Archive for October, 2010

Don’t shop at Walmart


As we have pointed out, if an individual used the promise of money to force public officials to take certain actions it would be a serious criminal offense. No one has explained to us why this is not also true when foundations do it. What is happening in DC is that the legal role of the mayor, school superintendent and city council is being supplanted and undermined by individuals and groups that have no legal standing in the government.

City jobs for city residents

NCJC to Picket Bozzuto, Metro Project on RI Ave. in NE

Washington, DC, October 26, 2010: The National Capital Jobs Coalition (NCJC) will launch a public job action against the Bozzuto Construction Company and the METRO development project on Rhode Island Ave. Metro Station in NE Washington, DC on Thursday morning, October 28th at 8:30 AM. Linwood Martinez-Bentley, a longtime DC activist and co-director of the group, said that, “… Bozzuto and others like them have ignored DC Law long enough. Mayor Fenty has failed to enforce this law. We urge Vincent Gray to make this a high priority.” …

… The presumptive new Mayor Vincent Gray commented during a recent Town Hall meeting that, if city funded projects do not hire the number of city residents required by First Source legislation that they, “… should be shut down.” NCJC agrees totally with those sentiments, as do key members of The City Council. We have had expressions of support from other Councilmen including the following sitting council members: CM Michael Brown and the presumptive Council Chairperson Kwame Brown. We also have support from At-Large Candidate David Schwartzman. Given such widespread encouragement, NCJC intends to strike the first blow in support of more aggressive and direct citizen involvement.

Deuteronomy 15

Deuteronomy 15 – Laws Regarding the Poor

At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release. Of a foreigner you may require it; but you shall give up your claim to what is owed by your brother, except when there may be no poor among you; for the Lord will greatly bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance; only if you carefully obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe with care all these commandments which I command you today. For the Lord your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.

Empower DC & Head-Roc Launch Musical Outreach Tour

The “Empower DC” Project Chocolate City Outreach Tour!

With Head-Roc, the “Mayor of DC Hip-Hop”

Download the Album for FREE * Volunteer along the Tour * Spread the Word!

To listen to The “Empower DC” Project by local artist Head-Roc for FREE, go to:

Songs on the album include: “Affordable Housing is a Human Right,” “DC Doesn’t Work Without Child Care,” “DCPS is Under Attack,” “The People’s Property Campaign,” and the “Empower DC Anthem” – PLUS the voices of Empower DC members speaking out on many issues including rebuilding Bruce-Monroe Elementary, the future of Ivy City, Franklin Shelter and much more!

To VOLUNTEER along the tour, sign up here:

The “Empower DC” Project Chocolate City Tour concert dates and locations are as follows:

TUES Oct 19, 5:30-6:30 PM – Columbia Heights Metro (SW corner of 14th & Irving Sts, NW)

WED, Oct 20, 5:30-6:30 PM – Alabama Ave & Good Hope Rd, SE

THURS, Oct 21, 5:30-6:30 PM, Anacostia Metro Station (corner of MLK & Howard Rd, SE)

SAT Oct 23, 11:30 AM-12:30 PM – Funky Flea Market (6th & Neal Pl, NE)

MON, Oct 25, 5:30-6:30 PM – Petworth Metro Station(corner of Georgia & New Hampshire Ave, NW)

TUES, Oct 26, 5:30-6:30 PM – Waterfront Metro Station SW (4th & M St, SW)

WED, Oct 27, 5:30-6:30 PM – corner of Georgia & Florida Ave NW

THURS, Oct 28, 5:30-6:30 PM – 3900 block of Minnesota Ave, NE

SAT, Oct 30, 6:30-9 PM – Closing Fundraiser Concert Party at Potter’s House (1658 Columbia Rd NW)

Empower DC & Head-Roc Launch Musical Outreach Tour
“Mayor of DC Hip-Hop” Head-Roc will perform songs from The “Empower DC” Project

Washington, DC based Hip-Hop artist Head-Roc, known around the Globe as “The Mayor of DC Hip-Hop,” and citywide grassroots organization Empower DC have teamed up to produce a series of outdoor concerts in DC neighborhoods leading up to November 2nd General Elections. The purpose of the concert series is to encourage DC residents to vote AND to join an organization, and get organized to hold city officials accountable, no matter who is elected.

Head-Roc will perform songs from his recently released The “Empower DC” Project which is comprised of songs inspired by the work of what he describes as “The most fearless community organizing group in DC.”

Empower DC ( is a city-wide, nonprofit community empowerment organization working to lift the voices of low and moderate income DC residents, and build collective political power in order to bring about sustained improvements in quality of life. Empower DC’s grassroots member base is leading campaigns to address the important issues of access to quality Child Care, Affordable Housing, quality public Education, and the preservation of at-risk Public Property.

“I’ve worked with dozens of organizations and locally Empower DC stands out as the one organization that consistently hits the mark, getting citizens directly impacted by compassionless “war on the poor” legislation here in the Nation’s Capital down to City Hall to hold our elected officials accountable.” Head-Roc is a member of Empower DC, having participated in a number of actions, and has inspired and motivated other local artists to become involved in social justice organizing. “I have seen first-hand how art and music can strengthen the movement, and I hope The “Empower DC” Project will be a model for similar efforts across the country.”

“Head-Roc has consistently made significant contributions to the movement through his music,” said Empower DC’s Executive Director Parisa Norouzi. “We expect that many of his new songs will become theme music for today’s social justice movement and will propel us to greater heights, as did funk and soul music during the civil rights era.”

A coalition of DC’s progressive organizations has signed on to participate in The “Empower DC” Project tour including Positive Force, The Washington Peace Center, The DC Statehood Green Party, and DMV Spectrum.

Song Material from Head-Roc’s The “Empower DC” Project can be found at Reviews are welcomed. Head-Roc is available for print and video interviews. All inquiries should be sent to Scott McLarty at media AT

Washington Innercity Self Help

Empower DC Invites You to the Grand Opening of the Washington Innercity Self Help (WISH) Public Archives
A Leader in Affordable Housing, 1978-2003

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library

901 G St. NW (Gallery Place Metro)

Washingtoniana Division (3rd Floor)

Archives training: 4:00-5:30 PM

Learn about the contents of the archives and how to use it in your affordable housing related research

Archives opening celebration: 6:00-8:00 PM

Featuring discussion and sharing from former WISH staff and members, and short film screening

Refreshments will be served!

WISH worked for the empowerment of low-income communities in Washington D.C. from 1978 to 2003. Among its accomplishments was the building of at least 15 limited-equity affordable housing cooperatives. Help commemorate the history of this important organization.

Made possible through support from the Humanities Council of Washington, DC

For more information or to RSVP contact Linda Leaks at Empower DC, (202) 234-9119 or Linda AT

Ready to apologize the Hillary Clinton Aravosis?

Poll: 4 of 10 Obama backers less happy with him now, though his personal approval rating is up

Proud of doing Obama’s dirty work for him?

Hillary Clinton called for a foreclosure moratorium in 2007

Reuters: WASHINGTON | Mon Dec 3, 2007 6:51pm EST

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton proposed on Monday a 90-day moratorium on home foreclosures to give financially troubled borrowers time to work with lenders and avoid losing their homes.

The New York senator outlined the proposal in a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who is trying to broker a deal with mortgage lenders that would help troubled borrowers.

David Schwartzman calls for fresh start for DC public schools

Council David Schwartzman (G): Save DC Public Schools; Overturn the Fenty-Rhee-Catania charter school scheme

“We can improve the District’s public schools by pulling together, by welcoming the participation of parents and teachers and by repairing neighborhood schools and keeping them open. We can begin by rehiring unjustly fired teachers and other public employees,” said Dr. Schwartzman, who is promoting a program to “Create Green Collar Jobs for our Youth with Apprenticeship Programs in DC Public High Schools and the Community” (


Rheefomers beg for their jobs

Bill Turge runs their situation wanted ad:

But others might stay if they were reassured by Gray or his surrogates that he was serious about preserving and growing the core of Rhee’s program, especially in the areas of human capital and school turnaround. They wonder, for example, if come next summer, Gray is actually prepared to accept the dismissal of potentially hundreds of “minimally effective” teachers who have been given the current school year to improve or be fired under the IMPACT evaluation system.

Will Gray accept their Procrustes evaluation of teachers? I hope not but who knows. Seeing as the voters voted to keep their teachers and boot the Rheeformers, maybe it is the teachers who should stay. They really do not get that the city has collectively fired their sorry rear ends.

The news media’s war on teachers

FAIR: First, Bash the Teachers
Media find a scapegoat for educational failure
No evidence required

What goes mostly if not entirely unexplained amid these anti-teacher assaults is any coherent explanation of what it is that teachers unions have done or failed to do to promote excellence in schools. A survey by Robert M. Carini of Indiana University (School Reform Proposals: The Research Evidence, 2002) of the available research comparing achievement in unionized versus non-unionized schools found that “teacher unionism favorably influences achievement for most students.” Such findings are not the final word, of course. But given corporate media’s relentless message that unions are the enemy of “reform,” it is worth noting that this is based largely on the media’s elevation to scientific truths of a set of mostly unproven strategies for improving schools—from charters to “merit pay”—and their suggestion that the implementation of said truths is made impossible by teachers unions.

Take “merit pay,” which would mostly use test score data to identify effective teachers and pay them more for their success—a “no-brainer,” according to Newsweek (3/15/10). As Diane Ravitch recounts in her recent book The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, much research suggests that teachers judged excellent or effective one year often fall out of the category the next, and vice versa. Either the teachers themselves are practicing wildly different methods from year to year, or the attempts to link test scores to teacher performance are not actually a “no-brainer” at all, no matter what the media might think.

And as journalist Barbara Miner pointed out in Rethinking Schools (Fall/09), the idea that unions are opposed to differential pay as a matter of principle is simply wrong: “Although the media promotes the view that teacher unions are inflexibly opposed to modifying the traditional pay structure, both the AFT and NEA [unions] have been involved in local initiatives that differentiate teacher pay.” Miner noted that surveys of teachers find some openness to different pay structures, but that merit-pay schemes in some places saw most of the benefits flowing to teachers in upper-income schools.

The superiority of charter schools, touted by many of the media’s most prominent education “reformers” as an obvious and necessary element of their schools agenda, is likewise more based in faith than in empirical research. One of the most exhaustive studies of charter performance, from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, found 37 percent of charter schools “deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their students would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.” About half produced similar outcomes to public schools, with just 17 percent outperforming public schools (Extra!, 8/09).

Charters should be controversial for other reasons as well. A report from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project (2/4/10) found that they are more racially segregated than traditional public schools. Another long-standing criticism of charters is that they tend to educate lower numbers of English language learners. The UCLA study noted that gaps in data collection make it difficult to offer any definitive national assessments—which is a problem in itself. The data available for California, though, showed the number of English learners attending charter schools was minuscule.