Cosby’s Preventive Maintenance Plan




Just days after a deadlocked jury released Mr. Bill Cosby from criminal sexual assault charges, the news is that he plans to embark upon a national tour, a series of Town Hall events. First, who would come and would people pay, or would anyone attend at no cost at all? This man, a beloved iconic figure, with groudbreaking accomplishments under his career belt, is now rendered a ‘fallen son’. Though many of us, including myself, practically cut our teeth on this man’s comedy, movies and tv shows,  memories will forever be fond in our hearts. Unfortunately, whenever a wave of nostalgia comes over, as we contemplate Bill Cosby’s life and worldview altering impact, there will surely be an afterthought,”…BUT HE…”.

Having not be proven guilty of the sexual assault charges by a jury of his ‘peers’, the judge had no choice but to declare a mistrial….this time. What confuses me is that since so many women accusers have come forth with allegations of Cosby’s unethical sexual advances and assaults, I can’t understand what took so long to bring these women to the fore. I think that the impact would have been greater if the claims were made during the height of his career. He certainly commanded more celebrity power,  influence and his pockets were certainly fat[ter].

Most of these claims alleged that his misconduct occured at least 10 years ago. He was younger, not yet declared legally blind, and still a very viable commodity in Hollywood, in academia and probably politically, too.

Playing the devil’s advocate, if he spent so many years abusing female engenues, wouldn’t there have been rumors, gossip or some scuttlebutt around town, or among Hollywood insiders? And where were his friends at the time? His co-stars? People talk, and why weren’t there rumors that spread, or why was there never any coverage in the National Inquirer, Liz Smith or any other columnists…ever? Not a hint! No one is THAT good.

I am not doubting that this man had abused some of these women to some degree, male ego, a grab here or there??? Why not cry out afterwards or tell someone close to them, if not proceed to the nearest police station to restore their faith in justice or defend their rights as women to say ‘no’ and lucid when they do so? I understand the inner turmoil they must have felt and the wavering feelings of self-blame and self-defense. I understand that there must have been fear that people would not believe, would cast doubt and blame the victim, and the feelings of shame. A strong, intelligent woman would not allow that to happen. She must have done something to provoke the actions. There could have been responses from others that would mimic their disappointment in her, not him.

He could have forewarned them by reminding them that they were doing drugs, and who would believe them once that was discovered. He could have reminded each one that he has influence and power and it would be his word against hers. Who would believe a relative unknown, powerless female against the word of America’s favorite father and great philanthropist, too. All of these scenarios are possible, maybe even probable. Yet, that still doesn’t explain why more than 40 women didn’t come forth separately, and years ago. The laws of probability says that out of 40, at least 5 women would step forward, take to the streets and the court of popular opinion to raise ‘holy hell’. Damn the celebrity!

Now, though, Cosby is older, not bringing in the bucks and quite frankly, doesn’t have too many more years to be among us. Could it be the money card? Now that these women have found each other, are they looking for a paycheck, because at his age, what good would it do to place him in jail? He is already a prisoner within his mind, because of the loss of vitality, popularity, and his former appeal has been limited to older women. He is a grandfather, but with an awesome and rich legacy to be left behind. Would anyone really sentence him to prison, should a guilty verdict ever be delivered?

Bill Cosby’s guilt has not been proven, nor has his innocence. So, his next move for now is to travel and teach young men  to avoid being the subject of charges of sexual assault or harassment. On the surface, a good idea. Deeper – the worst idea of the century!

All in all, Bill Cosby has been America’s most famous doctor, tv dad, and now he has become the target of some personal vendetta. He may have pissed off someone who asked a favor of his ‘influence’ to help open doors, launch a project, loan money to which he refused. Feelings were hurt and here we are now.

Or, there is another theory…the historically- systematic character assassinations and the targeted destruction of charismatic,  successful and positive men of color, whose otherwise unblemished life and legacy will not be allowed to be written as such. Limit positive black male role models and limit potential  of young black men to follow suit or believe it is possible for them to live productively. Don’t change the narrative!

Listen, we all are human, and ‘he without sins…’. But this man has been an activist, a philanthropist beyond any level to which we are aware. He has been a consummate family man, in his professional life. No ‘blue’ humor! No blue movies! It is unimaginable as to the millions, maybe billions that he made for the NBC network, not to mention JELLO brand. Cartoons, based on his life with family and friends during his growing years! This man was mocked by comedians about his dislike of profanity used on stage. He was the picture of ‘family’ values. Research his giving, donations, and causes he supported…all positive!

My cousin attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut with one of his daughters, or it was his son, Ennis. I forget, but all girls, one boy and he died. One wife, and she is still there. It is just hard to believe that the way Hollywood gossips, that when he was Numero Uno salaried artist who, by the way, launched many careers, he was not ‘de-throned’ when it would have had maximum impact.

Perhaps, it is just my own prejudice for what he did to challenge narratives and debunk negative stereotypes of the black family in America. Long before ABCs ‘Black-ish, which I absolutely love for both its humor and the subtle messages they deliver each week, there was Bill Cosby. No matter the ‘questionable’ allegations, he will always be the African-American role model who instrumentally became the change many wish to see. Noteworthy, not newsworthy or notorious, but a  benevolent man who enjoyed a very private celebrity in an industry where privacy is rarely enjoyed. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Bill Cosby, our ‘Dr. Huxtable’!


Common Myths About Dyscalculia and Math Learning Disabilities

What is dyscalculia? Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability in math. Kids with dyscalculia may have difficulty understanding number-related concepts or using symbols or functions needed for success in mathematics.

It’s not as well known or understood as dyslexia. But some experts believe it’s just as common. Experts don’t yet know for sure if dyscalculia is more common in girls or in boys. But most agree it’s unlikely that there’s any significant difference.

Dyscalculia goes by many names. Some schools refer to it as a mathematics learning disability. Doctors sometimes call it a mathematics disorder. You may even hear kids and parents call it math dyslexia. (The term math dyslexia can be misleading, though Dyscalculia and dyslexia are not the same.)

They often don’t understand quantities or concepts like biggest vs. smallest. They may not understand that the numeral 5 is the same as the word five. (These skills are sometimes called number sense.)

Kids with dyscalculia also have trouble with the mechanics of doing math, such as being able to recall math facts. They may understand the logic behind math, but not how or when to apply what they know to solve math problems.

Who says dyscalculia isn’t common?

Here are five common myths about dyscalculia—and the facts to debunk them.

Source: Common Myths About Dyscalculia and Math Learning Disabilities

Now That Parents Came to School, What Do We Do With Them?

Parenting takes a lot of skill and patience and is always a ‘work in progress’. The social skills, cognitive potential, and behavioral functioning that a child acquires during the earliest years are fundamentally dependent on the quality of their interactions with their parents.  Equally important is the quality of interactions between school staff, teachers, and parents of student learners in pk-12 education settings.

Historically, most of the education was the task of parents and the rest of the family. Before the establishment of compulsory education, parents were expected to assume full responsibility for the upbringing of their children, including their formal education. The latter is now a primary responsibility of the school. It was left to parents as to whether their children were formally educated or not. It is now recognized that formal education and schools can’t do it alone, and we are realizing the importance of parents and the cooperation with them as, also, one of the responsibilities of the school.

A recent study found that bad parenting can be passed on to the next generations in the family. The more unpleasant the parent’s childhood was, the more likely their children’s will be troubled, as well. Most programs that aim to enhance parenting skills are typically geared towards mothers, even though research has shown that when fathers are actively involved in their child’s lives, children are less disruptive and better adjusted. Parenting skills programs still target mothers.

Schools are the perfectly suited 21st Century setting for parenting education, since all parents have some connection to schools and for a number of years. However, relations between home and school leave much to be desired. It can be said that ‘parent education’ is not necessarily the approach as much as is ‘cooperation’ with parents in education. Either way, parents have so much to learn about schools and also child development. Educators, likewise, have much to learn about their students, the home and the diversity of families.

Parents need to know how their interactions with their children affect their development. Most people will tend to create the types of families they grew up in, and many unhealthy patterns are continued. Families need support in order to maintain healthy status. They are not always able to create a healthy atmosphere that contributes to a healthy family. They may need help from the outside, and school programs can offer information and opportunities to learn new skills, techniques and parenting strategies. Interpersonal skills, communication and coping strategies can be introduced, modeled and practiced as parts of parenting support and education programs. Academic related strategies are not all that we wish for parents whose children attend our schools.

The comprehensive growth and development that embodies the ‘whole’ child approach, is not limited to 8am-3pm Monday-Friday, but encompasses a child’s lived experiences 24/7. Therefore, parents must be involved in the learning that takes place in school settings, and educators at school must be involved in the learning that takes place in the community and home environment. ‘Involved’ does not imply that we get ‘all up in people’s business’ or try to control what happens at home, or dictate to parents the ‘right’ way to do their jobs. Instead, we collaborate in partnership and connect with parents to align with similarly congruent purposes-to rear a well-adjusted child whose growth and development is optimized by healthy, supportive and safe environments-at home and at school.

We help parents to be the best versions of themselves, encourage children to grow into the best versions of themselves, and commit ourselves to being effective communicators and culturally proficient professional educators.

What do we do with parents once they’ve come to school?  We educate for when parent education works, parents have the information to be a good parent, and develop more confidence in their roles as parents.

Parents have the power to create change, and should be seen as the most important contributors to bringing about long-term change in children.

We can teach parents how to reduce the impact of marital conflicts, or ‘baby mama drama’ on their children and how to create a non-adversarial environment. How a child responds to behavioral redirection from a parent depends on what they think about that parent, whether they see the parent as involved in their life, and if they believe that the parent really cares about what he/she is doing. We wish to improve not only the child’s behavioral problems but any maladaptive patterns of interactions within the family.

All parent education efforts and programming initiatives have benefits for parents, schools, communities, and most importantly the children, who themselves are so very dependent upon the quality experiences within each environments. Cumulatively, the impact, positive and negative, influences, and contributes to the comprehensive development, and life trajectory of youth.

“June-teenth” Anyone???

On this day, June 19, 1865, the lawful practice of slavery in these United States of America was officially abolished, terminated, never-more. This is a very important day in our national history, but you can almost bet that very, very few people know the meaning-the significance- of this date in the lives of not only people of color, African-Americans, but it is a symbolic date for all Americans.

We all are aware that  holding African people in bondage was a practice of the  grossly inhumane treatment of people of color, Africans, then African-Americans, from the very founding of this nation. To date,  we remain a nation unwilling to reflect, examine, reconcile or teach about this major part of U.S. history. Yes, we do teach about slavery, pre-Civil War era in our nation’s K-12 public and private schools, but we spend a yearly average of one 40-minute instructional period fully devoted to this part of our nation’s past.

We neglect to tell children, at critical ages in their development and before their worldviews are rigidly formed, about the most horrible sins committed in this country. Yet, we explore, in great depth, the cruelties, genocide, and the inhumanities of other countries against its own people or other human beings. Our versions are cloaked under the umbrella of religious beliefs or political ideologies to explain the rise of ‘terrorism’ and ‘radicalization’ of their citizenry. Quite the irony, though! According to news sources and political propaganda, the internal strife within foreign nations have existed maybe 50 years, at best.

Our inhumane treatment of other human beings, our citizenry, 1/4 citizenry, persisted more than 246 years. That is generation upon generation of the practices, policies, procedures,, and perspectives, which, by now, are deeply entrenched in this nation’s collective sub-conscious. By the way, in the state of Texas, for example, post Civil War, they continued to enslave blacks for at least three years. After the Emancipation Proclamation was officially signed, it wasn’t until two years that ‘slaves’ were freed. That is but one such example of the refusal to relinquish such powers over others; a way of life. Entitlement?

Before the 1st draft of our U.S. Constitution, upon which we still rely, and are governed by, there were enslaved humans in America. When the pilgrims arrived on this soil, as political refugees, explorers and immigrants, they brought the 1st Africans with them. They were not met with savages as some wanted others to believe. They encountered indigenous peoples already living and inhabiting the country. In 1865, slavery was no longer a legally sanctioned practice in the slave holding states, but the practice did not end there, on that very day or in that same year.

In the minds of many whites, they became entitled to ‘own’ people as property. They had learned that in order to detach themselves from emotions, or empathy for these people, they had to convince themselves and everyone else that those practices were not wrong or cruel at all. Thus was borne negative imagery, stereotypes, and segregation, etc…. As we progressed a few more generations, people began to acknowledge some of those policies, rights and practices, decreed in our founding documents that impacted people at all levels of society,  were designed in preservation of the ‘acquired’ entitlement, privilege, and dehumanization of blacks was immensely wrong, self-serving and sinful.

Pseudo-scientific research was provided to slave-owners and whites in general, and even though free people, there was still resentment of these persons who no longer had to ‘obey’ as subservient pieces of property, and the cessation of  free labor. I compare the subsequent actions, and residual discontentment with progress to a child who lost a former friend, and now that this person left, they wanted to prevent anyone else from becoming friends. So, what kids do is they ‘bad-mouth’ that person-everywhere they went to prevent happiness, and make themselves feel better. Also, in the back of their minds is the hopes for their misery to bring their return. But, it doesn’t happen! This brought more anger, and so there was an escalation- laws like Jim Crow, voting restrictions, and a host of others.

Here we are with unacknowledged, untaught, misunderstood HIS-story in the 21st Century, and there is divisiveness to no end. What happens when you grow accustomed to a certain way of life, a way of looking at life, and others, is that when things begin to change, we will often resist. It is not an easy challenge to exercise bravery and confront mistakes and then actually change that which goes against the very things we inherently understand are wrong. We make excuses, we pretend we don’t see it, we look to someone else should there be fault.

June-teenth is a significant day for the U.S., on par with The 4th of July. Independence day, yes! Independent of remnants, not yet! America has never been great, except at bullying and hood-winking others whom they quietly consider ‘inferior’, until the goals are met. At that point, friendship, camaraderie and supportive intent disappears. I love our nation, but we must take an honest look at ourselves, and try to take a look from someone else’s perspective in relation to that which we consider ‘different’ or ‘diversity’. Fortunately, we can get there. We can be great, but honesty precedes greatness.

It won’t be easy, but anything worth having is usually not very easy, simple or uncomplicated. We are worth it, we can and must cultivate the empathy required to broaden perspectives, reflect, revise, and reimagine the values upon which this nation was founded. With the sincere desire for a peaceful tomorrow, we must fully examine yesterday and begin the work today.

Our children don’t have to repeat the mistakes we have made, because we all do. In order that they learn to act, believe and relate to one another differently, we will demonstrate to them exactly what the mistakes were, whom they harmed, how we have covered them up, and then they will better understand how to avoid them. We can end the cycle, and start when they are young. Teach age-appropriate truths,  no omission of cause and effect in any aspect of life impacted by human beings. Cultivate compassion and empathy, and out of these emotions comes tolerance, respect and appreciation of the historic symbolism of June-teenth in America.

Intent, impact; cause, effect.

Bring Juneteenth to school!