DENVER WEEKLY NEWS

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Volume 39 Number 39

DPS Reform Plans for Montbello Schools Challenged Again
Educators Offer Alternatives as Parent Activist Calls for Boasberg’s Resignation
By Roger K. Clendening Special to the Denver Weekly News Parents, teachers, students and other community members from across Denver this week continued to challenge controversial Denver Public Schools (DPS) plans to “turnaround” now distressed neighborhood schools in Montbello. DPS is pushing turnaround rather than transformation plans for Montbello High School and five feeder schools after years of what some critics are calling administrative neglect, mismanagement and declining resources intensified under Superintendent Tom Boasberg’s watch. The faculty of Green Valley Elementary, a school slated for turnaround, urged the school board members this week to consider its “transformation” plan for their school. (The plan will be explored in next week’s DWN). At the same meeting, held at DPS headquarters, 900 Grant St., a Montbello neighborhood parent activist, citing DPS financial management and other problems under Boasberg’s administration, called for his resignation. Elet Valentine, a Montbello parent, said DPS’s “sour (pension) deal with Wall Street,” spearheaded, she said, by “innovators by the name of (former DPS Superintendent and now U.S. Senator Michael Bennet) and Boasberg” had not saved the district $20-million but instead cost taxpayers $115-million in interest, $9.5-million in fees and will cost the district $81-million to get out of the deal. Her challenges and other criticisms came during a school board meeting on Monday evening, Nov. 8 set by the board to hear public comment about the plan in anticipation of a final board vote on Nov. 18. The plan would implement federally-sanctioned “turnaround” strategies involving Montbello High School and five feeder schools. Valentine continued, asking “Now would this be the actual reason funding is not trickling into the classrooms toward student achievement, needed repairs and classroom materials, and union teachers . . . I guess that would be called misappropriation of taxpayer dollars,” she said. She went on to say she believes Boasberg has created a “dangerous environment at the cost of our children, teachers, communities, parents and taxpayers, adding, therefore, that “for the survival of our children, neighborhoods, and teachers, I am coming this evening asking for your Continued on page 2

Sexual Abuse of Black Boys
Often results in hyper-masculinization or hyper-feminization

November 11 - November 17, 2010

Photo:Lens of Ansar

Ali Jackson is producing a documentary based on the startling statistics that 1 in 4 Black boys has been sexually abused and 40% of that number will go on to become child molesters or sexual “deviants." He has encountered opposition from some who believe this subject is taboo but his own experience keeps him committed to shining a spotlight on what he calls a society “sickness.” He was abused by an 18 year old female, in an encounter arranged for him on his 12th birthday as a present from adult male relatives who, afterward, gave him “high fives” and took him out to eat in celebration. The experience gave him a too-early introduction to sex and left in him a "residue" that made him crave female contact more than the average boy. By Adeeba Folami (Part 1 of a series) Recently, actor and film director Tyler Perry publicly announced that he was sexually abused prior to the age of 10 by a grown woman and three adult males, in separate acts of violation which caused him to act out in destructive ways and even attempt suicide. In another high profile story, popular Georgia Bishop Eddie Long, head of an Atlanta-area mega-church with an international TV broadcast ministry, was accused by four former church members of coercing them into sexual encounters after receiving cash, jewelry, trips and cars from Long when they were 17 to 18 years of age. Not all acts or allegations of sexual abuse receive such nationwide attention, however, and in reality, the daily abuse reports in cities across the country are little heard about but involve abuse on boys, and girls, from priests, coaches, teachers, pastors, deputies, day care workers, male – and yes, female – relatives (parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers). It is more common to hear the stories involving abuse of girls and women but, according to Ali Jackson, a teacher, artist, researcher and film maker, one of every four Black males is also amongst the ranks of those who have experienced some form of sexual violation. Unlike women, there is a smaller window of time in which males become victims as they are not Continued on page 3

Newly Elected Black Republicans Welcomed in CBC
By Zenitha Prince Election Day victories for two Black Republicans raise a rare question in the House of Representatives in the 112th Congress: How will two AfricanAmerican members of the Grand Old Party interact with the Congressional Black Caucus? Fourteen Black Republicans ran for Congress in the Nov. 2 midterm elections but, after all the votes were counted, only Tim Scott, a South Carolina businessman, and Allen West, a Florida-based Army veteran of the Iraq War, will take seats. They are the first African-American Republicans to be Rep.-elect Tim Scott (R-SC) has pledged to repeal Obamacare. elected to Congress since 1995. In an e-mailed statement to the AFRO CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said unequivocally, “Should either of the two African American Republicans recently elected to the House of Representatives request membership in the Congressional Black Caucus they will be welcomed.” The decision reflected the sentiments of an overwhelming majority of AFRO.com poll voters, who said the men should be admitted. So far, West has said he wants to be part of the CBC, while Scott is still undecided and is leaning toward not participating. “It’s really heartening to see this type of diversity demonstrated in AfricanAmerican representation,” NAACP Washington Bureau Chief Hilary Shelton said. “[Republican Party Chairman] Michael Steele deserves credit for seeing more African Americans seeking office under the Republican banner.” He added, “They could be a real asset to the strategy of passing legislation in the House and in advancing the CBC [Congressional Black Caucus] agenda Continued on page 7

Rep.-elect Allen West (R-FL) Allen West believes in the flat tax system for individual and corporate/business.
Photo: Skidmore

People | Places | Things in the News

Calendar of Events
november 13 Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Denver Alumnae Chapter and Denver Delta, Inc. presents Weight Management: It’s a Family Affair! How to avoid the Fat Trap – Who me? at the Zion Senior Center ∙ 5151 E 33rd Ave ∙beginning at 9:00am – 1:00pm. Registration fee: $5 per family. For more information contact Cheryl HarRichardson grow (612) 590-2089 or obesityno@gmail.comdoor). Call 303- 830-TIXS (8497). november 18 Denver Black Pages presents strictly Bizness nite from 5:30-7:30pm at duRozz Suya Grill 14569 E. Alameda Ave. VENDOR TABLES AVAILABLE for only $35 ($25 for DBP Club Members)! RSVP to: info@denverblackpages.com november 20 sisters Enterprise will host its 6th Annual Back Home Gospel shout Out Talent show and thea random Acts of kindness Community Awards Program event (9:00am - Noon) at the Empire Beauty School, 16800 E. Mississippi Ave. in Aurora. For more information call 303-3245927 or send an email to backhomegospel@yahoo.com. The kingdom of Glory Christian Center will hold its 7th An nual Thanksgiving Fest at 2485 Welton Street; Denver from 11:00am - 5:00pm. Hot meal and outer winter clothing apparel for those in need. Call 303-293-2230 to donate turkeys, coats, hats, & gloves, or to volunteer or visit KGCC at: www.kingdomofglorychristianctr.com December 4 The 25th anniversary celebration for Greater Park Hill sertoma Club will be held at the Park Hill Golf Course, 4141 E. 35th Ave.at 6:00pm for cocktail hour, 7:00pm for dinner. Tickets-$50. RSVP–Teran Nash at 303-596-4443 or 25years@gphsertoma.com. All dates and times are subject to change. Please send announcements to: Denver Weekly News P.O. Box 5008 Denver, CO 80217 Fax: 303-292-5344 E-mail: dwnews2 @yahoo.com Thank You

DPs reform Plans
Challenged Again

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Continued from page 1 resignation.” The turnaround strategy is one hyped mainly by non-educators pushing for public school districts to use corporate, privately-owned business models in operating tax-payer-financed public school systems. Components of the strategy include closing public school buildings, firing principals and teachers, eliminating teachers’ and other labor unions, and displacing students. Then public school systems like Denver’s turn over education services, and in many cases, publicly-owned school buildings and land, to educational management organizations like KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program), a national charter school operator that, like others, is typically far less accountable to elected officials who, in turn, are still responsible to citizen-taxpayers who elect them. Boasberg’s plan calls for replacing Ford Elementary with the Denver Center for International Studies ECE5 program; hiring a new principal and staff at Green Valley Elementary; hiring new staff under a newly hired principal at McGlone Elementary; and replacing Oakland Elementary with SOAR charter elementary school. Moreover, it calls for phasing out the current program for 7th and 8thgraders at Rachel B. Noel Middle while starting a new 6-12 arts program with 100 students per grade that will grow a grade a year, and also co-locate a KIPP charter middle school within the building. At Montbello High School, the current program would be phased out and replaced with a 9-12 collegiate prep academy for 150 to 200 students per grade that will grow one grade per year. Also, a new Denver Center for International Studies 6-12 school would be co-located within the building, as would a new high-tech early college. Most of the 90 people who signed up to speak challenged the plan, arguing, as in prior public meetings, that Boasberg’s team developed and is pushing a “top-down” plan that, despite DPS claims, did not get up-front involvement from a sufficient number of Montbello and Green Valley Ranch parents, students, teachers and other stakeholders. “There ain’t no right way to do wrong,” said Marianna Castaneda, a resident who opposes the plan, adding that it’s not okay for a “well-scripted plan to be foisted on us.” She called on the board to postpone the Nov.18 vote, consider one of the transformation alternatives presented, and survey as many residents as can be

reached in the affected neighborhoods. Moreover, criticism again focused on how DPS managed, or as some critics have said, mismanaged the $1-millionplus “reforms” at Manual High School partially financed by the Gates Foundation. “If DPS cannot faithfully implement the reforms and the plans set out for Manual only a few short years ago, then what does that say about the district’s capacity and commitment to implement its large scale plan in the far northeast?” asked Kim Dolan, a Manual alumni who worked at DPS a year to “spearhead” DPS “revitalization” efforts at the school, and who now works at the Donnell-Kay Foundation. Not unlike Montbello High School, Manual has had a “tumultuous reform history,” enduring over 10 years of reforms, Dolan reminded DPS board members. As part of that effort, the school was closed in 2006-07, and after reopening, still has no permanent leader.

A community-driven search for a principal to replace Rob Stein after he resigned was to recommence on September 7. That was over two months ago, Dolan noted, “yet the district has not taken any actions to jumpstart this process.” DPS claims, through its proxy, A+Plus Denver, to have “involved” the northeast community from the outset, contending, despite that organization’s “application” process to participate, that a significant representation of stakeholders was fully engaged in vetting the plan. Yet A+Plus Denver acknowledges it had no say in drafting the plan but only in “winning the hearts and minds” of a selected group of people to sing about and sell other’s on the plan’s merits. But it didn’t sell the way DPS and A+Plus Denver had hoped. “I come asking you to Stop the Madness,” wrote Marie Heaton, a 25-year resident of Far Northeast Denver who shared statement to the board with DWN. “I am speaking today as a taxpaying citizen, one of many voters who have been very generous to Denver Public Schools in years gone by, in approving mill levies and bond issues in times when many Front Range districts have been turned down by their constituents, time after time,” she informed. “I am not a person that is easily ofPage 2

fended, but I stand before you today very offended by this district’s strategically planned portrayal of the FNE community as one that has been lackadaisical and disinterested in the planning process for change in the neighborhood schools ‘until the 11th hour,’” she added, referencing a DPS official’s negative depiction of Montbello residents’ growing involvement in reviewing and challenging DPS plans. Heaton urged Boasberg’s administration and his school board bosses to stop social promotions, hold students and parents accountable for their part in the education process, respect teachers, and provide extended day instruction for all FNE elementary students behind a grade level or more. Montbello parent Bridgette Larkin also told the board it is not okay for A+Plus Denver to come to “my community with a well-scripted ‘done deal’ plan and expect us to go along with it.” “Before a plan was defined there should have been way for the entire community to have their voices heard,” she asserted, using surveys, focus groups, literature drops, robo calls, house calls, and home visits – “like when you, Mr. Nate (Easley), and you, Ms. Mary (Seawell), solicited my vote!” She, too, called on the board to postpone its planned Nov. 18 final vote and engage in some “real” community involvement including surveys from all parents, students and community groups, and “really” considering the several “transformation” plans offered by, among others, the Far Northeast Parents, the Northern Corridor Coalition, Black Education Advisory Council, DeFense, and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. Following this week’s board meeting, several community, parent and neighborhood and civic groups challenging DPS turnaround plans for Montbello neighborhood schools were meeting to consider their options. Several representatives told DWN they were beginning to raise money to finance a possible legal challenge to DPS’s adoption of the plan. There are two more public meetings about the DPS schools reform plan: On Thursday, Nov. 11, Valentine’s Heart, a non-profit civil organization, will host an open forum from 6-8:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Revolution Global Academy, 4765 Oakland St., Denver 80239. On Friday, Nov. 12, several school board members are expected to attend a public meeting on DPS plans convened by Amani Valentine and other students at Montbello High School during the fifth and sixth periods, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. The school is at 5000 Crown Blvd., Denver.

Denver Weekly News

Thursday, November 11, 2010

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