(26) Tue 17 Dec 96 13:13 By: Don Martin Re: Our tax dollars at work Here is an item of int

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(26) Tue 17 Dec 96 13:13 By: Don Martin Re: Our tax dollars at work Here is an item of interest from the New Republic of Dec 30, 1996, page 6: the TRB column on why taxpayer funding of private education may not be in the best interests of a democracy. Should you suppose that this is a problem only local to DC, I would point out that U.S. taxpayers at large support the antics of local government of Our Nation's Capitol each and every year. Dangerous minds On August 13, 1996, the Board of Education in Washington voted unanimously to approve an application from Mary A. Anigbo to open the Marcus Garvey Public Charter School. A charter school is an oxymoron, a private school that is funded with public money--in the case of the Garvey school, District residents pay $4,000 to $6,000 per student. This year, its first in operation, the Garvey school has 62 students and will receive up to $372,000 of the taxpayers' money. The board's decision to establish the Garvey school was remarkable in that the board seemed not to have the slightest idea what it was establishing. Anigbo, a self-described "clinician, psycho-education, consultant" proposed, vaguely, to create an Afrocentric school that would require students to wear military-style fatigues and would offer instruction in such matters as "Cultural Family Retardation" and "The Destruction of Black Civilization." The board noted that it did not know: what this description of the curriculum actually meant; what Anigbo's qualifications were; "what controls, financial supervision, curricular supervision, etc. are in place;" and whether "this publicly funded charter school is employing sound practices and using non-ideological, non-polemical and non-proselytizing curricular materials." The board granted its blessing anyway. Let a hundred flowers bloom. On December 3, the board members found out what kind of place they had established. On that day, a reporter for The Washington Times, Susan Ferrechio, went to the Garvey school for a story on its progress. While waiting for Anigbo, Ferrechio briefly interviewed a student. A school secretary demanded that Ferrechio show her the notepad. She refused. Mary Anigbo, accompanied by four young males, apparently students, attempted to wrest the notepad from the reporter's hands. Ferrechio resisted. A group that included the secretary and seven to eight students attacked Ferrechio, pushing and pulling at her. The assailants hit and kicked the repeatedly. The principal grabbed the notepad and, with the rest of the mob, began pushing Ferrechio out of the school. They yelled racial taunts at her, including warnings to get her "white ass out of this school." At the door, the mob picked Ferrechio up and pushed her out. Within two hours, Ferrechio returned to the school with two police officers, a black Times reporter named Barrington Salmon and a white Times photographer named Cliff Owen. Inside, Owen began taking pictures of the secretary. Principal Anigbo and other adults attacked the photographer. When the police attempted to intervene, the attackers (including Anigbo's nephew, Calvin L. Gatlin, a security guard at the school) scuffled with police. Again, Ferrechio and Owen were subjected to racial taunts. This account is based on the assertions of Ferrechio, Owen, Salmon and the police officers, as reported in The Washington Times and elsewhere. Anigbo has offered a disputing account. She claims that Ferrechio stole a notepad off a counter and refused to return it, that Ferrechio hit Anigbo in the chest and grabbed her arm, that Anigbo's students naturally tried to de- fend her, that Ferrechio shouted racial insults at the students, telling them that she was going to "get you black people out of that building," that Ferrechio threatened the students with a knife and a can of mace. But Anigbo's account was unbelievable on its face, and was made more so by revelations this week that (1) Anigbo was, in 1986, charged with assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a deadly weapon after she attacked two female process servers with a knife (slashing one) and a small log; and (2) Anigbo's nephew, Garvey security guard Gatlin, was convicted in 1978 of armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon (a gun), in 1984 of armed robbery, in 1989 of possession of cocaine and in 1995 of attempted unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. After this incident, several predictable things happened. The national media showed little interest in the story. The Washington Post has played the story mostly inside, made no real effort to ascertain the truth of what happened, and generally treated the disputing accounts of what happened as morally and logically equal. As of December 9, none of the three major network newscasts had run a piece, nor had The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tnbune or The Wall Street Journal. Also predictably, black political racialists have rallied behind Anigbo, blaming the whole thing on white people and raising the usual spectre of mob violence. In a rally on December 6, Anigbo was joined by the Reverend Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., one of the organizers of the Million Man March and Malik Zulu Shabazz, a young man who achieved notoriety at a Nation of Islam rally in 1994 in which he roused the crowd with a Jew-hiting call and answer session: "Who is it that controls the media and Hollywood?" "Jews! Jews!" "Who is that has been spying on black leaders and spying on Martin Luther King and set up his death?" "Jews! jews!" What has not happened so far in the Garvey school affair is what most obviously should happen. There has not been much of a hue or cry against the whole idea of charter schools. This is odd, because the Garvey school affair demonstrates everything that has always been wrong with the idea. Charter schools, and similar ideas like the use of vouchers to pay for tuition in private schools, enjoy support from the right and the left for essentially the same reason. Conservatives like charter schools because they think the schools' autonomy will allow the teaching once again of conservative virtues--old-fashioned education, discipline, religious instruction. The race-and-gender left likes charter schools because autonomy will allow the teaching of its values: Afro- centric schools for blacks and feminist schools for girls and so on. And this bi-ideological popularity is, as the Garvey case shows, exactly why such things as charter schools and school voucher programs cannot in the end succeed. A pluralistic society cannot sustain a scheme in which the citizenry pays for a school but has no influence over how the school is run. (And there really is no difficult.) Public money is shared money, and it is to be used for the furtherance of shared values, in the interest of e pluribus unum Charter schools and their like are definitionally antithetical to this American promise. They take from the pluribus to destroy the unum. If you say that the taxpayers should support the Little Sisters of the Poor to run their private school as they see fit, without any real oversight by the elected representatives of the taxpayers, you must also say that we should pay for Mary A.T. Anigbo to run a place where black children learn that white people are their enemies, and act accordingly. MICHAEL KELLY ... Through a Jaundiced Eye Darkly--Rheum With a View (don.martin@mbbs.com) * Origin: Nerve Center - Source of the SPINAL_INJURY echo!

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