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Oops! NJ elementary school assignment asks kids to honor convicted cop killer

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Sergio Bichao February 4, 2017 6:44 PM

WEST DEPTFORD — A South Jersey elementary school principal got a lesson on checking her work after assigning students as young as 6 a project that honored a convicted cop killer.

The school-wide assignment at Red Bank Elementary School was actually supposed to honor famous black Americans for Black History Month.

But the list of notable black figures included Mumia Abu-Jamal and Angela Davis alongside Louis Armstrong, Mohammad Ali, Crispus Attucks and George Washington Carver.

Abu-Jamal, a black nationalist, was convicted of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. He has maintained his innocence even though he was found wounded from a gunshot at the scene alongside his fired gun.

Davis, meanwhile, is a social justice activist and communist who was a one-time fugitive after being charged as an accessory in a violent and deadly 1970 takeover of a California courtroom. Prosecutors tried to tie her to the incident because the guns had belonged to her, but an all-white federal jury acquitted her.

What the principal failed to notice, many parents did — including Bryan Klugh, who alerted his friends on the police force.

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The Baltimore Riots: A Case for School Choice?


Public schools fail the inner city youth

Robby Soave|Apr. 29, 2015 2:25 pm

Would school choice reforms prevent or reduce future unrest in cities like Baltimore by improving the plight of poor minority teenagers? Some are making that case. Here was Charles Krauthammer on Fox News last night, according to National Review:

“There are essentially two problems. . . . One is single parenthood, and the other is the worst schools on earth,” said Krauthammer on Tuesday’s Special Report. “Of the first, we have no idea how to solve that. Of the second, we do. If you can’t improve the schools, give the kids a choice to go to better schools. The parents begged to have that opportunity, but the teachers’ unions won’t allow it and thus the Democrats won’t. If you want to do something, let them choose their schools.”

This idea has merit. The traditional public school system fails inner city youth in two major ways—both of which reinforce the kind of problems on display in Baltimore.

First, inner city schools are just plain awful. As Terry Jeffrey pointed out in Townhall, the most recent information shows that the Baltimore school district spends about $18,000 per student and only achieves a reading proficiency rate of 16 percent for eighth graders. That’s a lot of money wasted in pursuit of terrible result. When public schools can’t even teach the vast majority of Baltimore’s most vulnerable kids to read, the traditional education system is condemning them from a very young age to dim college and career prospects.

Second, the public school system increasingly turns mildly troubled young people into criminals thanks to a depressing trend of overcriminalization. Safety paranoia led administrators down the dark path of zero tolerance; classroom misbehavior that once would have resulted in detention now triggers a call to the cops, arrest, and expulsion. It’s really no wonder black teens and 20-somethings distrust the police—consider the representative case of Kayleb Moon-Robinson, a black 11-year-old in Virginia who incurred disorderly conduct and felony assault charges for causing a bit of mischief. In a sane education system, teachers would work with Kayleb to improve his behavior, not strap him in handcuffs. And inner city streets are filled with teens who were arrested and expelled when they should have been counselled and reformed. This is almost the perfect system for creating a society of displaced, impoverished, lawless young people.

School choice would mitigate these problems by liberating poor minorities trapped in a cycle of failure. Still, there are limits to what any single reform could accomplish. Neal McCluskey, associate director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, told me that he expects school choice would certainly help, “but there are limits to what schools can fix.”