All Articles Tagged "education"
Newark Mayor Cory Booker has been dubbed “Super Mayor,” having performed heroic deeds from living on food stamps to bring awareness to the plight of those on the program to rescuing a freezing dog.
Booker’s latest effort was his first annual Mayor’s Masked Ball to benefit the New Jersey regional chapter of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). The event, held at the Newark Club, sold out and initially raised $250,000 through ticket sales and other bequests, reports theGrio. Mayor Booker also collected a ton of $1,000 checks during the night from the movers and shakers in attendance.
“The mayor raised an additional $27,000 for our Campaign for Emergency Student Aid,” a spokesperson for the UNCF told theGrio.
This is just one of the first in a series of events planned in partnership between the UNCF and mayors across the country. These balls originated in Atlanta in the 1980s during Andrew Young’s tenure as mayor.
Actor Craig Robinson, currently starring in Peeples, Extra entertainment reporter A. J. Calloway and CBS This Morning co-anchor Gayle King, who was the event’s honorary chair, were among those in attendance. Singer Chrisette Michele performed.
According to Michael L. Lomax, CEO of the UNCF, involving the mayors is essential to promoting education. “You talk to a mayor two decades ago, and they said their number one issue is crime and economic development. Today, if you ask a mayor what his number one issue is, it’s education: ‘If I have an educated workforce in my community, that’s going to reduce crime, that’s going to bring economic development,” said Lomax.
Mayor Booker, “unofficially” announced his run for the U.S. Senate, told theGrio that if he is elected he will continue making educational access a priority as a U.S. Senator.
“It’s been the transformative force in my family, and for me personally. It’s something that should really become a fundamental aspect of our nation — where every kid, no matter where you’re born, no matter the zip code, has abundant pathways towards academic success,” the mayor said.
Many in the African-American community have pushed the need for black teachers, particularly males teachers, on many levels. But Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., a tenured associate professor at Howard University, recently argued in The Root against the notion that the presence of black male teachers alone will improve graduation rates for black males.
In fact, he says even with an increase of black male teachers, there is no guarantee that black students would even have classes with these teachers. Toldson argues that “even in a district with a representation of black male teachers that is consistent with the representation of black men in the U.S. population, black male students would have little interaction with black male teachers.” He has data to back this up. He writes, “A black male student, who has had about 55 teachers from kindergarten to 12th grade across all subjects, could expect to have had one black male teacher in Detroit and three black male teachers in Memphis.”
Compare this to the 10 metro areas with the largest number of black people — New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Dallas-Fort Worth and Baltimore. Baltimore has the highest percentage of black male teachers with 5.4 percent. Los Angeles and Detroit have the lowest, with 2.3 percent writes Toldson. But he points out “[w]hen one connects the cities to corresponding graduation rates as presented in the Schott report, there is no compelling evidence that the presence of black male teachers alone will improve graduation rates for black males.”
Most Southern cities are more like Baton Rouge, La., which has a population of 439,013 (52 percent black), and less than 1 percent of the teachers are black males. ”The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males” from the Schott Foundation for Public Education, found that the graduation rate for black males in Baton Rouge is 42 percent.
And, he says, forget the misconception that black men don’t want to teach. “Selection biases within alternative teacher-certification programs, such as Teach for America, and well-documented deficiencies with national teacher-certification examinations thwart many black males’ ambitions to teach,” he reports. And many men in education choose a different path. Nearly seven percent of black men with a degree in education become educational administrators, compared with five percent for black women and white males, and only 2.8 percent for white females.
It’s an interesting read, providing a good deal of food for thought. Do you think the education system would be dramatically improved if more black men were teachers.
There will always be debates on how to show a man you’re worthy of him keeping you around by doing certain things. I’m not too sure what works and what doesn’t work in terms of making a man stick around and showing him you’re not just wifey material but should be his wife. What I do know is, you should’t knock it until you try it and do what you feel is appropriate because every man– and woman — is different. Check out some of the most notable “make him keep you” advice around. What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?
Education is key, but some states are failing the next generation.
CollegeStats.org has published an infographic — State of Education: State of Policy Report Card 2013 — that grades each of the 50 states on the job their doing in education. The three criteria evaluated were “elevate teaching,” “empower parents,” and “spend wisely and govern well.” It’s worth noting that no state got an “A.” And moreover, two-thirds of the states got a “D” or an “F” overall.
Just yesterday, Yahoo! published a commentary suggesting that parents need to be more involved with the system in order to improve it.
“Approximately $270 million in additional funding is allocated to the Department of Education for use directly related to involving parents in student education programs and activities,” the story says, highlighting the President’s emphasis on the important role that parents play in the education process.
How do you think your state does? And do you think parents need to take a more active role?
At the beginning of the year, USA Today asked if college degrees were still worth it in this economy. The sight of fresh graduates moving back in with mommy and daddy or settling into service industry gigs makes it easy to question whether higher education is the smart route to take. Even a law degree isn’t a guarantee of a job these days.
But studies show that a college degree still makes a difference in your career. Jobless rates and wage drops are still higher for workers with only a high school diploma. “Degree inflation,” a trend where employers change minimum job requirements to include degrees for positions that once upon at time only needed a diploma plays a part in this.
A college degree doesn’t get you as much as it once did, but it still gives you an advantage over your less credentialed competition.
So, what degrees give you the highest return on your investment? US News & World Report cross-referenced degree programs with starting salaries to find out. We picked out the common specialty areas from the list and added a few from Forbes’ research here.
The National Urban League’s latest “State of Black America” report is out — and African Americans are still playing catch-up to white Americans. According to the report, blacks lag in their efforts to reach parity with whites in key areas since 2010.
The annual report compiles an Equality Index for economics, health, education, social justice and civic engagement. “Each category was assigned its own weight: economics receives 30 points, health and education each receive 25 points and social justice and civic engagement each receive 10 points,” reports The Milwaukee Courier.
When compared to whites, blacks scored 71.7 percent on the Equality Index in 2013, a drop from 72.1 percent in 2010. In those three years, African Americans saw decreases in economics (56.3 percent in 2013 vs. 57.9 percent in 2010), social justice (57.1 percent compared to 57.8 percent in 2010), and civic engagement (99.9 vs. 102.2 percent in 2010).
And it isn’t just whites that African Americans are trailing. They have fallen behind Hispanics who scored 75.6 percent on the Equality Index.
There were a few bright spots: Blacks made picked up points in education (79.6 percent vs. 78.3 percent in 2010) and health (76.9 percent vs. 76.7 percent in 2010).
“Educational attainment is where we see the biggest gains over the past half-century, thanks to affirmative action and early investments in educational programs such as Head Start,” wrote Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League.
“Today, there more than three times as many blacks attending college than there were 50 years ago and five times as many college graduates,” reports the newspaper.
But education hasn’t resulted in better jobs, found the report. “While education dramatically improves one’s chances of being employed— Black college graduates are 4.5 times less likely to be unemployed compared to Black high school dropouts—very little of the average difference between black and white unemployment rates can be explained by differences in education,” wrote Valerie Rawlston Wilson, chief economist for the National Urban League Policy Institute.
Beyond just reporting the numbers, the report has sparked several prominent African-American scholars to consider ways to close the gaps. In the report Frederick S. Humphries Jr., vice president of U.S. Government Affairs for the Microsoft Corporation, recommended a two-pronged approach to closing the skills gap that includes strengthening science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs across the country as well as supporting immigration reform policies that will spur job growth in the United States, writes the Courier.
When it comes to education, any improvement is move in the right direction. This is the case in California, where state officials just reported slight improvements in dropout and graduation rates and continued gains made by Latino and African American students
“Overall, the state dropout rate declined by 1.5 percentage points to 13.2% for the class of 2012, when compared to the class of 2011. For Latinos, the improvement was 2.1 percentage points; for African Americans, it was 3.1%,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
According to new data, the state graduation rate was 78.5 percent, an increase of 1.4 percentage points from 2011. The larger gains were among Latinos and African Americans.
The annual report, which is now in its third year, tracks individual students from ninth grade to graduation.
This comes as good news, especially since there have been “devastating cuts” made to the education budget. “We must keep moving to ensure every California student graduates ready to succeed in the world they find outside the classroom,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in a conference call with reporters.
Looking at the stats for the City of Los Angeles, the data was also positive. The Los Angeles Unified School District saw a graduation rate of 66.2 percent, up 1.4 percentage points from 2011.
“For Latinos, the improvement was 2.4 percentage points. For African Americans, however, the graduation rate went down slightly by less than a percentage point,” reports the newspaper. The dropout rate was 20.3 percent, a decrease of 2.3 percentage points. The drop out rate for African Americans fell 1.8 points.
Breaking Academic Barriers: Ruth J. Simmons Is The First African-American President Of An Ivy League College
Ruth J. Simmons achieved two major firsts. She was the first woman—and first black person—to become president of an Ivy League college. In 2001, this great-granddaughter of slaves was sworn in as the 18th president of Brown University. At the time she also held an appointment as professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Department of Africana Studies. Prior to this she was president of Smith College from 1995 until the time of her appointment at Brown.
Simmons was born in Texas in 1945 and graduated from the HBCU Dillard University in New Orleans in 1967. She received her Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from Harvard University in 1973.
According to PBS, in 1983, after serving as associate dean of the graduate school at the University of Southern California, Simmons joined the Princeton University administration, where she remained for seven years. In 1990 she served as provost at Spelman College for two years. But she returned to Princeton in 1992 as vice provost, she remained at the university until 1995. In 1995 she became president of Smith College, the largest women’s college in the United States. At Smith she inaugurated the first engineering program at a U.S. women’s college.
Simmons served on a number of boards, including the Dillard University’s Board of Trustees, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Texas Instruments.
Even the government tapped her expertise. She was appointed by President Obama as a member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
Simmons, herself, is the recipient of a number of prizes and fellowships, including a Fulbright Fellowship to France. She was selected as a Newsweek “Person to Watch” and as a Ms. Woman of the Year in 2002. In 2001 Time magazine named her America’s best college president, and in 2007 she was named one of U. S. News & World Report’s top U.S. leaders and – for the second time – a Glamour magazine Woman of the Year.
During her tenure at Brown University, Simmons created an ambitious set of initiatives which led to a major investment of new resources in Brown’s educational mission and a successful $1.6 billion campaign, reports PBS.
She stepped down from her position at Brown in 2012.
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For the past 25 years Morehouse College has held the “A Candle in the Dark” gala, the largest fundraiser for the historically black college. During this year’s event, The Ray Charles Foundation bestowed a $3 million gift on the only all-male historically black institution of higher learning in the United States.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the gift will go towards the naming of the academic wing of the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at the college after Charles’ mother, Aretha Robinson.
“I know that Ray Charles had a long-standing relationship with Morehouse based on professionalism, integrity and honesty,” Valerie Ervin, president of the foundation, said in a statement. “He genuinely valued the education and preparation that Morehouse provides to young men.”
In the past, Charles had been invited to perform with the college’s jazz ensemble. It was actually Charles’ long-time manager, Joe Adams, who introduced the music legend to Morehouse. Adams was an avid contributor to Morehouse, having given a personal gift in support of the construction of the performing arts center now named for Charles, reports the newspaper.
“Morehouse is fortunate to have been able to forge a relationship with Mr. Charles. More important, we are grateful to him, Ms. Ervin, and The Ray Charles Foundation for all they have done to promote appreciation of the arts and humanities and to further music education at the College,” said Morehouse president John Silvanus Wilson Jr. in a press statement.
This isn’t the first monetary gift that has been made in the singer’s name. In 2001 after receiving an honorary degree from Morehouse, Charles made two $1 million gifts to the school. Morehouse was not actually the first choice for a performing arts center in his name. That would be Albany State University. But, according to AJC, late last year the foundation reclaimed $1.2 million of $3 million in donations to Albany State because the school did not use the money to build a performing arts center. Charles, who died in 2004, made gifts totaling $3 million to Albany State in 2001 and 2002 to build a performing arts center named in honor of his mother. The building was never built.
When the foundation asked that the university return the money, the Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens even stepped in. Albany State President Everette J. Freeman said that returning the money “brings to a close negotiations with the Ray Charles Foundation,” reports AJC.
Hopefully, Morehouse will go forward with their plans to build the performing arts center. The Ray Charles Foundation will obviously hold Morehouse to its promise.
Seven years ago the California State University decided to make an effort to attract more African-American students. And now it has paid off, reports The Los Angeles Times. “About 17,663 African American students applied for fall 2013, up from 16, 588 in 2012 — a 6% gain,” writes the paper. According to school officials, African American applicants have risen steadily over the last 10 years, in part due to an outreach initiative dubbed Super Sunday.
Super Sunday, which started in 2006, includes campus presidents and top university officials speaking to African American church congregations. During these visits, officials give out guides listing classes that students should take beginning in the sixth grade to qualify for Cal State. The school even offers mentoring help and tips for applying for financial aid. This year there are visits planned to more than 100 predominantly black churches in Northern, Central and Southern California, which is estimated to reach more than 100,000 churchgoers.
“One of the key things is trying to get students prepared for college, but also the idea is to have students and people who influence students like parents and grandparents join together in a voice that says you can go to college, that is a goal you can reach,” Cal State spokesman Erik Fallis told the Times.
Not only is it paying off for the Cal State system, but for the students as well. Since the launch of Super Sunday, the number of degrees awarded to African Americans has increased by 30 percent. “African American and other underrepresented students still suffer a significant gap in graduation rates, however,” notes the newspaper.
Cal State embarked on this effort because given the “demographic shifts in California, colleges have to work harder to attract African American, Latino and other underrepresented students, especially to such fields as math, engineering, science and technology,” said Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser, to the Times.
Cal State has also launched similar outreach programs for Latino, Asian and Native American students, veterans, and foster youths.
Super Sunday sounds like an initiative perhaps the HBCUs might want to try.