Public Media in a Pluralistic America

“A press independent of the conversation of culture, or existing in the absence of such a conversation, is likely to be . . . a menace to public life and an effective politics.” — James W. Carey

WBEZ’s president, Torey Malatia composed a provocative op-ed (11.9.12) at pronouncing public media’s obligation to revitalize open, civic discourse in our communities. Read more below:

When the Radio Research Consortium releases its periodic eRANKS, public radio programmers in communities all over the country examine them as report cards on their stations’ audience service. This is the big score of their performance relative to other markets.

But the true measure of effectiveness of our public media institutions is not found in an infograph derived from Arbitron ratings. As sociologist Michael Schudson reminds us, our effectiveness is best reflected in our contributions to facilitating an inclusive public discourse in our communities.

In a pluralistic America, public media is a central resource for promoting inclusiveness in civic engagement. This misson-based role has become even more important in today’s broadcast and digital media environment, in which content is tailored exclusively to audiences based on their ideology and beliefs.

Evidence of the divisiveness of civic dialogue in the media pounded on WBEZ’s door last month. I hope this account of the decision we made, and the philosophies behind it, will benefit our public media colleagues. Whenever a public radio station removes a regularly scheduled program from its lineup, the staff can expect to hear from listeners upset by the decision.

Such was the case at WBEZ when we chose not to renew our annual purchase of Smiley & West, a weekly news program from Public Radio International. A major factor in our decision was a significant, steady decline in audience for the one-hour broadcast. Over 18 months the program’s cumulative audience declined by two-thirds, while the programs surrounding it remained stable.

But there was another overarching concern that influenced our evaluation of Smiley & West. A couple of years ago, the show was reframed from public radio’s typical open-dialogue approach — in this case, on topical social and political issues — to a framework of what I consider advocacy journalism.

I am among those who believe that complete objectivity in journalism and public affairs is humanly impossible, but I reject the notion that public media should veer into advocacy. Granted, in some cases journalists who reveal their personal views often seed or reframe the public’s discussion in a new way. As long as the journalist’s contribution supports the public dialogue that allows the community to reach an evolved outcome, he or she plays a role in facilitating the democratic process.

But advocacy journalism elevates the voice of one citizen — that of the journalist — and frames the discussion with the intent of persuading the community to agree with the journalist’s desired outcome, whether it has real value or not.

To me, “advocacy journalism” is an unhappy meeting of two words, the second word dragged along by the first to get a better table. In the case of this particular program, the mismatched couple favored fare on the left side of the political menu.

We did approach PRI about the program’s eroding audience in Chicago and our concerns that the declines were linked to the editorial shift of Smiley & West. In our view, any news or commentary program should reflect public media’s signature for open and fair dialogue of competing ideas. A program that concentrates on issues in a singular way — rejecting ideas or opinions to the contrary — doesn’t fit with our standards. Smiley & West was moving in this direction, examining issues in the public dialogue within an increasingly closed universe of agreement.

Our recommendation that producers evaluate whether the program was dogmatic in ways that turned off the audience was distorted, and producers mounted a write-in campaign accusing me of censoring views “in the interest of balance.”

This accusation was wholeheartedly embraced by the outraged, some of whom proposed that we change our standards for balance. Others wrote that a left-leaning program such as Smiley & West represents the heart of the editorial mission of public media. These writers believe that public radio should promote leftist ideology to “balance” the public’s indoctrination by right-leaning corporate-controlled media.

One listener suggested that we balance Smiley & West by adding “some equally vociferous right-wing program.” By broadcasting them back-to-back, each could refute any lies or truths promoted by the other. The logic of these proposals eluded us. Those who wrote to us seemed to be arguing that we should shoot journalism in the chest to balance those who had been shooting it in the back.

Balance is a subjective value and an impractical metric. An editor who employs it as a measurement of news reporting would be as frustrated as a chef describing the flavor of air. You can’t calculate communication and argument in their nuance with algebraic precision.

We have become so accustomed to being “informed” by partisanship packaged in journalistic attire that we expect little more. We are so conditioned to being attentive to ideologically obsessed commentators, analysts and “experts” consuming massive volumes of oxygen on American broadcast media, cable channels and online that we’ve forgotten that these familiar personalities represent only a handful of the citizen voices that should be heard in daily discourse. We have unknowingly licensed these few use of our rightful function in democracy.

Citizens in our republic were intended to be actors, not just responders; they should never be content to be consumers of ideas; they have the authority and responsibility to be authors of them.

The hard work of public media journalism for the next few years is to counteract the partisanship of news media and reverse public passivity by refocusing journalism on civic discourse.

To restore meaningful journalism that amplifies and supports the public agenda and democracy, we must better understand how to connect with our communities and how a community functions. Too frequently, our editorial planning is driven by our journalists’ personal interests and the content of competing news companies. This must change. In editorial meetings, the agenda we set for coverage should directly relate to the issues that citizens have identified as important to them. And we can do this only by opening up multiple avenues for connecting with the community — in person, online and on-air. We can use our professional editorial judgment to broaden the public debate by encouraging more and different voices to speak up. By doing so, we support universal involvement among citizens.

In the process, it is always important to stay humble. After all, journalism is the many speaking for themselves.


Journalists and their employers tend to embrace concepts of their profession that have been perpetuated by Hollywood. As with most things portrayed in the movies, the realities of journalism today are not so picture-perfect. Tides of technological change have fragmented news audiences, cut short careers of talented reporters and raised alarms that the profession is on the verge of extinction. Yet the myths popularized by Hollywood live on.

Take, for example, the false construct underlying all the others — that the journalist serves as democracy’s savior. It’s no coincidence that Superman’s day job was newspaperman.

This myth posits that the objective of journalism is not to support the public’s agenda but to set the agenda for public discourse. In other words, to champion ideas, to lead the masses to truth.

There are certainly journalists who have served the public interest heroically by bringing previously obscured facts into the civic conversation. The central tenets of journalism are integral to earning public credibility — verification of facts and comprehensive research about historical, social and political contexts. Most importantly, journalists must have extraordinary capabilities to use the tools of communication to effectively represent ideas, actions and issues.

But journalism’s goal and responsibility is not one of leadership, but of service — to follow and help support public conversation. Practitioners and theorists from Edward R. Murrow to Jay Rosen have made the same observations: In a democracy, journalists take direction from citizens.

In this public-centered conception of journalism, the profession is dominated not by telling, but by listening. In the process of observing the public discourse, journalists make professional judgments about the patterns of current discussion and what appears to have salience in the democracy at that moment. Then their task is to support the ongoing public discourse, serving the needs of the conversation — verifying and helping to interpret the facts that are essential to a shared understanding of the matter discussed.

Journalists should not abduct the discourse. On the contrary, they should devote themselves to supporting an environment of inclusiveness that provides an open stage for differences — making way for the participation of even the most taciturn citizens.


In refocusing journalism on supporting public discourse, there is no better place to start than the concept of “conversational democracy” described in the work of the late political scientist Iris Marion Young. Professor Young, who taught at the University of Chicago, is probably best known for her research on feminist policy issues. Her work in that area led her to look at deliberative democratic theories and how they worked in the increased polyculturalism of a changing America.

Young noticed that in any multicultural and multieconomic community of individuals, those citizens who have authority, civic status or facility with argument have an advantage in civic discourse. Thus, even in a setting of community problem-solving, those whose opinions differ significantly from those who dominate the discussion, or whose life experiences are unfamiliar to the majority, are effectively excluded. Those in the minority hold back — or are held back — because the demand for agreement implies simplifying considerations, not complicating deliberating.

For civic discourse in a pluralistic society to be successful, resolution must be delayed until universal participation — inclusiveness — is all but total. This may prolong discourse, but it provides an atmosphere in which communication is embraced as a true right. Equal respect is given to all participants; all are allowed to talk; all are required to listen.

Inclusiveness creates the environment in which difference is seen a resource for richer debate and better solutions because they have been crafted to serve more of the community. To Young, only “by hearing from differently situated knowledge” can civic discourse add “to the knowledge of all participants.”

This is why public media journalism will forfeit its greatest promise if it turns to advocacy journalism, or to fighting perceived ideological fire with opposing ideological fire.

Inclusiveness in journalism brings forward the notion that difference is an asset to decision-making. And it demonstrates inclusiveness by being a place where every person served feels that journalists seek to sincerely represent the lens through which she or he views human experience.


At WBEZ, these concepts of journalism have reshaped our identity and how we must strive to serve the public. The ethos behind all the journalism we provide can be distilled to this: Our community identifies its news agenda; we commit to serving it. As a local public media institution, our responsibility extends to all in our region.

The FCC’s atypically lucid mandate demands this posture from public media institutions, whether or not we have newsrooms: “Broadcasting stations are licensed to serve the public and not for the purpose of furthering the private or selfish interests of individuals or groups of individuals. . . . The entire listening public [italics in original] within the service area of a station, or group of stations in one community, is entitled to service from that station or stations.”

Guidance on how well we meet these our principles is continually drawn from our staff, board and advisory council, but the community itself determines the specifics of our work through interactive media, community meetings in our neighborhood bureaus, our media literacy training programs — in short, direct, broad, incessant communication. While we’ve designed these principles to facilitate the evolving conversation in our community, these fundamentals can be shaped to serve any community-based public media institution.

Public media journalists should be among democracy’s insatiable seekers of inclusiveness, bringing into the civic conversation differences that richly complicate the argument. Our job is to find as many voices as we can of those who might disagree, who differ in their life experiences, circumstances, race, ethnicity, beliefs, economic circumstances and social values.

The conversation must invite, make welcome, attend to and be transformed by the community’s many, not a few. In this way, citizens work through their differences to make their own reality in a democracy. Journalists help them listen to each other, and help all be listened to.


As chief executive of Chicago Public Media since 1996, Torey Malatia led the expansion of local news programming on WBEZ and spearheaded development of Vocalo, a hybrid FM/digital media service. He has lectured extensively about public media’s role as a public trust, and serves on the boards of the Public Radio Exchange and the Station Resource Group.

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ADHD is no laughing matter and that’s not all… ADHD and Coexisting Disorders

Too many people joke about having ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.)  Perhaps they have misplaced an item, forgotten something or find it difficult to focus on otherwise uninteresting conversations- that even Oprah might tune out.  ADHD may or may not be the cause but let me tell you, it is nothing to laugh about.  Furthermore, if you reeeeaaally think you may have ADHD you should consult a professional and you just may find that there is a coexisting disorder.

I thought this article exerpted from with findings from The National Resource Center on ADHD was interesting.  It might even help you or someone you know…

As an adult with an attention disorder (ADHD or ADD), you have a few obstacles to deal with in your quest to live a productive life. You also have to be vigilant about staying on top of your symptoms — lack of attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity — so they don’t get in the way of your goals. But the vigilance doesn’t stop there. You should be aware that ADHD can come with other mental health conditions. According to the National Resource Center on ADHD, some two-thirds of children with ADHD have at least one other coexisting condition, and as adults, their lives continue to be complicated by these overlapping symptoms. Here, according to the National Resource Center, are the most common mental health conditions that can coexist with ADHD:

Depression & ADHD Research shows that 47 percent of adults with ADHD are also depressed. ADHD usually comes first, and both environmental and genetic factors may contribute to depression. ADHD takes a heavy toll on a person’s self-esteem, beginning in childhood. Because their social skills are often lacking, ADHD adults can be ostracized to some degree. As with schoolwork, ADHD adults inevitably mess up at work, forgetting an important task or missing a deadline. The resulting feeling that they can never get it right only adds to feelings of self-doubt and sadness.

Disruptive Behavior Disorders (Oppositional -Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder) & ADHD An adult with ODD is argumentative, has a short fuse, gets easily frustrated and is impatient.  Because people with ADHD have trouble regulating their emotions, those with ODD are quick to act out, becoming defensive over any perceived slight.

Bipolar Disorder & ADHD This condition is characterized by periods of elation and happiness followed by episodes of clinical depression. During a manic phase, a person with bipolar disorder may go for days without sleeping, talk incessantly and rapidly, and engage in extreme behaviors such as shopping sprees and sexually promiscuous behavior.

Anxiety Disorder & ADHD People with anxiety disorder worry obsessively about a wide range of things, from work, to relationships, to the future. It’s difficult for them to calm down and they often seem stressed out. Because of the constant tension, sleep can be problematic. A small number of people have panic attacks — an intense period lasting about 10 minutes — during which they feel their heart pounding, break out into a sweat, and have difficulty breathing. Research shows that anxiety and ADHD are inherited independently from one another.

Learning Disabilities & ADHD Up to half of children with ADHD also have a learning disability, such as dyslexia, which carries through to adulthood. Those with dyslexia may have trouble reading or calculating, but it’s not due to a lack of intelligence. The impact on school performance likely contributes to depression as well.

Substance Abuse & ADHD Researchers say that, due to the impulsivity that is a hallmark of ADHD, adults may have trouble regulating their behavior and develop a drug or alcohol abuse problem. Researchers also believe there are common genes between the two conditions. As a result, the ADHD child with an alcoholic parent is more likely to develop an alcohol problem as well.

Talk with your doctor if you think you have a coexisting condition that is compounding your troubles with ADHD. All of these conditions can be effectively treated. But untreated, they may exacerbate some of your problems.

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‘Taking WBEZ to Task’ Over the Cancellation of Smiley & West

West & Smiley

I (Dr. SaFiya D. Hoskins) firmly believe that WBEZs decision to drop ‘Smiley & West’ was politically motivated.  Eliminating a socially responsible and politically conscious talk show to replace it with an apolitical program about cars- that is no longer in production- just before the presidential election demonstrates a strategic maneuver to silence two critical voices of President Obama, Republicans, Neo-Liberals, Neo-Conservatives, and, as Dr. West would say, the “corporate oligarchs” on Wall Street.  When did giving voice to the marginalized become a matter for rebuke?  Or is this public castigation on the part of WBEZ an implicit show of indifference toward the poor and working class- individuals who are a part of the very community they claim to serve?

A close analysis of the Chicago Public Media Board of Directors reveals a governing body in direct opposition to the racial, ethnic, economic, political, and ideological diversity of Chicago it claims to serve and represent in programming.  Herein there exists a clear contradiction where the hegemony, “corporate oligarchs” and millionaires are dictating what matters most to the poor and working class- proletariat.  Illogical.  Only a democratically-elected Board can begin to reflect our ‘public.’ Or maybe you would prefer to rename your organization “Chicago Private Media.”

Advocacy has a rich history in journalism, both print and broadcast.  Bias, opinion and perspective are inherently a part of experience.  Experience is a part of living, a gift of life.  Attempting to mute a journalist is to take away her breath.  Trying to stifle advocacy is to deny a journalist his right to fully participate in a democracy.  Advocacy is the lifeline of the marginalized; it is the heartbeat of the community that pumps with the blood of the people.  Eliminating ‘Smiley & West’ from WBEZs programming schedule is like removing the right and the left ventricle at once.  ‘Smiley & West’ speaks with, to and for communities in Chicago and nationwide- across gender, religious, racial, social and political lines.

Dr. SaFiya Hoskins, Mr. Wallace ‘Gator’ Bradley, Dr. Cornel West

Tavis Smiley responded on October 15th, in an open letter, to the scornful and malicious letters written by WBEZ President, Torey Malatia to listeners. In his usual sophisticated and purposeful manner Smiley eloquently addresses each of the points and issues offensively and erroneously pressed forward by Malatia.

Smiley’s entire letter is included below and can also be read at:

Dear Mr. Malatia,

In my 20 years of being a broadcaster, this letter represents the very first time I have felt compelled to write a personal note to the head of a local station.

I was content to simply move on beyond a cancellation decision I vehemently disagreed with, because I respect the public media model that stations know best. That is until I was made privy to the content of your written response to listeners who have been expressing disappointment about the cancellation of Smiley &West on Chicago’s WBEZ 91.5 FM. I must say that the spin found in your letter is beneath you, the station you work for, and moreover the people you serve. Say nothing of the fact that to my knowledge, at no point did you or your staff ever attempt to communicate to me any of the impressions you so freely shared in your letter to listeners.

O’Reilly, Smiley, West

The disregard and disrespect for my work one reads in your letter to listeners is too extreme to adequately address in this email; but when you suggest that I have become “far less inclusive” in my work, you advance a lie. A big lie. I’m about to celebrate 10 years on PBS and 12 years on public radio. As an African American in the still‐too‐lacking‐in‐diversity world of public media, one does not survive in these environs‐much less thrive‐ if one’s interview style is remotely akin to the intellectual bullying of Bill O’Reilly. To compare my work to his in your letter to listeners is to defame me in the worst way. I take pride in being the first African American in the history of PBS and NPR to simultaneously host his own signature weekday public television and radio shows, opening the doors for other persons of color to now host or co‐host award‐winning programs over public media.

Furthermore, I have two public radio programs as you well know. One that I continue to host solo, the other co‐hosted with Cornel West. These two programs, deliberately and unapologetically, could not be any more different in content and style. NOTHING has changed about the format of my solo show which has NONE of my opinion expressed as a part of the production. You no longer carry that program either, which again, is absent of my personal opinion and continues to feature guests almost weekly who express differing opinions on the issues of the day. Additionally, nightly on my PBS program I provide a national platform to a variety of guests, including an entire week this past summer featuring exclusively conservative voices. I am as “inclusive” as I have ever been because I am as curious as I have ever been. I reject and resent the very suggestion by you in letters to listeners that I do not demonstrate a willingness to “respect and hear opposing views.”

Dr. Cornel West, Mr. Tavis Smiley

IF Smiley & West has experienced any erosion in listenership, it might have something to do with beingheard over WBEZ on Sundays at 12Noon when most Black Chicagoans are in worship service. To soblatantly disregard an obviously critical mass of listeners in the scheduling of this program suggests oneand or two things: that you don’t get it or that you don’t care. A premier station in a world class cityshould not be still struggling with how to truly represent the voices of ALL fellow citizens in the mostmulti‐cultural, multi‐racial and multi‐ethnic Chicago ever. That’s a leadership deficiency. One couldargue that it is easier for an African American to be president of the United States than it is to host aprimetime radio program on Chicago Public Radio. It seems that WBEZ thinks that just because WVONexists, that it is somehow exempt from being “inclusive.” Respectfully, Mr. Malatia, it takes brass for you to accuse me of being less than “inclusive.” Your job is to program a station that is “reflective of acomplex society of varied and uneven life experiences, backgrounds, races, cultures and economic circumstances.” Is this the best that WBEZ can do? How does cancelling Smiley & West advance thatmission?

Tavis Smiley

When Smiley & West was rolled out two years ago at the annual PRPD convention, Dr. West and I madeit abundantly clear that we were trying something a bit different for some public radio stations. Aprogram that would feature our opinions, but a program that would also have built into every show asegment called “Take ‘Em to Task,” where everyday people all across America could call in to do just that— disagree with us over the airwaves. It has turned out to be one of the most popular parts of theprogram, giving listeners a say, whether their disagreement with us is cosmetic or monumental. Inaddition, we heavily promote in each show our “Speak Out Network” where the conversation continuesseven days a week on–‐line, and listeners can at anytime register or post their feedback. Indeed they do. Smiley & West couldn’t be more democratic.

Finally, since each of my radio shows is produced by a different team of professionals, I find it curious that you would suggest to listeners in your letter that my programs were “showing signs of significant declines in production effectiveness and focus.” It’s hard to imagine that all of my producers and engineers suddenly just lost their way. That particular statement in your letter to listeners hurt most. I do not abide insults to my hard‐working and dedicated staff. I would never insult the fine team at Chicago Public Radio in that way. Besides, have you paid any attention to our most eclectic guest roster? High caliber guests keep appearing on my programs week in and week out.

I have only a First Amendment right to free speech, not to a radio program that WBEZ is mandated to broadcast. You’re entitled to your opinions of that program and your executive decisions concerning it, but you’re not entitled to your own set of facts. Particularly when those “facts” are demeaning, derogatory and dead wrong.

Smiley & West

I appreciate the opportunity to have been heard over Chicago Public Radio all these years. Even as other stations around the country continue to add Smiley & West (including stations in Chicago we are in talkswith even now), I regret that you chose to deny the listeners of WBEZ an opportunity to hear somethinga little different ONE HOUR a week. To make room for yet another repeat of a program about cars that isn’t even in production any longer. Is that what we need right now as fellow citizens prepare to decide who is best to lead a nation where our democracy is being threatened by poverty, where schools are failing our children, where crime is out of control?

At some point, those who steward public media have to stop insulting those who support public media.

All best,

Tavis Smiley

P.S. Since I do not know how far and wide your letter to listeners has spread, I feel compelled to release this particular letter publicly, so that those who have read your letter and heard the station’s position via various Chicago media outlets can now hear the other side of the story.


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Aim Always to Elevate and Illuminate

Aim Always to Elevate and Illuminate.

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Democrats Warn of Harm to Education From Across-the-Board Budget Cuts [$1.2-trillion]

Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Senate Democrats on Wednesday in warning of dire effects on American schools and colleges if Congress cannot reach agreement on a way to avoid automatic across-the-board budget cuts set for January.

Some $1.2-trillion in threatened cuts, under a process known as sequestration, are scheduled to begin kicking in next year under an agreement reached by Congress last August to force down the size of the federal budget deficit. Along with deep cuts in federal aid to local schools that could cost 15,000 teaching jobs, the effects on higher education would include the loss of about 2,200 research grants and snarls in the processing of federal student aid, Mr. Duncan told a Senate hearing.

“Essentially we’re playing chicken with the lives of the American people,” the secretary told lawmakers at the hearing, held by the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health, and education issues.

The subcommittee’s chairman, Sen. Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, issued his own report at the hearing, a 180-page tally of the specific effects Congress can expect if it does not find an alternative to the sequestration cuts.

Among a range of cuts in educational and health benefits for millions of children and young adults, sequestration would mean that 1.1 million fewer students would be served through the State Grants for Career and Technical Education program, 110,000 fewer low-income students would receive Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and nearly 52,000 fewer students would get Federal Work-Study money, Mr. Harkin said in his report.

Sequestration would have “destructive impacts on the whole array of federal activities that promote and protect the middle class in this country,” he said.

Bipartisan Concern

Members of both parties created the sequestration mechanism last August as part of a temporary settlement of a bitter dispute over the size and shape of the budget. In a bid to force compromise, Democrats accepted that sequestration would include a series of domestic programs, and Republicans agreed it would include cuts in defense spending.

As the effective date of sequestration draws near, however, members of both parties are showing concern. Along with the protests from Mr. Harkin and other Democrats, some Republicans have begun urging that the Pentagon now be exempted from the sequestration process.

Mr. Duncan’s appearance before the subcommittee on Wednesday consisted largely of fellow Democrats’ endorsing his concern over the pending cuts in education and other programs. The secretary was followed by a four-member panel that consisted of local school superintendents in North Carolina and Texas, the head of a community-aid group in Virginia, and a strategist with the Cato Institute, a prominent libertarian think tank.

The Cato official, Neal P. McCluskey, offered the most robust defense of cutting education spending, arguing that federal data show it produces little value. Mr. McCluskey cited federal statistics indicating that the performance of American students on internationally comparable tests has not increased in 40 years, while per-student spending has grown 375 percent over that period.

He also cited a 1998 report by Austan D. Goolsbee, a former economic adviser in the Obama administration who is now a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, suggesting that the main benefit of increasing federal spending on scientific research is that it raises wages for researchers.

“Like aid to students,” Mr. McCluskey said, “the benefits seem largely to accrue to those employed by the money, not to society or the people the aid is intended to help.”

Democrats largely left the comments unchallenged. Mr. Harkin did question Mr. McCluskey’s conclusions, but directed his most lengthy complaint to a disagreement with Mr. McCluskey over rates of fraud in the Head Start program.

Outside experts, however, disputed Mr. McCluskey’s suggestion that American education results could be directly compared with those of other countries, given that U.S public schools face greater social challenges due to the nation’s ethnic diversity.

“Simply correlating education outcomes with education spending across states or over time is a potentially misleading method,” Tino Sanandaji, a postdoctoral fellow in economics at the University of Chicago, said in an interview after the hearing.

-Paul Basken

The Chronicle of Higher Education


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Help Rebuild Higher Education in Haiti: Fulbright Opportunity

Apply for a Fulbright Scholar Award to Haiti

The deadline to apply is August 1, 2012.

The Details

Grant Activities

·         Help the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED) conduct a national assessment to examine the extent to which higher education institutions are engaging in cross-border partnerships with higher education and research institutions abroad as well as in Haiti to improve their programming, capacity building and transformation of Haitian society as part of the rebuilding process.

·         Facilitate seminars on research methods, diaspora communities and the purposes of higher education to undergraduate students who will participate in the implementation of this study.


·         Must be an academic. PhD not required.

·         Fluency in French or Haitian Creole is required.

·         Grant length is nine months.

·         Candidate should have an understanding of higher education systems and policies and experience conducting qualitative field research in a developing nation.

·         Experience working in the Haitian context, or familiarity with Haitian culture, is ideal.

Other Info

·         INURED will provide housing.


To view a full description of this award and see useful contacts for the University and U.S. Embassy, please visit

If you have any questions, you can contact Jake Silva at or by phone at 202-686-4018.

Please pass this opportunity on to any colleagues that might be interested. The deadline to apply is August 1, 2012.

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The Subtleties of Institutionalized Racism: In Our Schools

Although integration was sold as the necessary step toward black academic excellence, in reality it was a plunge into the quicksand of failure. As Carter G. Woodson stressed almost 80 years ago, blacks had integrated into a system that “…inspires and stimulates the oppressor with the thought that he is everything and has accomplished everything worthwhile, depresses and crushes at the same time the spark of genius in the Negro by making him feel that his race does not amount to much and never will measure up to the standards of other peoples.”

The promise of black achievement had been intricately intertwined with a system in which blacks had no control. Julian Weissglass, director of the National Coalition for Equity in Education, described how educational institutions powered by people conditioned to, “consciously or unconsciously,” act and react in certain ways, has caused tremendous harm:

I contend that although no one is born prejudiced, many of the assumptions, values, and practices of people and institutions hinder the learning of students of color and students from low socioeconomic classes. Race and class biases in particular are major causes of differential successes.

Subtle, blatant, conscious, or unconscious attitudes lead educators to expect less of black and Latino students than whites. It impacts curriculum, policies, and how funds are allocated to public schools. These attitudes, as Weissglass noted, factor into the popular practice of “tracking”- where disproportionate numbers of black and Latino students are relegated to low tracks, most often with less experienced teachers. Children consigned to these tracking programs are rarely reclassified, even after they’ve shown improvement.

Educational theorists and scholars, eager to escape the implications of the past, are unaware of the BI [Black Inferiority] campaign. They compare black achievement with students who have not been permanently typecast as “less than.” Asian students, for example, have not internalized the stigma that they are “less intelligent” than whites. Children may not be able to identify the subtleties of institutionalized racism, but they are aware of how teachers and policies make them feel. Unable to comprehend the feeling that they are less intelligent or worthwhile than whites, many young people simply give up hope, rejecting the negativity and the school system itself.

Excerpted from, D’s Will Do: Why Do We Expect So Little of Each Other- and Ourselves?

in Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority

by Tom Burrell

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