Brute Force ! Making Reading Cool for the Holidays Theo Daniels 12/12/11
Brute says,“It’s time to read.”
Hardwork v.s. Perception Illiterarcy on the Rise God, Poetry, and Tempatation
Contents Winter 2011
Featurez Hard work v.s. Perception
Courtsey of Cam Be
God, Poetry, & Temptation
Courtesy of Bleacher Report
Illiteracy on the Rise Chicago Sun-times articles
Blacks & MMA
Q& A and graph
God, Poetry and Temptation Q& A with a poet
YoungGuyz Inner City Storiez
Editorâ€™s Letter YoungGuyz is a magazine that covers a variety of diversified issues in the Second City from illiteracy in public schools, blacks in sports, rising underground artists on the hip hop scene. YoungGuyz, is not limited to a particular group, but the city of Chicago and its residents. This is a publication that will be available for download online and mobile devices. YoungGuyz, is bi-monthly magazine.
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Gyms in downtown Chicago where you can take MMA classes Q: We need to have more programs like this. Yeah. Q: Whenever you think about self defense in the black community our whole thing is boxing compared to getting special training. A: That’s usually in the black neighborhoods. So when you ask them if you ever take martial arts, what I always here is “YeahNaw, but I know how to fight”. And I sit there and I look at these guys fight. They technique really suck, but a lot of guys on the street are wild and you have to know how to deal with them swinging their arms, kicking and biting-and coming at you from all crazy ways.
Q: How would we get more programs like this in Columbia? A: Well at Columbia you’ve got to talk to the Dean. They’re the ones that say yes or no. We can go the different departments, but when you’re dealing with stuff like that it’s all about budgeting. Money. And with my class its all about numbers. They don’t—from what I can see. They don’t really—you got one or two people that care about seeing the same people saying that each and every semester they come. Like James he’s been with me a year, Ben’s been with me two years. But they want to see 12 people or 20 people. Everything’s about numbers about
them. The problem is I’ve had about 12 people come but they only come one time. That’s no good. Q: How would you get other minorities or other students say we need to do this? A: Well like I said other minorities-the way that we been doing it I go to different departments and let them know what’s going on. I talk to different students and let them know what I do. Some they embrace but the problem is you’re dealing with the world nowadays but they have absolutely no intentions. It sounds good and we got to get out of this is something that they want to hear. Tell me the truth. Q: Taking six year dedi-
cation to do what you’re doing or what Grand Master Ortiz is doing. This is a man that’s been around –Coming up through the ranks-I’ve been in karate about 18, 19 years. He [Grand Master Ortiz] probably seen me for years walking back and forth as a white belt, a blue belt, as a green belt. I didn’t know who he was all I saw was a black belt, and a bow and “How you doing” and I kept it pushing. But he seen me he know who I am. So when-years later when he sees me with a black belt he can say “Yeah okay. It’s about that time anyhow.” But if somebody-this year they were a yellow belt than next year they were a black
belt. Yeah we got an issue. Like you mentioned paying off like bribery. Well the funny thing. It’s amazing that you should mention that because even in the karate world that has happened. People have literally paid for their belts. He probably got a million stories about them. Even amongst the females. I’ve heard certain things. I’ve never asked them. Truthfully I don’t care but I worry about mine. Grand Master Julio Ortiz: Sincerely a person whose a black belt should have 5 years under there belt. GMO: It took me seven years.
Illiteracy on the Rise
Black children aren’t taught to love reading
I can still remember the day Dick and Jane became more than pictures of two white kids chasing a dog. I was holding the book in my hand and the pictures suddenly became words. I was so stunned, I ran all the way home to tell my mother about what seemed to me at the time to be a miracle. My mother could not read, which was understandable because she was raised on a plantation in the South where a black person reading wasn’t as valuable as a black person picking cotton. Still, she was happy for me. From then on, it was my routine to beat it home from school and read aloud to my mother. Then my own children learned to read. One even became an avid reader. But, apparently, 42 million adult Americans can’t read, according to the National Adult Literacy Survey. In Chicago, 53 percent of adults have limited literacy skills, according to Literacy Chicago. Doomed to low-skill labor While some of these Chicagoans are immigrants, some are people who — despite being born in one of the most powerful countries in the world — never learned how to decode letters well enough to save themselves from a lifetime of low-skill labor. Since I was a child, sociologists, educators, and politicians have debated why so many kids — particularly urban black kids — have trouble reading. Last week, a new report by the University of
Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research concluded that reading scores for grade school students “barely budged” in 20 years, and African-American students are falling the most behind other groups in reading. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, so I am not going to blame this deplorable situation on the white man, bad teachers, poverty or — as has become popular these days — the shorter school day. But, honestly, could it simply be that too many low-income black parents failed to cultivate the love of reading in their children? Job application difficult Just about everyone reading this column will be annoyed by the very question. But I’m not talking about you. This question is meant for the thousands of young mothers and fathers who dropped out of school or maybe even graduated from high school, but can barely comprehend enough of the written word to fill out a job application. These are the young men and women who are filling up state and federal prisons, primarily because they do not have the life skills nor the education needed to make better choices. If you know someone like that, pass this column on by any means necessary because children born into this situation struggle the most with reading. Most middle- and working-class people are going to do whatever it takes, including pay for private tutors, to make sure their children learn to read. In fact, a lot of expectant mothers read to their children in the womb, and read bedtime
stories religiously even before the child can babble a first word. When I look at the lack of progress African Americans have made on this front, it is clear that impoverished parents aren’t making anywhere near that kind of effort. Far too often, little Na-Na is able to say “booty” before she can say her A-B-C’s. And a lot of African-American kids are having a difficult time reading because no one is engaging them in conversations at home. Barbara Radner, director of DePaul University’s Center for Urban Education, among other things, blamed “too much teaching to mandatory tests” for the disappointing study which suggests that reading gains were exaggerated during the Daley years. It is not enough to bark instructions. Parents, grandparents, guardians, foster parents — whoever is in the home — have to talk with children and listen to what children have to say. That’s how children learn the nuances of language. Acquiring such a skill could help a child improve his or her reading score. After all, if African-American children still can’t read after school districts have spent millions on reading specialists and programs, it is time to put the focus elsewhere. It is time to put the focus on our homes. Obviously, you can’t force a parent to read to a child, but we can stop overlooking the root cause of this problem. My mother has since taught herself to read and she brags about it to this day. Courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times
No real progress in grade school reading in 20 years Roslaind Rossi So after waves and waves of reform, you thought Chicago public elementary schools had made tremendous progress in the last 20 years? Think again. Despite millions of dollars in fixes and programs, Chicago’s elementary grade reading scores have barely budged over the last two decades, a new report by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research has found. Math scores improved only “incrementally” in those grades, and racial gaps in both subjects increased, with African American students falling the most behind other groups, especially in reading — an area pushed heavily under former Mayor Richard M. Daley. But the good news in a unique study called “Trends in Chicago’s Schools Across Three Eras of Reform: Summary of Key Findings” is that Chicago Public Schools made “dramatic improvement” in its high school graduation rate over almost two decades. Less than half of CPS freshmen graduated by age 19 in 1990, compared to about two thirds today, the study said. Plus, during the later half of that time period, the average CPS ACT score rose from 16.2 in 2001 to 17.2 in 2009, controlling for changes in student demographics, the study found. “What’s surprising is the results we came up with are the opposite of what publicly reported statistics show,” said the Consortium’s Stuart Luppescu, lead author of the study. “Publicly reported statistics show the elementary schools improving, and the high schools have been flat.” While high schools have long been considered the system’s Achilles heel, the study indicates CPS high schools “managed to accomplish a miracle,” said Barbara Radner, director of DePaul University’s Center for Urban Education. Although each year of arriving freshmen showed up underprepared and not much more capable than the batch before them, high schools held on to an increasing number of them, and prodded them into improved ACT scores, Radner said. However, Radner said, after years of news conferences in which Daley trumpeted gains in elementary reading scores, “in the end, the emperor doesn’t have as many clothes as we thought.” She blamed too much teaching to mandatory tests that emphasized basic skills or contained low thresholds for passing. In other words, Radner said, too many schools were focusing on “a centimeter test, instead of an inch test.” Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard immediately seized on the findings as proof of the need for the longer school day pushed by his boss, Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Said Brizard in a statement: “This report reinforces the need for students to have more time with teachers in the classroom to receive the instruction they need to be college and career ready.” The Consortium was able to use a long lens to look at the progress of Chicago Public Schools by converting the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills given to CPS elementary students from 1990 to 2005 to the same scale used on the Illinois Standards Achievement Tests given to public school kids statewide since 2006. Using this single measuring stick for elementary schools, it looked at average test scores over three “eras” of reform, from 1990 to 1995 — during the early years of the Chicago School Reform Act and the establishment of local school councils until Daley’s 1995 takeover; over the tenure of Daley’s first Schools CEO, Paul Vallas — from 1995 to 2001; and then over the tenure of Daley’s second Schools CEO, now U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan — from 2001 through 2009. High schools were evaluated based on graduation rates and ACTs required of every public school junior starting in 2001. Consortium researchers also conducted a series of technical adjustments to correct for a battery of test changes, scoring inconsistencies and shifting demographics over time. Elementary-grade scores strung out over this more even-keeled
measuring stick showed “only incremental gains in math and almost no growth in reading” over 20 years even though publicly reported statistics indicated CPS had made “tremendous progress” in those subjects over that time, the report said. Among the report’s major messages is that “publicly reported statistics used to hold schools and districts accountable for making academic progress are not accurate measures of progress.” Changes to the state tests, including changes in content and scoring , makes “year over year comparisons nearly impossible without complex statistical analyses, such as those undertaken for this report,” Consortium researchers contended. Luppescu blamed the publicly reported gains that vanished under further scrutiny on not only test changes but on state reporting methods that divide kids into those who passed or didn’t pass state standards. The passing bar is too low and crude of a measuring stick, Luppescu said, and schools would be better served looking at their average score rather than the percent who passed. Timothy Shanahan, director of the Center for Literacy at the University of Illinois-Chicago, cautioned that the kind of technical adjustments the Consortium performed is tricky business. “Have they made the right changes? I’m not sure,” Shanahan said. But he fully agreed with the Consortium’s conclusions that a myriad of changes to state tests over time have made them a poor measuring stick for progress. Some hoped the report would trigger an end to what they call excessive testing. A typical CPS student takes more than 100 off-the-shelf tests by graduation, said Sharon Schmidt, head of the Chicago Teachers Union’s testing committee. “Since Vallas took over the schools in 1995, there’s been a big test focus,” Schmidt said. “School reform has really been a lot about tests and test scores. Hopefully, Mr. Brizard ... will see the increased amount of testing under Mayor Daley’s school board did not help increase scores.” Meanwhile, state education officials said the rigor and possibly the stability of Illinois tests should improve once the state moves to a new test, tied to higher “common core” standards, in the 2014-2015 school year. It will be given at least twice in one school year, so schools can use it to evaluate the progress of individual students within the same school year, rather than comparing this year’s third graders to last year’s third graders. Courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times
An Interview with Add-2 “The gift can be taken away.”
The 25 yr-old MC talks about God, success, and the music industry.
Photos coutrsey of Cam Be
Hardwork v.s. Perception Q: When you had your show at Sub-T, was it what you expected it to be? Was it like you were used to it by now? Or was it another new experience? Add-2: Naw. Every show is always a new experience. The crowd is always different. Sometimes the energy may be higher, sometimes it maybe cooler. But that show everything I expected and more. Everybody was there from the bottom floor to the top floor of Sub T. We had so much fun. The crowd had so much fun. We got one guy on stage to perform the theme song to “Fresh Prince”. And it was little things like that, stuff that I wouldn’t forget. Stuff I’d never forget. We had so much fun, with the crowd. And they responded so well and they came up after the show and were saying how much fun they had. I’m really—I was more than—I think it was a lot more than I expected. In that case that’s how you’d phrase it. It turned out to be a good show an unforgettable show. Q: Since you’ve had all of this success in the past up to the present. How do you stay grounded? Add-2: I keep in mind that the gift can be taken away. I try to live in the moment and understand that God is giving you these opportunities and it’s not made from yourself, and it gives you a whole another appreciation for it. Because I recognize that as quick, as it comes tomorrow it could be gone. And you can’t take it for granted and say, “Hey I made it this far by myself and only me and that’s it.” It’s like God is the reason why you have everything you have. If you can’t show appreciation God can take it away. God will take that gift that you think you have built and have it so that you can’t use it. You have to use it for his glory and you have to respect it. That kind of keeps me in check from becoming selfabsorbed and thinking that I’ve done this by myself. Because I recognize that I can’t and that there is no other way this journey would be possible if not for God. Q: I spoke with a poet a couple weeks ago and he mentioned how people want to get that life of luxury and the fact that you have that song, Luxury. I remember the “Luxury” video on YouTube and seeing you cutting grass to going out to the club with all of these beautiful women and you just realize that this is the lifestyle that people want to live. But what are you willing to do to get to that point?
“Perception sometimes gets in the way sometimes of what people think.”
“There’s no benefits as far as health benfits, or dental plans or anything.” Add-2: Yeah. Exactly. It’s all about hard work and sometimes perception gets in the way of the hard work that goes into it. Everybody sees the video when it gets done, but nobody sees all of the stuff, that goes into shooting that video. Or all of the hard work that goes into making the album. Or all the hard work that goes into keeping cities beautiful. People just see the city and think it’s nothing—sometimes that just walk past and think that the city should be like this. But it takes a lot of effort to keep it like this, even when it is beautiful. Perception sometimes gets in the way of what people think. Aw man “Music you must be living the life. You’re driving around, you get to be on stage, and that’s fun and all of that stuffs good and there’s perks but there’s also another side that comes to it. There’s hard work that comes along to it. There’s sacrifice, there’s nights when you don’t sleep. There’s time when you go back to shows where you don’t get paid as much as you thought should. There’s uncertainty. There’s no benefits, as far as health benefits, or dental plans or anything. It’s just you’re kind [of] stepping out on faith. Sometimes in a vanity way people are like it looks good you get this type of treatment. There’s a whole another side to it that’s not so glamorous. Q: Sometimes we just get caught up in the now and realize how much of a blessing it is just to be where you are. Do you think rappers get so caught up in the hype from the people around them they forget about there works like DMX. Add-2 : DMX is a special case. He was on his own journey with the album, without anybody else around him, and he’s one of my favorite rappers. But I think there’s other people who get lost and its kinda hard not too. I can kinda understand why people get lost, because in the entertainment industry you get put on this pedestal constantly. Constantly get praised constantly get viewed in different lights. And by all sorts of persons and you sometimes-- everyday people don’t get. It’s for people whose life consist of that on an everyday basis, for it to go to there head. And they get big egos and think that I deserve this. And everyone’s underneath them, but once they see that it leaves they see how powerless they are. It’s crazy because sometimes people have the wrong people in their corner. They have “Yes men around them that always feed into it because they know they got a paycheck coming praising that person.
Photos coutrsey of Cam Be
God, Poetry and Tempatation
On a cool Tuesday evening, Darron Anthony a man of many talents met me at the 33 E. Congress building for an interview on that we had scheduled for that day. He was sitting on the couch to the far end of the 2nd floor a few feet away from the newspaper racks. He was wearing a winter hat, and a Q: When did you realize that you had these know. guy who does a lot of industry beats, different abilities with this word play? That you have Q: When you mentioned the ability to make these people see more than about bad church experiwhat’s inside these streets? ences were you referring to DA: Well you know what? It’s funny how something where the church it all comes full surface, because your bank members you see on Sunday account will be saying one thing. And then were the same ones who of course if you have something else in your were out smoking and drinkhand, that’s worth something now it’s really ing and acting a fool Monday through Saturday artist like Jazmine Sullivan. Industry-industry time to look at something and think about it then come to church all holier than thou? So people on a personal basis. I know another than opposed to going out and looking at a job. was it something like that? Or was it like I’m dude on the same thing. And of course they’re So I’m blessed and I’m definitely grateful that getting these bad vibes in church I might have wondering why they haven’t made it to the hierGod put me in a position to use the time to to read for myself. archy that higher level. I know what it is bejust write opposed to going out and looking for DA: I haven’t read the Bible on my own until cause you have to have that balance. It’s kind of something. It’s like I had it within me. And I about two years ago because the world and like when you’re just thinking you all the time. found myself when I started looking for God, to definitely churches don’t make it interesting. You’re not gonna get it. You have to put some be honest with you. Or that’s when I stumbled Well that’s from my experiences the churches work in with God to, you got to feed your spirit. upon God, looking for me trying to figure out that I’ve been to don’t really make the Bible And that’s what God is your spirit. You’re flesh what I should be doing, because I was getting interesting because they really don’t give you a down here, it’s gonna be everything down here ready to go hard with the scripts and films and lot of it. And just all the yelling and screaming that you’re gonna be into, if you ain’t feeding premises and things like that. So I found out and falling out and this that and whatever. I just your spirit. So that’s one thing that I believe that that I could rhyme after that. So the rhyming had to do my own research because I couldn’t industry won’t tell people, because to have that became more fun. So that’s what made go off identify with that. You hear that church is supmust energy it definitely comes from God. To into the rhyming. pose to be somewhere where you can meditate be able to be up around the clock day after day Q: When you talked about God found you, and come to and really go within, and it’s hard you get up and want to do the same thing over with the situation where you a non believer at for me to do that if it’s super loud. It’s hard to and over, because people do get bored easily. the time? Or was it like where does it all fit into focus with a lot of confusion and ruckus and Doing the same thing over again takes energy. that? screaming and all of that. Q: You mentioned earlier that you wrote for DA: Well I’m gonna say a non believer but Q: A preacher by the name of John Hannah just two years straight. What was part of the I’m gonna say that I’ve been here 30 years now mentioned in one of sermons how we have to influence behind that? and looking around me less say school you feed our souls like we feed our body. You have DA: I knew that everything that I desired as really don’t hear about God in the school and to read up yourself. far as materialistically as far as the house that you really don’t see any commercials with God DA: And that’s basically what I’m doing. To you would want and the lifestyle you want to on it you don’t really see any movies that talk make a long story short, I know that I’m aclive and being able to afford the fruit. I went about God. And you hear different things about countable whether or not I want to seek the into Whole Foods last week and was shocked at religion on the news but you really don’t hear formation on my own. I really can’t-I don’t dehow high the grapes were. Just to eat healthy pend on another man to feed costs, costs greatly, to put the great things in me. So I can’t depend upon you. Now fast food doesn’t cost much, it’s cheap someone else to give me what and you know what it’s gonna do to you. It just God said, I have to go see on seems like the answer to most of my dreams, or my own. That’s why I read the the things that I would want was in this finger Bible because I’m accountand in the pen. So that’s why I wrote like that, about God. And I noticed that religion is what able for the fact that I know that I have to learn and I felt like I had tapped into something like made God a touchy subject. I was definitely so this it I want to be blessed. If I want the favor, where as if I had stopped I would have lost it. blessed that I knew there was a God, I caught that comes with his lifestyle. So that’s the fight Actually it was to good to be true. So I had to on to the concept that I had to be given a name and either you want the blessings or you rely on stay in it and ride it ride it. meaning that if you start with a name you’re luck, since you don’t want to work for it. People Q: How did you make the decision to decide starting from scratch, you’re starting with zero. that rely on luck that’s mostly the lazy people, I’ll take that risk and dare that can lead to If a person had to label you as soon as you because luck you don’t have to do nothing for it something greater and put me out here to got hear. I knew there had to be something just mysteriously comes from somewhere. But a something greater? behind all of that. The same way that—I didn’t blessing usually comes from you earning it. But DA: Patience. Well that’s truly what it was. identify with church. If you got somebody in most people don’t want to earn anything today Ultimately I knew that in order for me to do your family where’s this person is supposedly a they just want to be given things. it super big how I wanted to do it. Or say be pastor and you see the most craziest things at Q: As you said in your profession as an artist at that place where I wanted to be in life I had church you’re gonna be. A disbeliever, because producer and man of many talents. You know to wait and see what God really had for me, you’re gonna be thinking if these are represenhow most people would be wondering, “How because a lot of stuff was flashing to me. Just the tatives for God and they take god for a joke its did he get here?” I got way iller tracks than you? fact that I could have been the artist, that could kinda like—you feel like I can’t be in the wrong “Why is it happening like that for him?” “Why have been on the big screen with different projbecause I don’t know what they know. So you’re am I not getting my shot? “ ects or the behind the scenes person. So I was not even curious on knowing what they knowDA: You know this is crazy a lot of the times, given both gifts, so that’s-that was the obstacle I ing because look at how they use what they where as if I meet talented people. I know one was faced with which one I do I want to do.
“You have to put in some work with God to.”
“A blessing usually comes from you earning it.”
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