Vol. 3    No. 14
July 10, 2008
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
Regression again?

Stories & Columns

Nuestro Mundo Showcase &
Kindergarten Promotion,
by Jonathan Gramling

Madison Pentecostal Assembly
celebrates 25th anniversary (3),
by Jonathan Gramling

WPT's Patty Loew and "Way of the
Warrior" (2),
by Jonathan Gramling

Asian Wisconzine: Deer Park
Buddhist Center/Just about ready for
the Dalai Lama's visit,
by Heidi M. Pascual

Simple Things/TheMartians have
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

Voices/ Rev. Edward Pinkney: "Too
much influence for one man!"
by Dr. Jean Daniels

Politicas de hoy/Para el
indocumentado Washington es la
sede del terror,
por Alfonso Zepeda-Capistran

Centerspread/Insert: MPA Counts
their blessings; AKA Global unity for
by Jonathan Gramling

MATC Girl Tech,
by Laura Salinger

Brigadier Gen. Marcia Anderson
promotion celebration,
by Jonathan Gramling

WI Minority Business Enterprise
program: In search of the elusive 5%
by Laura Salinger

China Dispatch/Learning situations,
by Andrew Gramling

Mosaic online store,
by Jonathan Gramling

Fabu: A poet of the oral tradition,
by Jonathan Gramling

Fabu's poetry corner/ The poet of

Editorial Staff
Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Paul Barrows
Fabu Carter-Brisco
Jean Daniels
Andrew Gramling
Lang Kenneth Haynes
Heidi M. Pascual
Laura Salinger
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran

©2008 The Capital City Hues
I received an e-mail the other day announcing the Madison Metropolitan School District Community Service
Activities Request for Proposals for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 School Years. I was curious and went to the
website to read more about the RFP. It turns out that the RFP is for approximately $290,000 in Fund 80 funds.
Fund 80 is a segregated fund of the school district that can be used for after school activities that support,
supplement and enhance the educational process. Since Fund 80 — which has been used to fund the Madison
School Community Recreation Program and the activities of outside contracting organizations — is not a part of the
school district’s regular budget and instructional program, it is not covered under the state of Wisconsin’s revenue
For the past 15 years or so, Fund 80 has supplemented the district’s diversity and equity efforts. By my count, the
agencies that are currently receiving funding under Fund 80 are the Urban League of Greater Madison, Centro
Hispano, Kasjiab House, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute, the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools and
Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY). With the exception of WCATY, which uses its funds for
scholarships for students of color and low-income students, these are organizations of color and an organization that
works on LGBT issues. These organizations came to the school district for funding because the student populations
they represent were experiencing well-documented academic performance or safety issues in the schools.
In particular, the academic problems that African American students experience have been so well documented for
years and years. Each year, I prepare the Hues Row of Excellence celebrating the academic achievement of
students of color graduating from Madison area schools. I also teach a middle school student workshop eaxh summer
for the UW PEOPLE Program each summer. The PEOPLE Program’s mission is to ensure that the UW-Madison has a
pipeline of students of color who are academically qualified applying for entrance each year. Over the course of the
past 5-6 years, I have noticed that the group that is most underrepresented in these activities is young African
American men. And I know they have the biggest drop-out, suspension and expulsion rates in the district. And Dane
County has one of the highest incarceration rates of young African American men in the country.
We should have massive resources being allocated to reverse these trends because the problem is getting worse
and not better. Our young African American men need assistance and they need it now.
That’s why I find it incredulous that the Fund 80 RFP — that in all likelihood will take resources away from
organizations of color working on these problems since they receive the bulk of the funding — doesn’t even mention
young African American men or any other at-risk student populations. Does the school district not feel that it has to
work extra hard in this area? Does the school district no longer feel that it is a priority to work with this student
population that is experiencing problems? Are the schools suddenly safe for LGBT students?
The crisis situation that young African American men are experiencing needs immediate, proactive attention. For
some, there may be fear that targeting services to young African American men is unconstitutional. Well I feel the
specific problem is well-documented and should be specifically addressed by public policy. To not address it is
neglectful at best.
The way the present RFP is written de facto pretends that the problem does not exist and no matter what the reason
is, it leaves a fundamental community problem unaddressed. Maybe the people who drew up the RFP feel that race
doesn’t have to be mentioned and that somehow the problems of young African American men will be addressed. I
think that is the wrong way to go about it and the Madison school board continues to operate in a post Affirmative
Action mode for unless Affirmative Action goals are specifically addressed in the text of an RFP, chances are they
won’t be addressed.
The needs of young African American men, LGBT students, low-income students and other at-risk student groups
need to be proactively addressed in this RFP process and not be left to chance that they will somehow be met by
rather ambiguous criteria.
And in addition to targeting these services, the RFP should have also asked that the agencies state their proven
successful intervention and experience in working with these target populations. Any agency can say it will work with
these critical student populations. It is another thing to have a proven track record and the staff training and
experience in working with them.
For whatever reasons that the school district was dissatisfied with the performance of these organizations of color in
addressing these issues — I haven’t heard what they are or if they are — the school district had better be careful in
going off on some abstract tangent that is “color and class blind,” which in the end doesn’t meet their needs. The
only way to address real community issues is to address them head on. To pretend that we are all treated the same
and have the same experiences in real life is to ignore the reality of these young people’s lives..
I firmly believe in Dr. King’s beloved community where one is judged by the content of one’s character and not the
color of one’s skin. But we cannot get there existentially and believe and therefore we are the beloved community.
We need to work hard and relentlessly on the issues including the plight of young African American men or Dr. King’
s beloved community will remain a figment of our imaginations.
It remains to be seen what the results of this RFP process are. We will be watching.
Staying Alive
The chills and thrills
of a Dane County
small business