United Opt Out hears from New York City expert Dr. Sam Anderson

Dr. Samuel Anderson is a retired New York City Mathematics and Black History professor who has taught at various colleges and universities for more than forty years. He is also the author of books on science, technology and the history of slavery. Sam has been active in the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movements for nearly a half century and has combined his activism with his scholastic work via numerous community organization and Black Studies departments.

He is also co-chair of the Board of Trustees of the Brecht Forum, the Malcolm X Museum, a member of the Black Left Unity Network, a member of the NYC Coalition for Public Education, and Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence (BNYEE). Sam Anderson is also a parent of two sons who have successfully navigated the New York City public school system.

"I went through the civil rights period," Sam began. He talked about the black movement, the human rights to civil rights movement which he says, is "narrowly confined" by policy makers. He noted that Professor Carol Anderson explains how that happened, in her book, "Eyes of the Prize."

In New York, it's a struggle getting organizations to see the bigger picture. "What if you controlled the school system? How to get parents involved? There needs to be independent communication in public education."

"This summer was a teachable moment. Education in the age of Ferguson Missouri provides criminal justice education for the young."

He said, this brings up thoughts on how to change the education through human rights. "Darren Wilson lacked the ability to interact with a black teenager. Black youth are not prepared to navigate the social system. Police killings represent the extent of the problem."

He talked about the "frustration of living in a police state. It is the nations educational system. The failure to teach historical reality and critical thinking. Sam talked about Eric Garner's death. He talked about the people on the grand jury and the lies told to kids all the way back to Christopher Columbus and the genocide of Native Americans. He also talked about the "middle passage". The kidnapping of Africans and their captivity in the past and how their still that way due to poverty. The mis-education of American citizens brings ignorance of our human rights and our power. "Kids education is unprepared and racism is embedded in the social fabric of the land."

He talked about Ferguson Missouri. He charged that white people persecute blacks and get away with it. He talked about substandard schools. "What and how we teach and who has power are key for educational independence. We must learn about each other and each others history and cultures."

He also discussed conflicts and struggles and the necessity of teaching young people more civics, as well as art for comfort and positive expression. Issues facing students include social / emotion and how to handle conflict, history and understanding the world around them, health and physical including physical health, team work and sportsmanship.

"Teachers must know cultures well cause connecting to what kids already know improves learning. If you want to teach black students well you need to know about their issues and respect them. Research shows teachers have lesser expectations of black and brown kids. The educational system needs to be transformed so education empowers children and their communities."

Decisions about curriculum, who makes these, makes a difference what kids are taught and how and what they learn. Decisions are handed down from on high by people with no educational background or experience. DeBlasio, New York City mayor supports mayoral control, i.e. mayoral dictatorship. He supports the corporatization of public education. De Blasio is beginning to do this through high stakes tests, Pearson curriculum, Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Teach for America (TFA) and charter schools. "We the people must take charge. The police must respect black teenagers. " Power needs to be shifted tow work across race, culture and class to develop schools for all. He talked about the need for Anti-Racist education and increasing organization for racial justice in the US. "Teachers and parents must take control of their schools."



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