Showing posts from March, 2010

It is Time to End the Insanity of our Nation’s Drug Laws

Back in the early 80s, when I was still in high school, I was asked if I wanted to sell drugs by two kids I knew who lived in the Brewster-Douglass Homes public housing projects. It was not the first time – nor would it be the last time – I was asked about getting into the drug game. It would have been easy to become a drug dealer. I lived only two blocks from the Brewster-Douglass Homes, at the time, the largest, and one of the most dangerous, housing projects in the city of Detroit, a place where out-in-the-open drug dealing was easy to find and easy to get involved in. Brewster-Douglass was actually two housing projects. The Brewster Homes, the nation's first federally funded public housing development for blacks, were completed in 1941. The Fredrick Douglass Homes were built between 1942 and 1952. The combined housing projects were five city blocks long and three city blocks wide. At their peak, somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 people lived in them. During the 1970s, when I


Ever since the publication in 1966 of sociologist James S. Coleman report Equality of Educational Opportunity , there has been a raging debate about how to close the racial gap in educational achievement. Coleman's report ignited a firestorm of controversy. Using data from over 600,000 students and teachers across the country, Coleman and his team of researchers concluded that academic success was related more to the social composition of the school, the student's sense of control of his environment and future, the verbal skills of teachers, and the student's family background, than to the quality of the student's school. The researcher's most controversial finding, and the one that most policy makers and the media focused on, was that Black students do better in racially integrated setting. By the mid-1970s, however, after a decade of intense opposition to busing by White parents and White flight to the suburbs to avoid school integration, Coleman concluded in anot