in prison, I saw the human will do some amazing things. I saw a man fake his own death by willing his heart to stop beating. The doctor declared him dead, rolled him into the morgue in El Reno, Oklahoma, where he later escaped.

On another occasion, I saw a man’s stomach cut open “like a can of beans” (so said the victim). I saw him fold the separated layers together and walk to the prison infirmary without dropping a single drop of blood on the gym floor.

To will is to do. It’s all a matter of mind over matter, setting your sights beyond the physical realms in life. Similarly, goal-setting is a matter of looking up, not down- looking beyond mediocrity.

No man knows what goes on inside the minds of men. Some people hear voices. I hear singing. Some people’s thinking runs the full gambit, through a complex maze of meandering, through layers of logical assumptions and still come out babbling idiots. My words of wisdom can only increase the current level of idiocy. That is why I try not to lean on my own understanding.

Even so, whatever a man thinks in his heart, so be he. And, if he thinks he is living in Disneyland, so be it.

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" The Shadow knows!

The old 1940s radio and 1950s television show made me afraid to sleep at night when I was a child. (Think no evil. The Shadow knows what you think. What a strange way of saying that God knows the hearts of men?) What a strange way of saying that God knows the hearts of men?)

But when I was a child, my thinking was that of a child. My understanding was that of a child. And, just because I could use adult language, my profane words were the words of a child. (Something teachers often forget)

The human mind is a delicate thing. Although we are all part of the same species, some people are still living in caves- carved out as a refuge in their minds. This is why Mr. and Mrs. America looks like the Flintstones and the Simpsons.

Ultimately, Cartoon World will come in conflict with Reality TV. You need not adjust your sets, Reality TV comes live from the Outer Limits.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Virtual School Tools

Preliminary Research

Compiled Eddie Griffin

Crossroads Research has devoted the past 5 years to searching the Internet for the best free tutorials and teaching tools on the internet.

These samples tools may be used effectively today in classrooms where children are having difficulty making it "over the hump". Many students get stuck at some point and fall behind other students. Some children give up on the chase to achieve a quality education. They resolve themselves to "just get by", and some fail even at that.

The following tools will help students that have fallen behind in their studies, due to a lack of understanding educational tools helpful to themselves.

In the Field of Math

[Remember a Standard/ Scientific Calculator is available in Computer Accessories] is a comprehensive math tutorial, covering subjects ranging from Basic and Everyday Math, to Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus, Vector Analysis, and other advanced subjects. - Free math lessons and homework help.

Principles and Standards for School Mathematics is a guide for focused, sustained efforts to improve students’ school mathematics. It aims to do the following:

• Set forth a comprehensive and coherent set of learning goals for mathematics for all students from prekindergarten through grade 12 that will orient curricular, teaching, and assessment efforts during the next

• Serve as a resource for teachers, education leaders, and policymakers to use in examining and improving the quality of mathematics instructional programs.

• Guide the development of curriculum frameworks, assessments, and instructional materials.

• Stimulate ideas and ongoing conversations at the national, state or provincial, and local levels about how best to help students gain a deep understanding of important mathematics.

Build Math Worksheets

Math Fact Cafe provides math fact sheets and flashcards for parents and teachers. The focus of our site is on the elementary grades, K-5. Our site allows visitors to access hundreds of pre-generated math sheets or create custom sheets to meet a child's specific needs. In addition, interactive flashcards allow visitors to review flashcard problems with the choice of simple card flipping or mandatory input (visitor must enter answers and is graded on correct answers).

Combined Fields of Math, Science, and other Subjects

Brain Pop is one of the most entertaining ways to teach Science, Social Studies, English, Math, Art & Music, Health, and Technology. Some courses are free. Other courses provide a 14-day free trial and a subscription.

Science Academy contains an array of math and science tools, as well as links to other educational websites. Most interesting at this site are the collection of reading math problems.

NASA Education tools provide students with exploratory learning experiences. The agency employs an vast array of tools developed through its space program.

The Shodor Foundation is a non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the advancement of science and math education, specifically through the use of modeling and simulation technologies.

MASTER Tools, developed by The Shodor Education Foundation, Inc. are the result of on-going collaborations with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), George Mason University, and other education organizations. They are designed to be interactive tools and simulation environments that enable and encourage exploration and discovery through observation, conjecture, and modeling activities.

[NOTE: Our growing portfolio of MASTER tools will soon be fully integrated with new collaboration tools and online research facilities to create an authentic scientific experience. All of our simulations and supporting curriculum materials are designed in accordance with the new National Science Education Standards and the National Math Education Standards.]

RHL School - Free Learning Resources:
The place to get free ready to use quality worksheets for teaching, reinforcement, and review. Worksheets included in the Field of:

Reading Comprehension
English Basics
Math Problem Solving
Research Skills
Math Computation



Building sentences and paragraphs, composing essays, learning forms of communications, Power Point presentations, interactive quizzes, and other grammar and writing tools.

Vocabulary Building

Dictionary-Thesaurus Lookup

The site also provides pronunciation of words, translations to and from other languages, synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms, and other language tools.


Library of Congress

Library of Congress Learning Page

Library of Congress History Page

Texas History
The Handbook of Texas Online is a multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texas history, geography, and culture sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association and the General Libraries at UT Austin.


Scholastic produces educational materials to assist and inspire students:
• To cultivate their minds to utmost capacity
• To become familiar with our cultural heritage
• To strive for excellence in creative expression in all fields of learning, literature, and art
• To seek effective ways to live a satisfying life
• To enlarge students' concern for and understanding of today's world
• To help build a society free of prejudice and hate, and dedicated to the highest quality of life in community and nation

ABC Teach is geared for the youngest learners in various subjects.

FREE student memberships! Join the many education professors and education students around the country that are using abcteach. Take advantage of our special university memberships that are available at no cost to education majors, professors, and their universities.

PBS Kids is an all-time favorite for computer literate elementary grade school children. It features PBS recognizable cartoon characters in educational exercises, from counting to verbalizing words.

School Express is another children’s favorite. Of special interest is the games Concentration and Jigsaws. Concentration helps develop children’s attention span and concentration skills, while Jigsaws help develop their mechanical aptitude and manual dexterity skills. School Express also features a Math Generator that helps development basic math skills up to three-digit multiplication and division.

Current Events for Kids is a non-profit organization that offers students and schools alike free access to excellent educational resources.

Promethean Board demonstration