The uproar over high-stakes testing associated with Common Core in New York State and complaints that children are being tested on things they were not taught, has obscured the deepening of racial, ethnic and class divisions in education in New York and the United States.
Imprinted within our psyches is the notion that success is something that should be visible. Until recently, it has had a rather distinct look to it.
Six digits of debt are intimidating, especially when you're a single homeowner. But at 29 years old and just 15 months after buying my house, I've already paid $100,000 off my mortgage.. and I plan to pay the other $155,000 off before I turn 31.
Years from now we will know that we stood on the right side of history.
"My advice to anyone just starting out in this business, and to people who haven't gotten their start yet, is not to give up and not to be discouraged by disappointment. It's a long journey."
Unfortunately, for increasing numbers of teenage African American and Latino males, prison is becoming a rite of passage and their presence in juvenile detention facilities has become more and more profitable.
Where there is no goodwill, the dialogue cannot begin, and there is only polite silence masking anger and distrust.
The most diverse place on campus is a shiny, happy spot that exists in two dimensions: the brochures, viewbooks and annual reports that colleges and universities produce for public consumption.
No longer can we ignore the reality that our children are dying. No longer can we close our eyes to the immense pain and suffering of these grieving parents, siblings and loved ones. No longer can we act as if this doesn't impact us.
Facing the horror of slavery is a tough nut to crack not simply because it entails facing an inconvenient truth about past racial dehumanization, but because it entails facing the real truth that slavery still corrodes in big and little ways American life.
With a scorching Leontyne Mbele-Mbong in the title role and compelling direction by Dawn Monique Williams, this fresh Medea bridges the centuries in its visual style, language and impact.
I was not there chanting, "Save our schools!," at the top of my lungs because I care about my own job security. I was there, because to me, access to quality education is the civil rights issue of our time and something I take incredibly personally.
I started to think of the underrepresentation of other minorities in the fashion industry and the limited diversity in many other art culture subsets. As a result, I decided to look around and to give more recognition to these six creators who are following their passions.
To date, no black reality television star has scored a win in any political race.
But that hasn't stopped a few from trying to capitalize -- politically -- on what is widely believed to be their 15 minutes of fame.
Since starring on the first season of MTV's 'Real World,' former Vibe magazine writer Kevin Powell has had two unsuccessful runs for New York's 10th Congressional District seat. Powell remains undeterred and has plans to run a third time in 2010.
Meanwhile, 'Apprentice' winner and Rhodes Scholar Dr. Randal Pinkett is rumored to be on incumbent New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's short list for Lieutenant Governor. Pinkett, an MIT and Rutgers University graduate, would be the first African American to run statewide as a major-party candidate in the history of New Jersey.
Now, two very different reality television stars --(l-r) Landon Dais and Kwame Smalls --are vying for New York City Council seats.
New York native Landon Dais joined the cast of BET's 'Harlem Heights' to further his political aspirations. The son of a political activist, Dais says would have run for New York City Council District 9 in Harlem regardless of whether he was on TV.
"I was very weary of joining the reality show," Dais confided. "In today's society, television executives believe the only way to get high ratings is through drama and enhancing the negative about people."
The Morehouse College graduate says his desire to be a positive role model and to "influence one kid to go to college" led to his decision to join the cast of 'Harlem Heights.' And though some Harlemites initially questioned his motives for running for office, "once they saw me walking the streets of Harlem at all times of the night, talking to the youth, they realized I was a legitimate candidate who really cared about the people of Harlem," he chuckles.
For Dais, becoming a quasi-celebrity has helped him win recognition in the community. Though he is second in the polls, he still believes going door to door and meeting people in his community has given him a real shot at winning.
"The young people gravitate towards me, and the older people in the community I Love New Yorksee that I am the only viable candidate who can get the young people to care about the political process. This has caused a lot of older people to support my efforts."
And then, there is Smalls.
This 'I Love New York 2' contestant is running for a New York City Council seat. Given his on-air persona, he's had a tougher time getting the people to take him seriously.
"People may not take me seriously, [but it is] also good because people don't see me as a threat," he told BV Newswire this week. When probed about his educational background, the jovial contender offered: "Let's just say, like Kanye West, I'm a college dropout. I learned that I didn't have to have a political education to run for city council."
In fact, his decision to run for office came after the reunion special for 'I Love Money 2,' another VH1 reality show, in which Smalls (also known as "It") was reunited with his 'I Love New York 2' competition, George 'Tailor Made' Weisgerber.
Weisgerber, who won Miss New York's love on the show, is now Smalls' campaign manager. The two have spent the last several weeks canvassing the district for signatures to get on the ballot.
"Yes, I'm a beautiful speaker. I'm an actor," Smalls explained. "I study the techniques of Malcolm X, following his speeches, and I love it!"
Although Smalls thinks he can win, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth -- a former White House staffer and 'Apprentice' star -- has some disappointing news: "You need a ton of money and a political mastermind [to win an election], and reality television stars don't have access to capital."
Dais agrees, but if these reality stars can prove the naysayers wrong what a story that will make, or perhaps provide fodder for another reality television show on life after winning
Manigault-Stallworth, who has appeared in over 20 reality television shows, continues to work in politics however; the 'Bitch Switch' author works as a fundraiser and believes her television persona has worked to her advantage, helping her become a "much more effective political operative."
Yet, Donald Trump's most famous reality TV protege will admit that running for, and winning, a political office is difficult. "I have not seen it done well, quite frankly," she added. "Being famous does not always translate into being an effective politician."
Her advice? "They need to hire me to be their campaign manager," she recommended. "I'm the missing key to their success."
The Democratic primary election for New York City Council takes place Sept. 15 for both Dais and Smalls.
Interested parties can find out more about Dais' campaign at www.LandonDais.com. Smalls, on the other hand, wishes for his supporters to check out his YouTube video.