Attempted neo-colonialism by powerpoint: black communities vs. education reform.

Citation metadata

Date: Oct. 2015
From: Journal of Pan African Studies(Vol. 8, Issue 7)
Publisher: Journal of Pan African Studies
Document Type: Report
Length: 1,365 words
Lexile Measure: 1360L

Document controls

Main content

Article Preview :

The city of Newark, N.J., an old, struggling-against-decay, never-recovered-from-the-1967-rebellion ghetto that celebrates its 350th anniversary next year, is involved in a fight familiar to Black populations in Washington, D.C., Milwaukee and elsewhere. It goes like this: the corporate Powers That Be--defined in this case, the New York-based, greatly financed education reform movement--decide to experiment with Black and Brown communities. In 2015, the term "education reform" had come to mean turning a failing public school district into a privatized, charter school district. City officials sign on to the idea, and, if the reformer's fight is successful, longtime Black educators--often members of a generation that began teaching during and/or after the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, those finally in positions of relative power over their children's education--get fired and try to fight back.

The nation's capital played the story out live and in color in 2007. Back then, D.C.'s neo-liberal young Black mayor, Adrian Fenty, hired and empowered an outsider school commissioner named Michelle Rhee. Her mission? Slice through the red tape of community control and recreate the public school system in time for the new, gentrified District of Columbia. Unfortunately for Rhee and Fenty, significant blood was drawn from the city's Black community. Rhee openly and unapologetically treated a significant part of D.C.'s longtime, established Black middle-class as second-class professionals under a microscope. So the community responded with voting Fenty out in 2010. Rhee, now nationally famous for the damage done, left D.C. shortly after.

While Rhee's political support was being cut from under her in the District of Columbia, education reform's next battle moved up highway I-95. It started in 2009 with Cory Booker--Newark's neo-liberal mayor, a contemporary of Fenty in age and ambition--and Chris Christie, the conservative governor of New Jersey. The duo secretly decided all by themselves in the backseat of a Chevy Tahoe that they alone would implement education reform in the city, whether it wants it or not. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, developed a political man-crush on Booker and signed on by...

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A441766833