Monday, March 13, 2017

Mass Incarceration Contributes Significantly to the Racial Achievement Gap

Mass incarceration and children’s outcomes Criminal justice policy is education policy 

(PDF of report is below)

Executive summary

As many as one in ten African American students has an incarcerated parent. One in four has a parent who is or has been incarcerated. The discriminatory incarceration of African American parents is an important cause of their children’s lowered performance, especially in schools where the trauma of parental incarceration is concentrated. In this report, we review studies from many disciplines showing that parental incarceration leads to an array of cognitive and noncognitive outcomes known to affect children’s performance in school, and we conclude that our criminal justice system makes an important contribution to the racial achievement gap.
Educators have paid too little heed to this criminal justice crisis. Criminal justice reform should be a policy priority for educators who are committed to improving the achievement of African American children. While reform of federal policy may seem implausible in a Trump administration, educators can seize opportunities for such advocacy at state and local levels because many more parents are incarcerated in state than in federal prisons. In 2014, over 700,000 prisoners nationwide were serving sentences of a year or longer for nonviolent crimes. Over 600,000 of these were in state, not federal, prisons.

Research in criminal justice, health, sociology, epidemiology, and economics demonstrates that when parents are incarcerated, children do worse across cognitive and noncognitive outcome measures.

Key findings include:
  • An African American child is six times as likely as a white child to have or have had an incarcerated parent. A growing share of African Americans have been arrested for drug crimes, yet African Americans are no more likely than whites to sell or use drugs.
  • Independent of other social and economic characteristics, children of incarcerated parents are more likely to:
    • drop out of school
    • develop learning disabilities, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
    • misbehave in school
    • suffer from migraines, asthma, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and homelessness
Each of these conditions presents a challenge to student performance.

To improve their students’ outcomes, educators should join forces with criminal justice reformers to:
  • eliminate disparities between minimum sentences for possession of crack vs. powder cocaine
  • repeal mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug offenses and other nonviolent crimes
  • encourage President Obama to increase the pace of pardons and commutations in the final days of his term
  • increase funding for social, educational, and employment programs for released offenders
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Monday, March 06, 2017

Amilcar Cabral’s Revolutionary Anti-colonialist Ideas

Cabral, Culture and Resistance for the 21st Century Revolutionary Struggle


Abstract

Racism has been at the core of the expansion of capitalism since its birth in Europe. The extension and domination of capitalism depended critically on the dehumanization of the colonial subject. And fundamental to the process of dehumanization has been the need to destroy, modify or recast the culture of the colonized, for it was principally through culture that the colonized would seek to resist domination and assert their claim to humanity. Drawing on the writings of the Guinea Bissau agronomist, poet, military strategist, and revolutionary leader and theorist, Amilcar Cabral, this essay considers the processes that led to the dehumanization of the people of the continent as part of the liberal project and how culture has been and remains such an important component of the struggle for liberation and the resistance to the dehumanization associated with the current state of liberalism, namely neoliberalism.

Warm regards,

Firoze Manji