Bill Gates Unplugged

Monday, December 15, 2008

Outmoded Education System

The Pareto Principle, commonly known as the 80-20 Rule, postulates that 80% of our effort produces only 20% of the results. By the same principal, there is a 20% effort that produces 80% of the outcome. I will utilized that latter to prove that 80% of our energies poured into our public education system is producing 20% of the results.

Postulation: We are pouring more energy into a wasteful and unproductive system.

Cognition: We have not, because we ask not. Ask and it shall be given. Seeking and you will find.

We can best reduce public school budgets by maximizing free educational resources provided. The government has invested millions of dollars into free online curriculum in various subjects. Yet, someone has yet to connect these free resources to the classroom.

Another free service can be provided by volunteer services, like the G-Force. There are hundreds of volunteers in the community, and thousands more online, who would serves as educators and mentors for our children.

These free services are never on the school’s budget cost-cutting agenda.

He who knows not and knows not that he knows not…

The U.S. Department of Education has been developing online educational programs in an effort to close the achievement gap by making tools accessible for free. It began as part of the No Child Left Behind initiative.


I must contend with educators to get my children and grandchildren the best curriculum material available. However, as of late, my third-grade grandson’s average in math dropped from the 90s in the first grade, to 80s in the second grade, and now 70s.

When I examined the math book, therein I saw the problem between curriculum and student cognition. The math curriculum is CONFUSING.

My grandson is learning how to multiply and carry over, for the first time. This should have been learned in the first grade. But the math curriculum in the book is misaligned. Now my grandson, once an A-honor student, is now taking a math tutorial class.

I would prefer the tutor use a free online tool for multiplication built through the Department of Education at Other similar free math tools are available, as well as tools in different subjects. Also, a highly recommended free math online teaching tool is

My first-grade granddaughter is having trouble with her vocabulary and word recognition. As a vocabulary-building tutorial, she was given a list of words to memorize and spell.

Where does a child’s cognition associate word with meaning? This is one of the shortcomings of teaching word and meaning by phonics.

I would prefer my granddaughter be taught from

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education

Exploration in Education Solutions- A report by Eddie Griffin

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition works to support STEM programs for teachers and students at the U. S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies that offer STEM related programs.

The STEM Education Coalition is composed of advocates from over 600 diverse groups representing all sectors of the technological workforce – from knowledge workers, to educators, to scientists, engineers, and technicians. The participating organizations of the STEM Education Coalition are dedicated to ensuring quality STEM education at all levels. Read the STEM Coalition Objectives.

The Coalition is co-chaired by the American Chemical Society and the National Science Teachers Association.

Meetings are held monthly at the American Chemical Society, 1155 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC.

The Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research is a half yearly, peer-reviewed publication for educators in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. The journal emphasizes real-world case studies that focus on issues that are relevant and important to STEM practitioners. These studies may showcase field research as well as secondary-sourced cases. The journal encourages case studies that cut across the different STEM areas and that cover non-technical issues such as finance, cost, management, risk, safety, etc. Case studies are typically framed around problems and issues facing a decision maker in an organization.

Summer engineering program LEADs students to Tech
by Robert Nesmith

During three weeks in July, Tech was the site for an inaugural program to increase underrepresented minority high school students’ exposure to engineering. The College of Engineering collaborated with the Leadership Education and Development program to host the Summer Engineering Institute (SEI). more...

The inaugural SEI at Georgia Tech will host 30 students this summer for a three-week residency. "Despite efforts to improve the public's understanding of engineering, studies show that K-12 students generally do not have a clear understanding about what engineers do," said Don P. Giddens, dean of Georgia Tech's College of Engineering .

"Exposing high school students to exciting and innovative experiences through programs like the LEAD Summer Engineering Institute will serve to inspire and attract young people to future careers in engineering."

Additional SEI campuses will be announced as they are confirmed. SEI curriculum will focus on electrical, mechanical, computer and civil engineering; associated disciplines such as chemical, biotech, biomolecular, materials science, aerospace, polymer-textile/fiber, and technological systems will also be studied.

LEAD Engineering Program

LEAD Engineering on Comcast Newsmakers/CNN Headline News

Put Kids First Campaign

Endorsed by Eddie G. Griffin, International Child Rights advocate

On Feb. 4, 2009, adults and youth from throughout the state will be asking elected officials to

Put Kids First in their decision making for Texas.

Please send:
Student Letters to Leaders
by January 30, 2009

Include your school or program address and an optional wallet-sized photograph to:

Put Kids First
c/o Texans Care For Children
814 San Jacinto, Suite 201
Austin, Texas 78701

Students should include in their letters an introduction of who they are (name, grade, etc.), their reason for writing, and what change they think is needed for kids in Texas. You can also have students attach walletsized pictures of themselves to their letter.

Explain that the elected officials will keep the pictures to remember all the youth and children they work for.

The leaders will likely send replies to the address on the letter (e.g., your program’s address). Also, with this address, we will make sure the letters get to one or more of the correct legislators for your district.

Send envelope of letters postmarked by January 30, 2009 to:
Put Kids First, c/o Texans Care For Children, 814 San Jacinto, Suite 201, Austin, Texas 78701

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

LEAD Engineering Program Video

LEAD Engineering Program

LEAD Engineering on Comcast Newsmakers/CNN Headline News

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

EDUCATION: No Uncertain Terms

The bottom line, according to a Star-Telegram report, the Fort Worth school district needs more money soon or it will have to make major cuts, such as small schools and programs, Superintendent Melody Johnson told legislators.

[Editor: We do not need cuts in local education funding. We need help.]

"We’re in a real world of hurt," Johnson said. "I want you to know we have been responsible in using our resources and in cost-containment, but we’re just not getting anywhere with that. We need new revenue, or we’ve got to cut drastically."

Superintendent Johnson spoke on No Uncertain Terms.

State Representative Charlie Geren says, "I don’t care what you cut or what you add, but you have to have a common voice on what’s wrong with the system and how we can fix it."

[Editor: No one knows how desperately our children need more educational resources, not less. But we are not to selfish to recognize the needs and priorities of others- other counties in Texas.]

Charlie Geren says that we must have a common voice. Fact is, we have a common voice in Senate-elect Wendy Davis. We have a national consensus voice on education, and a forward looking Obama administration.

Geren asks: What’s wrong with the public education system and how can we fix it? Somewhere implied in the silent background is the question: How much is it going to cost us?

Like it or not, these are valid questions that needs to be addressed, especially in times where the Big Three must come to Congress with a bailout plan. If we need a bailout, we must have a bailout plan.

What is wrong with the FWISD system of public education?

*High Dropout Rate
*Low Academic Achievement

How to fix the problem?

Here is an opportunity to do a transparent introspection, line-by-line. Every line item justified in the sight of the public. We need to bring together each school's site-based management team into one setting for a "shake out" budget-cutting session.

And, then after we have streamlined our education system, we will be more trim to fight in the legislature for what our kids really need.

We can expect some belt-tightening.

But there are more ways to tighten our belt without scuttling our Ten Year Plan, or gutting our service. We can tighten our belt through efficiencies… more efficient curriculum delivery systems, integrated management, and community involvement can trim some of the fat out of the system and out of the school budget.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Interactive Digital Learning: Whiteboards

Promethean Board Demonstration

Promethean Activboards - Baltimore MD

Creative Ways of Exploring Adjectives, Using the Activboard.

Smart Boards in Action

A new 3D virtual world on your Promethean Activboard

Promethean Board Demonstration - Spanish



Donors Choose.Org

Our Beginning was pioneered by teachers at a Bronx public high school in the spring of 2000. Charles Best, then a social studies teacher, saw first-hand the scarcity of materials in our public school classrooms and the profound impact of this scarcity on kids' education. Looking for a way to address this problem, he sensed an untapped potential in people who were frustrated by their lack of influence over the use of their charitable donations., a website connecting classrooms in need with individuals who want to help, was born.

Our Mission is dedicated to addressing the scarcity and inequitable distribution of learning materials and experiences in our public schools. We believe this inequity is rooted in the following factors:
1. Shortages of learning materials prevent thorough, engaging instruction;
2. Top-down distribution of materials stifles our best teachers and discourages them from developing targeted solutions for their students; and
3. Small, directed contributions have gone un-tapped as a source of funding. will improve public education by engaging citizens in an online marketplace where teachers describe and individuals can fund specific student projects. We envision a nation where students in every community have the resources they need to learn.

Our Philosophy has attracted contributors from all walks of life through an approach called Citizen Philanthropy. No matter their contribution size, all donors are treated to a level of service normally reserved for established philanthropists. This includes:

Meaningful Choice: Whether interested in pre-K literacy or science field trips, donors can select the specific project that they feel will have the biggest impact.

Full Accountability: provides "end to end" integrity. We screen each project proposal before posting it online; purchase the materials for the teacher (shipping directly to the school); and compile photographs, student thank-you notes, and a teacher impact letter as feedback for the donor(s) who completes the project.

Portfolio Services: contributors can track and manage their giving in "My Account," which shows the citizen philanthropist everything from the subject areas she/he has funded to the number of students she/he has helped. Tools such as GivingCards and gift registries allow donors to engage their children, friends, and family members in citizen philanthropy.

Our Projects

Project proposals at range from "Where Did All the Pencils Go?" ($60), to "Dictionaries for At-Home Use" ($259), to "Geological Field Trip" ($2,000). Most proposals are not simply requests for materials but fantastic ideas for helping students learn. Thanks to the participation of dedicated and imaginative teachers, has become a showcase of original and successful student projects.

Please see Case Studies for stories about selected projects created at

More questions? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions in the Help Section.

Donor and Media Inquiries
To receive an answer to your question as quickly as possible, check if someone has asked it already: 'What happens when a project expires?' 'Can I send you physical materials?'. The answers to these questions and more await you, right around the corner in the FAQ.

Contact Form for Donors
If you are a member of the media:
Click here to send us a message.

Link to

Help us spread the word by using these images and snippets of html
to link from your site to

National Office
347 West 36th Street, Suite 503
New York, NY 10018
Phone 212-239-3615
Fax 212-239-3619

Teacher Inquiries

Be advised...
Before contacting, please try answering your question/concern by visiting the links below. If your question could have been answered by reading one of these resources, we will not be able to respond. When you answer your own question using the links below, can devote more time to getting your proposals funded!

Frequently Asked Questions -- Answers to all the common questions that teachers have.

Teacher Online Tutorial -- Review the series of Web pages that you clicked through when submitting your first proposal.

Step-by-Step Guide to Submitting a Proposal -- A printable guide that explains how to submit a project proposal at

If your question wasn't answered above...

If the links above do not answer your question, please describe your issue to us using our Contact Form for Teachers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Do You See in These Pictures?

Who are these people? And, what are they talking about?

History is being made here. Can you explain how?

Who are the two witnesses? Who did the transcription?

These are records of history, to be enshrined and preserved throughout the ages.

Friday, November 14, 2008

From Virtual Classrooms to Virtual Schools

What the future in Education will look like

As we move rapidly from election to the reality of the future, we should be looking for ways into the new world of our vision, a new way of looking at and doing things, qualitatively different than the paradigms of the past.

It is not farfetched for a futurist to imagine a Virtual School to supplement and maybe someday supplant the old traditional classroom. In Florida, they have already started.

In Florida, Virtual School Could Make Classrooms History

Thousands of Florida students may ditch public elementary and middle schools next year in favor of online classes at home -- an option that could change the face of public education.

A new law that takes effect next fall requires every district in the state to set up an online school for kindergarten through eighth-grade students. They won't have to get on the bus -- or even get out of their PJs -- to head to school at the family computer.

A handful of elementary- and middle-school students already are experimenting with virtual classes, withdrawing from regular schools and enrolling instead for online instruction. Students take a full range of courses, including reading, writing, math, science, history, art, music and even physical education.

"I am so excited about this that my goal is to go all the way through 12th grade," said Joni Fussell, whose 8-year-old daughter has been studying at the kitchen computer in their Altamonte Springs home since January.

Read more… at


In 2002, I began researching online educational tools after a student introduced me to These and other tools were later published on Juneteenth 2007 at

Virtual School Tools

We have long since entered the digital age. The government and many colleges and universities have published free educational tools online. But our public school system is far, far behind the curve in applied technology for the classroom. In Fort Worth, Texas, we are still upgrading Windows 95.

I remember how hard it was to get computers into the classroom in 1995-1996. The teachers were the first to balk, threatening to quit if they had to learn computers. By that time, students were already computer literate.

The biggest obstacle came from book publishers who perceived computers to be a threat to the traditional paperback textbooks. The fear still exists, but more from software developers who have contracts to produce computer programs to be used for classroom curriculum. Although free online tools are used by students, complicated cumbersome home-made programs do not integrate well. Software developers have no concept with different learning styles and techniques. They struggle simply to write a program that works. Online tools are much more user friendly and infinitely more engaging.

Background and History

If necessity is the mother of invention, then surely our short-lived community-based computer school discovered useable and effective free tools from online. We never received the public funding the program deserved. For the most part, I funded the computer school out of my own pocket, and by 2004 when we closed our doors, I manage to keep a little of the curriculum, which is posted at


Some time in the future, maybe far past my time, the classroom will be wired with new technology and innovations. Students will be engaged to learn by fascination alone… no motivation needed. And, they will learn at a rapid, efficient clip, based on new theories of learning.

But it is hard for the new to replace the old unless we have a national leader with a vision and foresight.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Secret Malcolm X recording with FBI

Listen closely to the FBI agents. Here is why Malcolm X was assassinated.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

TCU Community Scholars Online Application due November 15, 2008

It is an excellent program that pays full tuition for deserving students who attend the nine high schools… Eva Bonilla, Chair HWNT – FW Chapter -

The Community Scholars application is available online at the following link:

Please remind your students that by completing the application, the $40 fee will be waived automatically.

Community Scholars Program: Qualified Texas Schools

Dunbar (Fort Worth)
South Hills (Fort Worth)
Polytechnic (Fort Worth)
Trimble Tech (Fort Worth)
Diamond Hill-Jarvis (Fort Worth)
North Side (Fort Worth)
O.D. Wyatt. (Fort Worth)
Lincoln (Dallas)
Sam Houston (Arlington)

Information Source:

Michael J. Marshall
Assistant Director of Admission
Texas Christian University
TCU Box 297013
Fort Worth, TX 76129
817.257.7268 (fax)

Renaissance Cultural Center Scholarship Program Presents Information Forums


Do you need $$$ for College???? Well, attend the program presented by Citi Financial and Renaissance Cultural Center on Saturday, November 1, 2008, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., and start earning and learning about the 2009 RCC Scholarship and the opportunities Citi Financial offers.

REMEMBER: Your attendance will count towards the volunteer hours needed to apply for the 2009 RCC Scholarship.


10 to 20 - $2500.00 Renaissance Cultural Center Scholarships that will be awarded to attend the university, college, business or trade school of your choice!

5 - $1000.00 to $2000.00 Ashanti Monique Austin Memorial Scholarships that will be awarded to attend Tarrant County College!


For additional information or to sign up to attend –
Email: or call
(817) 922-9999.

For the 2009 RCC Scholarship Application Deadline & Criteria,
Schedule of Upcoming Scholarship Workshops visit:
Web Site:

Workshop Location:

National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum
(Formerly National Cowboys of Color Museum)
3400 Mount Vernon Avenue, Ft. Worth, TX 76103




(Attendance will count towards required RCC Scholarship application hours.
Open to 9th thru 12th Grade Students & Parents. Free Admission.)


CITI FINANCIAL EDUCATION... Saturday, November 1, 2008

Super keys to financial success: banking and accounting skills, budgeting and credit worthiness.

UNDERSTANDING COLLEGE CULTURE PART I & II... Saturday, November 15, 2008

Transition from high school to college – learn new study skills, talk about student lifestyles, balancing schedules and time management skills and tools. Tips to launch your college years: get to know your instructor, degree planning, and college community involvement.


Discuss interviewing skills, business and social settings. Review clothing terminology - business, casual, formal, semi-formal.


Choosing the right college and identifying your needs (size, cost, location).


WRITING SCHOLARSHIP AND THANK YOU LETTERS…………Saturday, January 17, 2009 Learn writing techniques for various topics.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Success Should Build Upon Success

Twenty-five students and four teachers from Nagaoka, Japan visited two Fort Worth ISD middle schools recently, participating in the annual Sister Cities International Ambassador Middle School Program.

The Japanese guests were hosted by students and families of William James Middle School and Daggett Montessori.

The Ambassador Program is a cultural and educational exchange for 8th graders. The students and teachers visit Fort Worth for approximately nine days each September. The goal is to provide an international experience that inspires global understanding, provides an opportunity to share and learn about educational systems, cultural heritage and traditions, and develops new international friendships, while gaining a personal experience of living with a host family.

Eddie Griffin Commentary

As the world becomes more a global community, cultural exchange program such as Fort Worth ISD Ambassador Program opens the door to an international education classroom. What if our children could speak and write Japanese, the kids could become lifelong classmates, through online communications.

We must teach our children new languages and expose them to new cultures.

Remember the commerical on television about the Japanese middle school student and the American middle class student looking directly at each other on opposite screens. The object was to see who would blink first.

The is the international classroom of the future: Online and tele-video vis-a-vis exchanges in Real Time teaching-learning experience.

South Hills High School students who demonstrate extraordinary leadership or academic gains will be the recipients of a PEAK Scorpion Spirit shirt. The students will be allowed to wear these spirit shirts on designated days and will receive special privileges.

This is just one of the innovative programs being launched in the District's PEAK schools. PEAK -Public Educators Accelerating Kids - is a pilot program for 15 FWISD campuses.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mapping Empirical Reality to Solve Social Problems

Written for Educators

By Eddie Griffin

Friday, August 22, 2008

Here is a page from the Black Panther Old School: Teaching problem-solving techniques by “mapping” reality, interpolated from Alfred Korzybski’s “Science and Sanity”.

Probably, the simplest way to explain it is like this scenario:

In our minds, we map a mental picture of the world we engage in. When the map does not accurately depict empirical reality, we misjudge situations and make mistakes in our engagement.

A classic example of this phenomenon would be a man sitting in a car at a stop sign, waiting for the traffic to give him a break, so he can traverse to the other side.

An accident at the intersection tells us that a misjudgment has been made on the part of the man sitting at the stop sign. The “map” inside his head was simply incorrect. Therefore, he proceeded with a distorted and false mental picture of the true external situation.

He either miscalculated the speed of the oncoming car, or miscalculated its distance. Simple mathematics inside the head would signal when it is “safe” for the man to make a dash. Even if the man fails to understand the physics of distance and speed, he should be able to judge, intuitively, if it is “safe” to cross.

What is missing in the mental equation is the “risk” factor. What is “safe”?

Here, a whole number of subjective issues come into play, the most egregious of which is the driver who did not see the other car coming.

How can a person miss seeing another vehicle barreling down the road? It is inconceivable but common. Something in the composition of the driver’s mental picture did not include the other car. Simply put, the other car was obliterated by “mental blinders”, commonly put on by the attitude of “seeing only what I want to see”. Therefore, the driver only saw that the road as “his”, when it actually was not.

The same principle holds true when we map out a social problem and try to solve it. An incorrect mental picture will produce a false answer.

Being wrong is not as big a crime as a terminal mistake. It’s one thing to come up with a false answer, but another when comes the attitude of forcing a round peg into a square hole. The War in Iraq is a classic example of trying to force fit a round peg into the square hole conceived by politicians with a faulty mental map of the world.

It is of ultimate importance that our subjective mental map of reality matches the objective, empirical world. For then, with correct information, accurate data, a keener sense of casual relations, and intelligent mental diagnostic and analytical tools, we can make better decisions in our problem-solving.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Day of School: What Next?

By Eddie Griffin

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nearly 50 ministers on Monday embraced plans for students to boycott at least the first day of Chicago Public Schools classes… Also Monday, another group of clergy urged a different tactic on Chicago's first school day. Organizers of the 5th annual Million Father March asked fathers to escort children to class on Sept. 2. (“A school boycott, or not?” Robert Mitchum and Ray Long, Chicago Tribune)

Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? (James 3:11)

Wouldn’t you just know it? The Chicago Tribune discovered this apparent contradiction arising from the African-American community.

On the one hand, the Million Father March seeks to recruit “500,000 men in 300 cities to take their children to school this first fall school day”. While on the other hand, Chicago State Senator James Meeks “has issued a call for all school kids in Chicago's poorest districts to boycott the first day at their assigned school and instead head to resource-rich predominately white schools and attempt to register there.”

Before we conclude the right hand don’t know what the left hand is doing, let’s examine what these two different strategies entail.

The Million Father March is an annual national event originally designed to get fathers more involved with their children’s education. Historically, fathers have been the absent factor in a child's education. Recent experience has shown that children accompanied to school on the first day with their fathers exhibit more pride and are less fearful.

The boycotters of the Chicago school system have one primary local focus: the disparity in education funding. By skipping registration at the home school and seeking to register in the “resource-rich predominately white schools”, students in poor schools might gain a contrasting view of what the best schools offer, as compared to their own.

But how can both strategies work in the same city at the same time, with the million father back-to-school movement, on the one side, and a boycott on the other?

It is impossible for both events to occur without one undermining the other... UNLESS.

Note that both plans anticipate that all students attend school on the first day, whether their home school or whether to try and register at the better school. In either case, the father should accompany their child, especially those who try to get into a new school where they might not be particularly welcomed.

Whether the black community can come together with a merged strategy or whether each movement will pursue its own agenda will be an interesting dilemma to see played out.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A TEEN FORUM: Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk” aims to decrease infant mortality rates by providing adolescent girls with formal instruction on

• Prevention of teen pregnancy
• Prevention of STDs
• Self esteem and stress management
• Proper nutrition and fitness
• General Health Promotion

For Girls Ages 13-17
Saturday, September 20, 2008
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
University of North Texas Health Science Center
3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard
Fort Worth, Texas

Limited seating, call or email for registration

Phone: (817) 457-3911
Fax: (817) 457-9556

Sponsored by:
A B Christian Learning Center; Center for Community Health, UNT Health Science Center, Fort Worth Independent School District, Fort Worth Public Health, Susan G. Komen FOR THE CURE Tarrant County, Texas Center for Health Disparities, Fort Worth Women’s Health Initiative

Loretta Burns
Executive Director
AB Christian Learning Center
5009 Brentwood Stair #101
Fort Worth, TX 76112
(817) 457-3911

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Texas Loses Track of Black Student Drop-Outs

By Eddie Griffin

The annual dropout rates for African American students in Texas, already higher than dropout rates for white and Hispanic students, might be even higher than previously reported, according to a Texas Education Agency report released last week.

(For the full story, read “Study: Texas schools more likely to lose track of African American students” by Molly Bloom, Austin-American Statesman)

Linda Roska, director of the Texas Education Agency's division of accountability research and a co-author of the report, said she couldn't say why the gap exists.

Eddie Griffin Commentary:

When the TEA reports that African-American students are falling through the cracks of the educational system and the Division of Accountability cannot explain why these students do not show up on the drop-out statistics, something is terribly wrong with the meaning of accountability.

Did this information come as a new revelation to the Texas Education Agency? If so, how long has this trend been going on? And, how many black students have we already lost, without any accounting?

What could be wrong besides racism?

First is the resistance of school administrators to count a student as a “drop-out”. That would signify the public school system had failed that student. And, the Fort Worth ISD, as well as other school districts, would rather look the other way than concede failure, than admit that a student is lost.

The second problem is the confusing methodology used to calculate the drop-out rate. School administrations try to keep students on the books as long as possible. The school is funded on the basis of daily attendance per student. The high drop-out rate cuts into state funding allocations.

These are two possible incentives for underreporting the drop-out rate of African-American children.

If the Texas Education Agency cannot explain this “mysterious” mass disappearance, it becomes all the more apparent that community leaders must intervene and seize control of the institution. It is obvious that the public school system failed these students who disappear into thin air.

That’s our baby

The problem could be in the tracking system. I have been a long advocate of a clock-in/clock-out system, where the unit of measurement for the drop-out would correspond with loss of productivity time, i.e. percentage of hours lost in the classroom.

Not only does this system give real-time attendance accounting, but an overview of the percentage of time spent in the classroom. On the other hand, attendance does not necessarily translate into quality education time. The quality of classroom education should be measured by academic achievement, whether by an end-of-course assessment or the standardized TAKS test.

Quantity versus Quality in Education

A student with 50% class time would be considered a “drop-out” in anybody’s book. But if the student has 90% high academic rating, he or she is not considered a lost cause. Therefore, there has to be a combined assessment of quantity and quality.

There should be triggers when productivity or class participation time decreases. There should be benchmarks when academic achievement rises to either new heights or falls to a new low.

This model is simple, comprehensible, and efficient. But it seems, however, that the public school system continues to build upon an antiquated mass production model, with an ever-increasing and expanding bureaucracy. For example, when I look at the number of employees in the Austin accountability office, and compare it with this sad-looking data, it signifies, to me, that the overhead is not worth the results.

Are you satisfied with Linda Roska answer above? If not, contact:

The Texas Education Agency
1701 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas, 78701
(512) 463-9734
Linda Roska, Accountability Research (512) 475-3523

Thursday, August 7, 2008



uWink Menu Now Available in Multiple Languages with a Touch of a Button

LOS ANGELES – July 9, 2008 – uWink (OTCBB:UWKI), an entertainment and hospitality software company and operator of an interactive restaurant concept, announced today menu language translation. With the touch of button, uWink’s menu is translated into Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, or Spanish. At uWink customers order their food and drinks via touch screen terminals located at their table.

To provide language translation of the menu, uWink designed the system with an easy to use interface that allows users to choose their language with the touch of a single button – their native flag. For example, hit France’s flag if you want to view the menu in French, or hit Japan’s flag if you want to view the menu in Japanese.

"Hollywood and Highland has a huge number of international tourists which make it the perfect location to showcase our menu language translation capabilities," said Brent Bushnell, chief technology officer at uWink. "We hope that by providing customers the ability to read our menu in their native language they will feel more at home while dining at uWink."

About uWink's technology:

uWink's interactive digital content operating/display system and real-time, multi-player game platform allows intuitive and easy access to and interaction with various forms of digital content and custom applications including menus, games, videos and music. The software also allows patrons to take control of many aspects of the dining experience, including check-in/checkout and food/drink ordering using uWink's tabletop touch interface.

About uWink:

uWink develops digital media entertainment and hospitality software and an interactive restaurant concept that allows customers to order food, drinks, games and other digital media at the table through proprietary touch screen terminals. uWink is led by entertainment and restaurant visionary Nolan Bushnell, founder and former CEO of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese (NYSE: CEC). For more information:

Alissa Tappan
VP Marketing
uWink Inc.

Monday, August 4, 2008

ADDENDUM TO POSITION PAPER on Toward Solving the Math-Science Achievement Gap

By Eddie Griffin
Monday, August 04, 2008

I received a shout-out from SES: Science, Education, & Society, a site devoted to “commentaries on science and education and how these topics relate to soci-economic status (also referred to as SES) and other class issues among African-American communities”, for my position paper: “Toward Solving the Math-Science Achievement Gap”.

I especially like his links to Tutorials/Virtual Education Tools on various math and science subjects...
The Urban Scientist, SES: Science, Education & Society,

I also received this email:

Date: Monday, August 4, 2008, 9:38 AM

I recently read your post, "Toward Solving the math-Science Achievement Gap" and wanted to let you know about the LEAD Program for Engineering program, an innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) residency program that just launched at Georgia Tech and UC Berkeley. The program, facilitated by youth development innovator LEAD (Leadership Education and Development), has received over $1.3M in sponsorship from Google and DuPont and will tackle the crisis of low technical literacy among America's black and brown children. The CEO, Brother Ric Ramsey, is an alum of Hampton University.

A press release with program details and sponsor comments is here.

From: LiRon Anderson-Bell
President | Crisis Contingency Partners
"Helping You Take Responsibility for Your Visibility"
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Toward Solving the Math-Science Achievement Gap

Let me begin at the end, at the point of solution. Then demonstrate the proof that Math-Science teaching capabilities has reached a new high, making it easier for our children to learn. To achieve our objective, we examined the Texas Instruments TI-calculator series and the integrated math-science curricular and teaching format contained in it.

The technology signifies a new age in Math-Science Education.

In order for our kids to catch up in math and science, let them take a glimpse of the future. Check out the New tutorials and demo posting from the TI-series. The TI-INSPIRE series is an eye-opener on the future.

The students of today will find the TI handheld calculator features familiar to menu-given high tech devises like their mobile phones. Watch these videos. Pay particular attention to the New features.



The Foundational Model










CAST - Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (Texas)
Nov. 6 - Nov. 8, 2008

Start Date:
Thu, November 06, 2008
End Date:
Sat, November 08, 2008
Fort Worth Convention Center
1201 Houston Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102

Karen Hewitt
Phone: (512) 451-STAT [7828]

Friday, July 25, 2008

Towards Solving the Math-Science Achievement Gap

Dear Team Member:

My attention is drawn to the Math-Science education deficiency in our public school system. There are too many resources and tools at our disposal for us to continue to flounder. But rather than focus on fault and blame, let us get straight to a proposed solution.

Where to Start

Every computer is equipped with an Accessory Calculator: Standard and Scientific. Some students use the Standard Calculator to perform elementary functions, such as add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Few students explore the uses of the Scientific Calculator and the meaning of its many interesting functions.

Here is a good starting point, using what we have, already preinstalled into the computer itself, yet underutilized and unexplored.

We need a math curriculum that matches the function keys of the Scientific Calculator. Students should become proficient with this free math tool.

Changing Times and Technology

Students can now use handheld calculators on SAT, ACT, AP testing. But by the time students learn of these tools, it’s too late to master. Therefore, most students learn only the elementary functions, and loose out on advanced challenges that puts them into the competitive global arena.

After a 10-year search for the best educational tools in the field of Math and Science, there is none better that the Texas Instrument Math-Science curriculum.

Elementary Mathematics

Middle Grades Mathematics





Data Collection




Other Virtual Education Tools

Thank you for taking time out to review this position paper and exercising the links herein. Please send your comments to or

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Towards Solving the Math-Science Achievement Crisis in our Schools

Presented By Eddie Griffin


I have been advocating a New Math curriculum for the longest, employing the latest tools in technology and a more refined understanding of the Theory of Learning. For example, when I went to prison in 1972 and came out in 1984, it was like entering into a Time Capsule and being teleported into the future.


Starting from Time T1 … T2… T3… T(x), there was a skip into time for me, especially in mapping the world on a day-to-day basis. I was so far behind the times when I was released that my first blunder was putting a can of beans in a microwave oven.

Technologically, I was behind. But I had read much about the computer while incarcerated. If I ever were going to make a comeback, it would surely come by gaining knowledge in new technology. In 1984, personal computers were still in their infancy.

I was accepted in a vocational training program for machinists and machine shop inspectors. One of my favorite tools was my programmable TI calculator. These calculators are now in their third or fourth generation.


If we ever to make a comeback in global competition, it would surely come by gaining knowledge in new technology. Nationally, we are weak in Math and Science. Yet, we have companies like Texas Instruments living next door, producing all these wonderful math and science tools.

If you were to visit the TI website, you would see what I mean by the New Math curriculum. The site is so rich and chocked full of information and calculator exercises, it is, within, itself a Math and Science curriculum adapt to the modern mode of today’s learning styles.

While school systems are throwing money in their math and science curriculum, trying to close the achievement gap and raising overall academic achievement, we have never considered thinking outside the box, toward companies like Texas Instruments.

Students are not informed that they can use TI calculators on high stakes exams like SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement course exams.

After examining the deep, deep contents of this link (,

We should begin to take an integrative approach to teaching math and science, using the TI calculator series from Pre-K to post-grad.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fort Worth: Panther City:

Where the Panther Laid Down

In Loving Memory of Ms. Hazel Harvey Peace

The Legacy of “The Sleeping Panther”

The story of the sleeping panther - which inspired Fort Worth's nickname, Panther City - is inscribed on a granite plaque near the sculpture. In 1873, a nationwide depression was underway and many believed Fort Worth to be doomed economically. Robert E. Cowart, a former Fort Worth resident who practiced law in Dallas, wrote the Dallas Herald that he had "been to a meeting in Fort Worth the other day and things were so quiet I saw a panther asleep on Main Street, undisturbed by the rush of men or the hum of trade." B.B. Paddock, editor of the Fort Worth Democrat, took these comments as a challenge and had a new masthead engraved with a panther lying in front of the bluff and the motto "Where the Panther Laid Down."

The Panther Symbolism

A founding member of the Texas League in 1888, the Fort Worth Baseball team represented the rough and tumble times of the late 1800’s. The city had earned the nickname Panther City and the team adopted the name Panthers. The club won Texas League championships in 1895, 1905, and 1906, but it wasn’t until the management team of W.K. Stripling, Paul LaGrave, and their fiery manager Jake Atz that a truly special era of baseball was seen in Fort Worth.

From 1919 to 1925 the Fort Worth Panthers won the regular season title seven straight years. They lost the playoff of the 1919 season but for the next six years represented the Texas League in what became the Dixie Series… Amon Carter and other supporters would arrange special trains to transfer die-hard Panther fans to the contests. Five of the six Series Championships were won by Fort Worth, their only loss coming in 1922 to Mobile.

During the late teens and early twenties many major league teams trained in the south of Texas as well as Florida. As they broke camps and headed north the major league teams would play spring exhibitions in Fort Worth, Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and the New York Yankees, Rogers Hornsby and the St. Louis Cardinals all exhibited their skills in Fort Worth.

NOTE: The first two ballfields were located south of downtown near the T&P Rail station in an area called the Reservation and then Haynes Park. In 1911 J.Walter Morris built Panther Park north of downtown on the west side of Main St. Then, in 1926 W.K. Stripling and Paul LaGrave built a new Panther Park on the east side of Main St at seventh avenue and when Paul died in 1929 renamed it LaGrave Field.

The depression era saw a downtown turn in baseball attendance but Fort Worth continued their championship fortunes. Led by Frank Snyder in 1930, Homer Peel in 1937, and Bob Linton in 1939, Fort Worth again gained championship banners and continued their success in winning all three Dixie Series playoffs.

The I. M. Terrell Panthers

The Panther also was the mascot of I. M. Terrell High School, where Eddie Griffin attended school. The school’s chant:

QUESTION: I’ll be a Panther, who’ll be you?
REPLY: I’ll be a Panther too.

ISAIAH MILLIGAN [I. M.] TERRELL, (1859–1931). Isaiah Milligan Terrell, educator, was born on January 3, 1859, near the city of Anderson in Grimes County, Texas. Terrell was the son of Alexander, a blacksmith and Nancy (Oneil) Terrell. Terrell received a private education taught by two missionaries. He was a graduate of Straight University in New Orleans in 1881 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He also received his Master of Arts degree at Straight University.

In 1890 Terrell was named Principal and Superintendent of Colored Schools. The East Ninth Street School was moved to the corner of East Twelfth and Stedman streets in a property trade with the Fort Worth and Denver railroad in 1906, and renamed North Side Colored High School No. 11. In 1909 a bond election provided funds for a new building, which opened in May 1910. I. M. Terrell was named principal and served until 1915. In honor of its former principal, the school was named I. M. Terrell High School in 1921.

Hazel Harvey Peace (1907-2008)

Ms. Hazel Harvey Peace, 100, died June 8, 2008 at her Fort Worth home.

During her nearly 50-year career with the Fort Worth school district, Ms. Peace taught English, coached debate, and was a counselor, dean of girls and vice principal at I.M. Terrell High School.

Born August 4, 1907 in Panther City when “Fort Worth was still nothing but dirt”, Hazel Harvey Peace’s first aspirations were to become a lawyer but changed her mind.
"There was only one Negro lawyer in Fort Worth, and he was riding a bicycle and I didn't want to ride a bicycle," she said in an oral history for UNT.

Ms. Peace graduated from Fort Worth Colored High School when she was 13 years old and received her bachelor's degree from Howard University in 1923. She then began teaching at her alma mater, which had been renamed I.M. Terrell High School.
She taught generations of students many things outside standard curriculum, from proper posture and conduct to access to public libraries.

As the Terrell High School debate coach, she realized that while her students could not use the reference materials in the Fort Worth central library, they could demand to see the federal documents housed at the Texas Christian University Library.
When she took her debaters to the TCU library and requested the federal documents, the librarian asked if they would like to use the periodical room.

"I said, 'I definitely would,'” she said decades later. “I took my children in there and we spent the day there using the documents."

She also enrolled in Columbia University in New York, where she took courses in drama and stage building. She earned a master's degree in four summers.

She later continued to study in the summers at Vassar College, Atlanta University and Hampton College.

Ms. Peace put considerable effort into giving the Terrell students things other Fort Worth students had, including college preparatory classes.
While working with drama students, she enlisted the help of the shop teacher to build the school's first stage set.

I. M. Terrell: Eddie Griffin, Student-Teacher, Math (1963)

As I reflect, Ms. Peace, then vice principal of I. M. Terrell High School invited me to present a demonstration of the New Math to the PTA. Nobody else knew the “new math”, not even our math teacher, Mrs. Mabel Smith. As it turned out, I tutored Mrs. Smith in the new math and taught our junior class.

I had skipped the regular math curriculum by 1958, while in the 6th grade. Mr. Parker at Carroll M. Peak allowed me to run in math. By the end of the school year, I had completed every problem in every math book from the 6th to the 9th grade.

When I reached James E. Guinn Middle School, I began receiving my math lessons in the mail. That was when I learned the binary system and the different number bases, and concept such as inequalities. This was the “new math” in preparation of the coming computer age.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

WANTED ALIVE: Copper Thieves

REWARD: $5,000 Bounty

The Fort Worth Independent School District is taking the unprecedented step of offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons who stole copper and aluminum from twenty-two rooftop air conditioning units and two condensing units at Polytechnic High School.

The thefts occurred over the weekend of June 13-16 and overnight June 16-17. The air conditioning units affected by the theft provide conditioned air to at least half of Poly High School. The anticipated repair costs for material alone amount to at least $132,000 according to Louis Alonzo, District Executive Director of Maintenance. Labor and installation will add to that total.

TAKS review classes had been scheduled for the affected section of the building. Principal Gary Braudaway has made arrangements for the TAKS review sessions to be held in other classrooms not affected by the theft of equipment.

“It’s hard to comprehend why people would steal from schools, impacting the learning environment of the children of this community,” said Superintendent Melody Johnson. “We will aggressively pursue the prosecution of anyone connected with this theft. This is a major loss at a time when the Fort Worth ISD can least afford it.”

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Fort Worth Police Department.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mrs. Hazel Harvey Peace Passes at a Century

The passing of Mrs. Hazel Harvey Peace, our revered matriarch of education, closes a 100-year chapter in African-American legacy. For better or worse, she helped shape and mold us into what we have become, as a generation. The shadow of her wings stretched over five generations of kids who grew up in the old I.M. Terrell high school tradition. Without repute, she was the greatest role model of our times.

Before the dams break and all the emotional waters of my reservoir come streaming out, let me relish in my reflections of Mrs. Peace, and what she made us feel ourselves to be.

“You can be anything you want to be,” she said defiantly. In the face of a segregated and prejudicial society, she made us believe what nobody else believed, that we had great potential. Mrs. Peace made us believe in ourselves.

When the City of Fort Worth celebrated her centennial birthday on August 4, 2007, it was the first time we realized her true age. Some of us had been guessing for years, and even she thought that she was four years older. It was one of her secret stories of how she disputed with her mother over her true age. And, it was only in her latter years that would she admit it.

Every child who gathered under her wings, from the 1920s to 2008, holds a special place as “one of her children”. To her, we were always “young men” and “young ladies”. She made us feel so grown up and responsible.

She was as feared in her heydays as vice principal as she was revered. All of us, no matter how big or how old, feared this little 98-pound maiden. Just the inflection of her voice caused terror in our hearts. But few students lay across the vice principle’s chair and got paddled by Mrs. Peace.

“I have never whipped a student in my life,” she said, as she directed me to lean over the chair. “But you are an exception.”

Some years later, I asked if she had ever whipped another student. She shouted back, “No! And if you ever tell anyone, I’ll disown you.”

There were other famous alumni who claimed a shellacking from Mrs. Peace. Just to have been chastened by her was considered an honor. And, sometimes her verbal lashing inside the secret chambers of the VP office was more of a beating than she could deliver with a strap. But Eddie Griffin got the real leather.

It was 1963, my best year ever in high school. I was Number One in my class and a student-teacher in our math class. That was the way Mrs. Peace should have remembered the math whiz kid, Eddie Griffin. But she would not have been utterly shocked at Eddie Griffin, the Black Panther bank.

Mrs. Peace should have forgotten Eddie Griffin after my 12 years of incarceration. But she remembered. Though her memory would fade over the next 24 years, she would remember the little math whiz kid.

On her 100th birthday, I took three of my grandchildren to the public library to celebrate the occasion and take pictures with her. I knelt before her rocky chair and presented her my grand babies. The newspaperman took their picture, if for no more than posterity sake.

The book of the times is now closed on this chapter. And Mrs. Hazel Harvey Peace is but a treasured memory. The thousands of children under the wing of her tutelage will sprout wings of their own and bring forth a new generation of educated children. And, in the memory bank of Eddie Griffin, I will remember that episode in 1963.

It was unheard of that an honor student would play hooky from school, just to hang out in the pool hall with dropouts. “Unheard of,” Mrs. Peace shouted as she lifted up off her small frame onto her tiptoes to slam my behind with a leather belt. Unheard of!

We were supposed to be the best that our race had to offer the world. We were the brightest of our generation. We were the generation to whom much was given and much was required. Unheard of, she repeated each time the leather slapped my butt: Unheard of to waste such potential.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mass Media, Mass Psychology, and Brainwashing

While I have been watching ABC News shenanigans with Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos mis-conducting the presidential debate, Brave New Films has been watch FOX systematic butcher job on Barack Obama on another channel. Such bias blatancy violates good conscious and public trust.

See for yourself

Brave New Films recently released the latest episode of the gameshow sensation sweeping the nation: THE FOX IS WRONG: OBAMA!

Nichole Wicks
Press Officer
BraVe New Films
10510 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
office: 310/204.0448
mobile: 310.279.8036
AIM: wicksn71

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bob Blauner on Race & Racism

A Study in Race Relations

“Talking Past Each Other: Black and White Languages of Race” by BOB BLAUNER

Born in Chicago to Jewish lower middle class parents, Bob Blauner studied at the University of Chicago and received his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley, where he has been a professor of sociology since 1963. His first major scholarly work was Alienation and Freedom: The Factory Worker and His Industry (1964). His later works, include Racial Oppression in America (1972) and Black Lives, White Lives: Three Decades of Race Relations in America (1989). In the following essay, Blauner reflects on some of the borders to be negotiated if black and white Americans are to achieve a permanent understanding.

For many African-Americans who came of age in the 1960s, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 was a defining moment in the development of their personal racial consciousness. For a slightly older group, the 1955 lynching of the fourteen-year-old Chicagoan Emmett Till in Mississippi had been a similar awakening. Now we have the protest and violence in Los Angeles and other cities in late April and early May of 1992, spurred by the jury acquittal of four policemen who beat motorist Rodney King.

The aftermath of the Rodney King verdict, unlike any other recent racial violence, will be seared into the memories of Americans of all colors, changing the way they see each other and their society. Spring 1992 marked the first time since the 1960s that incidents of racial injustice against an African-American—and by extension the black community—have seized the entire nation's imagination. Even highly publicized racial murders, such as those of African-American men in two New York City neighborhoods—Howard Beach (1986) and Bensonhurst (1989)—stirred the consciences of only a minority of whites. The response to the Rodney King verdict is thus a long-overdue reminder that whites still have the capacity to feel deeply about white racism—when they can see it in unambiguous terms.

The videotaped beating by four Los Angeles police officers provided this concreteness. To be sure, many whites focused their response on the subsequent black rioting, while the anger of blacks tended to remain fixed on the verdict itself. However, whites initially were almost as upset as blacks: An early poll reported that 86 percent of European-Americans disagreed with the jury's decision. The absence of any black from the jury and the trial's venue, Simi Valley, a lily-white suburban community, enabled mainstream whites to see the parallels with the Jim Crow justice of the old South. When we add to this mixture the widespread disaffection, especially of young people, with the nation's political and economic conditions, it is easier to explain the scale of white emotional involvement, unprecedented in a matter of racial protest since the 1960s.

In thirty years of teaching, I have never seen my students so overwrought, needing to talk, eager to do something. This response at the University of California at Berkeley cut across the usual fault lines of intergroup tension, as it did at high schools in Northern California. Assemblies, marches, and class discussions took place all over the nation in predominantly white as well as nonwhite and integrated high schools. Considering that there were also incidents where blacks assaulted white people, the scale of white involvement is even more impressive.

While many whites saw the precipitating events as expressions of racist conduct, they were much less likely than blacks to see them as part of some larger pattern of racism. Thus two separate polls found that only half as many whites as blacks believe that the legal system treats whites better than blacks. (In each poll, 43 percent of whites saw such a generalized double standard, in contrast to 84 percent of blacks in one survey, 89 percent in the other.)

This gap is not surprising. For twenty years European-Americans have tended to feel that systematic racial inequities marked an earlier era, not our own. Psychological denial and a kind of post-1960s exhaustion may both be factors in producing the sense among mainstream whites that civil rights laws and other changes resolved blacks' racial grievances, if not the economic basis of urban problems. But the gap in perceptions of racism also reflects a deeper difference. Whites and blacks see racial issues through different lenses and use different scales to weigh and assess injustice.

I am not saying that blacks and whites have totally disparate value systems and worldviews. I think we were more polarized in the late 1960s. It was then that I began a twenty-year interview study of racial consciousness published in 1989 as Black Lives, White Lives. By 1979 blacks and whites had come closer together on many issues than they had been in 1968. In the late 1970s and again in the mid-to-late 1980s, both groups were feeling quite pessimistic about the nation's direction. They agreed that America had become a more violent nation and that people were more individualistic and less bound by such traditional values as hard work, personal responsibility, and respect for age and authority. But with this and other convergences, there remained a striking gap in the way European-Americans and African-Americans evaluated racial change. Whites were impressed by the scale of integration, the size of the black middle class, and the extent of demonstrable progress. Blacks were disillusioned with integration, concerned about the people who had been left behind, and much more negative in their overall assessment of change.

In the 1990s this difference in general outlook led to different reactions to specific racial issues. That is what makes the shared revulsion over the Rodney King verdict a significant turning point, perhaps even an opportunity to begin bridging the gap between black and white definitions of the racial situation.

I want to advance the proposition that there are two languages of race in America. I am not talking about black English and standard English, which refer to different structures of grammar and dialect. "Language" here signifies a system of implicit understandings about social reality, and a racial language encompasses a worldview.
Blacks and whites differ on their interpretations of social change from the 1960s through the 1990s because their racial languages define the central terms, especially "racism," differently. Their racial languages incorporate different views of American society itself, especially the question of how central race and racism are to America's very existence, past and present. Blacks believe in this centrality, while most whites, except for the more race-conscious extremists, see race as a peripheral reality. Even successful, middle-class black professionals experience slights and humiliations—incidents when they are stopped by police, regarded suspiciously by clerks while shopping, or mistaken for messengers, drivers, or aides at work—that remind them they have not escaped racism's reach. For whites, race becomes central on exceptional occasions: collective, public moments such as the recent events, when the veil is lifted, and private ones, such as a family's decision to escape urban problems with a move to the suburbs. But most of the time European-Americans are able to view racial issues as aberrations in American life, much as Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates used the term "aberration" to explain his officers' beating of Rodney King in March 1991.

Because of these differences in language and worldview, blacks and whites often talk past one another, just as men and women sometimes do. I first noticed this in my classes, particularly during discussions of racism. Whites locate racism in color consciousness and its absence in color blindness. They regard it as a kind of racism when students of color insistently underscore their sense of difference, their affirmation of ethnic and racial membership, which minority students have increasingly asserted. Many black, and increasingly also Latino and Asian, students cannot understand this reaction. It seems to them misinformed, even ignorant. They in turn sense a kind of racism in the whites' assumption that minorities must assimilate to mainstream values and styles. Then African-Americans will posit an idea that many whites find preposterous: Black people, they argue, cannot be racist, because racism is a system of power, and black people as a group do not have power.

In this and many other arenas, a contest rages over the meaning of racism. Racism has become the central term in the language of race. From the 1940s through the 1980s new and multiple meanings of racism have been added to the social science lexicon and public discourse. The 1960s were especially critical for what the English sociologist Robert Miles has called the "inflation" of the term "racism." Blacks tended to embrace the enlarged definitions, whites to resist them. This conflict, in my view, has been at the very center of the racial struggle during the past decade.

The Widening Conception of Racism

The term "racism" was not commonly used in social science or American public life until the 1960s. "Racism" does not appear, for example, in the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal's classic 1944 study of American race relations, An American Dilemma. But even when the term was not directly used, it is still possible to determine the prevailing understandings of racial oppression.

In the 1940s racism referred to an ideology, an explicit system of beliefs 14 postulating the superiority of whites based on the inherent, biological inferiority of the colored races. Ideological racism was particularly associated with the belief systems of the Deep South and was originally devised as a rationale for slavery. Theories of white supremacy, particularly in their biological versions, lost much of their legitimacy after the Second World War due to their association with Nazism. In recent years cultural explanations of "inferiority" are heard more commonly than biological ones, which today are associated with such extremist "hate groups" as the Ku Klux Klan and the White Aryan Brotherhood.

By the 1950s and early 1960s, with ideological racism discredited, the focus shifted to a more discrete approach to racially invidious attitudes and behavior, expressed in the model of prejudice and discrimination. "Prejudice" referred (and still does) to hostile feelings and beliefs about racial minorities and the web of stereotypes justifying such negative attitudes. "Discrimination" referred to actions meant to harm the members of a racial minority group. The logic of this model was that racism implied a double standard, that is, treating a person of color differently—in mind or action—than one would a member of the majority group.

By the mid-1960s the terms "prejudice" and "discrimination" and the implicit model of racial causation implied by them were seen as too weak to explain the sweep of racial conflict and change, too limited in their analytical power, and for some critics too individualistic in their assumptions. Their original meanings tended to be absorbed by a new, more encompassing idea of racism. During the 1960s the referents of racial oppression moved from individual actions and beliefs to group and institutional processes, from subjective ideas to "objective" structures or results. Instead of intent, there was now an emphasis on process: those more objective social processes of exclusion, exploitation, and discrimination that led to a racially stratified society.

The most notable of these new definitions was "institutional racism." In their 1967 book Black Power, Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton stressed how institutional racism was different and more fundamental than individual racism. Racism, in this view, was built into society and scarcely required prejudicial attitudes to maintain racial oppression.

This understanding of racism as pervasive and institutionalized spread from relatively narrow "movement" and academic circles to the larger public with the appearance in 1968 of the report of the commission on the urban riots appointed by President Lyndon Johnson and chaired by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner. The Kerner Commission identified "white racism" as a prime reality of American society and the major underlying cause of ghetto unrest. America, in this view, was moving toward two societies, one white and one black (it is not clear where other racial minorities fit in). Although its recommendations were never acted upon politically, the report legitimated the term "white racism" among politicians and opinion leaders as a key to analyzing racial inequality in America.

Another definition of racism, which I would call "racism as atmosphere," also emerged in the 1960s and 1970s. This is the idea that an organization or an environment might be racist because its implicit, unconscious structures were devised for the use and comfort of white people, with the result that people of other races will not feel at home in such settings. Acting on this understanding of racism, many schools and universities, corporations, and other institutions have changed their teaching practices or work environments to encourage a greater diversity in their clientele, students, or work force.

Perhaps the most radical definition of all was the concept of "racism as result." In this sense, an institution or an occupation is racist simply because racial minorities are underrepresented in numbers or in positions of prestige and authority.

Seizing on different conceptions of racism, the blacks and whites I talked to in the late 1970s had come to different conclusions about how far America had moved toward racial justice. Whites tended to adhere to earlier, more limited notions of racism. Blacks for the most part saw the newer meanings as more basic. Thus African-Americans did not think racism had been put to rest by civil rights laws, even by the dramatic changes in the South. They felt that it still pervaded American life, indeed, had become more insidious because the subtle forms were harder to combat than old-fashioned exclusion and persecution.

Whites saw racism largely as a thing of the past. They defined it in terms of segregation and lynching, explicit white supremacist beliefs, or double standards in hiring, promotion, and admissions to colleges or other institutions. Except for affirmative action, which seemed the most blatant expression of such double standards, they were positively impressed by racial change. Many saw the relaxed and comfortable relations between whites and blacks as the heart of the matter. More crucial to blacks, on the other hand, were the underlying structures of power and position that continued to provide them with unequal portions of economic opportunity and other possibilities for the good life.

The newer, expanded definitions of racism just do not make much sense to most whites. I have experienced their frustrations directly when I try to explain the concept of institutional racism to white students and popular audiences. The idea of racism as an "impersonal force" loses all but the most theoretically inclined. Whites are more likely than blacks to view racism as a personal issue. Both sensitive to their own possible culpability (if only unconsciously) and angry at the use of the concept of racism by angry minorities, they do not differentiate well between the racism of social structures and the accusation that they as participants in that structure are personally racist.

The new meanings make sense to blacks, who live such experiences in their bones. But by 1979 many of the African-Americans in my study, particularly the older activists, were critical of the use of racism as a blanket explanation for all manifestations of racial inequality. Long before similar ideas were voiced by the black conservatives, many blacks sensed that too heavy an emphasis on racism led to the false conclusion that blacks could only progress through a conventional civil rights strategy of fighting prejudice and discrimination. (This strategy, while necessary, had proved very limited.) Overemphasizing racism, they feared, was interfering with the black community's ability to achieve greater self-determination through the politics of self-help. In addition, they told me that the prevailing rhetoric of the 1960s had affected many young blacks. Rather than taking responsibility for their own difficulties, they were now using racism as a "cop-out."

In public life today this analysis is seen as part of the conservative discourse on race. Yet I believe that this position originally was a progressive one, developed out of self-critical reflections on the relative failure of 1960s movements. But perhaps because it did not seem to be "politically correct," the left-liberal community, black as well as white, academic as well as political, has been afraid of embracing such a critique. As a result, the neoconservatives had a clear field to pick up this grass-roots sentiment and to use it to further their view that racism is no longer significant in American life. This is the last thing that my informants and other savvy African-Americans close to the pulse of their communities believe.

By the late 1970s the main usage of racism in the mind of the white public had undoubtedly become that of "reverse racism." The primacy of "reverse racism" as "the really important racism" suggests that the conservatives and the liberal-center have, in effect, won the battle over the meaning of racism.

Perhaps this was inevitable because of the long period of backlash against all the progressive movements of the 1960s. But part of the problem may have been the inflation of the idea of racism. While institutional racism exists, such a concept loses practical utility if every thing and every place is racist. In that case, there is effectively nothing to be done about it. And without conceptual tools to distinguish what is important from what is not, we are lost in the confusion of multiple meanings.

Back to Basics

While public discourse was discounting white racism as exaggerated or a thing of the past, the more traditional forms of bigotry, harassment, and violence were unfortunately making a comeback. (This upsurge actually began in the early 1980s but was not well noticed, due to some combination of media inattention and national mood.) What was striking about the Bernhard Goetz subway shootings in New York, the white-on-black racial violence in Howard Beach, the rise of organized hate groups, campus racism, and skinhead violence is that these are all examples of old-fashioned racism. They illustrate the power and persistence of racial prejudices and hate crimes in the tradition of classical lynchings. They are precisely the kind of phenomena that many social analysts expected to diminish, as I did.

If there was one positive effect of this upsurge, it was to alert many whites to the destructive power of racial hatred and division in American life. At the same time, these events also repolarized racial attitudes in America. They have contributed to the anger and alienation of the black middle class and the rapid rise of Afrocentrism, particularly among college students.

As the gap in understanding has widened, several social scientists have proposed restricting the concept of racism to its original, more narrow meaning. However, the efforts of African-Americans to enlarge the meaning of racism is part of that group's project to make its view of the world and of American society competitive with the dominant white perspective. In addition, the "inflated" meanings of racism are already too rooted in common speech to be overturned by the advice of experts. And certainly some way is needed to convey the pervasive and systematic character of racial oppression. No other term does this as well as racism.

The question then becomes what to do about these multiple and confusing meanings of racism and their extraordinary personal and political charge. I would begin by honoring both the black and white readings of the term. Such an attitude might help facilitate the interracial dialogue so badly needed and yet so rare today.

Communication can only start from the understandings that people have. While the black understanding of racism is, in some sense, the deeper one, the white views of racism (ideology, double standard) refer to more specific and recognizable beliefs and practices. Since there is also a crossracial consensus on the immorality of racist ideology and racial discrimination, it makes sense whenever possible to use such a concrete referent as discrimination, rather than the more global concept of racism. And reemphasizing discrimination may help remind the public that racial discrimination is not just a legacy of the past.

The intellectual power of the African-American understanding lies in its more critical and encompassing perspective. In the Rodney King events, we have an unparalleled opportunity to bridge the racial gap by pointing out that racism and racial division remain essential features of American life and that incidents such as police beatings of minority people and stacked juries are not aberrations but part of a larger pattern of racial abuse and harassment. Without resorting to the overheated rhetoric that proved counterproductive in the 1960s, it now may be possible to persuade white Americans that the most important patterns of discrimination and disadvantage are not to be found in the "reverse racism" of affirmative action but sadly still in the white racism of the dominant social system. And, when feasible, we need to try to bridge the gap by shifting from the language of race to that of ethnicity and class.

Race or Ethnicity?

In the American consciousness the imagery of race—especially along the black-white dimension—tends to be more powerful than that of class or ethnicity. As a result, legitimate ethnic affiliations are often misunderstood to be racial and illegitimate.

Race itself is a confusing concept because of the variance between scientific and common sense definitions of the term. Physical anthropologists who study the distribution of those characteristics we use to classify "races" teach us that race is a fiction because all peoples are mixed to various degrees. Sociologists counter that this biological fiction unfortunately remains a sociological reality. People define one anther racially, and thus divide society into racial groups. The "fiction" of race affects every aspect of people's lives, from living standards to landing in jail.

The consciousness of color differences, and the invidious distinctions based on them, have existed since antiquity and are not limited to any one corner of the world. And yet the peculiarly modern division of the world into a discrete number of hierarchically ranked races is a historic product of Western colonialism. In precolonial Africa the relevant group identities were national, tribal, or linguistic. There was no concept of an African or black people until this category was created by the combined effects of slavery, imperialism, and the anticolonial and Pan-African movements. The legal definitions of blackness and whiteness, which varied from one society to another in the Western hemisphere, were also crucial for the construction of modern-day races. Thus race is an essentially political construct, one that translates our tendency to see people in terms of their color or other physical attributes into structures that make it likely that people will act for or against them on such a basis.

The dynamic of ethnicity is different, even though the results at times may be similar. An ethnic group is a group that shares a belief in its common past. Members of an ethnic group hold a set of common memories that make them feel that their customs, culture, and outlook are distinctive. In short, they have a sense of peoplehood. Sharing critical experiences and sometimes a belief in their common fate, they feel an affinity for one another, a "comfort zone" that leads to congregating together, even when this is not forced by exclusionary barriers. Thus if race is associated with biology and nature, ethnicity is associated with culture. Like races, ethnic groups arise historically, transform themselves, and sometimes die out.

Much of the popular discourse about race in America today goes awry because ethnic realities get lost under the racial umbrella. The positive meanings and potential of ethnicity are overlooked, even overrun, by the more inflammatory meanings of race. Thus white students, disturbed when blacks associate with each other, justify their objections through their commitment to racial integration. They do not appreciate the ethnic affinities that bring this about, or see the parallels to Jewish students meeting at the campus Hillel Foundation or Italian-Americans eating lunch at the Italian house on the Berkeley campus.

When blacks are "being ethnic," whites see them as "being racial." Thus they view the identity politics of students who want to celebrate their blackness, their chicanoismo, their Asian heritages, and their American Indian roots as racially offensive. Part of this reaction comes from a sincere desire, almost a yearning, of white students for a color-blind society. But because the ethnicity of darker people so often gets lost in our overracialized perceptions, the white students misread the situation. When I point out to my class that whites are talking about race and its dynamics and the students of color are talking about ethnicity and its differing meaning, they can begin to appreciate each other's agendas.

Confounding race and ethnicity is not just limited to the young. The general public, including journalists and other opinion makers, does this regularly, with serious consequences for the clarity of public dialogue and sociological analysis. A clear example comes from the Chicago mayoral election of 1983. The establishment press, including leading liberal columnists, regularly chastised the black electorate for giving virtually all its votes to Harold Washington. Such racial voting was as "racist" as whites voting for the other candidate because they did not want a black mayor. Yet African-Americans were voting for ethnic representation just as Irish-Americans, Jews, and Italians have always done. Such ethnic politics is considered the American way. What is discriminatory is the double standard that does not confer the same rights on blacks, who were not voting primarily out of fear or hatred as were many whites.

Such confusions between race and ethnicity are exacerbated by the ambiguous sociological status of African-Americans. Black Americans are both a race and an ethnic group. Unfortunately, part of our heritage of racism has been to deny the ethnicity, the cultural heritage of black Americans. Liberal-minded whites have wanted to see blacks as essentially white people with black skins. Until the 1960s few believed that black culture was a real ethnic culture.

Because our racial language is so deep-seated, the terminology of black and white just seems more "natural" and commonsensical than more ethnic labels like African-American or European-American. But the shift to the term African-American has been a conscious attempt to move the discourse from a language of race to a language of ethnicity. "African-American," as Jesse Jackson and others have pointed out, connects the group to its history and culture in a way that the racial designation, black, does not. The new usage parallels terms for other ethnic groups. Many whites tend to dismiss this concern about language as mere sloganeering. But "African-American" fits better into the emerging multicultural view of American ethnic and racial arrangements, one more appropriate to our growing diversity. The old race relations model was essentially a view that generalized (often inappropriately) from black-white relations. It can no longer capture—if it ever could—the complexity of a multiracial and multicultural society.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that African-Americans are not a homogeneous group. They comprise a variety of distinct ethnicities. There are the West Indians with their long histories in the U.S., the darker Puerto Ricans (some of whom identify themselves as black), the more recently arrived Dominicans, Haitians, and immigrants from various African countries, as well as the native-born African-Americans, among whom regional distinctions can also take on a quasi-ethnic flavor.

Blacks from the Caribbean are especially likely to identify with their homeland rather than taking on a generic black or even African-American identity. While they may resist the dynamic of "racialization" and even feel superior to native blacks, the dynamic is relentless. Their children are likely to see themselves as part of the larger African-American population. And yet many native-born Americans of African descent also resist the term "African-American," feeling very little connection to the original homeland. Given the diversity in origin and outlook of America's largest minority, it is inevitable that no single concept can capture its full complexity or satisfy all who fall within its bounds.

For white Americans, race does not overwhelm ethnicity. Whites see the ethnicity of other whites; it is their own whiteness they tend to overlook. But even when race is recognized, it is not conflated with ethnicity. Jews, for example, clearly distinguish their Jewishness from their whiteness. Yet the long-term dynamic still favors the development of a dominant white racial identity. Except for recent immigrants, the various European ethnic identities have been rapidly weakening. Vital ethnic communities persist in some cities, particularly on the East Coast. But many whites, especially the young, have such diverse ethnic heritages that they have no meaningful ethnic affiliation. In my classes only the Jews among European-Americans retain a strong sense of communal origin.

Instead of dampening the ethnic enthusiasms of the racial minorities, perhaps it would be better to encourage the revitalization of whites' European heritages. But a problem with this approach is that the relationship between race and ethnicity is more ambiguous for whites than for people of color. Although for many white groups ethnicity has been a stigma, it also has been used to gain advantages that have marginalized blacks and other racial minorities. Particularly for working-class whites today, ethnic community loyalties are often the prism through which they view their whiteness, their superiority.

Thus the line between ethnocentrism and racism is a thin one, easily crossed—as it was by Irish-Americans who resisted the integration of South Boston's schools in the 1970s and by many of the Jews and Italians that sociologist Jonathan Rieder describes in his 1985 book Canarsie.

White students today complain of a double standard. Many feel that their college administrations sanction organization and identification for people of color, but not for them. If there can be an Asian business organization and a black student union, why can't there be a white business club or a white student alliance? I'd like to explain to them that students of color are organized ethnically, not racially, that whites have Hillel and the Italian theme house. But this makes little practical sense when such loyalties are just not that salient for the vast majority.

Out of this vacuum the emerging identity of "European-American" has come into vogue. I interpret the European-American idea as part of a yearning for a usable past. Europe is associated with history and culture. "America" and "American" can no longer be used to connote white people. "White" itself is a racial term and thereby inevitably associated with our nation's legacy of social injustice.

At various California colleges and high schools, European-American clubs have begun to form, provoking debate about whether it is inherently racist for whites to organize as whites—or as European-Americans. Opponents invoke the racial analogy and see such organizations as akin to exclusive white supremacist groups. Their defenders argue from an ethnic model, saying that they are simply looking for a place where they can feel at home and discuss their distinctive personal and career problems. The jury is still out on this new and, I suspect, burgeoning phenomenon. It will take time to discover its actual social impact.

If the European-Americans forming their clubs are truly organizing on an ethnic or panethnic rather than a racial model, I would have to support these efforts. Despite all the ambiguities, it seems to me a gain in social awareness when a specific group comes to be seen in ethnic rather than racial terms. During the period of the mass immigration of the late nineteenth century and continuing through the 1920s, Jews, Italians, and other white ethnics were viewed racially. We no longer hear of the "Hebrew race," and it is rare for Jewish distinctiveness to be attributed to biological rather than cultural roots. Of course, the shift from racial to ethnic thinking did not put an end to anti-Semitism in the United States-or to genocide in Germany, where racial imagery was obviously intensified.

It is unrealistic to expect that the racial groupings of American society can be totally "deconstructed," as a number of scholars now are advocating. After all, African-Americans and native Americans, who were not immigrants, can never be exactly like other ethnic groups. Yet a shift in this direction would begin to move our society from a divisive biracialism to a more inclusive multiculturalism.

To return to the events of spring 1992, I ask what was different about these civil disturbances. Considering the malign neglect of twelve Reagan-Bush years, the almost two decades of economic stagnation, and the retreat of the public from issues of race and poverty, the violent intensity should hardly be astonishing.

More striking was the multiracial character of the response. In the San Francisco Bay area, rioters were as likely to be white as nonwhite. In Los Angeles, Latinos were prominent among both the protesters and the victims. South Central Los Angeles is now more Hispanic than black, and this group suffered perhaps 60 percent of the property damage. The media have focused on the specific grievances of African-Americans toward Koreans. But I would guess that those who trashed Korean stores were protesting something larger than even the murder of a fifteen-year-old black girl. Koreans, along with other immigrants, continue to enter the country and in a relatively short time surpass the economic and social position of the black poor. The immigrant advantage is real and deeply resented by African-Americans, who see that the two most downtrodden minorities are those that did not enter the country voluntarily.

During the 1960s the police were able to contain riots within the African-American community. This time Los Angeles police were unable to do so. Even though the South Central district suffered most, there was also much destruction in other areas including Hollywood, downtown, and the San Fernando Valley, In the San Francisco Bay area the violence occurred primarily in the white business sections, not the black neighborhoods of Oakland, San Francisco, or Berkeley. The violence that has spilled out of the inner city is a distillation of all the human misery that a white middle-class society has been trying to contain-albeit unsuccessfully (consider the homeless). As in the case of an untreated infection, the toxic substances finally break out, threatening to contaminate the entire organism.

Will this widened conflict finally lead Americans toward a recognition of our common stake in the health of the inner cities and their citizens, or toward increased fear and division? The Emmett Till lynching in 1955 set the stage for the first mass mobilization of the civil rights movement, the Montgomery bus boycott later that year. Martin Luther King's assassination provided the impetus for the institution of affirmative action and other social programs. The Rodney King verdict and its aftermath must also become not just a psychologically defining moment but an impetus to a new mobilization of political resolve.

Working with the Text

1. Blauner states that in his experience, most whites find it difficult to make sense of the concept of institutional racism, in part because they "do not differentiate well between the racism of social structures and the accusation that they as participants in that structure are personally racist." The concept makes sense to blacks, however, because they "live such experiences in their bones." How do you respond to this conclusion?

2. Blauner's white students often regard the desire of blacks or Hispanics or Asian-Americans to create racially exclusive groups as "reverse racism." In what ways does Blauner feel that considering such groups in the context of ethnicity can help his white students get beyond this view? Do you agree?

3. Blauner advocates the term African-American and also sometimes uses the term European-American instead of white? Why? Do you agree with his reasoning?

4. In discussing the disadvantages of encouraging "the revitalization of whites' European heritages" Blauner suggests that "the line between ethnocentricism and racism is a thin one." Why, then, does Blauner tentatively support the emergence of European-American clubs on college campuses?

5. Blauner suggests that the "shared revulsion over the Rodney King verdict" in 1992 was a "significant turning point, perhaps even an opportunity to begin bridging the gap between black and white definitions of the racial situation." Considering black and white attitudes about the "racial situation" today, what do you think of Blauner's prediction?

6. Choose an event more recent than the Rodney King verdict that changed black and white definitions of the racial situation. Working collaboratively with a group of your classmates, research the event by reading old periodical accounts. (If you have not yet done so, this would be a good time to learn how to find and read newspapers on microfilm.) Make a brief presentation of your research to the class, dividing the task among the researchers so that each is responsible for a segment related to—but not reiterating—the others.

Promethean Board demonstration