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March 22, 2018     The Tuskegee News
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March 22, 2018

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-7 Page A-4, The Tuskegee News, March 22, 2018 Amandla Chapter of 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement sets organizational meet Editor, The Tuskegee News: In 1985 during the 20th obse ance of the Selma to Montgomery March, veteran Civil Rights leaders took note Of the fact that there was not an organization in the South dedicated to teaching the history of the Movement to the next generation. Out of the discussions around this void was birthed the 21st Century Training Project, which later became 21st Century Youth Leader ship Movement. The first summer training camp was held in Selma the following summer. Chapters were established in most of the Black Belt counties of Alabama, including Macon County. Chapters were later established in other states, and an international chapter was founded in Mall, West Africa. Omar and Katy Campbell established the Macon County chapter around 1987. I became the chapter coordinator in 1996. Since 1987 hundreds of young people in Tuskegee and Macon County have benefitted from having a space where they could gather, learn their story (not just HISory), network with youth from around the state and the coun- try, develop skills and talents, and have a safe space to engage in rigorous dialogue about out how they fit into current events unfolding around them. The Amandla (Macon County) chapter has been inactive for the past four years. However, given the critical nature of the unfolding politi- cal climate, the ever-increasing level of mass in- carceration, the tragic events that have led to the Black Lives Matter Movement, the rise of hate crimes, etc I feel compelled to once again offer 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement to the youth of our community as a safe space to make meaning of the madness. Lastly, I strongly feel that given the times we're facing, African American adults have an urgent responsibility to' teach our children their history in such a way that the events that are unfolding are not seen to be happening in a vac- uum, but rather are an extension of a long, and often painful, history that continues to repeat itself in cycles. If our young people are armed with the truth, I have faith that they will then be prepared to meet the future on their own terms, and will forge a way forward that will uplift all human- ity. To that end, I am encouraging interested young people between the ages of 13 and 18 to attend an organizational meeting on Sunday, March 25, at the Macon Commission Chamber located on North Main Street (next to McQuick Printing) from 3 5p.m. If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, guardian or friend of a youth that you think can benefit from 21st Century, please bring them out on March 25th at 3p.m. Norma McGowan Jackson, Amandla Chapter Coordinator, 21st Century Youth Leaders.hip Movement OPINION Superintendents~ report cards 'basically worthless' By LARRY LEE . one phone call from a local busi- ness owner. Outside of princi- pals and central office staff, not one single person mentioned the report cards." very high poverty, but it is a good school and a negative grade like this does nothing but drive peo- ple away" My jaw dropped recently when I heard someone from the Ala- bama State Department of Edu- cation, say that local school "Many principals feel they are systems are using the A-F school What was reaction fi-om princi- being portrayed as incompetent. report cards to-identify strengths pals and staff in schools that got They know they are doing the and weaknesses, best they can with the resources Wow. I have just surveyed they have. One said that if he dozens of school system superin- I [ had 25 ye s of service, he would tendents from one end of the e d u c a .o n retire and leave education." state to the other -- and THAT I also asked, Should this law be is not what the); told me. repealed? Among the questions I asked C, D or F? As you can imagine, this got a was: At the end of the day, have "School staffs were dismayed resounding "YES." Only one su- these report cards been of benefit because all work extremely hard. perintendent suggested that the to your system in any way? Students were also deeply con- process be amended to be more cerned about lower grades. Even comprehensive. Here is a sampling of what though all recognize that this is Some samples: ' his law is in- they told me: see no benefit to an extremely flawed process, tended to privatize public educa- our school system." "Not in the everyone wants their school rep- tion and further segregate our least." "Zero." "No benefit."resented with a good grade. The society ABSOLUTELY, it "Not even slightly." "I can't see reality is there is no test, no should have never been passe&" much benefit.' "No benefit at sound measure of progress or' tais report card is a very short- all." 'The report card has fur- anyone at the state department sighted attempt to label schools, ther tainted our public percep- of education who can substanti- not improve them." tion and has not been helpful." ate this process." A-F.was terrible legislation "Little to none." "Absolutely "Our elementary school had awhen passed in 2012. Everyone none at all." "Considering the 79 and the principal and staff in education knew it. But as is - demoralizing effect on individu- were heartbroken. Growth andtoo often the case, no one lis- als who have done a yeoman's attendance were great, but when tened to people who actually un- job in the past, this report card i~ you h~,o ~oo o,uaon~ ko ao~'~ do~,o~o ~d what is taking places in not good for our system or thespeak English fluently, achieve- our schools. state." ment is nearly Now we have proof it was terri- I also wanted to know, What achieve at the same level of ble. was reaction in your community? schools without this situation." So do we' do what is best for our Or did anyone pay any atten- '2VIost principals and staff were students and all who work dili- tion? very upset with a C becausegently to guide them each day, The consensus was that hardly most of what happens at school admit our mistake, and correct anyone noticed. Here are some is not even considered when the it? Or do we cling desperately to responses: "Had no reaction." report card grade is issued." false assumptions simply be- 'Parents and those who support "Principals and staff felt very cause some politicians put their public education were concerned overwhelmed and disappointed." own pride above the welfare of that report cards did not truly "Frustration because of theour children? depict their schools and their way the score was calculated and That choice is so clear there is achievements. However, those because they see every day what no need for debate. who oppose public schools used is taking place in their school these scores in a negative way." and what kids are dealing with" Lar . Lee is a public-school '"Very little attention." "I had 'Tne principal whose school got a advocate and co-author o the :two people ask me about a school D was very disappointed. Her study, Lessons Learned From grade. One lady at church and school is in a community with Rural Schools. Hard to keep up with Trump White House turnover Having studied American poli- tics for many years, I can find no instances where the number of appointees leaving any previous administrations comes close to the number leaving the Trump Administration. This is indeed unprecedented for an administration that has only been in office for 15 months. Many of the people exiting the administration have either been forced out for exercising poor judgment or for ethical lapses. Every administration needs good people. Since some of the appointees leave their jobs to work in the White House, it is expected that many of them will return to their original jobs. However, the turnover in the Trump Administration should be cause for grave concern. As I stated in an earlier col- some of the cabinet secre- taries believe tliey are playing with monopoly money. Based on recent reports, the Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin has already spent a million dollars of our tax dollars on travel. I doubt he could have done this in his Policial View by Dr. Noel Thompson previous job. He has given a new meaning to 'Trequent flyer." This makes us wonder when he works at the Treasury Department. Another example of excessive spending was former Secretary of Health and Human Service Tom Price. To be quite candid, the behavior of some of these managers reminds me of the be- havior of some people who worked in the Truman adminis- tration. For their unethical con- duct, they received the nickname "five percenters." The president is the duly: elected leader of the country. In this capacity, he is the person who sets the moral tone for the members of his administration. If he behaves ethically the mem- bers of his administration take their cue from him. If he does otherwise, they follow suit. Even some of President Obama's most ardent critics agree that his ministration was very ethical. The Trump Admin- istration seems to lack a moral compass. This leaves many of us facing the harsh reality that our country headed in the wrong direction Hopefully, Robert Mueller will rid the administration of some of its unethical actors. The present leaders of the Repubfican Con- gress are too busy protecting their own interests, instead of helping to steer the country in the right direction. The Grand Old Party whose mantra was centered on moral- ity (family values), seems to be the party of questionable moral- ity. We need divine intervention to get the country back on track. May God help us. Dr. NoelA.D. Thompson is a political scientist who now teaches at Tuskegee University after many years as a professor at Auburn University. Governor's races turn out more votersthan presidential elections When talk turns to politics in Ala- bama, it usually leads to the Gover- nor's race. In Alabama politics the Governor's office is the Brass Ring. It is talked about more than anything else around coffee clubs and kitchen tables from Sand Mountain to the Wiregrass. It is comparable to college football being the king of all sports in Alabama. .This infatuation with the Governor's office is borne out in voting history. In most states the Presidential race sees the largest voter turnout, but that is not the case in Alabama where we have historically voted more heavily in gubernatorial years. Governor race years also have most of the important local offices up for grabs. "All politics is local." Kay Ivey enters the race as the fa- only 73. This premature aging be- comes apparent when she gets out campaigning and speaking. This elderly resonance and cog- nizanco will not detract from her being elected to a full term, However, if I were running her campaign, I would limit her appearances. They should keep her in the Governor's office and use photos from a few years back and take credit for the upturn in the econ-. omy. Her'support is a mile wide and an inch deep. A slip and fall could de- rail her train. My first term in the Legislature was George Wallace's last tertn as Gover- nor arid to say he was incoherent would be an understatement. He wa on heavy doses of medication to allevi- ate the constant pain he had to endure vorite. She is the quasi incumbent from the bullet wounds from an assas- having taken over the ship of state sination attempt while he was run- this time last year from beleaguered ning for President in 1972. Therefore, and tarnished Governor Dr.'Robert Kay's slowness does not deter her from Bentley. being elected or from probably doing a She probably would have gone to the better job than most governors we house with her dog Bear with the have had. plaudits of having served two terms as My observation over the past 50- State Treasurer and two terms as Lt. years is that we really do not have to Governor, which is not a bad legacy, have a full-time governor of Alabama. However, now she can add Governor Big Jim Folsom was drunk his entire to her epitaph, second term, George Wallace was on Kay has been around Alabama poli- pain pills his last term and did not tics for quite a while. She has been know where he was, Fob James was thought of as vibrant over the years, totally disinterested in being governor However, recently her demeanor and his second term and went duck hunt- ] appearance belies the fact that she is ing the whole time. Inside the Statehouse by Steve Flowers Columnist They put Don Siegelman and Guy Hunt in jail. Poor ole Bentley fell in love at 72 like a little school boy and walked around with a glazed look in his eyes and sheepish grin, and lost all sense with reality. They kicked the poor old fellow to the curb. Kay came on board and seems to have steadied the ship of state. Kay's most daunting opponent is Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle, who is actually responsible for the largest economic development announcement for the state in the past several years. The landing of the Toyota-Mazda plant in Huntsville several months ago was a real coup. Battle is 61 and has been Mayor of Huntsville for over 10 years. Some would argue that if he could do half of what he has done for Huntsville for the State of Alabama, he would be the best Governor Alabama has had in generations Mayor Battle has raised a lot of money and will come out of the vote rich Tennessee Valley with a strong base of support. He may give Kay a run for her money. Birmingham Evangelist Scott Daw- son is hoping to garner the evangeli- cal vote. He is running a spirited campaign and could be a factor. State Senator Bill Hightower from Mobile is somewhat of an aloof fellow, who will probably not be a factor. Whoever wins the Republican nomi- nation will be favored to win the race in November. The odds favor a Re- publican 57-to-43. However, you have two formidable thoroughbreds vying for the Demo- Cratic nomination. Former Chief Jus- tice Sue Bell Cobb and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox will fight it out for the nod in the June 5th Primary. There probably will not be a runoff. Either Cobb or Maddox will out- right depending on which way Al- abama's African American voters land. Most observers predict that Walt Maddox will prevail. He is 45 and has been Mayor of Tuscaloosa for 10 years. Being mayor of a major city is prob- ably.the best training ground for gov- ernor. See you next week. Steve - owers is Alabama's leading political columnist. His weekly col" umn appears m over 60Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at ww