What you need to know about the NAACP’s war on charter schools

— The call for a moratorium on charter schools by the NAACP is a case of “Throwing the baby out with the bath water.” While most black folks are concentrating on Hillary and Donald, the largest and oldest “Colored” organization approved an internal resolution calling for a halt to the “expansion of charter schools” until those schools meet criteria set forth by the NAACP.

The NAACP lacks the power to enforce its resolution, but its call for this draconian measure does come with the familiar stench of other positions they have taken— and not taken— because of political and, of course, economic reasons, the latter of which seems to be the driving force behind this latest move.

One of this country’s leading educators, Dr. Steve Perry, who has operated charter schools for years and recently took over the new charter school opened by Sean Combs, Capital Prep Harlem, in New York City, had this to say: “The NAACP national headquarters has received a significant amount of money from the teachers’ union. The only organizations to call for a moratorium on charter schools in particular, because they are non-union, are the teachers’ unions.”

Perry went on to call the resolution, “absurd.” He further stated, “They couldn’t be more out of touch if they ran full speed in the other direction…the national [NAACP] is out of touch even with their own chapters.”

Shavar Jeffries, Democrats for Education Reform, said, “Indiscriminately targeting all charter schools…while ignoring underperforming district schools undermines the quality and integrity of our entire education system. We should be fixing what’s broken and expanding what works, not pre-empting the choices of [black] parents…”

Calling for a moratorium is indicative of the NAACP’s disregard for existing charter schools established, funded and operated by black people. The use of scare tactics, such as “privatization,” under the guise of concern for students, is either disingenuous or ignorant. Charter schools are about creating better options for education— they provide a choice.

I know and have spoken with several esteemed black educators and operators of charter schools. Amefika Geuka, who founded and ran the Joseph Littles Nguzo Saba School in West Palm Beach, Florida for 16 years, was the largest black employer of black people in the county. He used his own funds to sustain the school and fought resistance by the district to keep his school opened despite the success of his graduates in college. One former student is now in law school and is the President of the Student Bar Association.

Another long-time friend and charter school founder is Kwa David Whitaker, an attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, who has managed as many as twelve schools. He shared with me the following: “It is the traditional system that has destroyed our children and nation. Putting this intense focus on charter schools is only an attempt to keep the focus off of the continuing ineptitude of our nation’s traditional public school system.”

Black parents spoke out against the NAACP’s decision by protesting during its convention. Roland Martin, News One Anchor, questioned NAACP Washington Bureau Chief Hillary Shelton on whether the NAACP had invited any of those parents to speak or if it had called upon black charter school leaders to give their input before the resolution was passed. After asking three times without getting an answer, Martin answered it himself: “NO.”

Music mogul, Kenny Gamble, who is now a leading force in economic development and owner of eleven charter schools in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, has invested millions into educating our youth. He shared his experience with me and cited two factors in charter school operations: Academics and economics. My question: Why aren’t more blacks engaged in ownership and control when it comes to the education of our own children?

The NAACP’s vote against charter schools is what Harold Cruse called “Non-Economic Liberalism.” Just as the NAACP will not allow its branches to purchase buildings for their offices and meeting space, via a clause in its original charter (no pun intended) written by whites who founded the association, according to Dr. Khalid Al Mansour’s book, “Betrayal by any Other Name,” it now comes out against blacks starting and controlling charter schools, which would add to our economic progress. I guess NAACP leaders realize that

because whites started the NAACP with their dollars, whites can also end it by withholding their dollars.

The Wall Street Journal noted, it’s a “disgrace” that the NAACP’s idea of “advancement” is now to advance the interests of the unionized public school monopoly over the interests of their supposed constituents— black students and their parents.

The NAACP must stop mimicking what it did in 1909 and support the new paradigm under which “black” people operate. One charter school owner said, “The NAACP has outgrown its name; the only ‘Colored’ people left appear to be concentrated in the NAACP leadership.

Here’s how far parents will go to pay for holiday gifts

— Many parents will bust their budgets this year when it comes to fulfilling their children’s holiday wish lists, and that could mean they will be paying for those gifts for months, and sometimes years later.

More than half of parents report they aim to get everything on their kids’ wish lists this year, spending an average of $422 per child, according to a new survey from T. Rowe Price.

While creating a budget is a helpful way to avoid overspending, 58% of the parents said they never stick to it, and nearly two-thirds admit they spend more than they can afford.

“It’s OK to splurge a little bit on holiday spending. There is a lot of of pressure to do that, but we don’t want [parents] to go overboard at the expense of their financial well being,” said Marty Allenbaugh, a certified financial planner at T. Rowe Price.

The spending hangover some parents will face could last a lot longer than their New Year’s Eve partying. More than half will put their holiday spending tab on credit cards, with 61% planning to pay them off in three months and 16% will take more than six months.

One quarter of the parents surveyed have taken drastic measures to fund their purchases: 11% have dipped into their retirement account, 14% used funds from their emergency savings and 11% have taken out a payday loan.

While children might delight in their pile of presents, these decisions can have a long-term impact on parents’ financial security.

For instance, taking $500 out of a 401(k) at age 35 could mean sacrificing around $6,000 for retirement, according to Allenbaugh.

“There is a double financial whammy, [they] will pay additional taxes and penalties to access the money and there is also the opportunity cost,” he said.

Men are more likely than women to splurge during the holiday season, with 60% saying they will try to check off everything on their children’s want list.

There is some good news: 68% of parents said they have been saving for the blockbuster shopping season all year.

The survey was conducted in February and included more than 1,000 parents with kids ages 8 to 14.

Meghan Markle: 5 things to know Prince Harry’s rumored love interest

— There’s a royals watch on Meghan Markle.

The up-and-coming American actress is now standing under a bigger spotlight since news of an alleged relationship between her and England’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Harry, broke over the weekend.

Markle has since become a trending topic on Google, she’s on the cover of this week’s Us Weekly and People magazine claims an engagement is “certainly a possibility.” Meanwhile, Markle is not commenting and Kensington Palace is staying mum.

While the world tries to decipher Markle’s recent Instagram post of two bananas hugging, here are a few facts about the beautiful brunette and possible royal in waiting.

Markle, 35, currently stars as Rachel Zane on the USA legal drama, “Suits.” She’s had roles on “CSI: Miami,” “90210,” “Without a Trace” and “General Hospital.” She also appeared in a few films, “Get Him To The Greek,” “Remember Me” and “Horrible Bosses.”

Markle grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in communications. She’s talked about struggling with her ethnic identity as a child. Last year, Markle wrote a column for Elle saying she also found it difficult to land roles. “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones,” she wrote. “Leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”

When not acting, Markle focuses her energy on her lifestyle website, The TIG, where she shares recipes and tips for fitness and travel. She’s also a United Nations advocate for women and has worked with the Clean Water Campaign.

She’s a divorcee. Markle was married to film producer Trevor Engelson for two years. The couple divorced in 2013.

Markle is a dog lover. The actress often shares photos of her two rescue dogs on Instagram and advocates for others to adopt pets too.

Nearly 90 percent of black voters favor Clinton over Trump in new HU/NNPA national voter poll

— WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and Howard University, announced the results of the 2016 Howard University/NNPA National Black Voter Poll. Nearly 90 percent of Black voters plan to cast ballots for Hillary Clinton and two percent plan to vote for Donald Trump, according to the poll.

The HU/NNPA national polling center, located on the campus of Howard University, made over 21,200 telephone calls across the United States from October 23, 2016 to October 30, 2016.

The HU/NNPA National Black Voter Poll revealed that the top issues influencing Black voters included the economy and jobs, income inequality, race and race relations, college affordability and high quality education in pre-kindergarten.

Howard University faculty and students from multiple departments and disciplines including economics, political science, sociology, communications and media studies, were represented in the coordinated effort.

“This multi-disciplinary team has drawn on its expertise to develop a comprehensive polling instrument designed to assess the opinions of Black Americans on the presidential candidates and other important issues facing the Black community and the nation,” said Terri Adams-Fuller, the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University.

Highlights from the HU/NNPA National Black Voter Poll:

• 94% of those polled plan to vote in the upcoming election

Of those who plan to vote:

• 89.8% for Clinton

• 2% for Trump

• 0% for Johnson

• 0% for Stein

• 7.2% for another candidate

The respondents also identified their party affiliations:

• 82 % Identify as Democrat

• 2% Identify as Republican

• 9% Identify as Independent (67% normally vote for Democrats, 5% normally vote Republican, 28%

normally don’t vote for either major party)

• 7% Identify as Other

“As a result of this poll, candidates and those who will be successful in occupying the White House and controlling Congress will know the prioritized issues and nuanced concerns of the Black community,” said Rubin Patterson, the chairman of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. “We hope that these findings will shape their policy and legislative agendas starting next year.”

Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA said that the NNPA-HU National Black Voter Poll is timely and very significant for Black America.

“The fact that 94 percent of Black Americans polled indicated that they intend to vote on November 8, or have already voted during the early voting period is indicative of the importance of the right to vote in Black America at a time when there has been inaccurate speculation about how Blacks in United States view the 2016 national elections,” said Chavis.

Chavis added: “This poll provides clarity on the national issues and the candidates for President of the United States. The poll verifies that Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming favorite of Black American voters over Donald Trump.”


Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

Phone: 202-588-8764

E-mail: dr.bchavis@nnpa.org


Known as the “Voice of Black America,” the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) represents 211 African American-owned newspapers operating in 33 states. NNPA member newspapers reach 20.2 million readers per week with national offices located in Washington, DC. Learn more about the NNPA at www.NNPA.org and follow the group on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @BlackPressUSA.


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced three Rhodes Scholars, nine Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, over 60 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University visit www.howard.edu.

Park’s more than 400 colorful scarves help brighten winter for needy

— The hundreds of scarves and mittens that adorned a New Hampshire park this week certainly brightened things up. But they were not meant to be decorative.

They were part of Scarves in the Park, a clothing drive by a church Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Park in Manchester. For a second year, Longmeadow Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in nearby Auburn held the event to help those in need stay warm as temperatures begin to fall.

“Our church is always looking out for some way of reaching out that engages people, that has people doing more than just writing a check,” the Rev. Ruth Gallot told CNN affiliate WMUR-TV in Manchester.

Last year, the church had gathered 75 scarves to give away. This year, the number passed 400, thanks to a yearlong effort of knitting and crocheting by volunteers.

“We told people to use whatever yarn you have,” Gallot told the TV station. “If you have yarn you want to get rid of, you’ve got it stocked in your house and are spring cleaning, give it to us, and we have knitters and crocheters who contact us, and we give them the yarn.”

Gallot told the station that the church chose to distribute the items, attached with notes of kind words, at the park rather than donating them to a thrift shop to reach as many of those in need as possible.

“We also know that some people won’t necessarily go in those places, and we just feel it’s important for us not to vet everybody to see if they are worthy of our help,” she told WMUR. “We’re doing it to help.”

Licrese Kanyegere, a native of the Republic of Congo, attended the event to pick out items for her seven children, according to the station. “This means a lot, because it keeps us warm, because it’s very, very cold here,” Kanyegere to WMUR.

Gallot declines to take credit for this method of charitable distribution. Rather, a similar event held by a United Church of Christ church years earlier inspired her.

“Our hope is that the publicity we have received will inspire other people to do similar things in their areas,” she said in an email.

Cell phones and screens are keeping your kid awake

— These days, teachers often face classrooms filled with yawning students who stayed up late snapping selfies or playing online games.

For children and teens, using cell phones, tablets and computers at night is associated with losing sleep time and sleep quality, new research finds. Even children who don’t use their phones or the other technologies littering their bedrooms at night are losing shut-eye and becoming prone to daylight sleepiness, the analysis published today in JAMA Pediatrics finds.

The analysis found “a consistent pattern of effect across a wide range of countries and settings,” said Dr. Ben Carter, lead author and a senior lecturer in biostatistics at King’s College London.

Carter and his colleagues weeded through the medical literature to identify hundreds of applicable studies conducted between January 1, 2011, and June 15, 2015. They chose 20 research reports involving a total of 125,198 children, evenly divided by gender, with an average age of 14½ years. After extracting pertinent data, Carter and his co-authors performed their own meta-analysis.

Few parents will be surprised by the results: The team found a “strong and consistent association” between bedtime media device use and inadequate sleep quantity, poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Surprisingly, though, Carter and his team discovered that children who did not use their devices in their bedrooms still had their sleep interrupted and were likely to suffer the same problems. The lights and sounds emitted by the technology, as well as the content itself, may be too stimulating.

Though Carter admits that a weakness of the analysis was “how the data was collected in the primary studies: self-reported by parents and children,” many of us will probably recognize our own families’ habits reflected in the statistics.

Electronic bedroom

A large-scale poll conducted in the United States by the National Sleep Foundation (PDF) reported in 2013 that 72% of all children and 89% of teens have at least one device in their sleep environment. Most of this technology is used near bedtime, that same report found.

According to Carter and his co-authors, this omnipresent technology negatively influences children’s sleep by delaying their sleep time, as they finish watching a movie or play one more game.

Light emitted from these devices may also affect the circadian rhythm, the internal clock timing biological processes, including body temperature and hormone release, the researchers explain. One specific hormone, melatonin, induces tiredness and contributes to the timing of our sleep-wake cycles. Electronic lights can delay the release of melatonin, disrupting this cycle and making it harder to fall asleep.

Carter and his co-authors also suggest that online content may be psychologically stimulating and keep children and teens awake far past the hour when they turn off their devices and try to sleep.

“Sleep is vital for children,” said Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of the pediatric neurology sleep medicine program at Duke University Medical Center, who was not involved in the new analysis. “We know that sleep plays a crucial role in brain development, memory, self-regulation, attention, immune function, cardiovascular health and much more.”

Kansagra, author of “My Child Won’t Sleep,” noted that the period of greatest brain development is in our first three years of life, which corresponds to when we need and get the most sleep. “It’s hard to believe that this would be a coincidence.”

Kansagra said it’s possible that parents underreported kids using devices at night, but more likely, the technology is simply interfering with sleep hygiene. “For example, children who are allowed to keep devices in their room may be more likely to avoid a good sleep routine, which we know is helpful for sleep,” he said.

Practicing good sleep hygiene

Dr. Neil Kline, a representative of the American Sleep Association, agrees that sleep plays an integral role in a child’s healthy development, even though “we don’t know all of the science behind it. There is even some research which demonstrates an association between ADHD and some sleep disorders.”

In many respects, the findings of the new study are no surprise. “Sleep hygiene is being significantly impacted by technology, especially in the teen years,” said Kline, who bases his opinion not only on research but on his own “personal experience and also the anecdotes of many other sleep experts.”

Sleep hygiene — tips that help facilitate good, continuous and adequate sleep — include having a room that is quiet. “And that would mean removing items that interfere with sleep, including electronics, TV and even pets if they interfere with sleep,” Kline said.

One more important tip comes from the National Sleep Foundation, which recommends at least 30 minutes of “gadget-free transition time” before bedtime. Power down for better sleep.

Other recommendations for good sleep hygiene include not exercising (physically or mentally) too close to bedtime; establishing a regular sleep schedule; limiting exposure to light prior to sleep; avoiding stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine and nicotine in the hours before bedtime; and creating a dark, comfortable and peaceful sleep environment.

Entrepreneurs grown their companies with Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business program

— A growing number of Atlanta businesses are living up to the city’s famous nickname: Hotlanta!

More than 20 businesses have entered, thrived and graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program, a scholarship-based course that convenes them to learn critical business skills and create growth plans for their companies.

The Goldman Sachs program is an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital and business support services.

With 31 sites across the United States and United Kingdom, 10,000 Small Businesses has served over 7,100 small business owners. The program has reached businesses from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., and has resulted in immediate and sustained business growth for the alumni of the program.

One of those successful businesses is Atlanta’s own Yardstick Learning, which also has locations in Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois, Texas, Colorado and California.

Yardstick Learning is owned and operated by Ebbie Parsons, who has joined thousands of entrepreneurs across the country in an initiative to create jobs.

“Our revenue has grown by 56 percent since participating in the Goldman Sachs program,” Parsons said. “Our total employees, including consultants and contractors, grew 109 percent. We have tremendously benefited from the program.”

Further, Parsons said he never imagined the program having such a positive influence.

“Frankly, that’s all I could do at first was imagine. We’re dreamers but seeing any of this come to fruition is just unbelievable, beyond exciting because you’re creating an opportunity for yourself and your team and you’re helping others and doing good work by helping our clients solve real issues in their respective communities,” he said.

Yardstick Learning is considered a leading global strategic management consultant firm that provides strategy and change management services to mission-driven organizations.

“Our clients include, on the education side, K-12 school districts, charter school management, parochial schools, private schools, colleges and universities,” Parsons said.

“On the corporation side, we work with several Fortune 500 companies on their social responsibility foundation and we work with international nonprofits,” he said.

Parsons’ story isn’t unique.

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum is designed by Babson College, the leading business school for entrepreneurship. Just six months after their graduation, 68.7 percent of all alumni see revenue growth.

Also, 47.9 percent of the alumni create new jobs within that same timeframe.

As a comparison, 23 percent of U.S. Small Businesses added new jobs in 2015.

For Parsons, the program was a key step to understanding growth opportunities for his business.

“What was interesting for us, and me is that the program helped me to understand that we can’t solve every problem and that was difficult for me,” Parsons said.

“I am an African-American business man and an alum of the nation’s largest HBCU and our goal was to expand our services to work with so many more HBCUs and help them with any challenge they may have,” he said.

“One of the things I learned the hard way is that we have to connect with clients who can afford our services. As a small business owner, there are some challenges that you can’t fix at the time. I had to realize that you just can’t tackle every issue,” Parsons said.

While participants in 10,000 Small Businesses hail from a wide array of industries, they engage in the program from their shared experience as entrepreneurs.

Georgia alumni include firms focused on staffing, health and fitness, security, childhood education, senior care, and other industries.

Through the peer-to-peer learning environment, the participants focus on overcoming universal business challenges – like human resources, access to finance, and leadership.

“I learned that my gift was in nurturing relationships,” Parsons said. “But, I also learned that my weakness was that I needed to be a better master of the financials. I did not know initially that it was my weakness until I went through the program and it was a skill set that was honed in the Goldman Sachs program,” he said.

With an eye to the future, Parsons is ready to keep growing his business.

“After the sobering realization that we don’t have the financial strength to tackle every issue that I’d love to, I look forward to building our assets to the point where we can help solve some of the problems that currently we cannot.”

Business owners are invited to apply to the next cohort of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses before their upcoming deadline on November 2. Learn more at http://www.10ksbapply.com.

The plague of fake news is getting worse — here’s how to protect yourself

— It’s time for a new rule on the web: Double, no, triple check before you share. Especially if it seems too good to be true.

Why? Look no further than Donald Trump’s Twitter account. Trump claimed Sunday morning that “Twitter, Google and Facebook are burying the FBI criminal investigation of Clinton.”

Not only was there no proof of this, but it was pretty easy to disprove. The FBI email inquiry was at the top of Google News; FBI director James Comey’s name was at the top of Facebook’s “trending” box; and Twitter’s “moments” section had a prominent story about the controversy.

Nevertheless, Trump’s wrong-headed “burying” claim was his most popular tweet of the day. About 25,000 accounts retweeted it and almost 50,000 “liked” it, helping the falsehood spread far and wide.

The rise of social media has had many upsides, but one downside has been the spread of misinformation. Fake news has become a plague on the Web, especially on social networks like Facebook. As I said on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” on CNN, unreliable sources about this election have become too numerous to count.

So that’s what I recommended a “triple check before you share” rule.

New web sites designed to trick and mislead people seem to pop up every single day. For their creators, the incentives are clear: more social shares mean more page views mean more ad dollars.

But the B.S. stories hurt the people who read and share them over and over again. Many of these fakes reinforce the views of conservative or liberal voters and insulate them from the truth. The stories prey on people who want to believe the worst about the opposition.

A recent BuzzFeed study of “hyperpartisan Facebook pages” found that these pages “are consistently feeding their millions of followers false or misleading information.”

The less truthful the content, the more frequently it was shared — which does not bode well for the nation’s news literacy during a long, bitter election season.

“Right-wing pages were more prone to sharing false or misleading information than left-wing pages,” the BuzzFeed reporting team said.

On a few occasions, made-up or highly misleading stories have even snuck into Facebook’s “trending” box — a problem that the company says it is trying to address.

In a few cases, Trump aides and family members have themselves been duped by fake news stories, including a hoax version of ABC News with a story headlined “Donald Trump Protester Speaks Out: ‘I Was Paid $3,500 To Protest Trump’s Rally.'”

A close look at the web site reveals that it is not, in fact, the actual ABC News. But the site tricked Trump’s son Eric Trump in early October. “Finally, the truth comes out,” he tweeted, promoting a link to the bogus story.

As soon as I spoke about this on television on Sunday, CNN detractors filled my inbox with messages saying that CNN is the ultimate example of “fake news.”

But that’s a deliberate attempt to confuse the issue. Whatever faults CNN has, news organizations small and large try very hard to report the truth.

Fake news sites and Facebook feeds, on the other hand, traffic in misinformation. My sense is that there are three buckets of these sites:

1, Hoax sites with totally made-up news headlines that try to trick you;

2, Hyperpartisan sites that aren’t lying, per se, but are misleading, because they only share good news about your political party and bad news about the other party;

3, “Hybrids” that purposely mix a little bit of fact and then a lot of fiction.

These sites aren’t going away, so it’s up to Internet users to spot fake news and avoid spreading it.

Fact-checking sites like Snopes can help — they are devoted to ferreting out hoaxes and tricks.

Josh Stearns, a longtime media activist who now works at Democracy Fund, said newsrooms also have a role to play.

“Fact checking has taken center stage in this election, but newsrooms need to go beyond fact checking politicians statements and help debunk viral misinformation too,” he told me. “At a time when trust in media is at an all time low, journalists should call out these fake news stories and help citizens tell fact from fiction.”

Trump’s false claim about Google, Facebook and Twitter “burying” bad news about Clinton criticized what he called the “very dishonest media.” Ironically, he was using Twitter to blast Twitter.

Trump may have gotten the idea from an inaccurate Zero Hedge blog post alleging a “social media blackout.” The blog post contained false information. I asked the Trump campaign to provide a source for the wild claim, but no one has responded.