‘Time to Go’ – Public Schools for Black-and-Brown

Go Lean Commentary

Let’s understand the expectation:

“You emigrate from the Caribbean to the US – to New York City – to give your children – the next generation – a better opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; you automatically assume that the public schools will be excellent, above-average or at least acceptable”. – Book: Go Lean … CaribbeanPage 126.

Sorry to burst your bubble. But the reality is far different than the expectation.


This is the conclusion of the below article, that immigrant students are imperiled more than ordinary in the New York City’s schools. The prospects for the next generation may not be as bright as “you” had hoped. This undermines the whole premise of the “push and pull” for emigration in the first place. (“Push” refers to the societal defects in the Caribbean that moves people to want to get way; and “pull” factors refer to the impressions and perceptions that America is better).

That “pull” expectation was from before – 1970’s and 1980’s; see Anecdote in the Appendix below – but today the disposition in New York City’s schools is just dire. See the news article here:

Title: City finds most poverty-stricken or homeless public school students are Black, Hispanic
By: Ben Chapman and Lisa Colangelo
Black and Hispanic kids are more likely to face a variety of challenges in public classrooms, according to data the city Education Department released Tuesday.

The majority of students who were homeless or live in poverty are black or Hispanic, according to the report, which is mandated by the City Council.

About 24% of city students in kindergarten through eighth grade who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches in the 2015-2016 school year were African-American and 46% were Hispanic.

Additionally, about 33% of the K-8 students who live in temporary housing — which includes homeless shelters and those doubled up with friends and relatives — are black and 54% are Hispanic.

City Education Department officials said they have started a number of initiatives to make schools more diverse, including support for LGBT students, helping more black and Hispanic students apply to the city’s elite specialized high schools and encouraging high-performing schools to admit more low-income students.

But Mona Davids of the NYC Parents Union said the city is “skirting the issue of desegregating the city school system.”

“Encouraging schools isn’t enough,” she said. “There needs to be a top-down mandate.”
Source: New York Daily News; Posted November 2, 2016′ retrieved November 13, 2016 from: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/city-finds-black-hispanic-public-school-kids-hardships-article-1.2854566

This – the foregoing – is not the expectation that Caribbean immigrants had, but it is what it is! While this article relates to New York, the anecdotal experience is the same in urban communities across the US.

The majority population in the Caribbean member-states is Black and Hispanic, or more typically classified as Black-and-Brown. So this foregoing article is really referring to “us”, the Caribbean Diaspora living in the US. This strategy – emigrate for education sake – employed by previous Caribbean immigrants now needs a reality check.

The purpose of this commentary is to relate two strong points of contention:

  • Dissuade the high emigration rates of Caribbean citizens to the American homeland.
  • Encourage the Caribbean Diaspora to repatriate back to their ancestral homeland.

According to the foregoing article, emigrating to New York City (NYC) may be one step forward, two steps backwards. So this commentary asserts that it is easier for the Black-and-Brown populations in the Caribbean to prosper where planted in the Caribbean, rather than emigrating to foreign countries, like the United States, to foreign cities like NYC. This disposition applies to Caribbean students, yes, but to teachers as well; see the Appendix VIDEO below relating a consistent drama for imported-Caribbean teachers in NYC.

This commentary is the completion of the series from the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean, in consideration of reasons why the Diaspora should repatriate back to the Caribbean homeland. There was an original 3-part series, with these submissions:

  1.     Time to Go: Spot-on for Protest
  2.     Time to Go: No Respect for our Hair
  3.     Time to Go: Logic of Senior Immigration

Now, this new extension to the series considers the additional topics as detailed in this series as follows:

  1.     Time to Go: Marginalizing Our Vote
  2.     Time to Go: American Vices; Don’t Follow
  3.     Time to Go: Public Schools for Black-and-Brown

All of these commentaries relate to the Caribbean disposition in the United States. The Go Lean book (and movement) serves as a roadmap for the introduction of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU is set to optimize Caribbean society through economic, security and governing optimizations. Therefore the Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance – including empowerments for education – to support these engines.

The “push and pull” factors do imperil Caribbean life. We push our citizens out. Then the resultant effect is a brain drain and even more endangerment to our society: less skilled workers, less entrepreneurs, less law-abiding citizens, less capable public servants – we lose our best and leave the communities with the rest. This create a crisis.

cu-blog-vision-and-values-for-a-new-caribbean-photo-2The Go Lean roadmap posits that the entire Caribbean is in crisis now; so many of our citizens have fled for refuge in the US and other foreign countries, but the refuge is a mirage. The “grass is not necessarily greener on the other side”. Life in the US, in New York City for example, is definitely not optimized for the Caribbean’s Black-and-Brown. There is a challenge to reform and transform the community in the US; and there is a challenge to reform and transform the community in the Caribbean. It is easier to fix the Caribbean than to fix the American eco-system. It is Time to Go! Our Caribbean people can better prosper where planted in the Caribbean.

Rich, poor, middle-class …

The Go Lean book asserts that every community has poor people. The Caribbean has poverty; and the US has poverty. With the empowerments in the Go Lean roadmap, it will be easier to elevate from poverty in the Caribbean. Education is one such empowerment. The US still has some societal defects – racism for example – that are so imbrued that they are tied to the country’s DNA. As alluded to in the foregoing news article, segregation, de jure or de facto, is a deterrence to optimized educational opportunities. This is why the Go Lean movement posits that it is easier to effect change at home in the Caribbean, than in the foreign country of the US.

Education is key … in the Go Lean roadmap. We cannot effect an elevation from poverty to middle-class without education. Research by Economists have established that every additional year of schooling an individual increases their earnings by about 10%. This is a very impressive rate of return. The Go Lean book quotes these proven economic studies, showing the impact that additional years of education have had on individuals’ earning power (Page 258).  If the Caribbean Diaspora, the Black-and-Brown in New York City cannot get fair educational opportunities in New York, then we declare that it is “Time to Go“. We are hereby preparing for their return – fixing our defects – rebooting our education eco-system.

The Go Lean book posits that Caribbean stakeholders made many flawed education decisions in the past, both individually and community-wise. (Consider the example of Government grants, loans and scholarships for students that ended up never returning “home”). The vision of the CU is a confederation of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean to do the heavy-lifting of championing better educational policies. There is the structure of a separation-of-powers between CU agencies and the individual member-states.

The Go Lean roadmap provides turn-by-turn directions on how to reform the Caribbean education systems, economy, governance and Caribbean society as a whole. This roadmap admits that because the Caribbean is in crisis, this “crisis would be a terrible thing to waste”. As a planning tool, the roadmap commences with a Declaration of Interdependence, pronouncing the approach of regional integration (Page 12 & 14) as a viable solution to elevate the region’s educational opportunities:

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

Change has now come. The driver of this change is technology and globalization. Under the tenants of globalization, the Caribbean labor pool is a commodity; their talents are subject to the economic realities of supply-and-demand. The Go Lean book posits therefore that the governmental administrations of the region should invest in better education options, and as much technological education advances (like e-Learning) as possible, for its citizens. The bottom-line motive should be the Greater Good – “the greatest good for the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong – not profit nor emigration.

How exactly do we accomplish this goal? The book details those policies; and other ethos to adopt, plus the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to impact the education eco-system in the Caribbean region:

Foreword – Lean On Me Film – Inspiration for Educational Reform Page 5
Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments (ROI) Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship – Incubator Training Page 28
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Education Department Page 85
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Labor Department – On-the-Job-Training Oversight Page 89
Planning – Lessons from New York City Page 137
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Education Page 159
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 169
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Libraries Page 187
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Appendix – Education and Economic Growth Page 258
Appendix – Measuring Education with Standardized Testing Page 266

The subject of “pull” (from the “push and pull” dynamics) has been frequently blogged on in other Go Lean commentaries; as sampled here with these entries relating American “pull” factors:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8431 Bahamas Issued US Travel Advisory Citing Police Violence
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8202 Respect for Minorities: Lessons Learned from American Dysfunction
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8099 Caribbean Image: ‘Less Than’?
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7221 Street naming for Martin Luther King unveils the real America
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7204 ‘The Covenant with Black America’ – Ten Years Later
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6189 A Lesson in History – Hurricane ‘Katrina’ exposed a “Climate of Hate”
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5733 Better than America? Yes, We Can!
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5527 American Defects: Racism – Is It Over?
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5333 Racial Legacies: Cause and Effect
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=546 American Model: Book Review – ‘The Divide’ – … Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=273 10 Things We Don’t Want from the US: Racism against minorities

Underlying to the Go Lean/CU prime directive of elevating the economics, security and governing engines of the Caribbean, is the desire to make the Caribbean homeland, a better place to live, work and play. Saying that it is “Time to Go“, must mean that we are ready to receive our Caribbean Diaspora from New York City and other destinations. Are we ready, now?

As related previously: frankly, no …

… but we are ready, willing and able to start the change process, to reform and transform the Caribbean. This is the intent of the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This subject of improving the conditions for successful Caribbean repatriation has been blogged in previous Go Lean commentaries; as sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8530 Tired Waiting? Time to Reform & Transform the Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7151 The Caribbean is Looking for Heroes … ‘to Return’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5304 Mitigating the Eventual Abuse of Power

The Go Lean/CU roadmap asserts that America should not be presented as the panacea for all of the Caribbean ills – we must reform and transform our own society. While America does so many things right, the country acts poorly towards its Black-and-Brown citizens. Our people, the Black-and-Brown of the Caribbean, can expect more success from less effort in the Caribbean region than in the US, especially education-wise.

It is Time to Go … back home.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in for the empowerments described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This is the roadmap to elevate the Caribbean; to make our homeland a better place to live, work, learn and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix – Anecdote # 15 – Repatriated Resident: Pearline Anglin (Page 126)

Bold = Author

Pearline Anglin has returned to Jamaica after living abroad (New York City, United States) for over 35 years. Why leave NYC and go to Jamaica, when so many Jamaicans would rather emigrate to New York? Simple, she never envisioned spending her “golden” years in America. She is now retired and has to contend with all the challenges of growing old. In her mind there are challenges everywhere; she would rather face her challenges at “home” rather than be a constant “alien’ in a foreign land. At home, her accent does not set her apart; her preference for food and drink is common among all her neighbors and is consumed by everyone else. Most importantly, she has no unbearable winters to contend with.

So why leave when you have such an obvious love for your country/culture? Ms. Anglin intimated that her decision to emigrate was based on the need to give her children a better life, a better future. (She has 7 children, all of whom live in the US; plus an additional son that died as an infant). The children needed opportunities for education; such as would not require a large investment for private schools. She knew that the public education systems in the US were better than the public education  system in Jamaica. And then there were the economic realities. Ms. Anglin first emigrated to Canada, as it was easier to expatriate there. Then she returned to Jamaica for a short period. Her mother, now deceased, had US residency at this point and was able to sponsor Pearline, and then later Pearline sponsored her children. (The time apart from the children required that she remit monies back home, at least monthly, for their care).This started the flow of all the family “abandoning” their homeland. (Ms. Anglin has 2 siblings who also emigrated to the NYC area). To this day, her 7 children and 19 grand and great-grandchildren all live abroad.

How would you feel if your children or grandchildren decide to return to their Caribbean roots? Ms. Anglin revealed that while she feels “good” about a decision like that, there must be more to such a plan. They must prepare for such a return thoroughly, and responsibly; they would have to consider all aspects of life and living in the islands. She is not holding her breath.

How do you feel about Caribbean Security? Most disappointed – considering what life used to be like in Jamaica, she is troubled at the pervasive crime in or near the cities, like Montego Bay. As an older woman she has to live very cautiously, she does not go out at night and takes many other precautions. This is a beloved vision for her, where security would be more assured for Caribbean people. Other areas of concern for the future would include better health care facilities nearby so that she does not have to venture so far from her Black River area home (St. Elizabeth Parrish) to seek professional medical attention.

How do you feel about Caribbean Economy? Same as the economy in New York – recessions and economic downturns affect everyone. There are problems in Jamaica, there are problems too in the US. One cannot run away from economic challenges, rather one must equip themselves with the tools to compete, wherever they are.

Do you long for life back in the US? She really loved New York; but do not consider it an ideal lifestyle for the elderly. The hustle-and-bustle is perhaps too great!

Where do you consider to be the best place to live? For her considerations, there is no place like home, Jamaica.


Appendix VIDEO – Caribbean Teachers Treated Like ‘Indentured Servants’ by NYC Board of Education – https://youtu.be/kPmVuoH1xsQ

Uploaded on Apr 18, 2011 – Judith Hall, who heads the Association of International Educators and also teaches at Marie Curie High School in the Bronx, and Bertha Lewis from the Black Institute, an advocacy organization, voiced concerns on Monday’s “Inside City Hall” about what they call false promises by the Department of Education to Caribbean teachers.

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