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Teachers and Students Walkout: Call Bullshit on Apartheid Schools in the Nation’s Capital

Urban Marketing Group Staff



“The realization of common opportunities for all within a single society… will require a commitment to national action – compassionate, massive, and sustained, backed by the resources of the most powerful and richest nation on this earth.” – Report from The Kerner Commission, February 29, 1968

On Wednesday, teachers and students at Anacostia Senior High School in Southeast D.C. walked out to protest the facility’s poor conditions. Teachers said the cafeteria is flooded, no breakfast was served to students, there’s no running water, and bathrooms are broken, so some students were told to use bathrooms in a building three blocks away.

The need for this walkout exemplifies how the district has failed black neighborhoods and their schools. As one student told The Washington Post, “If it was any other school in the District, they would have closed school. That’s unsanitary.”

It didn’t have to end up this way. Fifty years ago, the Kerner Commission—appointed by President Johnson after a wave of civil unrest had rocked the country—offered the nation tough medicine on the best ways to resolve racial injustice. The 426-page document was a best seller, full of specific suggestions to break up residential segregation and increase black employment. But Johnson largely ignored his commission: Fifty years later, much of the work remains undone, especially in education. Despite a plethora of evidence about the benefits of integration, U.S. education reformers have not prioritized it.

Washington, D.C.’s public school system is just one example of how the impacts of racial segregation in our schools have been ignored. Not long ago, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) was among the country’s lowest-performing districts. In 2011, just 58 percent of students graduated on time. Over the past decade, district and city leaders began an aggressive effort to improve the schools. The heart of this strategy was revamping the human capital system, and the district put in place new strategies to recruit, retain, train, and compensate teachers and leaders. They overhauled the salary structure to dramatically increase starting and mid-career salaries, and they provided strong financial incentives to high-performing teachers who chose to teach in schools serving low-income students. Today, a high-performing teacher at a high-poverty school in DCPS can earn over $130,000.

The district also implemented high-quality, free, universal pre-school and pre-kindergarten throughout the city. They implemented higher academic standards and embraced an annual test aligned to those standards. And they invested millions of dollars in renovating school facilities. The city also tripled the size of its charter sector (from 13 percent of enrollment in 2001 to 44.5 percent in 2016) and designed a unified system that families could use to enroll their children in both district or charter schools. In the years since, DCPS has seen rapid gains on National Assessment of Education Progress scores, earning it the reputation as the nation’s fastest-improvingurban district.

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‘Baby Daddy’ Father’s Day Card Featuring a Black Couple Slammed by Shoppers

Urban Marketing Group Staff



“Baby Daddy” is a term used to refer to a man who is the father of a woman’s child whom she did not marry. American Greetings, the world’s biggest producer of greeting cards, decided to create cards for Father’s Day with a “Baby Daddy” theme and feature a silhouette of a Black man and woman.

President and Chief Executive Officer John W. Beeder, who began his position in April, leads American Greetings, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Beeder is at the helm of an all-white executive leadership team.

The inside of the “Baby Daddy” card says, “You’re a wonderful husband and father — and I’m so grateful to have you as my partner, my friend, and my baby daddy! Happy Father’s Day.”

However, it was the only card that featured a Black couple, inferring that “Baby Daddy” status is particular to Black men.

Read all at The Washington Informer

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4 Things To Know About The Heated Race For Prince George’s County Executive

Urban Marketing Group Staff



Outside spending by SuperPACs, fights over donations from real estate developers and contrasting visions for education and development have dominated the fight to become the highest elected official in Prince George’s County. Nearly seven out of 10 registered voters in the county are Democrats, so the winner of the June 26 Democratic primary should easily win the general election for county executive, which raises the stakes for Tuesday’s vote.

Here are four key things to know about the race:

(1) Contrasting Campaigns And Support

Nine candidates are on the ballot in the Democratic primary, but two have emerged as front-runners: Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks and former Congresswoman Donna Edwards. The two have captured most of the endorsements, labor support and campaign donations.

Both are African American women who are trailblazing public officials in their own right. Alsobrooks was the first woman ever elected state’s attorney in the county; Edwards was the first black woman elected to Congress from Maryland.

But as the race has unfolded, the two candidates have run very different campaigns, with contrasting styles and bases of support.

Alsobrooks is running on her record as the county’s top prosecutor, especially its efforts to combat violent crime and domestic violence. She’s earned the endorsement of the Washington Post and holds a major fund-raising advantage heading into the final days.

Edwards, who once represented parts of Prince George’s County in Congress, is known as an outspoken progressive who has experience at the national level.

“I feel really fortunate I haven’t spent my entire professional life inside of county government,” said Edwards, who added that she believes it will take a “real outsider view” to tackle long-standing problems facing the county — like its struggling public school system.

“We need somebody who’s going to make decisions that are not going to make everyone happy,” she said.

If Edwards is positioning herself as an outsider, Aslobrooks is playing up her local experience.

”I’m a local figure, a local servant.” Alsobrooks said. “The people here know me.”

“That’s the real difference between me and Donna,” she said. “She’s known as a person who’s more focused on national issues, but hasn’t been present here locally.”

The latest campaign finance reports underscore this dynamic in the race. Nearly two-thirds of Edwards’s donations came from outside Prince George’s, while Alsobrooks raised most of her money – 80 percent – from donors in the county.

(2) Controversy Over PAC Money And Developer Donations

The campaign has heated up in recent weeks, and the sharp rhetoric seems to be due to the activities of a SuperPAC funded mostly by outside money.

The “We Are Prince George’s” PAC has spent nearly $1 million on mailers, digital ads, canvassers and consultants since March. The group is funded by a pair of national labor groups and a local hotel union that support Edwards.

Read all at WAMU

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Business News

How Could Initiative 77 Affect Eating Out In D.C.?

Urban Marketing Group Staff



Partisans from all sides of the controversial ballot measure to phase out D.C.’s tipped minimum wage scrambled to respond the day after voters approved it.

The restaurant industry immediately started angling to overturn it. Business owners began figuring out how they could pay for the higher labor costs. And consumers wondered how it could affect their favorite restaurants — and their restaurant bill.

Here are some commonly asked questions about what comes next.

Am I going to pay more to dine out?

That’s possible. Initiative 77 will slowly phase out the subminimum wage that’s been standard in the city’s restaurant and bar industry for decades. Some establishments won’t be able to afford the increase in labor costs, and they may choose to pass that increase onto customers.

As Black Restaurant Group’s Jeff Black told the Washington Post, “You can’t afford to give somebody a 500 percent pay raise and not have it come from somewhere.” (The raise is closer to 350 percent, according to our calculations.)

Will tipping still be allowed?

Read all @ WAMU

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