All Articles Tagged "education"

Should You Homeschool? Here’s My Testimony

October 18th, 2016 - By Chuck Creekmur
Share to Twitter Email This



I recently went to the parent/teacher convention at my daughter’s school. I call it a convention, because I had to meet with all her teachers individually. I could see it was going to be an excursion from the giddy-up as all the other parents lined up to meet with the teachers as if we were runners waiting for the starter gun to go off. I got there a half-hour early to get the report, be it positive or be it negative.

I continuously kept hearing great things about my daughter, but there was one aspect of it that annoyed me. I was told that she and another girl talked too much in class. Talk about annoying. All of the teachers mentioned how bright she was and yet there was this issue about “greater potential.” Ever since one of my kid’s teachers described her as ‘brilliant,’ I’ve been looking at her like a Young Einstein. I need that person to rise and rule the nation one day!

Aside from the girly chatter comment, the curriculum of public schools has always bothered me as an African American that’s über proud to be Black.

There are some things that African American students need to survive that they don’t get. I despise how Black history starts with slavery and the true nature of our history is overlooked or compartmentalized in a month. This is important, as we are about to recognize a drunken, lost man named Christopher Columbus again.

Everybody isn’t lost.

I have been noticing that more and more African Americans are choosing to homeschool their kids so that they don’t have to endure the horrid school system that has taken over the United States. This post is not to condemn teachers, because I love teachers. I loved most of my teachers, except the racist ones that tried to stunt my growth or my third grade teacher that actually laid hands on my for being late. Both of my parents were teachers and many of those in my family are teachers. They knew how to handle teachers. The truth is, I once aspired to teach in the classroom, but I discovered the internet in the mid-90’s. Word to Christopher Columbus. But, I digress.

Schools are different now and those educators I know are consistently at odds with the system and their ability to teach is hampered, even by their own accounts.

For many parents it is time to unplug from one system and find a new power source.

A recent report indicated that approximately 1,770,000 students are currently being homeschooled in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. This represents 3.4 percent of the school-age population. NCES said the break down is as follows: 68 percent are white, 15 percent are Hispanic, eight percent are black, and four percent are Asian or Pacific Islander. The population of homeschooled kids grows by about 15 percent per year, says the NCES.

It may all just be parents going back to their natural instincts.

Parents are the first teachers to their offspring, so the act of teaching can be very natural if the parents are committed. The parent(s) have the opportunity to instill their values into their kids. This means competing for who has the freshest clothing becomes less and less important. I personally wore “bo-bo” sneakers until 5th grade, people! For African Americans, we are already twice behind in the school department, according to reports. The high school graduation rates for African Americans is about 51 perecnt! On top of that, there are ridiculous gaps in resources between wealthier school districts and poorer ones. Racism and classism is very alive and has been for years.

I grew up in Delaware and I watched firsthand as Black kids were dismantled in the system. Many were victims of pure bias and racism. Others were dumped unnecessarily into Special Ed programs. Moreover, they were essentially uneducated on anything that mattered in the real game of survival. Many of them resorted to street methods of getting over and were eventually caught up in another system – the penal system.

Now, homechooling is not just about what is wrong with the public (an in many cases private) schools. In many cities and towns, there are awesome support and network groups that guide parents and offer outings that help socialize kids with other homeschooled children. Students still have to show they are proficient in all the course studies that “regular” students to as well. Homeschooled kids tend to excel academically just fine when they integrate into institutional education, whenever that may occur. My brother, who is a great teacher, always stresses to me how there are different types of learning. Each kid thrives in a different way and its hard to determine when you have large quantities of kids per school.

My daughter is a public school kid even though we moved to an area just because it has a good school district. They cannot and will not do it all.

When my daughter gets home, I trying my version of homeschooling. For me, this means reading about African Americans, history (present and past), science fiction books, independent science projects and more. Make it fun. Even TV can be educational if you are watching something like “Unsung,” a show that chronicles singers/rappers that were overlooked by the mainstream. We also watch our favorite show, “Shark Tank,” a show where business people pitch investors there ideas. Since I am an entrepreneur, I want her to understand she absolutely does not have to be a cog in a machine. She can be the machine. They don’t teach that level of independence in school. My homeschooling could be teaching my child about managing money or even reading nutrition labels on food (don’t get me started on public school food). I know its not the same as true homeschooling but it’s my attempt to offset that which I don’t agree.

I doubt very seriously that my daughter will ever get homeschooled, but should I ever have more kids, I would consider it strongly. Our kids have to be ready for the long haul and its up to us to train them for the rigors of the real life rat race. Let the marathon begin.

If you are serious about homeschooling, click here for some resources that offer stats and further information.

Black Alliance for Educational Options-

Facts about homeschooling –


Young Students Prefer Teachers Of Color Over White Teachers Study Says

October 11th, 2016 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This



There has been a call in recent years from educators and parents for diversity in the classroom, and now it seems students themselves prefer to be taught by teachers of colors. If fact, students of all races (white, Black, Latino, and Asian) actually like Black and Latino teachers more than they do white teachers, according to a new study.

The study was done by Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng who is of Chinese descent and taught in an 85 percent African-American middle school in San Francisco. Cherng, a sociologist at New York University,published the paper with colleague Peter Halpin which looked at a group of 1,700 sixth- through ninth-grade teachers from more than 300 schools nationwide. The students were asked, among other things: How much does this teacher challenge his students? How supportive is she? How well does he manage the classroom? How captivating does she make the subject?

“Cherng and Halpin found that all the students, including white students, had significantly more favorable perceptions of Latino versus white teachers across the board, and had significantly more favorable perceptions of Black versus white teachers on at least two or three of seven categories in the survey,” reported NPR.

This actually surprised Cherng, who thought biases and prejudices from households would be brought into the classroom by the students. “I thought student awareness of the racial hierarchy would influence the results,” in favor of whites, he said.

Cherng’s study was also in contrast to other studies, which found evidence of “race matching,” meanings students preferred teachers of the same race.

Now Cherng is working on another study to look at why the students prefer teachers of color. His working theory is that teachers of color score more highly because of their ability to draw on their own experiences to address issues of race and gender,” NPR reported.

How To Have “The Talk” With Your Black Students When They Return to School

August 25th, 2016 - By madamenoire
Share to Twitter Email This



By Abigail Henry

Eric Holder stated that in his version of “the talk,” which he hoped not to have to “[hand] down,” that “as a father who loves his son and who is more knowing in the ways of the world, I had to do this to protect my boy.”

“The talk” is often defined as the dinner-table conversation that takes place between Black parents and their sons and/or daughters. It is the heartfelt and protective advice given by parents on what to do when encountering a police officer.

While “the talk” traditionally occurs in the homes and neighborhoods of Black families, it also, unintentionally or intentionally, occurs within educational settings. As an African-American history teacher, my responsibility is to give a very long-winded version of “the talk.” My job, my responsibility and the reason why I strive to serve well, is to provide students with the ability to be problem solvers and give back to their own communities despite ongoing oppression.

However, all teachers—not just those that teach African-American history—have the responsibility and can and should be held accountable, regardless of what curriculum he or she teaches, to at some point have a “talk” with students of color. The challenge is that for many educators this talk is given without possessing the necessary cultural competency to have a conversation that makes students feel safe and supported.

I’ve seen teachers give their mini-version of the talk. Most redirections we provide to Black students about behavior are our personalized adaptations of “the talk.” Every time a teacher addresses a Black student in the hallway about their uniform or in the classroom about the curse-word they just yelled, the teacher is adding to the story of this racially concerned conversation.

My concern is that when teachers ask a Black student “why are you late?” or to “take those headphones out of your ears!” they are unconsciously “talk”-ing at the student, without the required racial competency to have the conversation. These discussions require racial sensitivity, patience and preparation.

As I prepare for a new class of students in a few weeks, here is what I will do, and what I advise every other teacher to do to support positive racial identity development in our students.

You don’t have to be an African-American history teacher or one of the rare “minority” teachers to have your own racial “talk” tool-kit. You too can participate successfully in the conversation and help further protect and empower our students.


When re-directing Black students, provide the explanation. Our students might want to engage in some behaviors when we don’t want them to, and our students want to test the limits (a natural and healthy part of human growth and development). Explain to students the impact of their choices and the reasons why you are asking them to change their behavior. Students are more likely to cooperate when they have been “explained-to” not “talked-at.”

Growth Mindset is a must. Every time I get frustrated with a student, I check myself on a student’s pre-determined oppression circumstances. It’s not about just them. It’s also about me, and a particular institutionalized microcosm at that moment, and whether or not I can remain positive enough to get past my own frustration. There’s always another solution, another conversation, another intervention, that may help you be more successful with the student.

Develop a racial positive affirmation with your students that you say regularly. Cheesy I know, and yet in my classroom we say before each lesson, “I am my present, my past, my future.” You don’t have to teach African-American history to say those words or develop an affirmation that routinely brings students together and supports a positive racial identity.

Stop blaming the family all the time. This one is huge! And is more about that “talk” you have with yourself or another co-worker. Often times, as teachers, we say “well, she didn’t even get her cell phone taken away,” or “Can you believe he got suspended 2 days ago, and showed up to school with a new pair of sneakers this morning!” Remember, our families, our communities, quite often face oppressive circumstances. Many are truly looking to us as educators for guidance, support and meaningful partnerships, and most of all, solidarity in this struggle.

Beware of the elephant. Don’t avoid acknowledging your privilege. Recognize how you, as a teacher, have had advantages that your students did not. How are your students’ experiences different from your own in high school? What implicit bias do you have that is holding you back from truly having a “talk” with your students of value? Even as a Black teacher, I work on this one every day.

Ultimately, as educators, we do have the responsibility to participate in “the talk.” The question is: Are you doing so in a productive way that supports positive racial identity growth?

For Black students, “the talk” is a part of their education and if educators could also be co-parents in the “talk,” think how much further students of color would be uplifted.

Abigail Henry is a secondary African-American history teacher at Mastery Charter Schools in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Should You Attend Graduate School?

August 12th, 2016 - By Nneka Samuel
Share to Twitter Email This
Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

There are many reasons one might want to go to graduate school. An advanced degree allows you to further specialize in the field of your choice. Earning a master’s or Ph.D. can equate to more money at work in the long term, depending on your chosen industry. But graduate school definitely comes with its own unique set of concerns and questions. An advanced degree isn’t exactly cheap, after all. Are you willing to take on the debt? Aside from loans, can you find other ways to fund your education? There was a time when people with certain advanced degrees were guaranteed employment, but in today’s ever-shifting economy, that is no longer the case. Are you comfortable applying for school knowing that going in? The questions (and seemingly the pros and cons) are endless, but if you’re contemplating whether or not you should apply to or attend graduate school, here are some things you should take into consideration.

Summer Brain Gain: 10 Ways To Keep Kids Learning This Summer

July 15th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
Share to Twitter Email This



While students are enjoying their summer break, it is important to keep children active and engaged to prevent learning loss that accompanies long school breaks.

“Summer break is the perfect time to turn New York City into a classroom – there are many exciting ways to engage kids in learning outside of school,” said Lauren Barr, Senior Executive, School and Branch Based Programs K-12, YMCA of Greater New York. “At the Y, we’re working with families to identify and provide child care that is safe, educational and fun to ensure that kids continue learning and are active year round.”

Research spanning more than 100 years shows that students experience summer learning loss, or “brain drain,” when they are not actively engaged in school, camp or other educational programs during the summer. On average, students lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in math skills.

Fortunately, there are ways for families to combat summer learning loss. The YMCA Of Greater New York has 10 tips to help families keep children active and engaged this summer:

  1. Play Time is Gain Time: Play is crucial to healthy brain development. Prioritize play with your kids to keep their creative juices flowing and minds working.
  2. Bring the Olympics Home: The 2016 Summer Olympics are a great opportunity to learn about new sports and even try them out as a family. Handball, anyone?
  3. Create a “Boredom” Jar: At the start of the summer, brainstorm fun activities as a family and put them on individual pieces of paper into a jar. Every time your kids complain of boredom, have them pull an activity out of the jar!
  4. Pick a Pen Pal: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a family member or friend, near or far, writing letters and postcards will give kids a chance to rehash and share their summer adventures and practice their writing in the process.
  5. Explore Your Backyard: New York City is home to more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities including pools, tennis courts and historic homes. Use time during the summer to enjoy our City’s public spaces across the five boroughs.
  6. Volunteer: You’re never too young to give back! There are many volunteer options across the City, from community gardens to soup kitchens; this summer find a volunteer opportunity your whole family is interested in and show your kids what it means to be a New Yorker who cares.
  7. Become a Library “Regular”: Make regular visits to the library so your kids always have a fresh book to read. If you can, read aloud so you enjoy the stories together.
  8. Outdoor Adventures: Sunshine with sunscreen protects your health. Take time each day to be outside, whether it’s a whole day at the beach or a walk home from the museum.
  9. Make Chores Less of a Chore: Teach responsibility and have fun while doing it. Crank up the music and you and your kids can dance through chores like folding laundry, dusting and sweeping.
  10. Enroll in Y Camp!: YMCA summer camps provide children with a variety of positive and fun experiences that build confidence, new friendships, lifelong memories and a feeling of community that will last beyond the summer. The Y offers all types of camps – more than 21 day camps across New York City; specialty sports camps and sleep away camps all accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA). Learn more at

Black Women Are The Most Educated Group In The U.S.

June 3rd, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
Share to Twitter Email This
Ahem, Black Women Are The Most Educated Group In The U.S.


It’s official. Black women are now the most educated group in the United States.



According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there is a higher percentage of Black women enrolled in college — 9.7 percent, to be exact — than any other race or gender group. Asian women trail slightly behind with a whopping 8.7 percent and White women with 7.1 percent.



Between 2009 and 2010, Black women earned 68 percent of the associate’s degrees, 66 percent of the bachelor’s degrees, 71 percent of the master’s degrees, and 65 percent of the doctorate degrees received by Black graduates in the United States.

Great job, ladies. Keep up the good work!



H/t Salon

What Rihanna’s College Scholarship Will Mean For Caribbean Families

May 13th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
Share to Twitter Email This

Rihanna's College Scholarship

Credit: Derrick Salters/

Earlier this month, Rihanna announced that her Clara Lionel Foundation will include a Global Scholarship Program. The program will help pay the tuition of natives or citizens of Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana or Jamaica who will be attending an undergraduate institution in the United States.

The scholarship awards range from $5,000- $50,000 and can be renewed for up to three academic school years or until the recipient receives his/her degree.

“Scholarship finalists are selected on the basis of academic performance, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, work experience, a statement of educational goals and objectives, unusual personal or family circumstances and an outside appraisal,” the Clara Lionel Foundation website notes.

When I first learned about Rihanna’s charitable effort, I thought it was brilliant but not for obvious reasons. The program offers those who grew up in similar circumstances as Rihanna, the opportunity to fulfill educational goals that are often left untouched due to circumstances beyond their control. Despite education being of life or death importance in Caribbean and Latino cultures, it’s not always accessible in the United States because of family dynamics or systematic red tape.

Growing up, I observed the road blocks that kept my own relatives from pursuing their education. If they were of high school age, some of my cousins had to repeat grade-level work they already completed because it was assumed that immigrants were academically behind their American peers. Others were not able to attend college because their parents encouraged them to find a job to help with the household responsibilities (especially if other children in their family unit were already enrolled in college).

Although this may not be the narrative of all Caribbean and Latino immigrants, Rihanna’s scholarship adds to the list of opportunities for those who grasp the idea that finances should no longer defer the dreams children of immigrant families, as they embark on their own Manifest Destiny.

For more information on the Rihanna’s Global Scholarship Program, visit the ScholarshipAmerica.Org

Is This Petty? I Don’t Know If I Want To Give Him A Chance Because He Didn’t Go To College

April 22nd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
Share to Twitter Email This

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

I’ll start this week’s “Is This Petty?” with a quote about dating in the tech age from my dear Brande Victorian: “Pssh. It’s rough out here…”

From the outside looking in, I assumed that dating apps and sites had made meeting the opposite sex and going out on dates a lot more fun than it used to be. I mean, I was hearing about people going on two to three dates in a week (What is this? Sex and the City?!), so I believed that being exposed to so many options could give you a better shot at finding your right fit.

Not so.

A friend of one of my girlfriends from college was telling me about a guy she went out on a date with, from Germany, who she was really into after linking up on Her merriment was a big deal for her, especially since she had some not so great encounters with guys on the dating site. From creepy lads reaching out to noticing that many men on the site — Black, White, whatever — were looking for non-Black women, she just hadn’t had the best of luck.

But before Mr. Germany, there was a guy who seemed genuinely interested in getting to know her better, who didn’t fall in the creeptastic category, whom she matched with. However, after giving it some thought, she decided that she couldn’t give him the time of day because he didn’t have a college degree.

I know that sounds a little on the snooty booty, bourgeoise side, but to be fair, she is a lawyer who just recently graduated from law school after studying for years and has since secured a swanky job. Therefore, education is important to her, and rightfully so. She wants someone who she’s “equally yoked” with, as they say in the Bible. Or really, someone who at least is making moves in their field of choice and can continue to move up the career ladder thanks to experience and training. In her mind, a man without a college degree will be limited in his opportunities.

And it’s not just earning potential that worries women like our subject. It’s also the “educational discrepancy,” as one woman called it when asking for advice online about her relationship.

“I’m a graduate student getting my PhD in a science field, and he never completed his bachelor’s and is currently working in the service industry. He’s taking online classes and collaborating on a startup, but doesn’t plan to finish his degree.”

To her, conversations could feel a little limited, and she was wondering whether or not she was wasting her time after more than a year together.

But as one woman said about her own experiences dating men with and without degrees on a different thread from a few years back, as long as one has an interest in learning, degree or no degree, it could work:

The thing I appreciate most about dating somebody with a similar educational background is the fact that it’s another opportunity for common ground and being able to relate to one another, and can be an indication of similar priorities and values. But it’s also true that my SO and I had college experiences that are about as drastically different as the difference in experiences of somebody who went to school and didn’t go to school, so it’s no guarantee that you’d have a ton of common ground. Everyone’s experience is different.

However, whether I am dating somebody with a college degree or without one, I have a hard time relating to people who don’t prioritize learning and have no intellectual curiosity. And you’ll find that type with and without degrees, unfortunately.

It’s different strokes for different folks. So if you meet a guy who you just have that connection with, despite a lack of a degree, and you want to go for it, then go for it, sis. And honestly, many extraordinarily talented individuals never graduated from institutions of higher learning and are running the companies that make our phones and other innovative things. But the way I see it, if education is important to you, you shouldn’t sidestep your wants and needs because chances are, it will still be a problem down the line. And in all honesty, you shouldn’t lower your standards in an attempt not to seem like an uppity, judgmental chick, or, as people LOVE to say in horrid Instagram memes, a woman who won’t “build with” or “build up” a grown man. Women are often expected to bend and adjust for a decent man with potential rather than encouraged to stick to our guns and wait for a good man with a plan–and a hustle. We all have our preferences, and as for our subject, it’s not a man without a college degree. To each their own…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Is it petty to not give a guy a chance because he hasn’t obtained a college degree? 


No College Required? Six-Figure Jobs That Might Surprise You

April 13th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
Share to Twitter Email This
Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Looking for a new career that will bring in a bigger paycheck without costing you years upon years upon years in school? Doctors, lawyers, and engineers are the most coveted professions that earn people six-figure paychecks each year. But they’re not the only jobs helping people supersize their bank accounts.

These career choices may not be as famous, but they certainly bring in awfully nice paychecks. Do you know how much your local food truck vendor makes? What about the chef at your favorite restaurant? Before you walk on by these career choices, it pays to know the perks that come with them. We’ve done the research, and we’ve found that there are lots of jobs that bring in much bigger paychecks than we previously thought.

Whether you’re looking for a career change or just a way to make money without a four-year degree, one of these six-figure salary jobs is bound to be perfect for you. All you need is to gain experience and hustle hard.

10 Things You Should Never Do Before Sex

March 30th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
Share to Twitter Email This
Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Ever get in bed to do the do and think, “something just isn’t right?” Things are drier or moister or… smellier than they usually are? Don’t panic. You may have just accidentally done one of the things you should never do before sex. And you’re not alone.

Most of us are so focused on what we should be doing in the sack that we never take a moment to think about what we should be doing before we get there. But it pays to be in the know. Doing some of these things before sex can make you more prone to STDs, infections or burning sensations. And we haven’t even gotten to the uncontrollable gas yet.

Before you hop in to bed the next time, just take a look at this list and see if there’s anything you need to prune from your pre-sex routine.