01-22-2022  7:34 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Report: Oregon Has Too Few Public Defenders

Oregon has only roughly one-third of the public defense attorneys it needs to provide reasonably effective assistance to low-income defendants

Blumenauer Boosts Efforts to Put Three Black History Landmarks on National List

Congressman makes case for Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, and the Golden West Hotel’s importance to city history and heritage.

Lawsuit Says New Majority Latino District in WA a 'Facade'

A Latino civil rights organization and others filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that says new political maps in Washington state approved by a bipartisan redistricting panel intentionally dilute Hispanic voters' influence.

Washington Students' Test Scores Drop Significantly

Reports show that between 2019 and 2021, the overall percentage of students who met state standards on the math portion of the exam fell by 20 percentage points.

NEWS BRIEFS

Five Schools Return to In-person Instruction on Jan. 24

Alliance, Faubion, Franklin, Ockley Green, and Roosevelt return to in-person instruction; George, Harriet Tubman and Kellogg...

Portland Winter Light Festival Begins in Two Weeks, Illuminating City for Seventh Time

Free, all-ages, outdoor activity returns with new opportunities for outdoor art experiences all across Portland ...

PassinArt Introduces ‘Play Reading Mondays’

The Spanish Jade and The Learning Curve, both directed by William Earl Ray premiere in February ...

Revamped TriMet Website Makes Planning Trips Easier With Map-Based Tools

Riders can now track real-time locations of buses and trains on their smartphone ...

PHOTOS: Founder of The American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths Honored

Delbert Richardson's Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha XI Chapter fraternity brothers presented him a plaque that reads “Your commitment to...

Oregon man pleads guilty to distributing pot on dark web

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Springfield man has pleaded guilty to distributing marijuana on the dark web and laundering his cryptocurrency proceeds, according to federal prosecutors. The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Oregon said Robert Kelly O’Neill, 59, waived indictment and...

Police: Lacey cops shoot, kill man who fired at officers

LACEY, Wash. (AP) — Lacey police shot and killed a man Thursday night who fired at officers, presumably hitting one in their bulletproof vest, authorities said. Police responded to a home around 8:30 p.m. after a woman called saying she had been attacked and had left the residence...

UNLV promotes interim AD Harper to full-time job

LAS VEGAS (AP) — UNLV has promoted interim athletic director Erick Harper to serve in the job full time. Harper's hiring, announced on Monday, was effective Jan. 1. He had served as interim athletic director since Desiree Reed-Francois left UNLV for Missouri in August. ...

Army stuns Missouri in Armed Forces Bowl on last-second FG

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Cole Talley kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired and Army rallied to beat Missouri 24-22 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Wednesday night. After the Tigers took a 22-21 lead on a touchdown with 1:11 to play, third-string quarterback Jabari Laws led Army...

OPINION

OP-ED: A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

January 6th, Voting Rights and the Tyranny Threatening America ...

Support Nikole Hannah-Jones and The 1619 Project

This important and ambitious project pulled back the curtain of euphemistic rhetoric composing American historiography that points only to the good in our history and sweeps under the rug the evil deeds perpetrated against people of color ...

In 2021, Organized Labor is Again Flexing its Muscles

We have seen dramatic change in the makeup of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under President Biden. ...

Study Reveals Racial Pay Gap for Social Media Influencers

The racial pay gap has long presented issues for African Americans in Corporate America and other industries. It’s now filtered to social media. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Jewish leaders urge worship attendance after hostage siege

On the eve of her 100th birthday Saturday, Ruth Salton told her daughter she was going one way or another to Friday night Shabbat services at Congregation Beth Israel, just days after a gunman voicing antisemitic conspiracy theories held four worshippers hostage for 10 hours at the Fort Worth-area...

McConnell responds to uproar over comment about Black voters

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back Friday against the uproar over a comment he made about African American voters, calling the criticism directed his way “outrageous.” McConnell had been accused of racism for saying that “African...

Abuse victims see inequity in payouts at 2 Michigan schools

Two former University of Michigan football stars who stand to receive as much as 0,000 each through the school's sexual abuse settlement with more than 1,000 students say the per-victim payouts should be much higher, pointing to a similar case at rival Michigan State. Dwight Hicks...

ENTERTAINMENT

Eva Longoria Bastón's doc looks at Chávez, De La Hoya fight

Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya wanted to make a documentary about his 1996 fight against Julio César Chávez. It was coming up on 25 years since the “Ultimate Glory” showdown and he figured the time was right to look back. So he asked Eva Longoria Bastón, his friend of 20 years, if she’d be...

Review: Penny and Sparrow push past Americana in 'Olly Olly'

“Olly Olly,” Penny and Sparrow (I Love You / Thirty Tigers) In the first few unassuming bars of Penny and Sparrow’s new album, “Olly Olly,” it is not immediately apparent that this collection of songs signifies a shift for duo Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke. ...

'SNL' comics Jost, Davidson buy Staten Island Ferry boat

NEW YORK (AP) — “Saturday Night Live” comics Colin Jost and Pete Davidson have purchased a decommissioned Staten Island Ferry boat for 0,100 with plans to turn it into New York's hottest club. Jost and Davidson teamed up with comedy club owner Paul Italia on Wednesday's...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Thich Nhat Hanh, influential Zen Buddhist monk, dies at 95

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Thich Nhat Hanh, the revered Zen Buddhist monk who helped spread the practice of...

AP Week in Pictures: Global

JAN. 15 - 21, 2022 From people braving the icy lake waters in Russia for Epiphany, to a camel...

First flights leave Chinese city Xi'an as travel curbs ease

BEIJING (AP) — The first commercial airline flights in one month took off Saturday from Xi’an in western China...

Russia hits all-time high of new infections, blames omicron

MOSCOW (AP) — Daily new coronavirus infections in Russia reached an all-time high Friday and authorities blamed...

Burkina Faso forces fire tear gas at anti-govt protests

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Security forces fired tear gas at protesters barricading the streets and...

Latin America, Asia latest to get hit with omicron surge

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — In Costa Rica, officials are encouraging those infected with the coronavirus to skip...

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]

The Skanner Foundation's Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast

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