Sunday, January 30, 2011


I will let this YouTube video say it all. There simply is NO comparison!
Any questions?


By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            When the Republican-led Wake County School Board came out of its 50-minute closed door session with it attorneys Tuesday morning, it was clear that the majority had a dramatic “come to Jesus” moment.
            By a 6-2 vote, which included two of the GOP majority, the board did a 180, and agreed to cooperate with a probe conducted by the school accreditation agency AdvancEd, a probe that just two weeks ago, it fought against tooth and nail. Two of the board’s hardcore conservatives - Chris Malone and Deborah Prickett - still believed that telling AdvancEd to get lost was the proper course, even if it meant putting the accreditation of 24 Wake high schools at risk, and ultimately making the hard earned high diplomas of the system’s graduating seniors virtually worthless to college officials.
But after two weeks of being on the business end of some horrible national publicity - starting with damning Washington Post article alleging that the Wake School Board’s Republicans were backed by the right-wing Tea Party movement, followed by a stinging rebuke by US Education Secretary Arne Duncan for the board’s dismantling of its student socioeconomic diversity policy, and finally culminating in the “reading, ‘ritin and resegregation” mockery of the school board by comedian Stephen Colbert’s on Comedy Central last week, it was clear that, for now, a “no mas” surrender stance was more politically appropriate.
            And make no mistake, just as the previous decision to battle AdvancEd with angry, nasty diatribes to stave off an investigation prompted by a NCNAACP racial bias complaint last year was purely political - with board Chairman Ron Margiotta and his faithful lieutenant John Tedesco both alleging that AdvancEd was actually being used as a “weapon” by the NCNAACP to bring down the board - the practical decision, and subsequent 6-2 vote, with Tedesco and fellow Republican Debra Goldman joining the board’s four Democrats in going forward in cooperating with the probe, was also about politics.
            Five school board seats - the four Democrats and Margiotta’s  Apex-Cary school district - are up for re-election this fall. The stakes are high because, in addition, this is the year that redistricting takes place, meaning that the district lines will be redrawn by the board’s Republican majority.
            There is little doubt, observers note, that board Republicans will redraw lines to increase their power, and weaken who they readily call “the opposition,” namely their Democratic colleagues. But all of that will be for naught if, in the process, Chairman Margiotta and company can be tagged with making a mess of a school system - including deaccreditation by AdvancEd; negative findings by US Dept. of Education on two civil rights complaints; falling student achievement numbers in the face of growth and capacity challenges; tough budget considerations in the face of at least a $100 million shortfall; and continued and unrelenting negative press both local and national press outlets.
            In addition, the system’s new superintendent, Anthony Tata, is expected to be in place as on next Monday, January 31. The former US Army Brigadier General’s presence brings an additional set of challenges, namely can an accomplished top military man, with only 19 months educational experience, successfully manage the 18th largest school system in the nation with his bosses at each other’s throats, and the nation closely watching for the next misstep.
            And can Tata control his alter ego, namely “A.J. Tata,” the military novelist who loves Tea Party favorites Glen Beck and Sarah Palin, and despises Pres. Barack Obama as “an empty suit” who “is not fully vested in the security of this nation?”
            The moment Supt. Tata steps in front of a Fox News TV camera, or writes a scurrilous and inaccurate diatribe against the president on a right-wing blog, that will only add fuel to the already blazing fire under the Wake School Board.
            It might also excite the board’s conservative base of supporters, it also could outrage the board’s considerable opposition.
            If anything, the concession to stop publicly hassling with AdvancED may be just a tactic to slow things down, cool things off, and try to take the thus far intense focus off the board. But the closer the fall school board elections get, the more we can expect the board’s Republicans to actively and openly attack their Democratic colleagues.
            The goal - to claim an absolute, impenetrable  majority on the board, to continue the stated agenda of establishing community-based neighborhood schools, and perhaps, the racial resegregation of schools that the board’s opponents fear.

CASH IN THE APPLE for Jan. 28, 2011

KEITH - I humbly confess to being one of Keith Olbermann’s biggest fans. His “Countdown” program on MSNBC was a definite staple at 8 p.m. most nights of the week I wasn’t bogged down with work. His keen insight, bold “Special Comments” and childlike humor, especially his trademark, “Worst Person in the World” segments, easily made me a devoted viewer.
            But more than that, as a journalist, I was drawn to Olbermann’s extraordinary abilities as a writer and an interviewer. Keith didn’t fool around in those areas, especially areas he cared deeply about.
            That’s why, when he and MSNBC decided mutually to have nothing else to do with each other, it was bittersweet. We all knew, given the drama there was between Keith and MSNBC management after eight long years, that something was soon going to give, especially with the upcoming acquisition of NBC-Universal by Comcast.
            But at the same time, MSNBC biggest star by far, Keith Olbermann, deserved to leave better than late on a Friday night.
            News reports have it that, by agreement, Olbermann cannot appear on television, nor can he say anything about what transpired in his leaving MSNBC, for at least six months.
            But make no mistake. We’ll be hearing an earful from Keith a year from now.
            Count down on it!
OSCARS - Well, unless I missed it, I didn’t see any black actors or actresses nominated for any Academy Awards this year (I’ll stand corrected if you’re aware of any).
            To be fair, I’m not aware of any outstanding performances by African-Americans in cinema last year, not because there weren’t any, but because I didn’t go to the movies very much. My bad. I wait for the DVD to come out. Sue me.
            Indeed, 98 percent of the films that are nominated for “Best Picture” I haven’t seen yet. I say 98% because I haven’t seen “Inception” with Leonardo DiCaprio, but I did purchase the Blu-ray just last week. So by the time the Oscars roll around, hopefully I will have seen it.
            If you’ve noticed, a British film, “The King’s Speech,” has taken top honors with twelve Oscar nominations, followed by the remake of  “True Grit” with ten.
            “Inception” and “The Social Network” both have eight a piece.
            Gee, at least “Iron Man 2” got one nominations for Best Visual Effects. I want to pull for something.
            IGNORANT HATE - Last week was a difficult one for me because Wednesday, Jan. 19th, was the second anniversary of my mother’s death.
            But what made that day, and the rest of the week for that matter, even worse, was listening to the “Rick and Donna Martinez Show” on right-wing conservative talk radio station 680 WPTF-AM in Raleigh (
            It was the morning after Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central went after the Republicans on the Wake County School Board and their continuing efforts to end student diversity.
            You guessed it, Rick and Donna didn’t like Colbert’s sharp satire portraying the Wake School Board Republicans as a bunch of backwards-looking bumpkins (and that’s being kind, trust me).
            Understandable. Both are committed conservatives. Donna and I used to work together over at NBC-17 TV  doing the “At Issue” program for a few years. She is sharp, well-read, and does her homework. Donna always kept me on my toes with my arguments.
            Rick is not only the co-host of the show, but the news director of WPTF. And, he writes a column for the News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh.
            Both are conservative right-wingers, yes, but also nice people.
            That is, until now.
            A black caller named “Abe” (and I know who he really is), called to get in on the conversation about the Colbert show, and also the defensive counterpoint by both Rick and Donna that the comedian should have been talking about the poor graduation rate of economically disadvantage students a year ago (54%), and how diversity, in their opinion, failed to properly teach students of color in the system before the Republican-dominated school board came on.
            To set the record straight, under socioeconomic diversity, Wake County Schools delivered student achievement rates of 91.5 at or above grade proficiency of grades 3 through eight overall, and 81 percent for black and Hispanic students in the system in 2003.
            Those numbers made Wake County Public Schools the star of the academic world. Everyone from Forbes Magazine to the New York Times raved about the system’s success. The conservatives counter that it was all a fraud and meaningless because the state achievement tests then were real easy and no challenge at all.
            Let’s say what the righties say is true. Doesn’t matter. Wake County repeatedly came in first at the time out of the state’s 115 school districts. Even when the state tests were re-normed (toughened), Wake still came in first overall, even though the grades of black and Hispanic students began to plateau.
            And it’s real convenient how the conservatives never give the real reason why black and Hispanic student achievement began to plummet around 2005-06. Wake’s success brought about tremendous growth as families across the nation moved here for the great school system they had been hearing about.
            The growth became the number one issue for the system, which was already doing a lot with far less funding that comparable schools systems (like Charlotte-Mecklenburg, which was getting tens of millions more, and failing its black students like crazy).
            Wake School administrators admittedly took their eyes off the student achievement ball in order to deal with the growth, and things began to slide downhill big time.
            And yes, a Republican-led Wake County Commissioners in 2005 refused to give the school system the ample funding it needed to deal with the ballooning growth effectively.
            Thus, the poor achievement of black and Hispanic students from 2006 to today.
            The conservatives don’t tell THAT story. They can’t. It would explain too much; wouldn’t give them the easy target they’ve had of using the academic struggles of black and economically disadvantaged students for political fodder.
            Just like they did during the school board races of 2009 to take control.
            So what does the Rick and Donna Martinez Show on Jan. 19th have to do with all of this?
            As I indicated, on that morning, a black caller named “Abe” got on during Rick and Donna’s denunciation of Stephen Colbert’s stinging satire on the Wake School Board.
            Abe wanted to make clear that despite the low achievement scores of recent years for black students, black parents historically have valued education, and still do.
            That’s when the outrageous and ridiculous happened.
            Rick Martinez literally interrupted Abe, stopped him from saying another word, and told the man that everything he was saying about black parents was “rhetoric.”
            Martinez, who is Mexican-American, then followed up with the amazing statement that “Hispanic and black parents are not concerned about education as much as Asian and white parents” are.
            Think about that for a minute. Martinez didn’t say “some,” which would be accurate. He didn’t say “many.”
            Martinez just said “Hispanic and black parents….”
            Martinez then went on to ask Abe when Asian and white students, and Hispanic and black students step on a college campus, “who is better prepared?”
            Now I know “Abe,” so I know why he said “white and Asian students.” He wasn’t in a position to argue or bring clarity to the point. Not publicly.
            But forget Abe. Martinez is the madman who started this rhetorical and, yes, RACIST forest fire!
            The utter carelessness of Martinez’ declaration is breathtaking, but it’s not new.
Conservatives have always sent this signal to their right-wing constituents that black children are not good enough to share the same classroom with their white children because black parents don’t value education as much. That’s how they’re able to implicitly justify going back to neighborhood schools.
But to hear a man of color - a Mexican-American - run that game, even on his own people, is shocking indeed.
Of course there are a number of black parents who, for many reasons, are not as up on the education of their children as others. But THEY ARE NOT THE MAJORITY of black parents. And yet, Martinez and other conservatives use the minority to broad-brush and slander the majority.
Suppose I said, “Black people love the Lord more than any other people or community, because we sing, pray and praise GOD better than any other group.” Do you think some folks just might have a slight problem with that? Might even take that personally?
It is always dangerous to make broad-brushing statements like that, and usually intelligent people don’t do it, unless they have a bone to pick, or want to start some mess.
As a conservative radio talk show host, Rick Martinez gets paid to start unnecessary mess.
That’s a shame.
Hearing this garbage (I’d use a stronger word, but this is a family newspaper) on the painful second anniversary of my mother’s death, touched a nerve. How dare ANYONE say that my dear mother, who put off buying a house for years just to send me to private church school in the 60’s because she feared how I would turn out if she sent to a New York City public school, didn’t value education for her child as much a anyone else.
And how dare anyone say that Markita and I don’t care about education as any white or Asian counterpart. My oldest daughter, Tiffany, graduated college in 2005, and earned her Master’s in Business Administration in December 2008. Today she’s gainfully employed in the radio business as an account executive.
Does Rick Martinez have an MBA?
And our youngest daughter, KaLa, who turns eight in three weeks. She’s always been at the top of her class no matter what grade. She’s Met Pres. Obama, First Lady Michelle and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton. KaLa loves to read and write stories.
Hey Rick, think these two kids came up in black households that don’t value education? Think again.
So folks, if you didn’t know it before, know it now. The right-wing will do or say ANYTHING to destroy and regain power. You see the lies they’ve been telling about president and First family.
And now you see how far they’re willing to go in the lies about us.
If you haven’t before, you better stand up now. GET INVOLVED! On February 12th at 9:30 a.m., the NCNAACP and its 100-member coalition will come together for their fifth annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HK on J5). That date is the 102nd anniversary of the NAACP, and President/CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous will be here to participate. Meet on the South Street side of Shaw University in Raleigh (in front of the McDonald’s).
Bump Martinez. He only represents part of the problem. Together, we have to confront the power!
Be there, especially if you’re a proud, devoted black parent.
            Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” ( I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, by Cash Michaels, honored this year as well by NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian your life. Bye, bye.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

CASH IN THE APPLE (published Jan 20, 2011)

By Cash Michaels 

            HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FIRST LADY - Want to give a belated “Happy Birthday” shout-out to First Lady Michelle Obama, who celebrated, along with the president and her two daughters, on Monday, Jan. 17 while the nation commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the past two years, Mrs. Obama has done nothing but made us proud as First Lady. She’s leading the nation in fighting childhood obesity, promoting healthy eating for kids and everyone.
            And Michelle Obama, even before she ever stepped into the White House, has been a close and trusted friend to military families, families who have loved ones in harm’s way in either Afghanistan, Iraq, or one of the other many places we have American military personnel stationed.
            There is no doubt that Pres. Obama adores his wife, and that she is his best friend. Michelle has his ear when no one else does. An accomplished professional in her own right, Michelle Obama is certainly someone we should model our daughters after.
            So Happy Birthday, First Lady (and fellow Capricorn), and many, many more.
            GOD HAS BEEN GREAT - GOD has definitely been great to my family and I thus far, this year. So please, Lord, continue to use me in any way you see fit. Thank you.
            HI MOM - Last Saturday, January 15, was the second anniversary of the last time I saw my mother alive. Wednesday, Jan. 19, is the second anniversary of her death. Those two dates, plus her birthday on June 23rd, will always be with me.
            THAT’S ME - Last week I told you how I came up with the name of my new blog, “The Cash Roc.” It was named after a dance I used to do (and created) while a teenager in New York over thirty years ago.
            I forgot to include a picture of the outrageously handsome me (facts, just the facts) from back in that day. I was sharp, sexy and still a Christian!
            Maybe in the next life the Lord will let me come back thirty years younger!

            “OBAMA IN NC” AT NC STATE - Next Tuesday night, January 25th, as the nation watches the president’s State of the Union address (you know, the one where if another Republican member of Congress yells out, “You lie” again, there’ll be a Democratic member sitting right next to him to smack him in the mouth), I’ll be at NC State University for the screening of my awardwinning film, “Obama in NC: The Path to History.” It will be all part of NCSU’s Ninth Annual African Diaspora Film Festival that evening, starting at 7 p.m., held in the Witherspoon Cinema. I’ll be speaking that evening as well.
            The ADFF, from January 19 to Feb. 16th, features Afrocentric films from across the globe. Call 919-515-6964 for more information.
            MLK SPELLING BEE - Just when you thought there could be no more great ideas, comes one I would like to see expanded throughout the city, if not state.
            Last Sunday, Watts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church held its first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Spelling Bee for youth members of the church grades 2-8.
            Needless to say, because my wife, Markita, and youngest daughter, KaLa, are members of Watts, my little second-grader took part. It was KaLa’s first spelling bee, so needless to say, she was nervous as all get out.
            But she was also well prepared. I know, because I prepared her. This was my personal project over the King holiday weekend - to work diligently with my seven-year-old on her spelling and word comprehension. The organizers with the Watts Chapel Academic Ministry had selected over 200 words for the grades 2-3 level, including a list of words that pertained specifically to Dr. King’s legacy (words like Georgia, boycott, bombed, and Morehouse).
            The participants per the three levels had to study the words, know their meaning, and be prepared to spell them correctly when the competition commenced.
            I preparing KaLa for the competition, I was interested in whether she won or not. That will come on time after she gets a few of these in her belt. But I did want her to work hard and focus for an important experience, one of hopefully many that will come KaLa’s way in the future.
            Teaching our a strong work ethic is something I believe we owe all of our children, along with their earning the satisfaction of not only participating, but being rewarded for it.
            So that little girl and I worked on those words (and some tricky ones at that for a second-grader). KaLa knew her stuff (though the third grade words were somewhat of a challenge since KaLa hadn’t really been taught them yet). So the challenge was getting her to get over her fear of being in front of a large audience, which is natural, and be able to think and function properly when her turns are called.
            And so we worked, and worked, and worked. Instruction and advice. Instruction and pep talks. Lots of breaks, and lots of surprise tests of what she retained.
            When the competition for grades 2-3 commenced Sunday afternoon, my lovely baby girl was as ready as she was going to be. I wasn’t expecting her to win, because this was her first bee. But I did want her to do her best, be strong and as confident as possible.
            And she was. KaLa was up against some incredible competition at her level. And most gratifying was seeing a significant number of young black male students tough in there, not letting the supposedly “smarter” girls take all of the glory.
            For her part, KaLa did magnificently well. Out of nine rounds, she lasted until the sixth, making the common phonic mistake at her age of hearing “cor” and spelling it that way, for the word “curious.” No question she’s seen the word before (KaLa loves to read and is a prolific writer). But in that public setting, my second-grader spelled what she heard because she hadn’t used that third-grade word that much yet.
            Her mother and I couldn’t have been prouder of our baby girl. When her number was called, KaLa stood strong, stood straight, and spoke clearly. There was no question in anyone’s mind that my daughter was always in the hunt.
            That’s all Markita and I asked.
            In the end for the grade 2-3 competition, both a young male and female tied. Indeed, all of the young participants were very impressed, and all of us in the church audience (and there were quite a few who attended) were very proud, indeed. We saw young people who Dr. King, himself, would have been impressed with.
            We saw our future, and it was good.
            So Watts Chapel will hold another MLK Spelling Bee next year. But Watts shouldn’t be the only church to do so.  Other churches across the community, in an effort to help teach our young people the value of education and hard work, should also sponsor spelling bees. Maybe not on MLK Sundays, but definitely once or twice a year.
            Ultimately I would like to see the best spellers from churches all over compete in a major spelling bee competition that would galvanize the entire community throughout a city, county, or even the state. It would be yet another vehicle to give much needed scholarships to kids for books and clothes.
            I think that would be a fantastic idea, and I give all the praise to Watts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church for doing theirs so well, and so successfully.
            And one more thing, KaLa, I’m so proud of you and how well that you did, that I could burst. Let’s do it again next year, girl!
            RALPH CAMPBELL - Last week, just after our press deadline, former state Auditor Ralph Campbell Jr. succumbed to lung cancer.
            He was 64.
            Looking back over the years, I, like many, am proud to have known and worked with Ralph. He was professional, polished, and the man had serious style. He was a good strategist, and excellent politician, and someone who cherished wisdom.
            Last week, by order of Gov. Beverly Perdue, all state flags were flown at half-mast, and Campbell’s body lied in state in the State Capital Building, a truly high honor.
            We should all be proud to have shared this time with this man of history, the first and only African-American to win statewide office in North Carolina.
            Our prayers, condolences, and many thanks to the Campbell family for sharing him with us.
            A JOKE - Man, when the US Education Secretary calls your public school system out of tens of thousands for doing bad things, you know you’ve reached the end of the line.
            Let me be very clear. The hardworking, dedicated teachers, staff and administrators of the Wake County Public School System are NOT jokes! They were there during the glory years. They know their jobs. They know how to reach children. They just need a little more support from the four Republican members of the school board who clearly ARE jokes.
Let’s see, the Frightful Four have so far dismantled the student diversity program; hired a right-wing group to orientate new board members; hired a right-wing Republican Party attorney to defend them against the NCNAACP; hired a right-wing school superintendent who hates Pres. Obama, loves Sarah Palin, and has all of 19 months experience in education; is under two federal investigations by the US Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights; and have put the accreditation of 24 high schools at serious risk because they refuse to cooperate.
            And that’s not even half of it.
            So the Frightful Four of the Wake School Board, THEY are the jokes.  Problem is none of chaos they’re causing is funny. Indeed, it is extremely tragic. And our children are going to pay the costs. What a shame!
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, by Cash Michaels, honored this year as well by NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian your life. Bye, bye.


By Cash Michaels

            In a week already filled with falsehoods and national mockery, the Republican-led Wake County Public School Board is facing more adversity than it ever dreamed of in its effort to re-establish community-based neighborhood schools.
            Schools that many fear will also reinstitute racial segregation, a second-class education for children of color, and ultimately dysfunctional, under-resourced inner city and county high poverty schools.
            Amid two federal civil rights investigations, a third probe that could result in the loss of high school accreditation, daunting capacity challenges with student assignment planning and the projected loss of well over $100 million in funding for the next school year, the Wake School Board is now contending with not one, but four major blows to its national credibility.
            The first is the nasty fight between the board’s conservatives, led by Chairman Ron Margiotta, and AdvancEd, the national school accreditation agency that, based on a racial bias complaint by the NCNAACP and others, has mounted a probe of Wake County Public Schools, a probe that Margiotta has tried mightily to stall or derail.
            Even though stonewalling could resort in the deaccreditation of at least 24 Wake County high schools, Chairman Margiotta has refused cooperation with AdvanEd’s investigators, accusing them of being “a weapon” of the NAACP. The chairman has threatened to dump the board’s membership with AdvancEd, and simply join another accreditation group.
            Education experts, however, counter that other agencies across then nation may not want to deal with Wake County Schools after witnessing the board leadership’s uncooperative behavior thus far.
            The board is soon expected to take a final vote on whether to cooperate with AdvancEd, or leaving it, thus rendering the diplomas of future Wake high school graduates worthless because of the deaccreditation [ at presstime, board Vice Chair Debra Goldman issued a statement that she will vote to allow AdvanEd to conduct its investigation, saying that while she has problems with it, not doing so would hurt the school system and its students. A vote could come as early as next week].
            The second blow to hurt Wake Public Schools national image was a devastating feature article in the Washington Post last week titled, “Republican school board in NC backed by tea party abolishes integration policy,” which not only accurately illustrated the efforts of the board’s conservative majority, backed by upper-middle-class parents upset with the system’s busing policy, to completely bury the school system’s once successful student socioeconomic diversity policy, but also how that majority has clear and evident right-wing ties.
            “In their quest to end the diversity policy, the frustrated parents have found some influential partners, among them retail magnate and Republican operative Art Pope,” The Post reported, referring to the conservative former state House member.
“Following his guidance, the GOP fielded the victorious bloc of school board candidates who railed against "forced busing," The Post continued. “The nation's largest tea party organizers, Americans for Prosperity - on whose national board Pope sits - cast the old school board members as arrogant "leftists." Two libertarian think tanks, which Pope funds almost exclusively, have deployed experts on TV and radio.”
John Tedesco, one of the Wake School Board’s outspoken Republican members, blasted the WP’s assertion that he and his fellow board conservatives have Tea Party support as  “absolutely not true” during an appearance Monday on the Fox Business Channel’s “The Willis Report.”
But last April 15 during a NC Tea Party rally at the state Capital, not only was Tedesco introduced to speak with rousing applause by Laura Long of Triangle Conservatives Unite with the words, “[Tedesco] saw the largest school system bureaucracy in the state hurting our children and families…let’s give him our support,” but when he took to the podium, there was no doubt that support was exactly what he wanted.
“The reason why [the Republican majority on the Wake School Board] said no [to “social engineering”] is because there is an army of people like you out here today who said, “Enough,” Tedesco said, later telling the Tea party crowd, “Our values need to be instilled in public education today in America….,” and “I thank all of you for standing behind us.”
Whatever else Tedesco had a problem with in the Washington Post article, the District 2 Garner board representative apparently had no problem signaling a “so what” attitude when asked what if the board’s eventual neighborhood school planning resulted in a significant number of high poverty schools.
“Tedesco… said he and his colleagues are only seeking a simpler system in which children attend the schools closest to them,” The WP reported. “If the result is a handful of high-poverty schools, he said, perhaps that will better serve the most challenged students. "If we had a school that was, like, 80 percent high-poverty, the public would see the challenges, the need to make it successful," he said. "Right now, we have diluted the problem, so we can ignore it."
That latter remark is Tedesco’s standard allegation that previous Wake school boards “scattered” economically disadvantaged students around the county through busing in an effort to hide their failing. He asserts that by limiting those students to high poverty neighborhoods, they can collectively be targeted for remedial assistance.
What Tedesco conveniently leaves out are the extraordinary costs of the high degree of resources that high poverty schools traditionally need because of their special populations, and where those dollars will be coming from given the gloomy funding picture the board is already staring down the barrel at.
Critics allege that once neighborhood schools are established, the situation becomes even more intensely political, with taxpayers in upper-middle class neighborhoods not willing to pay more to maintain the high poverty inner city schools, as has happened for years throughout the nation.
Blow number three to Wake Public Schools national image came in reaction to that very fact, as reported by The Washington Post. US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, in the WP’s “Letters to the Editor” section after seeing the story, said that “America's strength has always been a function of its diversity, so it is troubling to see North Carolina's Wake County School Board taking steps to reverse a long-standing policy to promote racial diversity in its schools.”
Adding that,” The board's [dismantling socioeconomic diversity] action has led to [an NCNAACP] complaint that has prompted an investigation by our Office for Civil Rights…,” Sec. Duncan concluded his public rebuke of the Wake School Board with, “In an increasingly diverse society like ours, racial isolation is not a positive outcome for children of any color or background. School is where children learn to appreciate, respect and collaborate with people different from themselves. I respectfully urge school boards across America to fully consider the consequences before taking such action. This is no time to go backward.”
Apparently advised that badmouthing the US Education Secretary while two federal investigations into your school system are underway, Margiotta and Tedesco both limited their reactions to “disappointment” that Duncan made his remarks based solely on the WP report.
That same faux “disappointment” was expressed Monday by Tedesco after both Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and NC Gov. Beverly Perdue blasted the Wake School Board for being, as Meeker said, “way off track” for ending student diversity, during remarks at the Triangle Martin Luther King Interfaith Breakfast at the Sheraton RTP.
But on the next night, after the school board received a humbling staff report on the probability of a budget shortfall next school year of over $100 million, the national humiliation struck again, this time at the hands of Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert.
In a five-minute skit titled, “Dis-integration” Colbert, a comedian who portrays a dumb conservative newsman, chided the Wake School Board for dismantling the student diversity that made the school system one of the top in the nation over the past decade.
Colbert also went after Tedesco.
“Luckily, Tedesco is part of a group of Tea Party backed Republican school board members who recently voted for Wake County schools to go back to the old system of separate neighborhood schools to better teach the kids the 3 Rs,” Colbert said.
 As the comedian spoke, the words, “Readin,’ 'Riting,' and Resegregatin’” flashed on the screen.
Sources tell The Carolinian that the damage has definitely been done. In the business community, a key leader there called all that’s happened “very disappointing.” The county, despite its long, successful history of diversity, has now been consistently painted as a bastion of racial resegregation over the past two weeks. That’s not good for business growth, especially in a tough economy.
The WP story also noted incoming Wake Supt. Anthony Tata, paying particular attention to his links to Tea Party figures like Sarah Palin, and the former US Army General’s stated opposition to Pres. Obama.
Tata, who officially takes over on Jan. 31, has called for a two-day retreat in February with the board. He has stated that neighborhood schools in Washington, D.C. work.
Tata is currently the chief operating officer of D.C. Public Schools. He has only worked in education for only 19 months.

Monday, January 17, 2011


      Last week, The Washington Post created a firestorm of controversy with this a January 12 article titled, "Republican school board in NC backed by tea party abolishes integration policy."

     The article, written by WP reporter Stephanie McCrummen, gives a pretty honest and accurate picture of the chaos that's ensued every since the conservative Republicans took over the Wake County Public School Board in Dec. 2009, and immediately set about dismantling WCPSS longstanding and successful  student diversity policy.

     The WP article certainly drew a lot of local and national attention, the most surprising from US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who, in a January 13 letter to the WP, scolded the WCPSS in stating, "This is no time to go backward" on student diversity.

     Needless to say, Sec. Duncan's tongue-lashing of the WCPSS GOP majority did not go over well at all with board majority or their supporters. But on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s national holiday, the board's most bombastic member, John Tedesco, took to the airwaves of Fox Business News and WPTF-AM in Raleigh, trashing WCPSS previous student diversity policy, pushing neighborhood schools, chiding Sec. Duncan for his rebuke, and incredibly, not telling the truth AT ALL in denying that the NC Tea Party movement is backing the Republican majority on the Wake County Public School Board.

The proof? Let's go back to April 15, 2010 in Raleigh at the NC Tea Party rally at the State Capital. Look who shows up to say "Thanks" for all of your continued support.

Now look who showed up on the Fox Business Channel to say, flat out, the Republicans on the Wake School Board ARE NOT being backed by the Tea Party movement.

Any questions?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

CASH IN THE APPLE (published Jan 13, 2011)

By Cash Michaels

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, “OBAMA IN NC” - Before I get into the rough stuff of this week’s column, let me first say “Happy Birthday” to my award winning film, “Obama in NC: The Path to History.”
It was Saturday, January 16, 2010 when, thanks to the sponsorship of YWCA Greater Triangle in Raleigh, and the Raleigh/Wake Martin Luther King Celebration Committee, the film premiered at the Hargett Street YWCA. With a jammed-packed house and a makeshift movie screen (the back of a large Y banner), the film rolled, and d I can’t tell you how excited, and pleased I was.
Needless to say, the standing ovation at the end (the first of many) told me that the year it took of hard work and toil in putting the film together was well, well worth it.
Since then the film has been seen not only all over the state, but many parts of the nation, and indeed, in Cannes, France last April for the MIPDOC Conference.
Hundreds of people have since ordered the DVD, and for the New Year, the film is already booked for NC State on January 25th, and at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Durham on Wednesday, Feb. 9th.
But there’s more.
This year, the film has been entered in two high profile film festivals - the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham (among the top film festivals in the nation) and the Brooklyn Film Festival in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY.
Entering Full Frame (which I wanted to do last year but was too late in finishing the film to do so) is self-explanation. If they actually select the film for competition in April, that would be an honor just to be considered among the world’s best.
I also chose the Brooklyn Film Fest because I wanted to proudly and officially take my work home so that family, friends and colleagues there could proudly see it on the big screen there.
Now I won’t know from either festival whether or not “Obama in NC: The Path to History” has been selected for competition until March. When I get word, one way or another, I’ll let you know.
So Happy Birthday, “Obama in NC.” With the exception of my family, it’s perhaps the best thing I’ve done ever. If you didn’t get to see it in 2010, see it this year. We’re still lining up free screenings at churches and community centers, and the DVD is still available online at
This film has touched a lot of people since it was born. I hope you get to see it this year.
MOM - Next week, on Jan. 19, will be the second anniversary of my mother’s death. One of the last things I did on December 31, 2010, was visit her grave and talk with her.
Yes, I said “with.”
Last Sunday, I took my youngest daughter, KaLa, to see and speak to her Grandma for the first of many times this year.
All that is good about me I attribute to that beautiful, strong, courageous and determine woman of GOD, so she’ll NEVER be forgotten in my heart.
Thank you, Mom. Stay with me.
NEW BLOG - This week, unexpectedly, I did something I’d been thinking of for a long time. I started a blog.
It’s called “The Cash Roc ( Even though I have a Facebook page (who doesn’t?), I still wanted to be able to have my own site where I can have a conversation with my readers, listeners to my weekly radio program “Make it Happen” on Power 750 WAUG-AM and www.Power (Thursdays at 4 p.m.), and also those who follow my films.
Why call it “The Cash Roc?” Well, they wouldn’t let me take The Cash Rock, which I originally intended, so I did the next best thing.
And what does “The Cash Roc” mean? Well many, many eons ago when I was a skinny teenager in Brooklyn, NY (YES, I was once a SKINNY teenager on THIS planet, believe it or not), I partied with my friends every weekend. Needless to say, I danced.

And needless to say, I was always needled about my dance, because I rarely took a step, but rather kinda did the Aretha Franklin “Rock Steady” move all the time.
Well, after a while, my friends would tease me on the dance floor, and ask me what in the world was I doing.
So I told them. I was doing “The Cash Rock.”
After a while, a number of them began to realize it move was cool, and they, to my amazement, started doing the “Cash Rock” too, and loved it! Kinda nice when your friends have fun doing a dance named after you.
Now I wish I could sit here and tell you that “The Cash Rock” was the rage all over New York and the nation, but it wasn’t. And I’m pretty certain once I moved from Brooklyn to North Carolina in 1981, no one ever did “The Cash Rock” again.
So, after all these years, when I finally decided to be the last human being in all the world to have his own blog (which surprised many people), and needed a catchy name for it, that was the first pithy thing I could come up with.
So let’s see what happens.
One thing I’ve always wanted for sure, is my own place to break news I did that on Facebook a lot (and still do), but FB has lots of limitations and hoops. Now I have my own blog to break news on, and I can link over to my Facebook page to send folks over for the full story.
That’s cool in my book, especially since I can also link video, photos and audio as well.
So bookmark my blog, “The Cash Roc.”  As if I needed something else to further get me in trouble!
LEADERSHIP - The Tucson tragedy has saddened this nation. The wonton massacre of six innocence people - including a nine-year-old little girl - and the wounding of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords [D-AZ], was a frightening, vicious act of cowardice that left many, including myself, “Why?”
Despite the horror, there have been several bright spots. The fact that Rep. Giffords is still alive after having been shot through the head, and is expected to live after receiving excellent care from her surgeons.
The courage and bravery of David Hernandez, a 20-year-old intern who worked for Rep. Giffords, who ran towards her during the shooting, stopped the bleeding from her skull, and cradled her and kept her from going into shock.
That young Latino man saved her life under fire, at the risk of his own.
And finally, the president of the United States.
From the moment a stunned nation watched the news with horror of the mass shooting at an Arizona supermarket, Pres. Obama quietly, but firmly led us through it.
On Saturday, he spoke to the nation with words of both condolence and comfort, paying tribute to his friend “Gabby” Giffords, and urging the country to keep her, and all touched by the violence, in their prayers.
On Monday, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama led the nation in a moment of silence in memory of the six citizens - which also included a federal judge - who were murdered by the crazed gunman.
And on Wednesday in Arizona, Pres. Obama, once again, led the nation with enlightened words of hope, wisdom and tribute, urging all of us to learn from this horrific event, unite, and try harder to be a better nation.
Many times of the past two years I’ve chided the president for not adequately connecting with the American people in times of challenge. Many have interpreted this “coolness” on the part of Obama as his being detached, or not caring. I’ve always known that is clearly not the case. This man cares deeply for the nation he leads. He cares deeply for all of its people. He just, many times, doesn’t emote in the manner that we’ve come to expect from previous presidents. It disheartens his supporters who look for the same fiery spirit, and ability to move people that candidate Obama displayed frequently.
But during this tragedy, and at this moment, the president has found himself, and has struck the right, dignified tone.
The tone of a leader. He spoke to the moment.
And in doing so, he has made us all proud.
Thank you, Mr. President.
SICKENING - Let’s be clear, the alleged gunman in the Tucson tragedy, based on all that we’re hearing plus that weird picture, is a definite mental case. If convicted, he will be legally, and solely, held directly responsible for the shooting of 20 people at the Safeway Supermarket in Arizona last weekend.
A mass shooting that claimed six lives, and severely wounded, among others, a United States congresswoman.
So we’re straight, he allegedly pulled the trigger.
But what there can also be no doubt about is the toxic, destructive, anti-government and hate-filled atmosphere that has been created in this nation, by the Tea Party and Republican Party, has made it apparent for some time that something was going to happen, and it wasn’t going to be pretty.
Indeed, we always thought that it would be President Obama that would be on the business end of this “get your gun” rhetoric that the right-wing propagated as they hatefully painted the nation’s first black president as a socialist, a Muslim terrorist, and an Adolf Hitler who was never born here who wants to take away our guns and kill your Grandma.
That garbage certainly pushed people over the edge, as we saw at town hall meeting after town hall meeting where people brought guns, and threatened congresspeople at the top of their lungs.
Here in the community, we were all saying, “Now if it were black people promoting all of this violence, you know they wouldn’t stand for this!” So we couldn’t figure out why the Tea Party was getting away with it.
What struck me was that given the hot button gun rhetoric of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rep. Michele Bachmann, US Senate candidate Sharon Angle and now Congressman Allen West, if was almost as they wanted something to happen just to prove that their movement was kidding.
You see, there’s something we’re forgetting in the whole Tucson shooting event, and that’s the large number of reports we got about the number of people, with guns, who had openly threatened the president, and had been arrested.
And those are just the ones we know about.
So while we don’t yet have evidence that the alleged murderer in the Tucson tragedy took in any of the Tea party pro-gun madness, we do know the plenty of other crazies were stopped, and did have political murder on their minds.
We know because they were stopped.
And we also know that this president has had more threats against his life than any other in history.
Let’s stop fooling ourselves as to why.
And make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, by Cash Michaels, honored this year as well by NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian your life. Bye, bye.