Purifying Mind Body & Spirit to Help

download (10)“One of the things I learnt when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself I could not change others”—Nelson Mandela

That is a true and powerful statement, and I say that because it has taken me many years to get to the point of seeing myself as a “good work” started. That good work has only been made a reality because of my changed mind. I changed my mind about myself, and have tried to live down what other people think about me and develop some kind of moral compass and believe in (not only) what I aspire to help with, but also what I believe will help. In essence, I can only help with what I am allowing (or have allowed) my self to get help with.

If I have not mentioned that I am in counseling, and understand that some people might believe that sharing such personal information is telling ones business. However, I do not see it like that, but do see if I cannot get help then I cannot help anyone, then it is a weakness on my part.

For one thing, I have to ask myself if I aspire to help women then how can I do that if I cannot go and bear all to become free to help? I cannot say that I will help women in whatever manner if I am still angry, or unforgiving, or bogged down with grief. So then, I seek to help myself, thereby, changing myself to become a woman who can help. Therefore, if I aspire to help in any area, such as women need that “to Innovate, Inform, Influence, Inspire” (The Dailey Grind, 2016) then I must change myself. Additionally, some situations we live out change us, some challenge us; however, the most change comes when we do introspection to look deeply into what we need to work [out] within us to save ourselves first.

Concerning our work, and the changes we seek to make, and or, those we work with—or participants. I must say that I cannot hear a team, work with a group if I have issues to address and that are unmet. I believe this is why there are colleagues who do not work well together in collaboration, or are not well matched in the negotiation stage. Consequently, many people might come together for a cause but coming together requires as Spiro (2011) mentions, ‘that leaders be ready’, and goes back to me and counseling to ‘prepare’ myself for the work.

Probably the change I seek is more deeper rooted than many because (like those I help) I speak from a place I have lived already—a place from the heart of the change. Hence, perhaps it would be well to gather other ideas and opinions during the planning. For example, assessing the readiness of the individuals involved” as mentioned Spiro (2011) who asked if people were on the same page concerning the change, or rather, do people have prior experience with functionally illiterate clients? Have they been in the past functionally illiterate? “Do participants speak the same language when it comes to the strategy? Not only the same words, but the same meaning? (26). So what does my team bring with them to the planning of this action?

Are shared values supported? In essence, even those learners, those affected –are all speaking the same language? Ultimately, one should ask how else are we going to help alleviate and rescue the people who are suffering whether in the class or in life outside of the classroom in our every day lives.

Reference
Spiro, J. (2011). Leading change step-by-step: Tactics, tools, and tales. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.TEAME-Green-Teabags_banner

A Call to Amendment: No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

No_Child_Left_Behind_Act

Overview

The No Child Left behind Act of 2001, established during the Bush administration would ensure that all children receive fair and equal access to quality education. More specifically, in 2002, the policy required that all states test their students in reading, and math starting from grades three through grade eight, and again when the student reached high school level where students were to meet or exceed reading and math requirements. In addition, the act would help close the gap of achievement for students [according to the United States Department of Education] by providing quality education where focus was on (a) accountability and assurance to disadvantaged children, (b) flexibility that allowed federal funds to be used to improve student achievement, (c) research based education which placed emphasis on programs and practices that proved effective through scientific research, and (d) parent options which provided choices for Title 1 school parents (No Child Left Behind Act 2001). However, at present, the policy though well written has not taken shape, and neither has there been offered relief to support all students for which the policy was created other than to transfer a student passing from the school where the environment has become academically unsafe. Moreover, because of racial disparities and economic conditions such as poverty in districts the children are further subjugated to even poorer learning environments where there are meager classroom materials and less than adequate instruction. Therefore, this article will propose change to the current policy,  an amendment;  along with, recommendations to abolish areas where the policy has been breached by providing information which is overlooked and or ignored in current more up to date research concerning the No Child Left Behind Act overall.

Problems with Current Policy

Firstly, there are a number of reoccurring problems with standard testing as it pertains to the NCLB Act, and these must be dealt with to ensure that all students taking the exam have equal success. It is the case, that nearly every child entering the public school system [particularly] among the African American and Hispanic students exhibit ongoing failure even while there is instruction for the same.  Hence, the occurrence of such failure among the students would beg the question to ask is it really a fact that students are dumb or dumbed down?  Reportedly, blacks currently score lower on vocabulary, reading and math tests; including, measurement of aptitude and intelligence than European Americans, and the authors stated that “On some tests the typical American black still scores below 75 percent of the American whites on the same test (Jencks & Phillips, 1998, para.1). Accordingly, teachers/educators are required to ‘teach’ the test rather than teaching regular curriculum that stimulates the intellect, or creativity in the student. It is the case that much of the school year is taken over with this type programing, and the morale of both students and educators is low because of failure to pass the test. Hence, armed with this information the premise of reauthorization of the act is of no regard. Consequently, the premise of reauthorization only acts to restore previously enacted documents which to date have failed to yield positive results. As a result, the failure of the practice in testing students has not fulfilled the element of improved research. Therefore, a total amendment, and or more acceptable replacement is needed.

Secondly, the promise to close the achievement gap as enacted by law has failed, and reportedly, the gap has not been lessoned for years. According to a New York Times (2009) article, “’No Child’ Law is not Closing the Racial Gap”, it is apparent there has not been an improvement in years.

Sam Dillion (2009) wrote:

Between the year 2004 and 2009 when the article was written that even though black and Hispanic elementary, middle and high school students all scored much higher on the federal test than three decades ago most of the gains made were not recent but during the desegregation efforts of the 1970s and 80s and was well before the No Child law which in the official description admonishes to close the achievement gap (Dillon, 2009, para. 3).

The Official Description

SEC. 1. SHORT TITLE

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday, the third day of January, two thousand and one.

An Act

To close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled [No Child Left Section 1].

According to the Center of Education Policy (as reported by USA Today), there are 43,000 schools in the US that fail, or have failed which means 48 percent of students have made no progress since the enactment of the law. This information is troubling, because the only relief noticeable to parents is the opportunity once a child fails to transfer to a district passing. Hence, this too brings problems added to problems when transportation becomes a problem. Nevertheless, the report is telling that in Wisconsin (for example) the failure was extremely low at 11 percent. In explanation, of the failed standards for the federal exam policymakers have predicted failure rates of 82 percent, however, there are claims as well that the statistics are in error. In essence, to keep with the premise of requirement by law that every student perform at grade level by the year 2014 is impossible and has failed according to some educators (USA Today, 2014, para.1).

Thirdly, there is variance in the degree of difficulty as it pertains to the standardized testing. For example, in some school districts there are different tests given. In the USA Today article there is information given to that effect. The authors wrote, “State’s scores varied widely”. For example, in Georgia, 27% of schools did not meet targets, compared to 81% in Massachusetts and 16% in Kansas” In addition, the authors stated that even state officials argue that the act is do for rewrite, and further that officials offer little hope when lawmakers cannot agree on how to fix the problem of differences in difficulty of the testing between state, or, to amend it (USA Today, 2014, para. 5). Consequently, there are several reasons given for the variant in difficulty in certain states:

  1. Immigrant students
  2. Low income students, and
  3. State requirement to raise expectation in the number of students who pass each year (USA Today, 2015, para.6).

As a result, of these facts, the essence of the federal law which is intended to close the achievement gap by realizing equal achievement with regard to students at disadvantage has failed and is biased.

The Violation of Civil Rights is a Violation of Ethics

Fourthly, educators across the nation are seeming at their wits end and are of great travail concerning the premise of federal testing calling the test biased, however, advocates of civil rights concerning the original intent offer justice and equality as the Department of Education pronounced that biased testing is a civil rights issue and an ethical one as well. In an article, “Is it a student’s civil right to take a federally mandated standardized test?” author, Lyndsey Layton (2015) wrote:

Removing the requirement for annual testing would be a devastating step backward, for it is very hard to make sure our education system is serving every child well when we don’t have reliable, comparable achievement data on every child every year,” Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, said in recent testimony before the Senate education panel. Her group joined 20 civil rights organizations to lobby Congress to keep the requirement to test all children each year in math and ­reading (Layton, 2015, para. 4).

However, is this statement a fair assumption to say that the removal of the federal test is against civil rights? Conversely, teachers agree that teaching the test while forsaking the art of creativity and free expression surely takes away human rights of the student to think for themselves.

In an interview, a former educator and social worker detailed what many instructors go through in teaching and testing. During her interview, Jacqueline James (2015) was asked to (a) Recount factors of her work, (b) Factors leading to the testing being biased in her opinion, (c) Why she left the school system, (d) What the morale was like for students and faculty, and (e) Suggestion of changes that would contribute to the law.

She wrote:

Hello Everyone,

My name is Jacqueline Jordan. I have five years experience in the school system, including, elementary, middle and high school education. I held positions as substitute teacher, assistant and as a social worker. I also hold a Bachelor of Social Science with a minor in Education, and a Master of Education with a minor in Public Policy; as well as, a Master of Organizational Management.

As an educator, some of the main factors that were attributed to our work was tied to testing. Hence, the main issues were that I and other educators were frustrated that our students’ performance was not meeting expectations. Conversely, exam scores were lower than previous years and we spent many days and months trying to figure out why our students were struggling, and after interviewing students in their perspective classes and schools we were told that they did not understand the question. Therefore, it was determined that the questions on the tests had nothing in common with how certain groups of children think or rationalize.

I feel the testing is biased due to the overall testing results for students who otherwise pass their assignment during the entire school year only to take the test and fail. Moreover, the testing is set for certain populations of students who may be at a disadvantage. Hence, from my experience many racial minorities struggle to pass the test because of no relation to what they have learned, and neither to their personal lives. This too, is one of the reasons I left the district, because I feel it is not fair to our minority students.

Honestly speaking, the morale for the majority of faculty was low because of dissatisfaction in the work. Consequently, low morale among the faculty was the reason for high turnover in staff and low performance, and frankly, from my viewpoint the student morale was lower due to many not being able to understand, nor, were they accurately understand the assignments given. Hence, this occurrence caused behavioral issues, students skipping class, incomplete assignments and or unfocused students without the ability to engage. Therefore, all this overall also caused parents to feel as if their children were not being effectively taught by the school system which added to all parties being frustrated—parents, students and faculty. In general, the environment for most students was stressful due to non-relational material.

There are quite a few areas to policy and procedures that I would like to see amended:

  1. Teachers should not have to teach from a manual and or for a test.
  2. The material learned should be based on real world solutions.
  3. The students success and being promoted should not be based on the one test, especially when the student works diligently throughout the year to pass their assignments otherwise (Jacqueline Jordan, interview by Kayla Daily, October, 11, 2015, 4:19 p.m., interview Electronic Communication).

Dispelling Myths

A fifth reason, brings attention to a telling fact of how the academic success of students may be hampered is the myth that black students are not as smart as white or non black students, and this assumption may certainly seem realistic if one places judgement in relation to test scores, however, one would have something other than assumption to rely on. Jencks & Phillips (1998) argued that theorists promote the idea that low scores are attached to family background and or family environment which can be taken generally to say that all black people are dumb, unable to learn, and thus, unable these factors in turn can affect; or rather, do affect test scoring.

The authors explained:

In 1978 the Nigerian anthropologist John Ogbu suggested that cast-like minorities throughout the world tended to do poorly in school, even when they were visually indistinguishable from the majority. Later, Ogbu argued that because blacks had such limited opportunities in America, they developed an ‘oppositional’ culture that equated academic success with ‘acting white’ (Jencks & Phillips, 1998, p.6, para.4).

In general, the rejection of assumptive views tend to hide bias, or rather lend to biased thinking, and along with the awareness that there may bias lurking amidst the exams one can also be aware that text books containing the answers are not made available to the impoverished districts. In her interview, Jacqueline James (2015) alluded to that fact saying that ‘the children’ said they did not understand the questions (James, 2015). Hence, this begs the question that asks if the children do not understand even though the educators are teaching the tests then there is more than an agenda set up for their fail, and why is there a manual to teach from instead of a book? Could it be that the curriculum for the exam is not being taught? In this instance, a proposed plan for a policy amendment or rewrite is simple, either stop the federal exam or make the materials needed for the exam available to all students everywhere. In other words, there is no gap if there is not one continually created. Accordingly, the US Department of Education has promised equal access to education for all students. Hence, if one is to support the breach in civil rights as advocacy outlines then one would need to consider the evidence presented speaking of no access to testing materials equally, and the propensity that the teachers are given manual over the actual textbook. Therefore, the premise of testing as a civil right has been breached and has failed, because not only are teachers hindered but there is pressure for them to teach what they do not know may be the wrong material.

The No Child Left behind Act is a Breach of Budgeting

In an article, there is evidence that federal funding may be misappropriated. Hence, with funding and budget cuts so steep there must be need to look further into the matter. It is the case, that “Prior to 2001 and the implementation of the law that appropriations went up only $3 billion per year”, however, after are up 64% according to a CBS News report. Elizabeth Harrington (2011) wrote that from the years 2000 to 2001 the appropriation rate increased by 9%. However, after implementation of the program appropriations were up to 33% which is $42 billion (2001) and climbed to $56.2 billion (2002). Hence, it is notable that more funds are spent yearly, yet, the children fail more so even with all the programming.

Here is a further breakdown of expenditures according to CBS News (2011) report:

  • 1997 – $33.52 billion
  • 1998 – $35.67 billion
  • 1999 – $38.31 billion
  • 2000 – $38.44 billion
  • 2001 – $42.06 billion
  • 2002 – $56.17 billion
  • 2003 – $63.25 billion
  • 2004 – $67.21 billion
  • 2005 – $71.47 billion
  • 2006 – $100.04 billion (due to a jump in Federal Family Education Loans)
  • 2007 – $67.12 billion
  • 2008 – $68.57 billion
  • 2009 – $138.00 billion (regular spending of $39.88 billion plus $98.23 billion under the Recovery Act)
  • 2010 – $63.00 billion (Harrington, 2011, para.4).

There is no need to address the overall budget implemented concerning the NCLB when there is evidence of an astronomical amount of federal dollars spent even while the children fail at a rapid pace yearly. Hence, this begs the question where does the money really go? There is no reauthorization needed, no restore of the same disparaging occurrence as it relates to the law. That said, policymakers must address these issues immediately and reconsider their programming is not working and is wasting away tax payer dollars.

Lips & Fienberg (2007) wrote, that “Federally funded full time employees in state education agencies worked to implement education programs three times more than the number of employees working at the Department of Education (Lips & Fienberg, 2007, para. 3). Hence, here are workers making money for programing that is no good when the consideration should be on the text books, and other needed materials that make for a successful test score. There has already been evidence brought that the children understand that they do not understand the questions on the test when they have worked all year to learn. In essence, more money should be spent in the school to pay the districts’ teachers, and less money for programming that does not work. Therefore, the only cut to budget should state in policy to quit bogus federal government expenditures, because after all paying the teachers and funding the school so that all is equal access is the mission of NCLB.

Summary

The NCLB has failed to do what it was created to do in closing the achievement gap academically, because the children still fail and is in breach of promise. There is variance in the degree of difficulty involving the exam across states which promotes the premise of biased testing standards and is in breach of policy as the occurrence does not promote equality; and, which leads to a breach of civil rights.  The academic success of students has been hampered severely because of myths that non whites cannot learn as favorably as white students. Hence, this thought is promoted further as it relates to tests scores more favorable to the white students. There is evidence that federal budget as it pertains to NCLB may be misappropriated where money is spent implementing programs rather than actual research to find error in testing.

Conclusion

Finally, as it pertains to amendment the NCLB has left a disparaging mood among educators across the nation to adamantly lift up a cry out for those who stand to lose more from standardized testing. It is the case that the states have failed the students of which the need for educational equality is upheld. Hence, for blacks and other minorities who will take their place in the world, that is,  a world in need of equality where their fate should not be determined by a test. Hence, the premise of education and all its characteristics should say in policy all is equal, and not according to multiple choice, unless the multiples of choices are discerned from a creative mind with the ability to think its way through the problems presented with logic and sound reasoning. Policy makers should then, take the evidence presented here; along with, the research provided to make sound judgments and see that what is happening in the school system is questionable, and is not equal access as the law is written. Rewrite it then, make it plain to all that you mean what you say is the cry of all who speak of civil rights, on the streets and now in education. Notably, change will come—with an equal policy that truly stands with all accepted as equal.

Related Articles  

Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing

Not Child Left Behind is not Closing a Racial Gap

Education Spending Up 64% Under No Child Left Behind But Test Scores Improve Little

The Black-White Test Score Gap. CHAPTER ONE  

The Administrative Burden of No Child Left Behind 

Is it a student’s civil right to take a federally mandated standardized test?

Report: Half of US Schools Fail Federal Standards

How No Child Left Behind Benefits African Americans 

The Lifestyle of Poverty among Black People

hebrews Urie Bronfenbrenner, an ecological theorist proposed that human development is best known in terms of the interaction between individuals and the environments in which they live. He proposed what he calls the “Ecological Theory,” and in this construct is what he termed,  Microsystem,  Mesosystem, Exosystem, and Macrosystem and  says these entities consist of one’s “daily environment, family, school, religion and group affiliations”, and further adds that these can range from poor to excellent. Conversely, all the connections of  the theory have an effect or impact for the individual whether child or adult (Witt & Mossler, 2010). What do all of these have in common? The commonality is that all have played a magnificent part on the black mind which either keep people in poverty or releases them from it. The Bronfenbrenner theory sheds light on most human beings where environment along with other relationships are crucial to development. In this case, poverty and the underlying issues which are indicators of how a person may view the world around them. According to a report from Black Demographics, there are an estimated 44,456,009 million black people living in America which amounts to 14.1 percent of the population as a whole. Conversely, in proportion to these numbers, statistics show that 28.1 black families in America live at the poverty level. (Black Demographics, 2012, Paraphrased). Sadly, there is a stigma attached to African American people which says that all black people are lazy, some do not want to work, or they are criminals.  It is the case that, though these conditions may be warranted in some cases they do not apply for the group as a whole. Consequently, there is difficulty for some when speaking of this lifestyle of poverty from the inside out. Therefore, let this essay serve as a voice for those who cannot speak that the lifestyle of poverty supports everything people do from how a person might view themselves; including, their spiritual self, interaction  in relationships, and especially how one views problems, and/ or the inability to resolve them.  Poverty is multifaceted in American society and it affects more than just shelter but consumes ones entire existence, and to combat it each individual would need to examine and eliminate certain factors or barriers to their impoverished self; hence, mental health is a factor, unemployment, education, relationships, spirituality and other areas of life.

In order to see the entire picture of how the black population has ended up in an impoverished state one would have to go back to the past venue of slavery, because these venues convey truth of how traumatic an event slavery actually was, and as a result create an impoverished lifestyle today.  No one wants to talk about the mental and physical cruelty which was subjected on a people all those years ago, and even today people shout ‘get over’ it as if the hurt, pain and shame can be so easily put away from ones soul.  Inherited grief, the ridicule the scorn, the brute force of a hatred which is seemingly so deep rooted that one cannot dare believe that someone can be so evil against another, and most harrowing of all is that some used Christianity to make their way seem right. It is prejudice and discrimination which still lives on today in the white race and that which keeps black people down. In the article, “What are slavery’s Lingering effects?, the author wrote,  “The enslaved immediately found themselves dependent on their captors for food clothing and shelter, which has subject their descendants to the inequalities of colonization for decades.” (NCR, 2014, Para. 2).  Consequently,  a dependent mind tends to stay that way unless there is light to shed insight that the way out of poverty is to learn to think for oneself; hence, it is the premise that acceptance of a life given is generally passed down to one’s young whether they are rich or poor. It is the case, if one has been viewed as a social outcast for centuries then this would serve as a premise for lifelong habits formed, and what happens next is the acceptance of a poor lifestyle without necessary tools to change their environment. Bronfenbrenner definitely has a great point. Hence, his theory will be used to back up other sources throughout  this article.

Society tends to shun the impoverished adult rather than the children in most instances. Hence, one has a tendency to feel sorry for the children while being most critical of the adults’ inability to come from this lifestyle of defeat. Of course, one would see the reasoning behind this thinking, because no one wants to see a grown man sitting on the lap of a woman, or even worse the lap of the government. However, one should also note that these men and women were children once raised in poverty themselves.  Byron A. Brown, director of Educational Research Solutions consultancy in Botswana writes, “For many years, poverty has dominated international headlines as a global condition. Poverty is pervasive, and it is a chronic socio-economic problem affecting all population groups; adults, adolescents and children in many societies. The impact of poverty on adults can be far-reaching as adults are household heads. In household structures, adult poverty often has a ripple effect downwards, debilitating even the youngest family members. As part of a strategy to alleviate poverty, many societies are encouraging their adults, particularly young adults living in poverty, to participate in programs geared towards poverty reduction. But poor adults are not like mainstream well-to-do adults; poor adults often have complex learning and psychological problems that must be understood before they can participate in any programs. In most cases, these issues are locked in the identity which they developed by virtue of their sustained poverty conditions.” (Brown, 2005, p. 393, Para. 2). I agree wholeheartedly with Browns’ perception of the lifestyle. In the text he deals promptly with the initial impact of generational poverty across the board then narrows that concept down to the black households. However, even though this is enlightening news that someone else sees the clear picture of poverty among the black race does not to ease public conscience of the plight. He adds further, “The common assumption is that adult identity develops as individuals work through conflicts, stigma and stresses that are related to their poverty conditions. Resolving feelings of rejection, the direct physical consequences of deprivation, the consequences of severe stress on social relationships and the stigma attached to being poor, adults gradually consolidate an affirmative sense of self that enables them to accept their position and class in the community/society.” (Brown, 2005, p. 393, Para. 2). The information, in a sense might seem disparaging; however, the acknowledgment that there is a situation stemming from poverty passed down from one’s ancestry does not present biased information. Conversely, when speaking of Bronfenbrenner’s theory of people’s contact with their environment then the premise becomes that one’s choice is limited to their environment; especially in childhood. Hence, people living in poverty have no sense of seeking help outside of their environment. Furthermore, if social programs are available these might lend to help entertain an image of life without poverty, but do nothing to change the mind to free itself from poverty which is inbred thinking wherever that impoverished lifestyle happens to be in the world.

The Exosystem denotes Bronfenbrenner’s theory on social programs. Therefore,  in consideration of fundamentals that slavery has wrought a mind of dependency is one that society has yet to accept and the reproach of such sentiment is seen further in the venue of governmental welfare programs of the United States.  In the broadcast, “’The War on Poverty’Splitting up Black Families Podcast (2005),” guest speaker , Cherylyn Harley LeBon, co-chairman of Project 21, a leadership network of black conservatives suggests that the breakdown of black families as a moral and social construct;  along with,  or even more than slavery began with the entrance of welfare programs. The war on poverty introduced by President Lyndon B Johnson in 1960 set the premise for the downfall of the American black family in that these programs set in place under the pretense of help, actually, tore down the unity of the black family system even further when a mother has to choose whether to have shelter and food for the children; or keep the father in the home when there is not a legal marriage involved. Further notes presented, in statistical data show that in 1964 poverty was about 19 percent and since has dropped to only a 15 percent decrease total for blacks families which is a 4 percent decrease in 50 years. Therefore, however surprising this information might be for some people , it is the case, that one cannot hang on to untruths that an impoverished mind can be freed without provoking thought so the person can see they need the help first. Essentially, a mind which accepts poverty as a way of life has accepted their enslavement and will stay this way until a life changing thought provokes it to seek outside of the environment to which the mindset was bred. Moreover, one must see the United States Government as the slave owner, and see themselves free to walk away. There is no bias in the broadcast, no deceit, because further information was brought forth from the Reparations site (2014), where a study concluded that all states within the Cotton Belt are living in poverty, and shows that in parts of Texas alone there are 81to 100 percent families who live in poverty. Hence, the lingering effects of slavery are overwhelming. Similarly, the reality that black families were split up because of murder or being sold away as is seen in slavery where without the father to protect the wives and children became dependent solely on the slave owner; instead of the man. Hence, this is the same exact scenario just another time frame of life.

Reference to absent fathers is manifest in the article, “Wired for Success,” which speaks to the public in general concerning fathers not living with their children. However, the plight of the black man has been this way for centuries and is a further add to the premise of the impoverished lifestyle. Here we note that society has tagged these men dead beat dads, and granted this is what some are if they do not support their offspring. Here also is a barrier, because for those who work for low or no pay equals no money for the children who live elsewhere. Moreover, not all are dead beats who fall behind in their payments. There are many reasons why some men cannot pay. Consequently, many black men view child support as a modern day ‘lynching’ and do not want to be caught in the noose so they run. The article also links some common factors concerning poverty and the absent parent in general, saying, “Approximately 30% of all American children are born into single-parent homes, and for the black community, that figure is 68%, and also shares more insight which says “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics. Over half of all children living with a single mother are living in poverty, a rate 5 to 6 times that of kids living with both parents; Child abuse is significantly more likely to occur in single parent homes than in intact families In single-mother families in the U.S. about 66% of young children live in poverty ”. (Williams, 2011, Para 4). Ray Williams, author of the article brings good data to the table  statically as like that provided above but that is where ‘good’ stop here, because he goes on to group black people and American values in a lump. This information is not all inclusive when the majority of citizens where slave minds frequent are black and poor. He adds this saying, “The Scholastic Aptitude Test scores have declined more than 70 points in the past two decades; children in single-parent families tend to score lower on standardized tests and to receive lower grades in school according to a Congressional Research Service Report.” (Williams, 2011, Para 4). I add, to this in defense of the so called ‘fatherless’ children and say that it is biologically impossible for any child on earth to be produced without the aid of a man. Hence, the term ‘fatherless’ needs to be dispelled from the equation. This statement brings me to my next point while we remember that education has not come easy for black people in America.

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory  pointed to how one’s environment would influence poverty through the ‘Microsystem.  The Mesosystem is of value as well. In the book “Adult Development and Life Assessment” the authors write, ‘The Mesosystem refers to the connection of all the microsystems influencing a child. Changes in one microsystem can impact others. For example, fighting parents create distress in the home, which can influence how well children perform in school.” (Witt & Mossler, 2010, Para. 3). Education in black communities can leave a bad taste in one’s mouth, because in black impoverished neighborhoods there are not only poorly funded schools, but as a result of poor funding there are not adequate resources for learning. This is a personal experience I had with my own children being that we live and have lived all our lives in impoverished neighborhoods, and having experienced single parenthood for the most part I can say that the children suffer for lack of funding because not only do they not have textbooks to take home but they do not learn well. In these schools state testing is given and the children are lowest in the state in the areas of history, reading and math. Furthermore, along with being low-income schools some were pressured with the added threat of passing the test or having their schools close. To date, several high school students who did not pass the TAKS test have not graduated.  Consequently, the tendency for low income school districts to hire  less than adequate teachers or low paid teachers who might have made only C scores in college themselves are not equipped to prepare a child for A grade work; not to mention the ones there for a paycheck only and fall into the category with others which says‘under the pretense of help.” Additionally, parents who are uneducated, or who have to work outside the home cannot help their children. In essence, an uneducated parent, a working parent in some cases are in the same category of an absent parent being that they are not there; or rather cannot be supportive of their children by helping with homework. Conversely, if one or both of the parents cannot read then there is no help there as well. Therefore, what academically can they help with?  Hence, Bronfenbrenner’s theory, although correct, means more than just arguing parents or abusive parents. It is the case that a parent in absentia of an education can affect a child’s performance as well. Society will say here there are opportunities available, however, if the choice of a meal on the table means work, rather than learning to read then the choice is made to work. On the contrary, not every black person sits at home to live off the state. It is the case, that generations of people have inherited their parent’s educational values. Perhaps if there had been rights given to read in slavery then all black people would have literacy would they not? As mentioned earlier, the premise now is that it takes a thought provoking light to reveal the need to look outside of ones environment to seek help to stand up

Of course, poverty is not isolated to the United States because across the globe there are people struggling to break free from the lifestyle. In this we note, that many other countries are adopting social programs as like those in the United States with great success. How can this be when the United States is known for its success in business and otherwise, and still their own citizens; black people are still the poorest of the land? Greg Corombos, author of ‘War on Poverty’ writes, “In some communities, public assistance programs have become a subtle destroyer of the spirit because when you’re looking at multi-generations of families who have been on public assistance, where is the incentive for individuals to want to start businesses and become entrepreneurs? It’s just not there,” (Corombos, 2014, Para. 8). Corombos is exactly right, because an impoverished mind has not a mind for business, except to put food on the table and in many instances it might seem better to allow the government to feed, clothe and shelter as generations before were conditioned to. Slave mentally breeds poverty, and the mind which says why work when I can get all this for nothing. In other words, Massa takes good care of the slaves or so they believe.

A study was presented by Byron Brown (2005) with five adults who had lived their entire lives in poverty, the focus being on individual poverty and households. Results concluded that lifestyle of poverty presented the following: “(a) the participants acknowledged being poor and believed ‘poverty’ is a label that others used to identify them (some reject the poverty label); (b) all held a strong belief that there were important purposes and meaning to their lives, even though they were poor; (c) for many poverty meant, ‘unbelief in self, that they hardly travel  out of the village—frustrated, just locked indoors’; (d) they felt rejection and a sense that other people see them as ‘nobodies’ because of their poverty conditions; and (e) many talked of discomfort, emotional pains from poverty stigmas, deprivation, inadequacies and feelings of hopelessness.” (Brown, 2005. p. 398,  Para. 2). History, education, religion, identity and spirituality have a connection with all of the above. The study is an accurate view into the minds of those who live the lifestyle of poverty. In this view, one can gather that until there is a mind changed then people literally see themselves as having no choice, no hope of a better life and sometimes unknowingly pass that same mind down to their children. This thinking is why society sees entire generations living on the welfare system. Hence, grandmother lived on welfare, daughter lives on welfare, granddaughter, father left his wife, son left his wife, and grandson left his wife and so on.

Spirituality is a great motivator, contributing  to how one gains a meaning into what happens in life. However, for blacks the belief in God far outweighs that of the white people. One may ask how is it that a group of people who have been kidnapped, beaten up, murdered, raped, enslaved, and rejected can still believe there is a God who loves them. Christianity has presented a God who is all about prosperity, and also presents a question that if the God of Christianity is all about prosperity then what happened to the black people? Why are all other people prosperous and this prosperity seen everywhere except with people of color? Since Brenfrenbrenner’s analysis speaks of church as an influence, let us talk about church; or rather religion as it pertains to poverty among blacks and the downfall of the blacks race in America and otherwise. According to a Pew Research study, black people are the most spiritual people in the United States. In the article, “African Americans top U.S. religious measures-Pew”, Stoddard (2009) writes, “Nearly eight in 10 blacks (79 percent) say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56 percent among all U.S. adults.  Blacks attend religious services and pray more frequently than the general population. While 39 percent of all Americans report attending religious services at least once a week, 53 percent of blacks report the same. Similarly, while 58 percent of all Americans report praying at least once a day, 76 percent of blacks report praying daily. The vast majority of blacks are Protestant (78 percent), compared with 51 percent of the U.S. adult population as a whole.” (Para. 1-3). There is much to be said concerning this because religion, identity and lack of education has much to do with these findings, because although blacks pray to the so called God of prosperity in the Christian sect they are still poor. The Scriptures can explain, “Hear the word of יהוה, you children of Yisra’ĕl, for יהוה has a case against the inhabitants of the land: “For there is no truth or kindness or knowledge of Elohim in the land.  “Swearing, and lying, and murdering, and stealing, and committing adultery have increased. And bloodshed follows bloodshed. “Therefore the land mourns, and everyone living there languishes, with the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens. And the fish of the sea are taken away. “However, let no one strive or reprove another, for your people are like those striving with a priest. And you shall stumble in the day, and the prophet shall also stumble with you in the night. And I shall make your mother perish.” (Hosea 4:1-5). History recounts that the slaves were stripped of their names, forbidden from reading, or speaking their native language of Hebrew and worst took away our God. How do we know this? One knows because of some of the lyrics of so called slave songs such as Kum Ba Yah (Come by here Yah) in the Hebrew tongue. The book of Deuteronomy Chapter 28, also conveys truths of this matter, saying that the children of Yisra’el would be taken to another land by ship and that the occurrence would not been seen again, there to be sold as bondsmen and women and no man would redeem us. Redeem in this instance would be as in Kinsman Redeemer, however, if all one’s people are sold and scattered to the four corners of the earth then there is no man (kinsman or otherwise) to save us. Hence, poverty is a part of the curses; verse 31-33 says,  “Your ox is slaughtered before your eyes, but you do not eat of it. Your donkey is violently taken from before you, and it is not given back to you. Your sheep are given to your enemies, with no one to save them.  “Your sons and your daughters are given to another people, and your eyes look and fail for them all day long, and your hand powerless.  “A people whom you have not known eat the fruit of your land and all your labours. And you shall be only oppressed and crushed all the days.” (Deuteronomy 28, The Scriptures). It is the case that black people were stripped of their God and forced to worship the god of Christianity. Hence, poverty is the result of idol worship which is a breach of Covenant to the Most High. Hosea conveys truth: “My people have perished for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being priest for Me. Since you have forgotten the Torah of your Elohim, I also forget your children.  “As they were increased, so they sinned against Me. My esteem they have changed into shame.” (Hosea 4:6-7). The study is correct, black people do pray but to the wrong god. It is the case that one cannot argue with statistics.

In closing, I leave a quote from William E.B. Du Bouis, PH.D, from the article, “The Individual and Social Conscience, “It is impossible for the individual to reach the larger social conscience by sheer expansion, by a benevolent endeavor to be interested in all men. This leads inevitably to a tenuous filmy consciousness, a loss of grip on the realities of human beings—on the concrete man. It becomes easily a theoretical rather than a practical humanitarianism, and has often been illustrated in the world’s history by the wavering and doubting of the philanthropic mind. We can only be interested in men by knowing them—knowing them directly, thoroughly, intimately; and this knowing leads ever to the greatest of human discoveries,—the recognition of one’s self in the image of one’s neighbor; the sudden, startling revelation, “This is another Me, that thinks as I think, feels as I feel, suffers even as I suffer.” This is the beginning, and the only true beginning, of the social conscience.” (Excerpt from: The Sacred Unity in All the Diversity”: the Text and a Thematic Analysis of W.E.B. Du Bois’ “The Individual and Social Conscience” (1905)). This is a powerful statement. One that surmises the condition of those who live in an impoverished lifestyle because many cannot understand why years after rights of equality were given do people still have hatred in their hearts, and worst why do people still live in poverty. The Messiah said, that poor would always be among us. Our children want to know why they cannot live in a good house, go to the same schools as their white peers, and seemingly the margins and divides are unconquerable when we see disparages even against the children who can go to college but are not prepared for college when they get there. Hence, education for a black mind is a farce. What about religion? Even the preachers are dumbed down, and are educated fools who do not know truth, and in actuality are helping the lynch mobs to kill our people. Therefore, Religion is a farce. The welfare system is system designed to break up homes and families under the pretense of help, therefore government assistance is a farce. It is the case that the only thing real thing in all this to the black person is their poverty. Hence, each day a person gets up to start another day walking through their impoverished mind, unable to solve problems, unable to find answers because like their mothers and fathers before them their ability to think is limited to the life passed down. Therefore, each individual would need to examine and eliminate certain factors or barriers to their impoverished self.  It is therefore the case that mental health is a factor, unemployment, education, relationships, spirituality and other areas of life. A great writer once wrote, “A theorist, said that family, church, school, and state programs help shape a child’s mind and the world around them. It is my opinion these have failed the black child. Family has failed the black child, religion has failed the black mind, school has not provoked thought, except to brainwash our children when there is no identity to gain of who they are other than how society sees them.” (Spears, 2014). It is written.

Watch: Poverty In America

 Bibliography

Black Demographics, (2012). 12 Black Population: 44.5 million, 14.2% of USA. 

Brown, B., (2005). The incorporation of poverty into adult identity over time: implications for adult education.  INT. J. OF LIFELONG EDUCATION, VOL. 24, NO. 5 (SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2005), 393–404. Retrieved (19 March 2014) from: http://library.ashford.edu/databases_a_z.aspx#J

Gillam & Griffith (2010). Prayer and Spiritual Practices for Health Reasons among American Adults: The Role of Race and Ethnicity Author. Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 49, No. 3 (September 2010), pp. 283-295. Published by: Springer. 

Grohol, J., (2014) The Vicious Cycle of Poverty and Mental Health. 

North American Reparations Task Force (2014). What Are Slavery’s Lingering Effects? Sponsored by: National Commission for Reparations. 

Stoddard, E., (2009). Reuters, African Americans top U.S. religious measures-Pew.

The Scriptures (1998). Translated, Published and distributed by: Institute of Scripture Research. North Riding, South Africa. The Scriptures Publication History, First Edition 1993, Second Edition 1998. IBSN—13-978-0-9585045-4-6

Williams, R., (2011). Wired for Success The decline of fatherhood and the male identity crisis. Psychology Today (2014).  

Williams, R. (2012). “The Sacred Unity in All the Diversity”: the Text and a Thematic Analysis of W.E.B. Du Bois’. “The Individual and Social Conscience” (1905). J Afr Am. (2012) 16:456–497  DOI 10.1007/s12111-011-9171-4. Published online: 23 March 2011. Political Science, Bennett College, 900 East Washington St., Greensboro, NC 27401, USA. # Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, 201.

Witt & Mossler (2010). Adult Development and Life Assessment. Ashford Discovery Series. ISBN 10: 0-9841823-3-0, ISBN 13: 978-0-9841823-3-6, Published by Bridgepoint Education, Inc., 13500 Evening Creek Drive North, Suite 600, San Diego, CA 92128. Copyright © 2010.

Futuristic Analysis for War on Drugs Proves Positive for Drug Users in Texas

drug testIt’s been a long time coming to stop the rampant drug use which devastates the public welfare system in Texas; and to thwart it Senate gives thumbs up for Drug Testing for Temporary Aid to Needy Families.

TANF, as the program is known became effective July 1, 1997 to replace Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which had been in effect since 1935.

The problem is not with the program itself; although many tax payers are of the mind that some are abusing the program and with good reason. As past years dictate, changes were brought forth by former President Bill Clinton who gave a time limit of 5 years for those who received the help. Notably, many who were eligible were thus so for years under old law.

According to statistics, the new more effective program, provides poor people with money for food, clothing, housing and other basic needs, distributes about $90 million to more than 100,000 Texans annually. The amount of the payment depends on family size and income.

One would be tempted to believe that the goal of the testing would be more concerned with people’s drug usage, rather than people not working. It is the premise that unless people can stop drug use they might not be fit to work. However, this is not the idea of the testing with regards to those who get aid.

According to a quote by Bill sponsor Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, stating, “”Taxpayer money should not be used to subsidize someone’s drug habit,” and she states further, “”We’re not only going to help them get off drugs, “We’re going to help them get a job.”

With this thought in mind; that is, many people on drugs will be homeless, hungry, and most certainly increased employment efforts.

Consequently, a brief glimpse at crime rise; as well as, more people entering treatment facilities and shelters across the region.

It could be really a taxing situation all around.

Read More: Texas Senate approves drug testing for some welfare applicants

 

Watch: Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Call for Drug Screening for TANF, UI Applicants

 

Your Sunday Bread: Come From Among Them

Cloisters of Essen Minster, Essen, Germany.

Cloisters of Essen Minster, Essen, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The falling away was falling to idols and that thing is going on in the church today. Look at this video, how many crucifixes do you see behind you…even in the window behind the curtain…looks like little crosses lined up there. For what? The cross is symbolic of death…so Yahushua was killed there; however where in the word does it say to worship the cross….the power is in the resurrection.

Paul says in Philippians “What is more, I even count all to be loss because of the excellence of the knowledge of the Messiah Ha Mashiac my Master for whom I have suffered the loss of all, and count them as a refuse in order to gain the Messiah, and be found in Him not having my own righteousness, which is of the law (of the law meaning those things done found in the law), but that which is through belief in Messiah, the righteousness which is from Elohim on the basis of belief, to know Him, and the ((((Power of His resurrection)))), and the fellowship of his suffering (which are suffer altogether by man), being conformed to his death (dead to sin…those things written in the commandments), if somehow I might obtain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already received or perfected, but I press on to take hold of that for which Messiah Ha Mashiach has also laid hold of me.”

We have to hear this word. Death is at the cross (sin)…walking a way from the cross is life.

Come from among them.     cross inside the church

The church is not in the building, so whether they keep it (the cross steeples) or it stays the message (((should))) go forth. What is it for…it is a death trap. Those crosses were in the movie exorcist too, and the demon didn’t go anywhere. In fact, even now the demons do not tremble at the cross they tremble at the word (James 2:19). It is the word of Yahuwah which saves and binds up. He says, bind on earth and it is bound in heaven, loose on earth and it is already loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19). Hence, the cross on the church and the cross on the wall is someone elses thinking…the word saying “and be found in Him not having my own righteousness.”

Collecting crosses, on the church, in the church, in your ears, on your neck doesn’t make one righteous.

Tee shirts, banners, glow in dark signs, is not saved. I don’t care how you cut it…it is idolizing self. A sin.

The cross is not power to resurrection, it is the miracle that once dead, death could not keep him…the cross is not fore issue it is the purpose of it. It was used to kill, but Yah’s plan woke him up.

Watch: My Pastor Rebuked me in public

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW9k2xHs_f0&feature=youtu.be

Your Sunday Bread: Narrow is the Gate, Straight is the Way

narrowgate

 

How many of us really have a firm grasp of truth? We think we do but we don’t, even the greatest scholars and theologians missed this word, why because it has nothing to do with what we think and see but what Yah reveals…when the word says enter the narrow gate, that there are few who find it; it is because few can see it there…why? First of all we have to find it, the narrow gate cannot be found without revelation, because if it were that easy everyone would be there. Secondly,   because of all the “stuff” blocking “The Way.”

 

Society has conditioned us to believe that if everybody is doing it then it must be ok even in the church. In contrast, society has sold us many things like drugs, alcohol, and sex through movies, and other means and then offers us rehabilitation to recover from them, even in the church a so called rehabilitation center both are worldly. Everybody does those things and they are going the wrong way.

 

However, this picture is bigger than drugs, alcohol and sex .

 

It’s what we see, similar to following the highway and having to pay attentions to signs and while driving you and a friend are into a deep conversation and while the exit to the narrow gate looms just ahead, somehow we don’t see because we have gotten off into this deep conversation about something else.

 

Let’s talk about the broad gate…our friends are there, church members, family and a host of others going down the same road…how do we know those people are there on the same path…well, if we go to the same church most likely we are hanging around with people who are like us…we listen to the word from a preacher, go to church on Sunday and probably eat at each other’s houses. Those in the same income bracket hang with those in the same. While the poorer are friends with their friends that probably aren’t good for them but because those people in the church are nonsocial able this is what happens, the members sleep with other members married are not, the deacons are stealing…all types of stuff is available on the broad road…the preachers are carted off to jail….everybody’s doing it, the narrow gate…happens when you start to wonder and ask God does he really want you living like that…this is church Yah we say, what is the problem?

 

Furthermore, why would the Yahshua have this conversation with believers in the first place if they were following “The Way?” Remember he said “Ye are the salt of the earth but if the salt loses its flavor it is good for nothing?” So, what happened then that Yahshua, had to say this if they were on the narrow path? Some weren’t you see, and he had to warn them that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing come to steal them.

 

The Way to the narrow path is not Christianity and here is why, we must broaden our thinking past the small individual happenings in our own lives.  The whole world believes the faith of Christianity. Notably, there are people being converted to believe in the name of Jesus  more than any other religion on the planet. Somebody says that is proof that we are on the right path…well, no it’s not. It says much about persuasion and the need for people to fit in and be like everyone else. There are people sitting in church from Sunday to Sunday who are not saved. How do we know…look at the rate of deliverance and the behavior in the church. People look, think, and act just like the unsaved.

 

Look at this:

According to the article, “Christianity Today – General Statistics and Facts of Christianity.” Mary Fairchild states, “Christianity is ranked the largest religion in the world today. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in 2010 there were 2.18 billion Christians around the world, nearly a third of the global population.”  Conversely, when we look at scripture the narrow gate doesn’t seem likely to be found by the masses of the population. When we look at the term “find it” we note that this is something that isn’t so easily accepted.

 

The Pew Forum on Public Religion & Public Life gives this estimate:

“More than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion – or no religion at all. If change in affiliation from one type of Protestantism to another is included, 44% of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.”

 

In a way this one would seem that there is something that Christianity is lacking being that the practice of it is so much like the world. It is problematic when people cannot see a difference why would they stay?

 

Fairchild gives a breakdown of those who practice Christianity worldwide, the Top 3 Largest National Christian Populations:

  • US – 246,780,000 (79.5% of the Population)
  • Brazil – 175,770,000 (90.2% of the Population)
  • Mexico – 107,780,000 (95% of the Population):

Conversely, if the thinking is to find the narrow gate; the question becomes whether the masses hold the key to finding it. Isn’t this more like the broad road; rather than the narrow gate leading to life?

 

Let’s look at the text,

Luke 17:

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

 

One came back to give Yah praise, and that one was not associate with Christianity. Notably, he was one those in Christianity would consider least likely. What happened to the others? They went on their way to follow the masses. Narrow is the gate those who praise Yah in spirit and truth will find the narrow gate.

 

According to Pew,  “The survey finds that the number of people who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith today (16.1%) is more than double the number who say they were not affiliated with any particular religion as children. Among Americans ages 18-29, one-in-four say they are not currently affiliated with any particular religion.”

 

Note:  No religion doesn’t equal no belief or faith.

 

People are evoking their right to choose; even in Religion. Considering our finding, the narrow gate isn’t found in the Masses. People are finding the narrow gate their own way with revelation for the Most High. There is hope.

Watch: The World vs. The Church

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVMPjbLflzk

 

The Genocide of Black America, Hebrews

Watch: The Black Genocide (Maafa21)