God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Crisis in the Village

posted by gp_intern

A new book just came out that you don’t want to miss. It’s by my good friend, Robert Franklin, who is the Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at Emory University. He is someone I have come to deeply respect as an insightful public intellectual and social commentator as we’ve worked together for many years.

Last week, I was part of a panel discussion to launch Bob’s new book, Crisis in the Village. It’s one of the best contemporary analyses of the state of Black America I’ve seen. He pulls no punches in describing the crisis, identifying three key institutions in the community and what they now face. It’s a “crisis of commitment” for the Black family, a “mission crisis” for the Black church, and a crisis of “moral purpose” for historically black colleges and universities. Bob calls these the three “anchor institutions” that “are the bedrock of civil society.” He cites alarming social indicators which powerfully show how vulnerable the black community still is, especially black children.

But, it is not a book of despair, it’s a strategy for resolving the crisis. The subtitle is “Restoring Hope in African American Communities,” and that hope is where he focuses. Bob wrote the book, he said “…because I have seen an abundance of books out there that describe the problems of the African American community … but, there are fewer than you might think that offer practical visions and strategic thinking about how to move forward.” And, he added, the reversal of the crisis “begins with personal renewal and commitment to community uplift.”

Also on the National Press Club panel were journalist E.J. Dionne, Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman, former National Urban League President Hugh Price, and Professor of Christian Ethics at Howard University Cheryl Sanders. Cheryl talked about how much sense this book made from the perspective of the street where she lives as pastor of the Third Street Church of God in Washington, D.C. Marian spoke passionately to how the future of black children is literally at stake in the issues raised in Crisis. Hugh Price said how the book cuts through so much of the confusion about these issues in the black community, and E.J. Dionne showed how Bob’s ethic of combining personal and social responsibility also cuts through our polarized political debate. I recalled a book by Abbie Hoffman called, Steal This Book!, which was memorable only for the title, and suggested this one should be re-titled Read This Book! Bob Franklin always cuts through the morass of blame and despair to offer us a politics of solutions and hope. This book is Bob at his best. He transcends left and right, and helps us understand what it right and wrong. Then he points the way forward. We had a lively discussion about the book, and the importance of realizing that the crisis and its solution must involve all of us.

Read this book! Crisis in the Village is one book I really do urge you to read. Bob’s challenge calls us all to deeper reflection and more serious action. His passionate vision for change and prophetic call for commitment are for everyone who cares about the black community and about America. At the Press Club, Bob left us with one of his favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which I have often heard him use. It has now become a favorite of mine. “This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. The saving of our world from pending doom will come not from the actions of a conforming majority but from the creative maladjustment of a transformed minority.”

To read more from Crisis in the Village, see an adapted excerpt in “The Gospel of Bling,” by Robert M. Franklin, in the January 2007 issue of Sojourners magazine.



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Payshun

posted March 1, 2007 at 7:31 pm


I will definitely have to check this out. p



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Tom Snyder, Ph.D.

posted March 1, 2007 at 10:01 pm


The Crisis book misses a major influence on society — the mass media or the popular culture. The mass media creates the society in which the family, the church, and educational institutions operate. If you don’t transform the mass media and the popular culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including its support for private property (thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not covet) and private charity instead of huge government bureaucracies with huge self-serving employee unions and corrosive government handouts, then the job of renewing and strengthening the family, the church, and the private education system with that Gospel will be in vain! It’s the mass media and the popular culture that promotes sexual promiscuity and radical Marxist feminism, not to mention the so-called “Civil Rights” Movement, which have led to a fatherless, violent black underclass and the virtual antinomian destruction of the black family and the black church. And now, we have “Red Letter” Christians in America who want to allow a massive number of immigrants into the USA so that the mass media can corrupt Latino and Asian society as well! ts



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Ingrid

posted March 1, 2007 at 10:10 pm


Tom, I don’t even know where to begin to respond to your comment. I will just ask you not to put the Civil Rights Movement in quotation marks. Whatever your take on the Bible and private property, you are making a statement of major historical revisionism by suggesting the Civil Rights Movement did not address flagrant needs for justice.



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Mike

posted March 1, 2007 at 10:21 pm


I can’t find any reviews anywhere and I obviously haven’t read the book but I hope it’s not another ‘the black community can’t help itself’ treatise. The only hope for the black community is the black community. They need to stop looking to government and ‘leaders’ who encourage them to look to government, except perhaps in a very limited manner. I think they underestimate themselves sometimes but by God they can do anything any other ‘race’ can and it’s a damn shame so many don’t seem to believe that…



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Payshun

posted March 1, 2007 at 10:53 pm


Mike I agree w/ you completely. we don’t need white saviors. We need work and development. p



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Mark P

posted March 1, 2007 at 11:12 pm


Bravo Mike. I can only hope that Tom meant the current ongoing standards of Affirmative Action in business and education and the shadier political manuevering of the NAACP… plus the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of the world…. If so, he at least has a case for arguing that these entities have moved far beyond promoting genuine civil rights and thus do not deserve the title.



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Don

posted March 1, 2007 at 11:32 pm


You may be right, Mark. But why is Tom throwing immigration into the mix? That’s a red herring if I ever heard one. Plus, trying to compare the black experience to the experience of Latinos and Asians in America is a false analogy. The latter two groups weren’t enslaved by white Americans for over two centuries. Don



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Kevin K (yet another Kevin)

posted March 1, 2007 at 11:45 pm


Tom Snyder, I would guess your PhD is not in cultural history. Perhaps a doctorate in politics or theology from Bob Jones U?



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Don

posted March 2, 2007 at 12:02 am


I do think Tom’s comment about the influence of the mass media has some merit–at least it’s worth looking into. One African-American instructor I know, for example, talks about the negative influence of hip hop. And she also talks about how hip hop artists refuse to acknowledge the negative effects of their lyrics on black culture. It’s just that the Tom’s comment about the mass media is overshadowed by the logical fallacies that I mentioned before. (A few other red herrings: unions, feminists, and “Red-Letter” Christians).



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Kevin K (yet another Kevin)

posted March 2, 2007 at 12:14 am


Don, The media is certainly a mixed bag…one of the chief causes of ignorance in my view. Getting the majority of our info from catching a few of their soundbytes as we run through the house with sandwich in one hand and cell-phone in the other…we no longer have to think. We pay others in our hyperculture to do the heavy lifting for us. And then we wonder why things are in the state they are in? The “emerging church” conversation has come upon us none too soon in my estimation. See “A Generous Orthodoxy”, by Brian McLaren for some refreshing hope.



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Brian E.

posted March 2, 2007 at 12:49 am


Whenever I come across ANY blogs or forums involving the discussion of social justice and economic fairness, I cannot help but remind everyone who believes in Judeo-Christian values to read their Bibles and review God’s plan for social justice and economics. When God handed down the Law to the people called by his Name, He instituted an economic system in which after 49 years all debt, and conversely all excess wealth extracted from the losses incurred through those debts, would be cancelled! This was to be known as The Year of Jubilee. Imagine that! Everybody would be given a new chance to start over in each new generation! There would be no such thing as cyclical poverty nor would there be excessively rich people who would be able to lord their wealth over the poor. All indentured slaves would become free, all real estate would return to the family of origin, and the land would rest with no planting or reaping for the whole year. It would be a perfect economic system, but the only way it would work is if the people would have enough faith in God to supply their needs, and not rely on their own human ability to take care of themselves and their families! Unfortunately, due to the nature of humanity and people’s need for self-reliance, the Children of Israel NEVER ONCE declared a Year of Jubilee, they never gave the poor or the land time to recover, never freed the slave, and never sought economic or social justice. As a result immense wealth naturally gave rise to severe generational poverty and social injustice. This continued for exactly 490 years until God sent the enemies of of His people to punish them and take them captive for exactly 70 years in Babylon–one year for every Year of Liberty they had denied the people and the land!!! Though I am in no way suggesting the the United States is a theocracy or that we are bound by the laws of ancient Israel, I think–or at least I hope and pray–we can learn the valuable lessons of God’s will toward economic and social justice on earth and follow in that direction rather that continuing our present course.



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Mike

posted March 2, 2007 at 1:09 am


“There would be no such thing as cyclical poverty nor would there be excessively rich people who would be able to lord their wealth over the poor.” I appreciate the sentiment but this is naive. Generally speaking, if you give ‘poor’ people stuff, they don’t know how to manage it because they didn’t create it themselves and so such efforts are ultimately doomed to failure. If we ‘redistributed’ the wealth regularly, the ‘rich’ would still end up rich because they know how to create it and maintain it. The ‘best’ solution is to encourage the poor to create wealth of their own, not perpetuate some kind of condescending custodial care arrangement.



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Payshun

posted March 2, 2007 at 1:19 am


Mark, When it comes to affirmative action, Jesse and Al Sharpton you don’t know what you are talking about. So please leave it alone. Mike, poor people managing stuff has to do w/ ignorance about how to use it. Some poor people learn to manage wealth just fine some don’t. I have seen many rich people handle their finances and assets horribly. I guess my point is that when facing the hardship of being poor and dealing w/ the hurt of old practices some people make mistakes. That doesn’t mean that folks should not be charitable. It’s just charity should come w/ more than just stuff. Education is key. p



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Mike

posted March 2, 2007 at 1:51 am


“It’s just charity should come w/ more than just stuff. Education is key.” Agreed. Do you agree stuff without education can create a culture of dependency? And a tangent: do you think folks like Jackson and Sharpton help more than they hurt? I don’t know; I’m asking cause it seems to me they’re a mixed blessing at best. 40 years ago they did God’s work. I’m not as convinced they still are.



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Payshun

posted March 2, 2007 at 2:30 am


-culture of dependency I don’t know about that. Considering the burgeoning black middle class and its continual growth I am not sure about that. Depenedency deals w/ a lack of empowerment. That’s all.It has nothing to do w/ laziness which is how it manifests itself. Laziness is a symptom of the problem not the problem itself. the problem itself is self-hatred and destruction. The causes of that are numerous and complex but there are solutions.That is not to say there is not a culture of dependency, there is among some. But most poor that i know are anything but dependent. The few that are have a lot of other issues going on like health, extreme poverty… Those things have to be dealt w/ first so that empowerment can take place. It takes an extremely strong person w/ some type of structure to make it. The number of people that do are few and far between. This just makes me think of the model minority myth and how damaging it is to the Asian folks I know.More on this soon. p



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Mark P

posted March 2, 2007 at 2:50 am


“But why is Tom throwing immigration into the mix? That’s a red herring if I ever heard one.” -Agreed “Plus, trying to compare the black experience to the experience of Latinos and Asians in America is a false analogy. The latter two groups weren’t enslaved by white Americans for over two centuries.” -And agreed. —- “nor would there be excessively rich people who would be able to lord their wealth over the poor” Not necessarily true (and in practice also not true, though its tough to tell what would have happened if the Hebrew nation had followed the Year of Jubilee) —- “you don’t know what you are talking about” Thank you all-knowing Payshun. Glad you can read my mind. I only said that “he at least has a case for arguing;” I didn’t say he was right or that he would have a good case… but at least there’s a case to be made… and you are correct in that this is probably not the right thread for this discussion, so I shall leave it alone. “That doesn’t mean that folks should not be charitable. It’s just charity should come w/ more than just stuff. Education is key.” Agreed, and I would add that personal involvement supplementing the education is key. Someone on another post commented about the lack of interaction between the poor and wealthy; this prevents those who give money from ever having to involve their lives as well as their impersonal cash. Charity is the virtue of love, traditionally speaking; this is not an accident, and I think it’s a shame that we’ve apparently lost that concept.I would venture to argue that most government welfare programs are incapable of the “personal touch,” if you will. The state of the Native American reservations across America is a perfect example of money without charity.



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WEB

posted March 2, 2007 at 4:31 am


Back to the book. I’m working my way though the intro now. It focuses on 3 types of “anchoring” institutions: familial, religiious and educational. It doesn’t look for solutions from government or the “market.” That’s different. The partisan political debates seem to be about what government can do (Democratics) or what the market can do (Pre-Bush Republicans). I’m not sure how you get accountability from families, religions, or schools—-they don’t have voters or shareholders.



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Mike Hayes

posted March 2, 2007 at 6:18 am


I wonder what my circumstance in life would be today if, when I was a child, I had received the same negative messages that I remember being sent to black children then, that something was different and inferior about them. I grew up in a neighborhood which had several black families down the street in the next block. One of the black children from that neighborhood went on to receive an MBA from Harvard and now lives in Austria and is prospering. The one black child from my grade school class who was also bright and an excellent athlete later became addicted to drugs and had a very unhappy life and died in his 50’s. Each received messages that they were inferior. One was able to overcome that and the other was not able to do so. In my view… Maybe the negative messages accounted for the failure for my grade school classmate. He should have enjoyed the same success as the young black child from down the street.



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Mike

posted March 2, 2007 at 1:25 pm


“Laziness is a symptom of the problem not the problem itself. the problem itself is self-hatred and destruction. The causes of that are numerous and complex but there are solutions.” I hope I didn’t insinuate laziness was a stand alone kind of thing. All this is interrelated and so complex I almost despair of finding a solution so if you have one, I’d love to hear it!



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Timbuktoo

posted March 2, 2007 at 1:36 pm


Tom: “not to mention the so-called “…Civil Rights” Movement, which have led to a fatherless, violent black underclass and the virtual antinomian destruction of the black family and the black church. And now, we have “Red Letter” Christians in America who want to allow a massive number of immigrants into the USA so that the mass media can corrupt Latino and Asian society as well!” Do you even have an idea of what you are shamelessly suggesting- that giving African Americans equal rights under the law ruined their community. I don’t even think you believe that. If I had to guess, you’re just taking a swing at people (liberals) whom you don’t like. Anyway, your comment was patently wrong and inappropriate. It goes to prove that education is not the entire solution. Otherwise Ph.ds wouldn’t make such crass comments.



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Wolverine

posted March 2, 2007 at 3:23 pm


As a conservative, Tom Snyder’s post above is a difficult one to digest. I’ve criticized the left for their failure to rein in some of their more destructive elements. I feel it would be hypocritical if I didn’t comment on this. I sympathize with bits and pieces of this, especially the first paragraph, though I think Snyder exaggerates things when he argues that mass media “creates” society. “Influences” would be more accurate. Left or right I think we can all agree that for all the damage she has done Britney Spears does not rule the world, and this is a good thing. But as I read further the rhetoric gets hotter and hotter until, as Timbuktoo notes, Dr. Snyder seems to be saying that giving African Americans equal rights ruined their community, which would be preposterous. At the very least Conservatives have to distinguish among different groups within the civil rights movement. Race relations are an area with serious problems, and I don’t think that the civil rights movement, as a whole, is utterly beyond fault, but African Americans have at times been grievously provoked and that must be accounted for. There are compelling reasons why we need to choose our words carefully here and it isn’t just a matter of political correctness. There is a pressing need for precision as well. Dr. Snyder was, at best, extremely sloppy here and that sloppiness undermines everything he writes. Personally, I suspect that Dr. Snyder may be a troll. A real PhD, especially with a conservative worldview, should have the mental discipline not to get carried away by his anger, especially not in a public forum like this. Wolverine



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John D. Sens

posted March 2, 2007 at 3:35 pm


I checked Amazon.com; this book is for sale already discounted to about $12.00. Also, you can get used copies from $9.00.



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John D. Sens

posted March 2, 2007 at 3:48 pm


I checked with Amazon because of a remark above about lack of reviews. The only “reviews” I saw are favorable observations by Cornel West and Marian Wright Edelman. If you have read much by West and Edelman you know what to expect.



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John D. Sens

posted March 2, 2007 at 4:02 pm


I agree that Tom’s remarks lack the precision one would expect from a person with an earned PhD. There is a violent black underclass that seems disdainful of education and is opting out of mainstream America. Prominent blacks including Bill Cosby and more recently Barak Obama have been pointing this out. But to conclude that the class developed “because” of the civil rights movement is an unwarranted mental leap in both reason and logic. I have never seen convincing, or even thought-provoking, evidence of a causal connection between the civil rights movement and the development of the violent underclass.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 2, 2007 at 5:31 pm


At the very least Conservatives have to distinguish among different groups within the civil rights movement. Race relations are an area with serious problems, and I don’t think that the civil rights movement, as a whole, is utterly beyond fault, but African-Americans have at times been grievously provoked and that must be accounted for. Except that no self-identified conservative has openly supported the movement, and this was especially the case when MLK was alive. Only later — and by that I mean the 1990s, and that may have had to do with the Promise Keepers movement in the evangelical church — have conservatives made any steps in that direction. Unfortunately, Snyder’s rantings do represent much of what you hear on right-wing talk radio. I don’t think that represents a majority of conservative opinion but it’s influential nonetheless. But to conclude that the class developed “because” of the civil rights movement is an unwarranted mental leap in both reason and logic. That’s not as far-fetched as it sounds, believe it or not. The organizers and foot soldiers in the civil-rights movement originally were actually the middle- and upper-classes in black communities in major Southern cities; poverty as such was not much of an issue at that time. That’s why the focus then was on outlawing segregation. The black “underclass,” almost exclusively in major cities outside the South, were barely (if at all) touched by King’s rhetoric.



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kevin s.

posted March 2, 2007 at 5:40 pm


Many of he public institutions that should be helping minorities are failing them miserably. Minneapolis features an extremely corrupt, bureaucratic public school system that seems almost beyond repair.Reforming our public schools would represent a major step toward granting an equal opportunity to black youths. Teachers Unions will hear nothing of it. Will Jim Wallis and friends call for change?



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Payshun

posted March 2, 2007 at 6:22 pm


Kevin, I llove this. Blame the teachers huh, that’s your big contribution to this most pressing issue. When you make statements like this: Teachers Unions will hear nothing of it. You show how ignorant you really are. Teachers (and the unions that support them) pay out of pocket for school supplies, books, desks and other essentials so please before you open your mouth or type on your keyboard please don’t make such ignorant and lame comments. I used to work in the field of education and I have seen what the majority of teachers have to deal w/.It’s not what you have described at all. The unions are not getting in the way, most of them are fighting for their kids. I have seen this in Saint Louis, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York and all around the country. They are ones trying to come up w/ solutions which are sometimes blocked by a bigger beauracracy so please support your local innercity teacher. Go to meetings, do something other than bellyache about things you are unfamiliar w/. p



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Patsy Newman

posted March 2, 2007 at 6:28 pm


Thank you for letting us know about this important book. I will definitely read it and share it with my friends.



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kevin s.

posted March 2, 2007 at 6:34 pm


“I llove this. Blame the teachers huh, that’s your big contribution to this most pressing issue.” Nope, in fact, I would say that the best teachers cannot even find employment in our city. But yes, this is why nothing ever changes. Anyone who dares criticize the system gets the “why do you hate the teachers?” Question. Great, let’s just carry on then.”I used to work in the field of education and I have seen what the majority of teachers have to deal w/. ” I have friends who are teachers and I know what they have to deal with as well. The union system rewards medicority, and relegates the most ambitious teachers to special education. Instead of hiring the best teachers to be the administrators who help to formulate policy and curriculm, our schools hire people who have never set foot in a classroom. ” The unions are not getting in the way, most of them are fighting for their kids.” That is abject BS. They are principally concerned with ensuring wages and job security. In the process they make it impossible for schools to reward the best teachers, at the detriment of the worst. No successful business runs this way, so why would we expect different for our schools.Sticking your fingers in your ear and screaming about how I hate teachers may make you feel good, but it doesn’t get anything done.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 2, 2007 at 6:43 pm


Reforming our public schools would represent a major step toward granting an equal opportunity to black youths. Teachers Unions will hear nothing of it. Will Jim Wallis and friends call for change? As the son of public school teachers, I can tell you that such “reforms” are by definition limited. Any teacher will tell you that he or she welcomes parental involvement, the No. 1 key in educational achievement, but usually don’t get it — and in many cases if you dare say anything bad about the child the teacher may be endangered. That’s why urban schools have a hard time attracting good teachers. What’s really necessary here more than anything else is a stable home/family environment so that children can learn without disruption.



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Payshun

posted March 2, 2007 at 7:04 pm


K: That is abject BS.Me: Then you don’t work in the field of education long enough to see the good ones. I would argue the majority are good.K: They are principally concerned with ensuring wages and job security. Let’s talk about that job security just a little bit and its history. http://www.brookings.edu/comm/transcripts/20000411a.htm First unions advocate for their teachers. That’s important considering the obstacles innercity school teachers face. There is nothing wrong w/ that. as a matter of fact it provides a safeguard for fair treatment for teachers and the larger beauracracy. 2nd They provide resources for teachers that they may not get from the state or federal levels. This also includes staffing for innercity schools. You know the ones that you are so concerned about. there is a project called the New Teacher Project. Here is a link about it. http://www.tntp.org/ 3rd Particpating and developing charter schools and new education models. In New York (for example) they have been successful in developing new charter schools. this was done by the UFT (United Federation of Teachers.) I could list more examples to back this up but I think you get the point. Kevin: In the process they make it impossible for schools to reward the best teachers, at the detriment of the worst. First off it really does depend on the union. Those teachers that are mediocre face other penalities for poor work and lower test scores like decreased federal and state funding, suspension, and eventual termination. So again please be quiet unless you know what you are talking about. But then I can mainly speak for most of southern california innercity schools as that is what i am most familiar w/. But when I have gone to national meetings for helping kids I have heard and seen the same thing all over the country so… Kevin: No successful business runs this way, so why would we expect different for our schools. They tried the factory or business model for decades from the 1920’s to the 60’s. It did not work. Contrary to what you might think education is not a business. It’s human development and empowerment. If you do not empower your students to live successful lives than they flounder. Empowerment is not just teaching them what the stock market is, how to add, or how to write a 5 paragraph essay or the difference between Slovakia and China. It’s really about creating people that will go out and change the world.Kevin: Sticking your fingers in your ear and screaming about how I hate teachers may make you feel good, but it doesn’t get anything done. I am not going to respond to this. I have too much respect for you to respond the way that I really want to right now. p



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kevin s.

posted March 2, 2007 at 7:15 pm


Well, Our educational system is far worse now than it was in the 1960s, so I don’t see the merit of your statement.Perhaps then you could profer a reasonable answer to the question of why our schools pale in comparison to the rest of the industrialized world, in spite of their enormous expense. Teachers are virtually never terminated, and they are not rewarded on the basis of merit. The idea that we cannot apply a business model to the system simply because education relates to human development, is absurd.We are asking our college students to make a choice between the private sector which allows them to earn money immediately at a company of their choice, and public schools, which forces them to earn a Masters degree (for no compelling reason), wait 1-2 years to find a job, and then forsake any real opportunity for career advancement. That’s ridiculous, and it’s only a small part of the nightmare that is our public education system.



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Payshun

posted March 2, 2007 at 7:41 pm


K: Our educational system is far worse now than it was in the 1960s, so I don’t see the merit of your statement.Actually that is not true. The education for white people was fairly good but for anyone else not so much. It really does depend on where you are getting your education. Like if I went to a public school in beverly hills then the education would be a little different than one in watts.K: Perhaps then you could profer a reasonable answer to the question of why our schools pale in comparison to the rest of the industrialized world, in spite of their enormous expense.I could do that but i think you should. You made the allegation back it up.Teachers are virtually never terminated, and they are not rewarded on the basis of merit. The idea that we cannot apply a business model to the system simply because education relates to human development, is absurd.Actually they are rewarded as is the district and school. If scores are not at a certain level they loose funding. Not only that but they face other harsher measures. Here’s a link explaining some of that. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/education/20070211-99991n11gompers.html This link explains where local schools get their funding. http://www.askquestions.org/details.php?id=916&gclid=CPC2m__q1ooCFRl-YAodH3lncA K: We are asking our college students to make a choice between the private sector which allows them to earn money immediately at a company of their choice, and public schools, which forces them to earn a Masters degree (for no compelling reason), wait 1-2 years to find a job, and then forsake any real opportunity for career advancement.This is the only thing you have said that is actually kind of correct. Funding for teachers is way too low but that comes from what the surrounding city can afford. the revenues generated from low income areas doesn’t match what’s available in other places. But getting a masters is actually really smart, it just depends on how you go about doing it. What’s really ridiculous is the role of the state and federal government in education. the level of redundancy and incompetence is much greater there than anything you will see locally. p



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Payshun

posted March 2, 2007 at 7:46 pm


Kevin, Here is another link that talks about education issues facing unions down in southern california. W/o these unions we would be facing more state spending cuts. But since you know so much about this issue and are well versed in it this link won’t really do anything for you. But for others. http://www.cta.org/issues/ p



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 2, 2007 at 7:55 pm


Perhaps then you could profer a reasonable answer to the question of why our schools pale in comparison to the rest of the industrialized world, in spite of their enormous expense. I can. Education is more fully funded in other nations and teachers are paid more. Yes, you heard me right — they spend more money than we. In China teachers earn $100,000 a year. Teachers are virtually never terminated, and they are not rewarded on the basis of merit. The idea that we cannot apply a business model to the system simply because education relates to human development, is absurd. Schools are not a business, Kevin; they operate on the basis of relationships and can work only with the raw material they are given; think of the GIGO principle. Besides, the best teachers are not always popular with students or (in some cases) parents.



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Mark P

posted March 2, 2007 at 8:10 pm


“Except that no self-identified conservative has openly supported the movement” How about in 1955 when Muddy Waters, coach of infamously conservative Hillsdale College, refused to play in the Tangerine Bowl because bowl officials refused to allow the black players on the team to play? (I might add that infamously conservative Hillsdale was also the first American college to expressly prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, or sex in its charter) Do not pretend that liberals are the only ones who fought for social justice. RE: Public school system How about instead of reform we scrap it? Any takers?



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HASH(0x1248d2a4)

posted March 2, 2007 at 8:15 pm


“Actually that is not true. The education for white people was fairly good but for anyone else not so much.” That doesn’t directly deal with my statement.”It really does depend on where you are getting your education. Like if I went to a public school in beverly hills then the education would be a little different than one in watts. ” Well, that’s the same today. However, overall, our students are learning less and we are paying more.”I could do that but i think you should. You made the allegation back it up. ” Well, we pay more per pupil than any country save Switzerland, and we certainly don’t rate second, do we? I’ve given you some of my explanation for this, so do you have one?”Actually they are rewarded as is the district and school. If scores are not at a certain level they loose funding. Not only that but they face other harsher measures. Here’s a link explaining some of that.” The difference in pay between excellent teachers and mediocre teachers is nominal. This is the problem with the Union system of “merit” pay. It’s not that funding for teachers is low, but rather that it is homogenous. The starting pay is fairly good, especially considering the number of days worked and the quality of benefits. But the big, six-figure jobs are reserved for people with 3 masters degrees who don’t set foot inside of a classroom. That makes no sense? Why not provide the opportunity for good teachers to administrate?”But getting a masters is actually really smart, it just depends on how you go about doing it.” That doesn’t have anythign to do with whether one needs a Masters in order to teach public school. Requiring teachers to get a masters, on the grounds that getting a masters is inherently good, is brain-dead thinking.”What’s really ridiculous is the role of the state and federal government in education. the level of redundancy and incompetence is much greater there than anything you will see locally.” I’ll agree with this. I don’t think public education should be the responsibility of federal governments.



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kevin s.

posted March 2, 2007 at 8:30 pm


The United States spends more as a percentage of its GDP on education than does China.



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Rick Nowlin

posted March 2, 2007 at 9:18 pm


How about in 1955 when Muddy Waters, coach of infamously conservative Hillsdale College, refused to play in the Tangerine Bowl because bowl officials refused to allow the black players on the team to play? (I might add that infamously conservative Hillsdale was also the first American college to expressly prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, or sex in its charter) Big deal. A year later Georgia Tech students, in those days all white men, marched on the governor’s mansion in protest after he asked the school to consider not playing the University of Pittsburgh in the Sugar Bowl because it had a black player, and on top of that the state regents ignored his advice. On top of that, the Pitt team voted not to play if the black player was not permitted to go. (And having attended both schools, I can tell you that they’re not flaming liberal institutions.) Besides, that’s not what I’m talking about. You can be “personally against racism” but not take any steps to change society or support those who are involved in doing so.



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Payshun

posted March 2, 2007 at 9:23 pm


Kevin: That doesn’t have anythign to do with whether one needs a Masters in order to teach public school. Requiring teachers to get a masters, on the grounds that getting a masters is inherently good, is brain-dead thinking.Me: Only when you don’t know what you are talking about. Getting a masters means a pay raise, it means more flexibility and actually better education for your students. I don’t see that as a bad thing. I can’t understand how you might. Kevin: That doesn’t directly deal with my statement.Me: Actually it does because your statement said that students were learning more in the sixties when that was not the case. Some students had good education while the black underclass and others were left in the dust. If only one group were advancing then that means that education for blacks, the poor… was not really happeneing and everyone was prospering. That contradicts what your statement was. Kevin: But the big, six-figure jobs are reserved for people with 3 masters degrees who don’t set foot inside of a classroom. That makes no sense? Why not provide the opportunity for good teachers to administrate?Are you talking about the university system. Because this sounds more analgous to that. Admin and other educational support structures require a different skill set then teaching a class room. Considering how screwed up the state and federal systems are don’t you want someone educated there trying to bridge the gap? I know I do.Here is your statement: Our educational system is far worse now than it was in the 1960s, so I don’t see the merit of your statement.Me: Youre statement was wrong and only covers the part that was reported. Not the poor, not black people and or the rest of us. So… Since we are talking about innercity schools (a topic you seem to think you know about) that money actually doesn’t reach the student. If you doubt that then feel free to visit an innercity school and look at the resources available to them. Maybe just maybe if you spent more time in the innercity and less time looking at amorphous statistics you would know that.The funds for innercity school children are significantly lower than their wealthier counterparts. Oh and maybe you can learn more about what unions do for innercity and poorer schools. http://www.cta.org/issues/other/Schools+of+Greatest+Need.htm Oh and please supply something more substantial than one small statistic if we are going to continue this discussion. Talking about actual spending per student verses the larger student body is simply false. Students in poorer schools get less money so the numbers are a little skewed. p



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Timbuktoo

posted March 2, 2007 at 9:26 pm


Payshun, I like your posts but I think you’re wasting your time arguing with Kevin. Everything I’ve seen from him would indicate that he is a Bush, lackey troll. I wouldn’t waste the key strokes. His comments prove their own absurdity.



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kevin s.

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:10 pm


“His comments prove their own absurdity.” You haven’t contributed anything but insults since you began visiting this board. That speaks for itself.



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kevin s.

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:22 pm


“Only when you don’t know what you are talking about. Getting a masters means a pay raise, it means more flexibility and actually better education for your students. I don’t see that as a bad thing. I can’t understand how you might.” In MN, it is necessary to get a job. I think that is ridiculous. In other states, it is an automatic pay raise, which doesn’t make sense either. There is no compelling evidence that those with masters degrees perform better in the classroom because of their education, and I fail to see where it provides “more flexibility” for students.My mother had taught for seven years at a school for gifted children in Michigan, and yet was not allowed to teach history in Minnesota because you must have a social studies degree with an MA to get a job. That’s ridiculous.”Considering how screwed up the state and federal systems are don’t you want someone educated there trying to bridge the gap?” I want the best teachers who have demonstrated that they understand curricula to bridge the gap. You automatically attribute an advanced degree with qualification. That is an unsupported assertion. To date, our administrators and union bureaucrats have failed miserably, Masters degrees be damned.”Since we are talking about innercity schools (a topic you seem to think you know about) that money actually doesn’t reach the student.” I agree on this. The money goes elsewhere. We spend it nonetheless. “Since we are talking about innercity schools (a topic you seem to think you know about) that money actually doesn’t reach the student.” I live in one of the worst districts of Minneapolis, and i have done my research, thank you. In spite of five-figure expenditures per student, reading comprehension rates are atrocious. The fact that you taught for a few years does lend to your credibility because you seem unfamiliar with the arguments of reform-minded groups. In fact, you hear them as “blame the teacher”, which leads me to conclude that you aren’t viewing this with a balanced perspective.



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Payshun

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:27 pm


Right Kevin so in order to be balanced I have to take your view. Right? Kevin you aren’t balanced or fair or even acknowledge any of the good unions did. Instead you attack. Where is your balance? Oh and I am familair w/ it I just don’t purely accept it just like you don’t accept the fact that unions do some good. p



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Payshun

posted March 2, 2007 at 10:44 pm


K: “In MN, it is necessary to get a job. I think that is ridiculous. In other states, it is an automatic pay raise, which doesn’t make sense either. There is no compelling evidence that those with masters degrees perform better in the classroom because of their education, and I fail to see where it provides “more flexibility” for students.” Actually it does depending on what the Masters is in. If one has a masters in educational motivation theory or say Japaneese and teaches at school where that is needed a pay raise seems fair especially considering the level of education. That’s across the board.K: I want the best teachers who have demonstrated that they understand curricula to bridge the gap. You automatically attribute an advanced degree with qualification. That is an unsupported assertion. To date, our administrators and union bureaucrats have failed miserably, Masters degrees be damned. ME: Good teachers do a lot more than simply earn masters degrees. Are you familiar w/ master degree programs in college. I went to UCLA and minored in Education. I worked closely in the department and with grad school students helping them do research. I saw other school’s programs and they generally had them in the field teaching. I can list ten schools that approach education like that and that’s just in Los Angeles.The problems innercity school children face are numerous. When I worked in the Rampart District one of the worst in the city my students had to take care of younger siblings, deal w/ gangs, drugs, and a whole host of other issues that many in richer areas did not. Not only that they did not have the books to even do the work we assigned them. We had to provide them. Government grants helped a lot but at the same time their schools did not have the money to pay for the books.One story that burns me to this day was when a security guard was shot at school and they kept the students on campus for hours after the suspect was no longer there. It was not a safety measure. It was simply because they were poor as the cops made some really lame their status. Very few parents were notified. That’s what my students in the innercity face. p



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kevin s.

posted March 2, 2007 at 11:48 pm


“Right Kevin so in order to be balanced I have to take your view. Right?” No. It just seems as though you haven’t heard these arguments before, given that you went immediately to the “oh, blame the teachers” straw man. “Actually it does depending on what the Masters is in. If one has a masters in educational motivation theory or say Japaneese and teaches at school where that is needed a pay raise seems fair especially considering the level of education. That’s across the board. ” I’m not saying that earning an M.A. should never be rewarded. I don’t think than an M.A. in education should be a requirement for employment.”Good teachers do a lot more than simply earn masters degrees. ” That’s my entire point. And yet it is the primary determinent of pay.”Not only that they did not have the books to even do the work we assigned them. We had to provide them.” It is egregious that schools aren’t even providing books. Books represent such a small percentage of what it costs to educate students. You can’t tell me that more money will result in more books. It just won’t happen that way. There is a problem with this system. There is a problem with the way we treat inner-city students. There is a problem with an educational bureaucracy that is more devoted to self-preservation than to the needs of students.Is there not a modicum of truth in that statement?



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Payshun

posted March 3, 2007 at 12:47 am


No. It just seems as though you haven’t heard these arguments before, given that you went immediately to the “oh, blame the teachers” straw man.Kevin, I am not a mind reader. I can’t assume that you meant one thing when your post said teachers union’s are to blame for everything. You have got to learn to explain yourself in detail, provide research that supports your argument and then make a conclusion that comes from it. You make statements w/ no research from your conclusions and provide no basis for them.You said: Reforming our public schools would represent a major step toward granting an equal opportunity to black youths. Teachers Unions will hear nothing of it. Will Jim Wallis and friends call for change? The unions are the ones promoting the change you want to see and you ignored that. I demonstrated w/ links and other real research. Having been a teacher, mentor, educator, big brother motivational speaker and administrator and volunteer it’s hard for me to ignore your statement about blaming unions when the unions are made up of teachers that have dedicated their lives to educating kids.Teachers unions fight for kids it’s in their goals, mission statements, political ideology and methodology. You said: That’s my entire point. And yet it is the primary determinent of pay.it really depends on where you are at and the teaching philosphy of the district. That is not a blanket truth for every school district in the country. You said: It is egregious that schools aren’t even providing books. Books represent such a small percentage of what it costs to educate students. You can’t tell me that more money will result in more books. It just won’t happen that way.Me: It will when the beauracracy is out of the way. You: There is a problem with this system. There is a problem with the way we treat inner-city students. There is a problem with an educational bureaucracy that is more devoted to self-preservation than to the needs of students.Is there not a modicum of truth in that statement? Me: Yup a ton of truth and now we can actually have a real discussion because this is a central problem w/ funding, educational requirements, student performance, spacing, schools, resources and parental involvement. My people deserve better. the poor deserve better. Can we as a nation rise up and give it to them? p



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Timbuktoo

posted March 3, 2007 at 1:36 am


Payshun to Kevin: “You make statements w/ no research from your conclusions and provide no basis for them.” Payshun, haven’t you realized that that is Kevin S’s snide, snotty and dismissive way of handling anybody who opposes him. It’s not for nothing that his blog, which is often patently offensive is titled “The Problem with Kevin.” Yep, Kevin, that is aptly put. There certainly is a problem with Kevin. That is problem the only thing you’ve said about which there is no dispute.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 3, 2007 at 1:38 am


Correction to last post: “That is problem the only thing you’ve said about which there is no dispute.” Replace “problem” with “probably.”



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kevin s.

posted March 3, 2007 at 4:03 am


“I am not a mind reader. I can’t assume that you meant one thing when your post said teachers union’s are to blame for everything. ” Apparently you are, because I never said teacher’s unions were to blame for everything. They have taken advantage of a problematic, inefficient system, which was my original point.Further, to say unions are to blame for problems does not necessarily cast blame on union members, any of whom also disagree with the practices of teacher’s unions. “You make statements w/ no research from your conclusions and provide no basis for them. ” Well, you didn’t really give me a chance before you pulled the “you blame teachers canard”, but I will say that unions oppose tying funding to meeting standards, school choice, and voucher programs, all the while supporting a system which rewards educational pedigree over teaching ability.Further, the tenure system, again reiniforced by unions, makes it tremendously difficult to release unqualified teachers. That is an almost universally recognized flaw with this particular system, and you seem to pretend that it does not even exist. What research have you presented that counter these arguments?”The unions are the ones promoting the change you want to see and you ignored that.” I want to see changes to the problems I listed above. The unions advocate the opposite of what I have advocated.”It will when the beauracracy is out of the way.” What is your proposal to end the bureaucracy? Could we both agree that the D.O.E. has to go? “Yup a ton of truth and now we can actually have a real discussion because this is a central problem w/ funding, educational requirements, student performance, spacing, schools, resources and parental involvement. My people deserve better. the poor deserve better. Can we as a nation rise up and give it to them?” I’ll take the problems one by one… Funding: Inner city schools receive tremendous amounts of funding. D.C. schools get about $12k per pupil, per annum. Of course, union bureaucrats infamously stole millions from the system, but by and large there is ample funding for a productive school system. It isn’t productive. Why? Do they need $100k per student? 38M? What’s the magic number here? Educational requirements: If, by this, you imply “the lack thereof”, then I’m with you. Student Performance: Well, the students aren’t performing well. That’s the point. Spacing: Please explain… Schools: You’re on a roll here. Resources: I would say that I think the allocation of resources is a major problem. Instead of investing in human resources, we invest in computers. My word, the people at Apple have turned our public education system into a cash cow. When I was in high school, we had one computer for every two students. I probably spent 16 hours on a school computer in four years. That was efficient. Yet we spend trillions of dollars getting thousands of computers in every school. And don’t get me started about cosmetic issues.Parental involvement: Not an issue over which schools have any control.



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kevin s.

posted March 3, 2007 at 4:06 am


Timbuktoo, Why offer a correction to a post that was so utterly devoid of content in the first place? Your’s was the equivalent of writing: “You’re a stupidy-dumb head.”And then amending it to say “You’re a stupidy-stupid head.” And offering your apologies.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 3, 2007 at 11:02 am


Kevin, no apologies will be offered nor are they in order. Thank you for providing two more (albeit inarticulate) ways to describe you.



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Mark P

posted March 3, 2007 at 5:01 pm


Ignore the troll, yes?



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carl copas

posted March 3, 2007 at 8:18 pm


Even the troll is our brother yes?



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Jim M

posted March 3, 2007 at 11:46 pm


Which one is the troll?



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kevin s.

posted March 4, 2007 at 1:28 am


I love the trolling discussions. Let’s not talk about the issues. Let’s just discuss who is or is not a troll.



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Timbuktoo

posted March 4, 2007 at 2:18 am


Kevin S: “I love the trolling discussions. Let’s not talk about the issues. Let’s just discuss who is or is not a troll.” About time you took the high ground Kevin. It suits you well after occupying the low ground for so long!



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Mark P

posted March 4, 2007 at 3:23 am


“Even the troll is our brother yes?” I think you have two options when a brother is being an asshole: 1. Ignore until they start acting like an adult rather than a child. 2. Confront and rebuke, then confront and rebuke with one or two others, then confront and rebuke in front of the body, then kick out…



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Zambia

posted March 4, 2007 at 5:21 pm


Thank you, Troll brother Mark P for your rules.



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Payshun

posted March 5, 2007 at 8:24 pm


Kevin, Right now I don’t have time to continue this discussion but I would like links showing where you get your stats from. Thanks p



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