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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:28 AM


Martin Luther King 2.0, Now with More Excellence

No one could lead a civil rights movement like Martin Luther King Jr. But let’s face it: the movement he led was old school. The civil rights issue of our time is the achievement gap, and closing it often requires doing the opposite of what Dr. King stood for. Which raises some important questions: if Dr. King returned today would he be an achievement gaptivist? Which billionaires would fund his important work? And with poverty and racism now officially regarded as excuses, what would he talk about? Meet Martin Luther King 2.0, now with more excellence.

(A)t the top of Dr. King 2.0′s itinerary is a visit to an urban No Excuses academy of excellence and innovation that has...discovered the “secret sauce” for putting poor minority students on a path to college and 21st century employment. Note to welcome committee: Dr. King will likely be puzzled by hyper-segregated nature of schools and predominantly young white teaching staff so you may want to have extra brochures on hand...

Speaking of excuses, Dr. King 2.0 will have to come up with some new material if he is going to hit the public speaking circuit running. His old stuff with all of that talk about poverty, justice, segregation and labor rights is totally dated and not at all relevant to the civil rights issue of our time... Delivering speech after speech without mentioning the fact that 22% of American children now live in poverty is going to feel weird at first. But just wait till those hefty speaking fees start to roll in...We don’t know what Dr. King thought of hedge fund managers because, sadly, they did not yet exist during his day so were unable to solve the nation’s ills, including rescuing its public schools from the unions that had not yet begun to stifle them. But I think we can probably predict what these ed-vestors and edupreneurs would have made of Dr. King’s call for a “multiracial army of the poor” to demand an economic bill of rights for poor Americans—one big thumb way down. Memo to Dr. King 2.0: we don’t hate the rich anymore; they and their children are now our change agents...

The original Dr. King was a fierce supporter of labor rights and viewed unions as an essential tool for improving the wages and working conditions of everyone...it’s important that we bring Dr. King 2.0 up to speed on the fact that unions have officially been downgraded to ‘not’ on the hot or not list...

Even Dr. King 2.0, now with more excellence, might have a problem with our apparent abandonment of the ideal of universal public education....I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that even Dr. King 2.0 would not be a fan of “separate but innovative...”


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