Experts Call for Early Focus on Black Boys’ Nonacademic Skills

Education Week: Experts Call for Early Focus on Black Boys’ Nonacademic Skills

From the article…“Stanley Howard, the founder of the Chicago-based Law and Civics Literacy Institute for Urban Males, wondered how educators can best boost educational outcomes for African-American males in a political context in which many Americans seem to be thinking: “Now you have a black president. What are you still crying about, bellyaching about?” He added, “What if black boys are economically obsolete?”

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Black boys who become men (If homicide or suicide doesn’t fall upon them) are economically viable in our society: They feed the prison industrial complex, Black men are incarcerated at an alarming rate in America.  We know that there more than likely to be locked up six times more than their white counterpart.  The rate among Black men is 3,119 per 100,000.  (Heather West, William J. Sabol, and Sarah J. Greenman, “Prisoners in 2009,” Bureau of  Justice Statistics Bulletin, December 2010.) 

 

The Rise of Prison-Industrial Complex

  • In the last 3 decades – prison industrial complex had been developed in the US– confluence of special interests that has given prison construction in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum.
  • Since 1991 the rate of violent crime in the United States has fallen by about 20 percent, while the number of people in prison or jail has risen by 50 percent. Increase because of imprisonment of people who have committed nonviolent offenses. Instead of community service, fines, or drug treatment – to a prison term, by far the most expensive form of punishment.
  • politicians, both liberal and conservative, who have used the fear of crime to gain votes;
  • impoverished rural areas where prisons have become a cornerstone of economic development;
  • private companies tap into $35 billion a year spending on prisons
  • Spending on corrections since 1980s increased 5 times; there are more than 1000 vendors that sell corrections paraphernalia;
  • The growth projected 5-10% annually;
  • Private prisons keep 90,000 prisoners from 27 states
  • “Bed brokers,” rent a cell facilities ($20 to $60 a day with $2.50-5.50 commission per man-day); trucking prisoners hundreds of miles through the country – threat to public order; escapes;
  • Wackenhut Corrections, second largest private-prison company has ravenous $1 billion a year;
  • U.S. Corrections Corporation – the largest private-prison company wants to buy and run all state of Taxes’ prisons;
  • globalization of the private-prison business: British private-prison company, Securicor, operates two facilities in Florida; Wackenhut Corrections is now under contract to operate prison in England; three prisons in Australia; and a prison in Scotland. It is actively seeking prison contracts in South Africa.
  • 1 pay phone in prison generates $15,000 a year; MCI installs phones for free;
  • Government officials whose fiefdoms have expanded along with the inmate population.

 

The Invisible Dragon

Book Review: Greatest Salesman in the World

Note:  I have more Christian friends than a mega church could shake a stick at.  My friends and I share and read books.  We share books not as an attempt of conversion to either faith or philosophy but spiritual growth. Hence some books receive a succinct written appraisal because of their indelible impression on the Dragon.  Such a book is below.

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Overview

Og Mandino, (1968) “The Greatest Salesman on Earth.” Overview: Jay Redmond dutifully sworn to inform me of Christian genres did so with best-selling author Og Mandino’s book “Greatest Salesman in the World”. Why, the forewarning? Because we do not trade books so heavily slanted that any message of worth is drowned out by ideology or mythology.  This is not to say religious books make me scurry but some attempt to covert by text. I’m not a big fan of these books and pleasingly Jay takes this heed.

In fact, before Jay dropped it on my desk, I could honestly say, never heard of it. Jay’s an avid reader as well as philological gent, a light-skinned African-American fellow drenched in thought. He informed me of the mission, “read this book, I think you’ll enjoy it”.  This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds, damn that Jay.  Spoiler Alert!!!   Greatest Salesman on Earth (1968) is not about last month’s quarterly reports.

Hafld:  Teach Me

The date did not bother me (1968) concerning contextual relevance. The Tao and Bible are much older; the Buddha, a tired elder, long should have retired. What the book has in common with these books and philosophical thinking patterns is the art of the parable. The story sets in Jerusalem in about the time before Christ’s birth, when the young man Hafld wishes and learns the secrets of success.

The educational tutelage came from one of the wealthiest men at that time. The well-off elder was repeating the gesture he himself requested and received long ago, “the secret of success”. The story reveals ten scrolls handed down to Hafld, these lessons of principles necessary to build one to self-actualization.  Without giving much if anything away, the scrolls provide lessons to change one’s circumstances through a change of consciousness.

The story inside the story is a powerful plug for Christians; as such reading the book in its entirety will be a great revelation. Greatest Salesman on Earth is a nice story of self-identity building and remaining faithful to one’s beliefs.

My Take:

Og Mandino’s “Greatest Salesman in the World” has sold over 14 million copies. There are some helpful, empowering tools in the classic. However, my reaction to the book was lukewarm mainly because the anecdotes were familiar to my schema. This book would be more advantageous to a person just beginning their journey, such as the main character Hifld.

In addition, the book offers great insights and then produces thoughts that baffled me, as such, “Experience is comparable to fashion; an action that provoked successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow, only principles endure (pp42).”

Principles become experience when applied in real life situations. It is similar to hope, it only becomes hope when actions are secured, or “when the rubber hits the road”.
This book favors individuals who desire external guidance in the beginning of their journey.

Three Dragons… Recommended for purchase…
dragon book reviewdragon book reviewdragon book review

Next Book Review
Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success

purple dragon

The Invisible Dragon

The Traveler’s Gift, Christian Book Review

Reading and reviewing books has become a past time. A few friends have joined in partnership to exchange text for examination. We have dissimilar religious and spiritual affiliations, they being Christians and the blogger a pious orphan. Taoism is the nearest philosophy among my external counsel.  However religious and philosophical membership aside, reading wisdom-based fiction is cool. Discovering new and useful information among text is the purpose anyhow.

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“The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews speaks about the fictional life of David Ponder. Mr. Ponders experience a midlife crisis and finds himself traveling back through time. He encounters several individuals who will provide him with values for personal success, seven total. Hence, however, these persons are making crucial decisions as David crashes into their bookspast.

In fact, Harry S. Truman found time to speak with David as he decided the fate of Japan. The past realities and David’s life come together to forge a new mental framework for guidance to success. Overall these seven principles are foundational attributes through a Christian writer’s lens.

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Personal Observation: Christian’ books (my personal book reviews) consistently promote “when my ship comes in” paradigms. The Traveler’s Gift in step presents a map to obtain future happiness and rewards. As such Mr. Andrews illustrate that present moments are only platforms for things to come.

The Traveler’s Gift, pp..88-89 My hopes, my passion, my vision for the future are my existenceI am passionate about my vision for the future. My course has been charted. My destiny is assuredI have a decided heart.”…pp 166,I will persist without exception. I focus on results. To achieve the results I desire, it is not necessary that I enjoy the process. It is only important that I continue the process with my eyes on the outcome…my light, my harbor, my future is within sight.”

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Sadly, we do not control the future with our works; however the author seems to suggest otherwise. In fact, he points out that until goals, ambitions, or expectations become reality happiness may remain dormant. This book in my opinion is a pep rally, a motivational dialogue woven into a brilliant story.

Nevertheless, disowning the present moment while concentrating exclusively on expectations will create pain for many.  Because obsessions with future or past events may create emotional trauma.  In addition, what happens when our plans do not work out? Do we blame God? On the other hand, do we condemn ourselves for a lack of faith?

In closing, adhere to the present in my humble opinion.  Because happiness is a state of being available anytime; your choice and free of charge.

Miles Davis

The Invisible Dragon

“Day & Night”

A_slice_of_life_by_giladYou rise, shining your presence on us all. I rise to your warm kisses upon my soul, bringing me into a state of overwhelming passion. You grace us with your gentle sometimes over powering existence, yet when time comes, you understand how to give us space. But for me, this space you provide is hell. For without your light I am lost in a field of darkness, drowning in a sea of the unseen, burning in the fire that is the pain of my past.

You rise, allowing us to move freely underneath your beautiful glare. I rise to the song that you provide for the birds to sing, placing a smile on my face and a sense of exuberant optimism for the start of this new day upon my heart. But then surely, you must rest as well. But what about me, there is surely no rest for the weary!

For in your absence, my mind runs rampant wondering if your light will shine once more; my arms, fully extended search for the way back into your warm embrace; my feet, blistered from the journey to forever bask in the light of your presence; my heart, cold and torn from your exit and leaving me in the silence of the night.

Oh sun, by day I take for granted your loving warmth and nurturing embrace and by night I cower bruised, battered, beaten, lost and alone awaiting your return. Day and night, so such is the pattern of life.

written by Will J. Hobbs

 

Miles Davis

The Invisible Dragon

Dragon’s Daily Word, “Spiritual Pain”

You will not wish, cry, or pray away what is bothering you spiritually.   You will not tithe, donate, or give charitably away this divine irritableness either.  Sadly, only the clever and immature attempts to barter with nothing.  As we know, the purgatory starting line will continue to reappear with this thinking.

The tao te ching, bible, quran, or motivational books are useless concerning your spiritual uneasiness.  Being an accomplished reader does not gain favor. Renewing one’s consciousness requires rigid inner reflection and determination.  As a result, old belief patterns should become susceptible to refutation.  “Out with the old and in with the new.”

But, unchaining false realities, harder than imagine.  Why you ask?  Because the chained consciousness lives with soreness as an acceptable feeling.  Hence, the doubtful spirit becomes easier to fake as real in public.  In the end the inflexible consciousness unwilling to trust her inner being will pain religiously.

Self-cultivation is a one-person journey.

Get going…as hard as it will be…get going.

Miles Davis

The Invisible Dragon