05-27-2020  7:02 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Huge Washington Unemployment Fraud Warning to Other States

Officials hint that hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid out in fake unemployment claims.

Spike in Coronavirus Cases in Oregon Traced to Gatherings

Most of Deschutes County’s new cases can be traced to social gatherings with extended family, like barbecues and celebrations.

Oregon Supreme Court Gives Judge Deadline on Virus Ruling

Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff ruled Gov. Brown's stay-at-home orders are invalid but Supreme Court want explanation

Three-Car Derailment in North Portland Signals Ongoing Safety Concerns

A train derailment in North Portland Tuesday morning resulted in no injuries, but damaged a Lombard Street overpass. It also served as a reminder of the safety hazards of living alongside railways.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Health Authority Investigating COVID-19 Increase at Unnamed Business

Oregon reports 71 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases today, no new deaths ...

Some Columbia River Gorge Trails, Parks Reopen Today

Crowded sites including most waterfall viewing areas, campgrounds, and visitor’s centers will stay closed because of the coronavirus...

Over 60 Percent of U.S. Households Have Responded to 2020 Census

Washington is one of the 6 states with the highest self-response rates and both Seattle and Portland are one of the top 8 cities with...

Federal Court Rules Florida Law That Undermined Voting Rights Restoration Is Unconstitutional

The law required people with past convictions to pay all outstanding legal fees, costs, fines, and restitution before regaining their...

Washington issues new guidelines for religious services

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that churches, mosques and synagogues can resume in-person services, with those in counties in the second stage of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan allowed to have smaller in-building services and the remainder...

Virus outbreak at unnamed business could disrupt reopening

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Multnomah County said Wednesday that it hopes to begin reopening in about two weeks, but a mysterious coronavirus outbreak could hinder those plans.The Oregon Health Authority said Wednesday afternoon that it is working with county health authorities to investigate...

Kansas, Missouri renew Border War with 4-game football set

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas and Missouri are resuming their bitter Border War in football after the former Big 12 rivals agreed to a four-game series in which each school will play two home games beginning in September 2025.The fourth-longest rivalry in college football dates to 1891, but...

OPINION

Ballot Measure 26-210 is Needed Now

Though this measure was referred to the ballot by Metro, it was written by the HereTogether coalition ...

The Skanner News May Primary 2020 Endorsements

Read The Skanner News' midterm election endorsements for Oregon, Multnomah County, Portland, and ballot measures ...

A New Earth Day

Happy Earth Day. If we actually mean it, we will elect representatives who will force the military to clean up their pollution ...

Covid-19 Financial Warning: Consumers and Banks Should Stay Away From Payday Loans

When living costs exceed available financial resources, tough times lead to tough decisions ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Mayor: Officer who put knee on man's neck should be charged

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The mayor of Minneapolis called Wednesday for criminal charges against the white police officer seen on video kneeling against the neck of a handcuffed black man who complained that he could not breathe and died in police custody.Based on the video, Mayor Jacob Frey said...

False news swirls around Minneapolis officer in fatal arrest

A Minneapolis police officer videotaped on Monday holding a black man to the ground with his knee during an arrest has become the target of false claims on social media that attempt to tie him to political agendas and racist ideologies.Twitter and Facebook posts with hundreds of thousands of views...

US Congress approves China sanctions over ethnic crackdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress voted Wednesday to toughen the U.S. response to a brutal Chinese crackdown on ethnic minorities, adding another factor to the increasingly stormy relationship between the two countries.The House passed a bipartisan bill that would impose sanctions on Chinese...

ENTERTAINMENT

Larry Kramer used voice, pen to raise consciousness on AIDS

NEW YORK (AP) — Time never softened the urgency of Larry Kramer’s demands.Theatergoers leaving a celebrated revival of Kramer’s “The Normal Heart” in 2011 were greeted by the playwright himself, deep in his 70s by then, handing out leaflets outside the Broadway...

Summertime, and the living is uneasy for Jason Isbell

NEW YORK (AP) — Jason Isbell had big plans for this summer, between a new album specifically designed to introduce his music to a wider audience and a schedule that had him onstage most nights from May to September.Like millions of others, many of Isbell's dreams are on hold because of the...

Review: 'The Vast of Night' is a cunning lo-fi sci-fi noir

“The Vast of Night,” a micro-budget noir set in 1950s New Mexico, crackles with B-movie electricity. The film is one of those little miracles: a directorial debut, made for nothing, that establishes a young filmmaker of self-evident command. With atmosphere and cunning, director...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Keselowski looks to heat up market with 2nd Charlotte win

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — The caution that sent the Coca-Cola 600 to overtime both continued Chase Elliott's bad...

AP PHOTOS: Funerals become lonely affairs amid pandemic

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Mohammad Altaf, the generous spirit. Eudiana Smith, the trailblazer. Servius...

'Bummed out': SpaceX launch scrubbed because of bad weather

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The launch of a SpaceX rocket ship with two NASA astronauts on a history-making...

Denmark residents sue over laws for dismantling 'ghettos'

Stockholm (AP) — A group of Copenhagen residents sued the Danish government Wednesday over legislation that...

French lawmakers endorse the country's virus tracing app

PARIS (AP) — France's lower house of parliament endorsed Wednesday a contact-tracing app designed to...

UK unveils test and trace plan; Johnson refuses aide inquiry

LONDON (AP) — After two months of lockdown and more than 37,000 coronavirus deaths, Britain on Wednesday...

McMenamins
Amy Wilkins, America

WASHINGTON—Tracey and Abby Sparrow, one a teacher and the other a nonprofit's vice president, both white, recently took to the pages of Phi Delta Kappan, a magazine for educators, to explain what stands between black males and academic success. The writers' methodology is questionable. They selected 10 black young men and boys as their storytelling devices. The end product is powerful, with bursts of compelling, almost tabloidesque narrative, accompanied by riveting photographic portraits. But the probable impact is devastating.

The Sparrows' version of these young men's voices resurrects and refreshes centuries-old stereotypes about black males, black families and black communities. Instead of providing educators who read Phi Delta Kappan with fresh insights or, better still, new tools and strategies to help black boys and young men succeed in often-dismal circumstances, the authors practically hang "abandon all hope" signs around their subjects' necks.

Co-opting the excerpted words of these young men, the authors attribute their academic failures to music, peer groups, absent fathers and mothers "more into street life" than mothering. Their characterization of black mothers is disturbing. Many black women must balance nurturing and educating their children with work and keeping households functioning. Why is it that imperfections of white mothers are rarely used as an excuse to shortchange white boys or blame the boys or their moms for low achievement?

My research comes from personal experiences with my son and interviews with seven other mothers of African-American boys. We know a very different story, one that educators need to hear about how schools systemically undercut, rather than nurture, the academic promise of black males.

According to the Sparrows, the boys don't mention anything about schools. What the Sparrows don't mention is that, as a rule, schools spend less on educating black children than on white children. They don't mention that students in schools with large proportions of students of color are almost twice as likely as students in mostly white schools to be taught science by someone who neither majored nor minored in science. Or that, even when black students score at the same levels in math as their white peers, they are only half as likely to be placed in an algebra class.

The Sparrows neglect to note that in middle and high schools, black male students are five times more likely to be suspended and 17 times more likely to be expelled than white males. Or that African-American kids are consistently steered toward less rigorous courses and less demanding college choices, while their white counterparts are encouraged to stretch.

We don't know why the boys quoted by the Sparrows didn't mention the numbingly dull classes, the frequently absent teachers, the nonfunctioning science labs and all the other ways in which schools cheat them out of strong educations. We can't say that the boys didn't because we don't know what the Sparrows edited out. Sadder still for too many of our children, dysfunctional schools are so much the norm that they and their parents can't imagine that school could ever be different or better. Therefore, substandard schools are hardly worth mentioning.

Finally, these boys, like the rest of our culture, are served a steady diet of media stories about dysfunctional African-American families and communities. Only on the rarest occasions are they delivered an honest critique of the deeply unjust policies and practices of American education.

It's clever to use students hardened to all the ways our school systems abuse them to tell educators a "ripped-from-the-headlines" tale that avoids the very issues over which educators actually have control. But it's also sleazy and neither new nor imaginative.

For generations, educators have passed the buck for the academic struggles of African-Americans. Instead of reinforcing negative preconceptions about our boys, the writers and Phi Delta Kappancould and should have challenged readers to acknowledge the ways schools systemically undercut and stifle the academic promise of so many of our sons and brothers.

Amy Wilkins is vice president for government affairs and communications at The Education Trust in Washington, D.C. America's Wire is an independent, nonprofit news service run by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information, visit www.americaswire.org or contact Michael K. Frisby at [email protected]

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