Eric Mahmoud

Recent Articles

Generation Next tackles the achievement gap

Some educators feel left out of the conversation
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Solving current educational problems over the years, especially the achievement and opportunity gaps for Blacks and other students of color in the Twin Cities, has been attempted many times in some form or another with mixed results. However, leaders of “a powerful coalition” last week announced a multi-faceted plan that, if successful, could make a much-needed difference. Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak last Monday — exactly a week before the new school year begins in Minneapolis and two weeks before St. Paul schools open — stood behind the podium at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs and unveiled “an aggressive, comprehensive plan” by Generation Next, a local organization that he now heads. Target Corporation has consented to grant $1.1 million to Generation Next for this initiative. Continue Reading →

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H.I.T returns

The H.I.T is back after an extended break. I and the majority of the investigators took sometime off to bring the next generation into this world, but we are back now. First I want everyone to read Jerry Freeman’s book In a Kick-Ass Sentimental Mood. The book is a very good read. I was initially scared to read it when I saw that it was over 700 pages long, but I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was and how it stayed true to Jerry’s social justice ideology. Continue Reading →

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Clearly, Black Americans can succeed at anything

 

 

To all of you feeding your children that fib that we are inferior to White people and will never be successful, please stop the madness. I was talking to someone last night who told me the reason we (African Americans) cannot succeed is because since slavery we have been told this over and over again. According to this person, we have been told that we are inferior and will never amount to anything and will always be inferior to White America. I take offense to that because my mother never got that memo. I don’t know why people buy into this propaganda, but please speak for yourself. Continue Reading →

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Hiring, retaining more teachers of color urged by MPS superintendent

 

 
Some see ‘bold leadership’ in her proposals prior to union negotiations

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent Dr. Bernadeia Johnson is asking the community to support her new district priorities that “will be a significant, real and challenging shift for our schools and students.”

A key component of this shift that Johnson impassionedly unveiled May 13 at Hennepin Country Central Library in downtown Minneapolis is establishing “an innovative partnership zone.”

“Schools will own critical decisions, like hiring the people that best match the needs of students,” explained Johnson, who noted that separate contracts will be arranged with the teachers at these schools, which the district will identify during the 2013-14 school year and begin implementing in 2014-15. Other key components include:

• Recruiting and hiring more Black teachers and other teachers of color: “Our youth must see themselves reflected in the adults who are working with them on a daily basis,” Johnson said. “We need more quality teachers and staff members who look like the students they serve.”

• Extending the school day, and partnering with local businesses and community groups “for extended and wrap-around services… We want our schools to become community hubs that are open to learners of all ages and whose lives call for educational opportunities beyond the school day…” stated Johnson. Northside Achievement Zone head Sondra Samuels and Harvest Prep School President Eric Mahmoud were among the estimated 250 persons who attended the May 13 invitation-only meeting. Both spoke approvingly of Johnson’s plans after the presentation. Continue Reading →

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‘Fierce urgency’ stressed at MLK Breakfast

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, told nearly 2,000 people attending the 23rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast January 21, “We need to wake up.” 

Specifically, she urged the sold-out audience at the Minneapolis Convention Center and the live TV audience watching on TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) to wake up to the consequences of failing to improve the educational disparities that pose dangerous implications for the future of our country: “Will the United States be a beacon or a blip in history? “We need to recognize that we have to invest now,” Edelman said, “and invest with urgency and with persistence so that we can give every child a chance to be able to function, work and contribute in this very complex, changing world and economy.”

A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman began her career in the mid-1960s when, as the first African American woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. In 1968, she moved to Washington, D.C. as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. In 1973 she founded the Children’s Defense Fund. Under her leadership, it has become one of the United States’ strongest advocates for children and families. Continue Reading →

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Pastor celebrates 50 years of ministry

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Alphonse Reff, Sr. accepted the call to ministry in 1962. “I thought I could do some other things other than [being a minister],” admits the reverend, adding that ever since he took “a whipping from God, He whipped me into shape, and for 50 years I’ve been trying to tell the whole story.”

Both the community and his church, Wayman A.M.E. Church, where Reff has pastored for nearly 30 years, and others helped celebrated his 50 years in ministry during a three-day celebration last September. He received proclamations from both Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak among the best wishes expressed to both him and his wife Janice, who he married in 1963. “He has been a leader in the community for years now, and we are just grateful to see folk coming out and recognizing his leadership,” noted Rev. James Moody of Chicago. “It was just my honor to be here, to this great celebration and gathering with these wonderful people,” said AME Senior Bishop John R. Bryant, who was the featured speaker at a service given by the St. Continue Reading →

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Harvest Prep’s finances are solid, its leadership strong

 

 

By Shana Ford

Guest Commentator 

 

I am a parent of Best Academy students. I have more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, and I am the board chair of Harvest Preparatory School. You may be aware that on Saturday, August 25 reporter Steve Brandt of the Star Tribune wrote his fifth in a series of negative articles about Eric Mahmoud and Harvest Preparatory School (Harvest Prep). The only new news in Saturday’s article is that a Notice of Deficiency (Notice) was delivered from Harvest Prep’s authorizer, Audubon Center of the North Woods (ACNW), to Harvest Prep’s Board of Directors on Thursday, August 23, questioning the financial management of the school. I am writing to assure you that the school is well-managed, and to ensure that you have a few additional facts. The first thing you should know is that Harvest Prep went through an extensive and rigorous annual site visit by ACNW on February 12, 2012. Continue Reading →

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