All Articles Tagged "education"
There has certainly been a lot of mudslinging during this year’s primary season. And while that’s entertaining to some, do you know exactly where the candidates stand on the important issues?
Well, I am here to tell ya.
In particular, I am here to tell you what the top two Republican candidates, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as their fellow Democratic candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stand on four important issues:
As part of his Five for Freedom plan, Ted Cruz wants to abolish the Department of Education (along with the IRS, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development). He also wants to end Common Core. Why? Well, according to his campaign website: “We need to restore parent and student choice and remove federal barriers to children’s success.” [source: TedCruz.org]
Donald Trump doesn’t have an official position on his website (in fact, he only has five positions in total). However, during his campaign announcement speech, the real estate tycoon said, “As president I’d] end Common Core. Common Core is a disaster. [Jeb] Bush is totally in favor of Common Core. I don’t see how he can possibly get the nomination. He’s weak on immigration. He’s in favor of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can’t do it. We have to end–education has to be local.” [Source: Wall Street Journal, 2015]
He was also previously quoted saying that he wants to cut the Department of Education “way, way, way down.” [Source: Politico]
Bernie Sanders doesn’t have much to say about what should happen to the DOE (if anything should happen), however, he does have a comprehensive plan for higher education. More specifically, Sanders wants to make college free at public colleges and universities. He also wants to lower student loan interest rates and allow Americans with college debt to refinance their loans at lower rates. How does he propose to pay for all of this? As written on his campaign’s website: “The cost of this $75 billion a year plan is fully paid for by imposing a tax of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street speculators who nearly destroyed the economy seven years ago.” [source: BernieSanders.com]
Like Sanders, Hillary Clinton also has a plan for higher education. But unlike her Democratic challenger, she does not outright plan to make college free. Instead, she wants to make it “more affordable.” More specifically, she wants to “ensure no student has to borrow to pay for tuition, books, or fees to attend a four-year public college in their state; enable Americans with existing student loan debt to refinance at current rates; and hold colleges and universities accountable for controlling costs and making tuition affordable.” In terms of K-12, Clinton wants to make high-quality education available to every child in America. [Source: HillaryClinton.com]
Civil Rights and Social Justice
Cruz wants to defend religious liberties, solid, period. And as written on his campaign’s website: “The Pilgrims risked everything so that they could worship the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The founders enshrined this right to live according to our faith in the First Amendment, and we must continue to celebrate and safeguard citizens’ God-given rights.” [Source: TedCruz.org]
Again, Trump has no official position. But according to On the Issues, he is okay with gay marriage and affirmative action – for now. [Source: OnTheIssues.org]
Sanders has quite a few (extensive) positions on the issue of civil rights. So in the interest of brevity, I’ll just list some of his views on racial justice (for his position on LGBT rights specifically, you can go here). Sanders wants to demilitarize our police forces; invest in community policing; invest in police forces that reflect the diversity of our communities; federally fund and require body cameras for law enforcement officers; require police departments and states to collect data on all police shootings and deaths; establish a new model police training program; return voting rights to felony offenders; reinforce the Voters Rights Act; make Election Day a federal holiday; eliminate mandatory prison minimums; investigate local governments that are using implicit or explicit quotas for arrests or stops; prevent employers from discriminating against applicants based on criminal history by “banning the box”; stop the unequal exposure of people of color to harmful chemicals, pesticides and other toxins; and mitigate climate change and focus on building resilience in low-income and minority communities. Phew…[Source: BernieSanders.com]
While Clinton does not have a specific position on racial justice, she does take a position on criminal justice reform. And as president she said she will “Work to strengthen bonds of trust between communities and police; Make new investments to support state-of-the-art law enforcement training programs; strengthening the U.S. Department of Justice’s pattern or practice unit; support legislation to end racial profiling; providing federal matching funds to make body cameras available to every police officer; collect and report national data on policing; create national guidelines for use of force; reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses; reform the ‘strike’ system to focus on violent crime; eliminate the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine; apply Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactively; end the privatization of prisons; Take executive action to “ban the box”; and support legislation to restore voting rights.” [Source: HillaryClinton.com]
Reproductive Rights & Family and Children
Cruz hates abortions and if elected president, he will instruct the Department of Justice to investigate Planned Parenthood. He also believes “Marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman, it has strengthened societies for millennia, and we must uphold the truth of marriage.” He also wants to do away with “leftist judges.” [source: TedCruz.org]
No surprises here, but Trump has no official position. However, before he was against abortion and Planned Parenthood, Trump was very much in favor of both. [Source: OnTheIssues.org]
Sanders wants to expand funding for Planned Parenthood. He also vows to “only nominate Supreme Court justices who understand that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and recognize the rights of women to have access to family planning services.” Likewise, Sanders also wants to make high-quality childcare and Pre-K available to every American; expand the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program; and require employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. [Source: BernieSanders.com]
Clinton is the only candidate to take a position on college campus assaults. More specifically she wants to “ensure fair process for all in campus disciplinary proceedings and the criminal justice system” and “increase sexual violence prevention education programs.” And while she is not as assertive in her language as her challenger, she also pledges to “fight for paid family leave; increase the minimum wage; stand up to Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood; address violence against women; and promote women’s rights around the globe.” In terms of family, Clinton also pledges to “guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; and ensure at least a two-thirds wage replacement rate for workers.” [Source: HillaryClinton.com]
Cruz doesn’t have an official position (at least on his website). However, the senator has been very vocal about repealing Obamacare [Source: OnTheIssues.org]
Again, Trump does not have an official position on his website, but according to On The Issues, he feels that Obamacare needs to be both repealed and replaced. With what? Well, according to an interview he gave to ABC News late last year, he is a fan of Ben Carson’s idea to enact health savings accounts as an alternative. He also believes that we don’t have to cut Medicare and Social Security, but rather, we need to focus on how to grow the economy. [Source: OnTheIssues.org]
Sanders wants to create a federally administered single-payer health care program, and he wants to pay for it through a combination of taxes, including a “Responsible Estate Tax” levied on the wealthiest top earners in the country. In addition to free healthcare, Sanders also wants to lower the cost of prescription drugs and strengthen and expand Social Security. [Source: BernieSanders.com]
Yet again, Clinton’s position on healthcare is a bit more measured than her challenger. In terms of social security, she said she will expand and defend Social Security “against Republican attacks” while asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute more. She also pledges to “Fight Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would raise costs and limit coverage for seniors; fight back against Republican plans to privatize or ‘phase out’ Medicare as we know it; Drive down drug costs for seniors and other Americans; and expand Social Security benefits for widows and those who took time out of the paid workforce to care for a child or sick family member.” [Source: HillaryClinton.com]
Now that you are better informed, don’t forget to vote.
By Kiara Morgan
After doing something foolish, I often hear, “C’mon on Kiara ! You’re a college graduate.” Most people wouldn’t be bothered by this comment, if it were used in a different context. But the connotation in which it is said displays so much contempt. It’s basically saying, “You’re too smart, to be this dumb.” There have been countless people who have uttered these words to me. Crazy enough, most of the people who have said this to me have not finished college. Yet, they had the audacity to challenge my intellect.
I must admit, I’m not a genius, not by a long shot, but I was smart enough to get a four-year degree–something that not everyone around me has. I don’t go around telling people that I went to college because every time I do, those around me hold me to some ridiculous standard. They even expect me to know things in areas of study I didn’t take up in college.
When I was pursuing my degree, my status was used against me. Often times, when I needed help from others, one cousin in particular would throw it in my face. She would say, “C’mon on. You’re in college; you should know this!” I guess being in college magically made me exempt from needing help from others. Ironically, she studied a similar field in school for two years, so asking her for assistance wasn’t really all that crazy.
After college, when I really just wanted any job to make money, my degree became a dark cloud over my head, like a past mistake or a crime everyone kept reminding me of. I often dreaded family gatherings in fear that they would inquire about my non-existent career. And most of the time, they did question me about it, and I would shamefully admit to my current situation. I got to the point where I avoided these gatherings altogether. My inability to measure up to what college was supposed to make me made me upset.
Initially, I started taking jobs at temporary agencies and during one of the interviews, a male interviewer asked me: “So why do you need this job if you went to college?”
I became nervous. It wasn’t that it never occurred to me that he would ask this question. I guessed that he would. I just felt embarrassed. I didn’t know how to answer him or what lie to make up. I wasn’t a skilled liar and just wanted to tell him the truth : I needed the money. I had put in countless applications, printed out countless resumes and did a ton of phone interviews — all to no avail. I’ve always had a problem getting jobs. The only reason I got my first job at McDonald’s was because my friend recommended me. Needless to say, I failed that interview.
I often ponder what I was actually taught in college. I learned about pathos and ethos and a few other things in regard to rhetoric, but I still find it hard to write research papers or even understand some research studies. If I could describe college in metaphorical terms I would say I was drowning. I was extremely depressed, isolated from others and struggling to do work. I could never concentrate on what I was reading because my mind was always somewhere else.
So it’s safe to say I don’t need a reminder of the dark days when I questioned if I was an idiot. When I asked myself, “Why wasn’t anything easy for me?” and “Why I couldn’t measure up?” Yes, I went to college and I never want to go back, because I learn things at a slower pace and I hate stressing over grades and writing papers that I don’t understand. I don’t miss the days of staying up late writing English papers about Walt Whitman. Nor do I need the put downs behind my back from cousins saying that I didn’t turn out like they thought I would.
I know I was the first and only person in my immediate family to get a degree. I’m grateful that my grandfather spent some of his fixed income to buy my books and pay some of my loans. I admit that I’m flawed, and at 25 years old I’m still finding myself and it’s not easy due to personal challenges. I take part in hours of self-talk, crying due to constant feelings of doubt and just feeling like I’m a failure. I’m always brainstorming ways to make myself a success to fulfill the image that everyone thought I would be — the image I thought I would be.
As a little girl, I always knew I would go to college. My cousin used to say that I reminded her of Rory from the Gilmore girls because I was planning college before I was in middle school. But life didn’t turn out like I thought it would. I didn’t handle the rejection or being fired from two temporary jobs well. I would question if I could do anything right. It always seemed I was doing things wrong.
But I vowed to myself that I would stop living in other’s people image and stop crumbling like glass when people project their insecurities on me. I can’t carry the weight of other people’s goals on my shoulders. I won’t swallow my pride or bite my tongue when my family makes rude comments. I deserve my humanity and respect, no matter what I do in life. We put so much emphasis on what other people do in life. There are a lot of rich people in this world who are often arrogant and selfish. Yet, the doctors and lawyers in this world are treated better than the most giving people. When we die, the majority of our friends and family will remember the type of person we were. Our titles and professions will not be how we are remembered.
I don’t want a title to define me. So 10 years from now I can’t make any promises about what I will be doing; hopefully I will have a published book. Maybe I will have started a successful business. What I can promise is that every decision will be my own. I won’t be living in someone else’s shadow. So now, when I do something that is wrong or say something that is disagreeable, I hope that I’m not going to be told, “C’mon on you went to college.” If they say this, I might just say, “And you didn’t.”
Kiara Morgan is a writer, who has been published in Blavity, For Harriet and Adore Colour. Her writing usually shines light on the complexity of African-Americans and the need for proper representation in the media. You can follow her on Facebook or on Twitter.
Make the next family movie night an educational night. It’s the perfect teachable moment and a great way to engage the kids with important topics. Here are just a few films that serve as conversation starters for the kids to discuss African American history. This list includes films for most grade levels. If you find a film you like, check with Barnes & Nobles, Amazon or your local library.
Remember, before showing any film to your children, be sure to review the film on your own and discern if the film and it’s content will be suitable for your family to watch.
From Debbie Allen’s Polly to Kenny Leon’s The Watsons go to Birmingham, here are a few recommended kid-friendly films about African American history.
1. Disney’s Ruby Bridges directed by Euzhan Palcy (1998)
2. Selma Lord Selma directed by Charles Burnett (1999)
3. The Watsons Go to Birmingham directed by Kenny Leon (2013)
4. Our Friend, Martin directed by Robert Brousseau and Vincenzo Trippetti featuring the voices of Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg and more. (1999)
5. Polly directed by Debbie Allen (1989)
6. Heroes of Freedom: Stories of Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks (DVD Release 2008)
7. Scholastic’s March On!…and More Stories About African American History featuring narration by Lynn Whitfield and others (DVD released in 2010)
8. Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 (1987)
NYU Admin To Prospective Student: If You Can’t Afford $65 Application Fee How Will You Pay $60K Tuition?
Joshua Jackson is drawing much-needed attention to the exorbitant cost of higher education in America, not to mention the elitism and subtle racism that underlies much of that cost. The Black cartoonist gained Internet fame over the weekend when he exposed an NYU administrator for a rather out of pocket response to his request for the $65 application fee into one of the school’s master’s programs be waived.
Jackson was interested in applying to the Tisch School of the Arts’ Art & Public Policy master’s program, designed to help students “engage in an activist exploration of the relationship between art and society, and the role of the artist in civic life,” while encouraging “artists and those working in connection to art and culture, activists, scholars, and community builders, [to] examine the political implications and social significance of their work.”
Whatever enthusiasm Jackson had about this program dwindled significantly when he was basically told he’s too poor to help other poor people. Here’s how things went down, according to Jackson’s Twitter exposé.
— Joshua Jackson (@JoshuaKJackson) December 19, 2015
“I thought surely a program seeking to examine such pressing topics would understand my precarious financial position!” Jackson continued, noting how he asked if the $65 application fee for the program could be waived. The response he was given was far from the yes he was hoping for.
— Joshua Jackson (@JoshuaKJackson) December 19, 2015
In the email, Dan Sanford wrote:
“Please do not take this the wrong way but if $65 is a hardship for you how will you be able to pay the tuition of $60,000?. Of course we do provide scholarships but the most we usually offer is $15,000-$20,000. This still leaves a considerable gap. Maybe you should give yourself a year off looking at ways to fund your graduate education. That way, if you apply to a fine school and are offered admission along with a good but not complete financial aid package you will be in a better position to accept it by bringing some resources of your own to the table.”
Sanford went on to say NYU’s application fee is quite low compared to others and that the department has no separate budget to pull from to absorb the cost of application fees which are “essential” for the school to meet its expenses. He then added that he hopes this fact won’t dampen Jackson’s resolve to apply to the program.
Suffice it to say, the response did that and much more. After receiving that response, Jackson proceeded to call out the school for paying “THIS PRIVILEGED MAN TO MAKE BOLD OPPRESSIVE STATEMENTS & TELL MARGINALIZED PEOPLE HOW TO LIVE THEIR LIVES,” writing in a series of Tweets he laid out on Storify:
This shows how out of touch you are with the very communities y’all claim to work with.
I merely asked for a fee waiver to the application. I would (as always) have had to do the rest of the work myself.
Also, what does it mean to have an outrageously expensive tuition yet y’all can’t “absorb the loss” of $65? Wait. What?
What does it mean to craft an Arts Politics program and make it available to only the wealthiest members of society?
I need NYU to investigate and check themselves. Do not target me or try to disempower me because of my socioeconomic status
How dare NYU try to assume my capabilities using their narrow and classist lens of viewing marginalized people.
Don’t come at me with this “pull yourself up by the bootstraps and then we’ll talk” nonsense.
I do not need privileged people telling me, a lower-income Artist of Color, how to survive. Trust me. I got this.
I saw your program & knew deep down y’all just want to send elite wealthy artists into marginalized communities #ShameonNYU
Jackson did eventually get a response from NYU, which it should be noted is one of the most expensive private institutions of higher learning in the United States. But based on that ambiguous apology, we’re all wondering what the respondent below asked: Does Dan Sanford still have a job? Further, is Jackson’s fee waived?
— Joaquín Andrés Selva (@QuinchoOsito) December 19, 2015
You know what they say, you can always come back home. After high school, Birmingham native Ruben Studdard was accepted to Alabama A&M University with a football scholarship. Having sung all his life, in church, he decided to follow that passion. He switched his major to study voice, and graduated in 2000.
He pursued a music career heavily and with many setbacks but found his breakthrough moment on the vocal competition, “American Idol” in 2003.
His alma mater invited him back this weekend to give him an honorary Master of Arts degree. During the commencement ceremony, Studdard sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
While he was on campus, he took a walk down memory lane, reminiscing about the days he spent studying in one of the lecture halls.
Later, he snapped a few shots of himself in a cap and gown with a few leaders at the school.
Congratulations to Ruben!
While sifting through my Facebook timeline, I’m trying to find anything that doesn’t start with the letter T, end with a p, and rhyme with Dump. Seriously, I’d have better luck avoiding traffic in New York City. I’m just about to give up when I stumble across some news that instantaneously changes my mood. The headline reads, ‘Four Black Women Win Rhodes Scholarships.’ Well, isn’t this a post for sore eyes?! I mean, these ladies must be smart as whips. I start finger-snapping just like when I read that director Ava Duvernay’s Barbie doll sold out in 17 minutes. These ladies give me so much hope. I start thinking about my own daughters and how I tell my six-year-old all the time to use her mind. Who knows, maybe one day she’ll become a Rhodes Scholar too. Before I know it, I’m googling it to find out as much as I can.
First off, being named a Rhodes Scholar is like getting drafted into the NBA. Students get the opportunity to study at London’s prestigious Oxford University. But the competition is stiff. From this year’s pool of 869 applicants, 32 American students were selected, and four of them African American women. Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, there have been quite a few African American Rhodes Scholars in the past, some of them we know.
The first was famed philosopher, educator, and writer of the Harlem Renaissance, Alain LeRoy Locke, and others include Susan Rice, President Obama’s National Security Advisor, and Newark’s former mayor-turned-Senator Cory Booker. Even Bill Clinton can boast being a Rhodes Scholar. Talk about encouraging!
Here’s more information about the young ladies:
Ilhan A. Dahir is a graduate of Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and political science. She is now teaching English in Turkey as a Fulbright Fellow. Dahir is the daughter of Somali immigrants. Dahir plans to earn two master’s degrees at Oxford, one on refugee and forced migration studies and one in global governance and diplomacy.
Jennifer C. Hebert is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in the biological basis of behavior. She is a member of the university’s rowing team and the U.S. national rowing team. Her senior thesis involves research on the effects of nicotine exposure or stress on neural circuitry. Hebert will study for a master’s degree in psychiatry at Oxford.
Logan C. Jackson from Lexington, Kentucky, is a senior at Northeastern University in Boston, majoring in structural engineering. She has a perfect grade point average so far in her undergraduate career. Jackson is president of the Northeastern University chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. She plays the viola in the university’s symphony orchestra. At Oxford, Jackson plans to study for a master’s degree in education and a master’s degree in evidence-based social intervention and policy.
Ericka M. Wheeler is the first African American woman from the state of Mississippi to win a Rhodes Scholarship. She is a senior at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. She is majoring in history and English and also taking a pre-med curriculum. Wheeler is co-president of the Millsaps College Gospel Choir and president of the Intercultural Student Organization. Wheeler plans to study for a master’s degree in medical anthropology at Oxford.
I keep reading because now I’m curious as to the scholarship’s origin…
The Rhodes Scholarship was set up in 1902 by the estate of Cecil John Rhodes, a business tycoon and politician in South Africa. In fact, the country once known as Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, was named after him. A staunch believer in British colonialism, he was racist and shrewd in his determination to colonize all of South Africa. In his last will and testament he is quoted as saying:
“I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings what an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence, look again at the extra employment a new country added to our dominions gives.” source
Jeez, this guy sounds like Hitler! It’s in his legacy that we honor with this scholarship fund? It’s too easy to accept his money now, so that his family can ease their conscious about all the lives he destroyed on the road to getting filthy rich.
You know what, forget about Rhodes Scholars, I’m going back to surfing the net. And sure enough, I come across an open letter written by Russell Simmons to his ‘old friend’ Donald Trump. He’s telling him straight, ”Stop the BullSh*t.” Stop fueling fires of hate,” in reference to the ridiculous rhetoric Trump’s been spewing about banning Muslims from entering this country–a ban that further drives the divide. There’s so much at stake. Whether Trump with his insidious views becomes President or not, he’s managed to uproot the soil, and spoil the crops, so no matter what happens we need every man on deck. We have to stand together to fight against separatism, racism, terrorism and every other kind of ism.
Wait a minute, I’m talking about 2015 America. Not 1902 South Africa, which ironically, brings me back to Rhodes and his scholarship. When I think about it now, obviously we have a bigger fight on our hands today. Let these four young ladies and other African American recipients continue to use that scholarship–it’s the minimum that he can do.
And maybe the next Rhodes Scholar will become the next Susan Rice, Cory Booker, or even Bill Clinton. On that note, I’m going to choose my battles wisely. Have a nice day.
Check out Erickka Sy Savané’s column, Pop Mom Daily, right here or visit PopMomDaily.com. Before Erickka became a writer/editor, she was a model, actress, and MTV VJ. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Jersey City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
This weekend on Café Mocha, MC Lyte opens up about her #EducateOurMen initiative and how the White House will help legislate it. Listeners can also expect to be educated on financial slavery by Reverend Deforest Soaries from MyDFree.org who will provide three tips on how to effectively save money and why payday loans are a no-go.
Once you’ve been educated on how to increase prosperity in the community, visit www.salutehertour.com to win a new 2016 Hyundai Sonata by uploading a video and nominating a modern woman in your life.
And don’t forget to catch the ladies of Did Y’all See discuss the issue of Black women butchering their bodies for the sake of butt implants.
It’s hard to tell if it’s 2015 or 1915 sometimes.
Last fall, a black 12-year-old boy was suspended for staring at a white classmate at an Ohio Catholic school. According to the incident report drafted by a school administrator, the female student complained that she “felt fearful.” In an apology letter, the boy explained that he “never knew she was scared because she was laughing.” He went on to say that he was under the impression that they were engaged in a “staring contest,” but administration chose to move forward with the suspension anyway, Fox 19 reports.
The youngster’s parents took the school to court in hopes of getting the suspension erased, but a judge recently denied their claim.
“The perception is he intimidated her,” said Candice Tolbert, the boy’s mother. “My son stared at a girl who was engaged in a staring game. She giggled the entire time.”
The incident occurred on a Monday. School officials were notified by the girl’s parents the next day. Tolbert, however, said she was not made aware of the situation until three days after the incident occurred.
When the boy’s parents were asked if they believe their son’s punishment was racially motived, they expressed that they aren’t ready to make it about race just yet, but voiced concern about how their son was treated in comparison to other students.
“The same girl that accused my son of this act of perception of intimidation, aggressively poured milk on someone else’s lunch. When she did that, there were no penalties for that. She received nothing for that,” said Tolbert.
School administrators declined to comment on the incident.
“Judge Patrick Dinkelacker listened to the plaintiff’s arguments yesterday, rejected them and dismissed the complaint against the school. We aren’t going to comment any further on particular issues concerning our students,” said a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
The student’s parents are considering appealing the judge’s decision.
Michelle Obama: There Is No Boy Cute Enough Or Interesting Enough To Stop You From Getting Your Education
Michelle Obama is the realest. It’s one of the things we love most about her. Whether she’s standing in front of dignitaries or speaking to a room full of kindergartners, she seems to be authentic.
And last night, when the First Lady was speaking to a group of girls at Harlem’s Apollo Theater for the “Let Girls Learn” event, she brought that same honesty.
“Let Girls Learn” is an initiative to empower girls and women through education. The campaign keeps referencing the number 62 million. It’s the number of girls, around the world, who are not able to receive an education.
In speaking to the young ladies, she reminded them about the importance of focus. She advised the girls in attendance what our mothers and grandmothers have been saying to us for years: books before boys.
“There is no boy at this age that is cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting your education.”
Then she continued,
“If I had worried about who liked me or who thought I was cute when I was your age, I wouldn’t be married to the President of the United States today.”
And then she pretended to drop the mic.
As much as this was a message many young girls needed to hear, it was also one for the more seasoned ladies among us as well. You can appreciate a man and he can appreciate you so much more after you’ve cultivated, developed and improved yourself. Whether that development comes in the form of education, pursuit of goals or just becoming a better human being, relationships are so much better when each person is fulfilled and at least working toward self actualization.
Thank you for that prophetic word First Lady.
Later, she spoke about why this cause, education for girls, is so close to her heart.
“For me, this is personal. When I think about those 62 million girls that aren’t in school, I think about myself. I think about my daughters; because quite frankly, all these girls, these are our girls. And I think about where I would be in my life if I didn’t work hard in school and have the opportunity to go to college and then on to law school, I wouldn’t be here. So I think it’s imperative and it is a part of my passion and my mission to make sure that every girl on the planet has the same opportunity that I’ve had, that my daughters have. And I want to make sure that all of you, here in the United States, are taking advantage of all the opportunities that you have as well. I want you to be that hungry to get your education because it is going to be the key to your future.”
You’ve got to love her.
Honestly, watching clips like this one are bittersweet. I’m reminded that the Obamas are going to be leaving the White House soon. And I’ll just miss seeing those Black faces in positions of power.
Take a look at the clip below.
Bringing up student loans is kind of like bringing up STIs: it’s an uncomfortable topic we’d rather ignore and you can never be sure who has them. Sadly, because loans are such a taboo subject that is wrongly tainted with a certain degree of shame, the knowledge of those who have dealt with the realities of student debt is often not shared. When I took out $20,000 of student loans I didn’t have a resource to help me better understand just how debt could affect my life post-graduation. I graduated five years ago and I’m still paying off my loans. Occasionally I wonder how my peers are dealing with debt. So I set out to hear the stories of other millennials who graduated five-seven years ago with debt balances at graduation ranging from $10,000 – $90,000. Here’s what some of them had to say.
Madame Noire: How has student debt affected your life?
Sarah: Student debt has definitely affected my life in a huge way. One major aspect is the fact that I am still living with my parents in order to pay off my debt as fast as I can. Over half of my paycheck is going towards these loans and this is what makes it so difficult to move out and start my life. So for now, I am living with the feeling that life has yet to begin for me.
Dylan: I’ve talked about [debt] with my current girlfriend as we’ve gotten more serious. After we decided to move in together, we made a decision to live in a smaller apartment than I might otherwise if I didn’t have debt. I made a conscious decision to not take on other large amounts of debt, like a mortgage, until I can pay off what I currently owe.
Mike: Student debt has definitely been a burden since leaving college several years ago. It’s had a direct impact on where I live, the type of car I drive, the number of vacation trips I take, and just the overall financial quality of my everyday life. I lived at home with my parents for five years after graduating, rather than getting an apartment. I bought my first real car three years after graduating college. [My wife and I] actually just moved to a more modest apartment to get some extra cash to pay off [debt] faster.
MN: How do you feel about debt now?
Sarah: I feel debt is stopping me from fully living life and I don’t want this feeling to linger on when I get married and have a family. I like the feeling of knowing that everything is fully paid off. It’s a feeling of freedom. I would definitely borrow money if I had no other choice. However, this would now be my last resort as opposed to a few years back before graduating college and really understanding the power of debt.
Dylan: I think if you’re smart about it and don’t take on more debt than you can handle, it’s an effective tool to be able to purchase things that you may not be able to otherwise. I’m in favor of debt, but I think that people need to be better educated about debt, especially going into college. It’s not a good idea to take out $200K of debt if you don’t have a career path in mind that wouldn’t allow you to pay off that kind of debt.
Mike: We’re committed to not borrowing money again, except most likely a 15-year mortgage. We avoid debt and credit cards like the black plague. We believe that “the borrower is a slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7), and are going to cancel our credit cards as soon as the balances hit zero. We plan to save up for everything and pay with cash.
MN: Was borrowing worth it and would you do it again?
Sarah: Although I want to say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the degree that I received and the debt that I took out to pay for my college, I don’t think this is true. I know many students that went to a public college for their undergraduate and then a private college for their graduate school and they still got to where I am in the very end. The thing is that I loved my experience at the college that I went to and I wouldn’t change that for anything. I would definitely do it over again just for this reason.
Dylan: Given that my graduate degree (which is what I took on debt for) is completely different from my undergraduate degree in liberal arts, I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am career-wise without debt. I absolutely would take on the debt again, because I have a career that allows me to repay the debt at a reasonable pace.
Mike: It’s hard to say. I’m of the mindset that everything happens for a reason but if I had to do it all over again I would not have borrowed any money for college. I was the first in my family who even had the option of attending a four-year college, so I believed that I had to do whatever it [took] to go to a big school and graduate in four years. I think the best path to take is to pay your own way through college, even if that means community college for two years then attending a four year college after.
If we solely focus on the economics of borrowing money for post-secondary education then, as reported by The Atlantic, in the long run school loan debt is largely a good decision. However, the thing that I drew from the conversations with my peers is that there are so many other highly subjective variables that determine your perception of how worthwhile it is to borrow. My economist friend shed light on possible factors such as the cost of worrying about not having enough money to make tuition payments on time if you don’t borrow, or on the flip side, the cost of choosing a career path you hate but need in order to pay off your incurred debt. Yet despite our unique dispositions and circumstances that influence our feelings about debt, the single unifying theme from all whom I spoke with was that we wished we had received more education on debt earlier on in life: things like refinancing options, fixed vs variable rates, what is a good interest rate, the concept of compounding, how interest payments work, what it means for your take home pay etc. One friend said, “[He] should have taken a more proactive view of the realities of lending starting at age 16.”
Was your student debt worth it?