This is what confronts you: Last November, Bloomberg declared $1.6 billion in budget cuts, with more to come. As of this writing, Carol Kellermann (president of the Citizens Budget Commission) and Jennifer March-Joly (executive director of the Citizens Commission for Children) predict: “The proposed reduction in teaching staff is more than 9,600 or 8 percent,” and among corollary services that can impact students are “21 percent in the Agency for Children’s Services and 11 percent in the Department of Youth and Community Development” (Daily News, December 5, 2010).

As for the persistent racial gap especially afflicting black males, a 2010 MIT study of incarceration and inequality confirms the findings of New York’s Community Service Society report last year: “The incarceration rate for young black males without high school diplomas has surged since 1980. In 1980, these young men faced a 10 percent incarceration rate, while in 2008 this number had increased to 35 percent. . . . White youth without a high school diploma . . . face an 11 percent incarceration rate” (, December 14).

Chancellor Black, you do have the most important job you’ve ever had, one that determines the future of many black males, among many other students.

My next column: a historic victory for this city’s public school students’ civil liberties—particularly black and Hispanic students—against Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg. Surprisingly, this was at last accomplished by the City Council after years of investigative insistence principally by the New York Civil Liberties Union, along with other organizations, and The Village Voice. Chancellor Black is now mandated to take the responsibility for guarding these students’ constitutional rights that her predecessor, Joel Klein, abandoned to Ray Kelly—who urgently needs a remedial course on the Constitution, whether or not he runs to succeed the present mayor.

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