Uncovering Lies and Damn Lies in Arne Duncan’s Graduation Rates

Texas students are still at a huge disadvantage in our under-funded public school system.

Cloaking Inequity

Has your state experienced a meteoric rise in its graduation rate since Arne Duncan’s new graduation standards went into effect? Do you think it too good to be true? Nobody likes to be lied to. The latest Arne Duncan sleight of hand is the reporting and trumpeting of graduation rates. The Washington Post related:

Calling it “a profound milestone,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday that the country has reached its highest graduation rate in history, with 80 percent of students receiving a diploma in 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

Fusion.net (ABC News-Univision joint venture) reported:

Texas is one of the exceptional performers; the state boasts a graduation rate in the upper 80s.

The fact that Texas is in that list is remarkable, given some of the unique challenges it faces in educating young people. More than half of the state’s students receive…

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When The Boys’ Room Isn’t Safe For A Boy

Boys have a rough time keeping their privates private especially around aggressive machos whatever their age and physical attributes. Adults tend to ignore or aggravate the problem…especially coach-type persons.

Raising My Rainbow

My son is six and a half years old.  He’s been potty trained with nary an accident since exactly his third birthday.

Last week, in his first grade classroom, he peed his pants.  He sat in his urine until the dismissal bell rang.  His pants were soaked and cold when he got out of school.  He was uncomfortable and he smelled.  He didn’t want anybody to know.  It was his secret.

He started crying in the car.

“I’m so ashamed of myself,” he said over and over again.  Tears rolled down his face, even though he willed them not to.  He couldn’t hold them back.

Come to find out, my son — with his long auburn hair, pink and purple fitted clothes, feminine backpack and wrist full of rainbow-colored loom bracelets – is terrified to use the boys’ bathroom at school.

photo 1On his first visit to the boys’ bathroom, he…

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Women and Their Children in Prison: An American Tragedy

Boys and men of color over-populate our prisons. #JuvenileJustice STOP #SchoolToPrisonPipeline

Kids in the system

The following piece originally appeared on Beacon Broadside. Author and advocate Deborah Jiang Stein, through her own personal experience, brings to light a world so few of us know exists. Although the media–for better or worse–will focus on men in prison we hear very little about women serving time. It is a fast growing population, an invisible population, that is neglected not only in our public discourse about incarceration but in the prison world itself. Women in jail are horribly under-served, and that’s saying a lot since male inmates are equally under-served in terms of health care, mental health treatment, education and rehabilitative programs. And now Stein calls our attention to an even more invisible world, that of children born and raised in prison.

prison baby

In her memoir Prison Baby, now available from Beacon Press, author Deborah Jiang Stein describes the pain and confusion she experiences upon finding out…

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Book Review: “Tales of a Jailhouse Librarian: Challenging the Juvenile Justice System One Book at a Time”

Important book on the horrors of our ‘justice’ system.

Kids in the system

Maybeth Zeman’s Tales of a Jailhouse Librarian: Challenging the Juvenile Justice System One Book at a Time demonstrates, through a series of heartwarming yet heartbreaking stories, what anyone who has worked with juvenile offenders knows: that the thousands of minors locked up in US prisons—at least 10,000 such kids held in adult correctional facilities on any given night—are just children.

The media makes it easy for Americans to ignore this obvious fact with its visual clips cycling through the Nightly News mill showing teenagers of color, usually in hoodies, being let away in cuffs to a police cruiser or a young African American boy in an orange jump suit and shackles shuffling into court. Too few people see the half-truths behind those images. But Tales of a Jailhouse Librarian won’t let you turn your back on what juvenile justice really means in this country or on the vulnerability of these…

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