All Articles Tagged "education"

What Do The Kids Learn When A High School Cancels Dance Out of Fear Of Twerking?

September 11th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Did you hear the story about the high school that canceled this year’s homecoming dance out of fear that there would be twerking?

That’s right. The Twerk.

According to a letter published in the Bennington Banner, Sue Maguire, principal of Mount Anthony Union High School in Vermont, explains how she, as well as the dean of students, came to this decision:

Over the past couple of years, since Miley Cyrus took the stage “twerking” at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, our students’ dancing behavior has crossed the line of what we can condone as appropriate behavior at a school. Twerking is dancing to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving a low squatting stance and thrusting movements. Students do not face one another or remain with the same person for the length of the song.

Oh my goodness, the kids are engaging in polygamous dancing! Next they’ll be trying to date more than one person at the same time. And you know where that will lead? Threesomes with Satan. Also, if you are thrusting as you are “twerking” then you are likely doing the whole twerk wrong. Or even another dance like grinding or maybe whinning. But definitely not twerking. I should know, I’d once considered twerking in front of the now-dismantled Kara Walker Sugar Baby exhibit.

But outside of the principal’s broad paint brushing of dancing that involves actually moving the hips and behind, she also raises some valid concerns in her letter about consent, particularly noting how some student “twerkers” described feeling uncomfortable with other students grinding on them from behind without permission. And instead of homecoming, Maguire wanted to “engage in conversations with our students about how to be respectful of each other.”

She also adds, “Last spring, administration asked to meet with the MAUHS student government to try to come up with a way to have students help us monitor this. The students have been very realistic about this, many agreeing that something needs to change at our dances, and although a respectful conversation occurred, as a school community, we have yet to come up with a solution. We plan on continuing the dialogue in hopes that we can work together to reinstate dances.”

Well, one possible solution is having this discussion about permission and respecting boundaries prior to the homecoming dance while still having the actual homecoming dance? The administration could even make it mandatory. Or perhaps social contracts and those who violate are therefore banned from future homecoming dances or other school functions like prom. It just seems like a heavy-handed response to what amounts to a non-issue, which has been around since Patrick Swayze pulled Baby out of he corner. And is it really a problem?

I do wonder about how the racial demographics of Bennington, which is 97 percent White, plays into this fear of a dance, which is largely associated with the African and African American communities? Historically speaking, White people, particularly its women, have been put on pedestals to be both admired and mirrored as the epitome of modesty, grace, purity and self-control. Whereas Black people, particularly Black women, have largely been seen, throughout history, as promiscuous, uncivilized, corrupt and animalistic. If we are looking through those lenses, we can see better what just may be at the real source of this fear of the twerk. Sort of like a cultural gentrification where first comes the big booty songs and next thing you know, actual Black guys start showing up at the party…

Not to mention, the subtle way in which this school’s administration has gone about policing women’s bodies and putting the burden of respectability literally on their backsides. Seriously, why are we banning twerking when the real problem here (supposedly) is these young men’s inability to ask permission before invading another person’s space? And no, a dancing woman, no matter how allegedly “provocative” she moves, is not an invitation to assume control of another person’s body – that’s what the lesson and monitoring should be here. After all, young men have been sneaking up on the booty and grinding way before the twerk was just a bouncing twinkle in Miley Cyrus’ eyes.

This school administration might believe it means well, but when you stop to think about it, there is some really bad messaging being taught to kids here. For one, their expression including sexuality is not their own but at the bequest of an authority figure in society – in this case the school administration, which in all honesty, should not be in the business of teaching morals and values. And secondly, instead of taking the time to really listen and learn from the youth, why they love to twerk, she bans it.

As such, any potential learning opportunities to share with the next generation all of the historical and cultural context and roots of the dance (so that they could develop a better appreciation for its movements) are lost. Hell, the school could even parlay that into a discussion about all the other more socially acceptable sexual dances like the Tango, belly dancing, among others.

But lord forbid we actually teach the kids something.

 

 

Minorities Set To Outnumber White Students In U.S. Public Schools

August 21st, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From EurWeb 

According to a new report by the National Center for Education (NCES), the racial landscape of students in the public school system is about to change.

Minorities – namely, Hispanics, Asians, African Americans, Native Americans, and multiracial individuals will account for 50.3% of the public school student population. 51% of grade level pre-kindergarten to 8th grade will be minorities and they will make up 48% of 9th to 12th graders.

Read more about education at EurWeb.com 

Michelle Obama Stuns On The Cover Of ESSENCE

June 30th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Our First Lady is looking absolutely gorgeous on the cover of ESSENCE. Inside of the magazine’s August 2014 issue, Lady O dishes on the importance of education and how she’s preparing her daughters, Sasha and Malia, to be successful out in the real world. Check out some highlights from her interview below.

On teaching her daughters about hard work and perseverance:

“I know I tell my kids all the time that they shouldn’t shy away from difficult things, because that is the point at which you are really growing. It’s not just about grades or test scores. Today our kids may shy away from applying to college if they think they don’t have the right grade or test score. But the truth is that the kids who succeed and go on to be successful professionals are the ones who know how to work hard.”

On African-Americans owing it to their ancestors to get educated:

“We cannot waste the opportunity that we have here in America, especially as African-Americans. Our ancestors fought and bled and died so that we could go to school. And I still think about that.”

On teaching her daughters to be accountable:

“We talk about responsibility and accountability, about making sure that they’re not wasting the opportunities they’re given. We make sure they know how lucky they are and that, because of that, they have an obligation to have their acts together and to take their education very seriously.”

Catch her full interview in the August 2014 issue of ESSENCE, which hits stands July 4.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Update: Karyn Parsons’ Nonprofit Sweet Blackberry Uses Film To Teach Children Black History

June 17th, 2014 - By Lauryn Stallings
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karyn parsonsBlack history isn’t just for Black Americans. It’s American history; the history of this country and all of its people. Sadly, it’s a history that is often overlooked and risks being lost if not for the active efforts of colleges, universities, the public education system and individuals.

Karyn Parsons, perhaps best known for her role on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, didn’t want her children raised in a world that doesn’t acknowledge the legacy of Black innovators, dreamchasers and pioneers. To ensure they wouldn’t she launched Sweet Blackberry in 2005, a non-profit dedicated to bringing the unheard and untold tales of Black unsung heroes to all children.

On the eve of a Kickstarter campaign to fund Sweet Blackberry’s latest film, Parsons talked to MadameNoire about launching a business, how parenting informs her mission and the first African-American prima ballerina.

MadameNoire: What inspired you to launch Sweet Blackberry?
Karyn Parsons: 
My mother was a librarian and I grew up in libraries with her. But when I was older she was the head of the Black Resource Center in Los Angeles. She’d call me from time-to-time and shared stories with me that she came across and she found interesting.

One day she shared the story of Henry “Box” Brown with me, the slave who mailed himself to freedom in a box. Literally.

I was fascinated with the story and I kept making notes on it, and I was gonna make these books for kids. Then I’d forget about it and go back to it and then forget about it.

When I was pregnant with my daughter is when I began to get really serious and talk about it a lot.

MN: How did you finally get the project from idea to reality?
KP: I started calling people and saying, I want to do this. How do you think I should do this? Can you help?… [P]eople that I knew for one reason that had nothing to do with film or production would say, “I’m not sure but I think I have a friend. Let me give you their number.”

I couldn’t believe how people were so helpful and generous with whatever they could think of to help. And that’s what go it going. People saw the value in it.

sweet blackberryMN: What do you think about when choosing which stories to tell?
KP: Something that you have to consider when you sit down and you actually write the story is, “How am I gonna convey this story to kids?”

A lot of this subject matter is heavy and I can’t just tell them in the way I’d tell you the story. You want to reach them where they are and you want it to be engaging to them where they are. To lean in and go, “Oh I want to know more about this person.”

You have to find a way into the story for kids; you have to really think of them.

MN: Why have you chosen Janet Collins for your next project?
KP: The idea that Janet Collins’s story just starts to fade through the cracks is a terrible shame. She was the first Black performer at The Met. She broke down a huge door. She went on to be a celebrated prima ballerina, won the Donaldson Award for Best Dancer on Broadway, which is huge.

And it’s hard to believe that such a bright light at the time — she was bursting so bright — that now we don’t even know about her. And what she had to go through and stay strong. And not just say,”OK I wanna do this so bad, I’ll do the whiteface.” She didn’t do it that way. She did it her way. She said, “I’m beautiful. I’m good. No thank you.” And she proved it.

MN: What other outreach does Sweet Blackberry perform?
KP: Kids. Create. Community. is a mentoring program where we mentor high school age students. We’re able to bring high school students into the process and they’re mentored in writing, art direction, illustration, animation and marketing.

They all write a story, and one of those stories is chosen to be the focal story. They all get to work on this hands-on in conjunction with a college and a youth organization. When they’re not working on the project, they’re working on their books — based on the story that they wrote, they get to make their own book. So by the end of this, they all have their own individual book.

They’ll also be able to all look at the film and say, I was part of this. I helped create this.

We want them to go to school and read their stories as well as present the film. That way it kind of goes around. They go back to the young people and bring these stories back to them. And in a way of mentoring them as well.

MN: How did you build conversations with your mother into an organization that puts out award-winning films and partners with HBO?
KP: It wasn’t thought out.

This is the whole living with something like it’s your child. And you’re living in the world with it and you start to recognize what it needs to succeed. What it needs to really make a difference and to get out there.

Since I’ve been doing it I’ve had my own children, so I’ve witnessed what means a lot to them in their lives and where they get their energy and information from. That also, I’m sure, informs me 100 percent.

MN: Why have you turned to Kickstarter to fund your next project?
KP: We are a non-profit and we rely on donations and grants in order to get things done.

All of our stories — we all deserve to have these out there. But I can’t do it unfortunately without help. So that’s what we’re asking Kickstarter.

We’ll update this story with a link to the Kickstarter when it becomes available. In the meantime, here’s a link to Sweet Blackberry, where you can also make a donation. And below is a video that will introduce you to their work.

Update: Here’s a link to the Kickstarter campaign. Chris Rock will be narrating this latest story! The goal is $75,000.

#StayGrinding: Usher To Be Executive Producer Of Education Documentary Called ‘Unstoppable’

April 21st, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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Source: WENN

 

 

From EurWeb

The Hollywood Reporter posted that multi-Grammy winning artist Usher will act as executive producer for the documentary “Undroppable” which takes on America’s dropout epidemic.

Justin Beiber’s manager Scooter Braun hipped Usher to the film as he will be one of the five producers on the project. “I knew Usher was very passionate about the issue of education, so I felt this was a great project to bring him into,” said Braun. “His expertise will be invaluable as we continue this film and movement.”

The film’s launch will included videos uploaded through their social media campaign where they will share their personal struggles.


Read more about Usher’s documentary at EurWeb.com 

Monday’s Madame: Susan Green, Principal Of Alain L. Locke Elementary School

April 7th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Monday’s Madame: Susan Green

Location: Mount Vernon, NY

Why She Inspires Us: Susan Green has a heart made of gold.  The Stony Brook University alumna has been dedicated to the youth since she was a teen, serving as a counselor for the YMCA.  Known for her infectious  personality, Susan’s love for children and education led her to become an elementary school and junior high school teacher.

Today, she is the principal of Alain L. Locke Elementary School in Harlem;,  a magnet school for Environmental Stewardship. Her  high expectations and passion for success are evident to students, parents, faculty, and staff.  Besides being a leader to her community’s children, Green  leads women in the Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated sorority.  Green embodies the founding principles of her organization by promoting physical and mental health, educational , economic and political awareness. She served as an inspiration to those suffering from the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Green, along with  her church members, made several visits to the country to make efforts to change the lives of its citizens. Green defines success and  her achievements continues to be countless.

Monday’s Madame is a column on MadameNoire that highlights inspirational women who are doing great things in black communities around the world. If you would like to submit an inspirational woman for consideration, please send her name, age, location, photo, and a blurb about the work she’s doing to editors@madamenoire.com.

 

Long Island Teen Kwasi Enin Accepted To All Eight Ivy League Schools

April 1st, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: USA Today

Source: USA Today

It’s hard work just getting into one Ivy League university, but Long Island teen Kwasi Enin has managed to receive acceptance letters from all eight of them. When sending out applications, the William Floyd High School senior figured maybe two or three of the prestigious institutions would want him, but he was blown away when he was accepted to all of the universities.

“I’ve never heard of someone getting all eight,” he told Newsday.

His big accomplishment exceeds those of his uncles and cousins, whom he says were also accepted to a few of the Ivy League institutes.

“I always thought they were far better than me academically,” he confessed. “I was like — this can’t be happening.”

Administrators at the William Floyd High School says they’re extremely proud, but not at all surprised by Kwasi’s accomplishment, as he’s a hard worker who scored within the 99th percentile on the SATs.

“You could see the potential that Kwasi had back then and to see it all come together is truly spectacular,” said Barbara Butler, Kwasi’s former teacher and current principal. “He has it all together — he’s extremely intelligent, hardworking, well-rounded and humble.”

As to be expected, his family is also extremely proud.

“We are very proud of him,” said Kwasi’s father Ebenezer Enin. “He’s an amazing kid. He’s very humble. He’s been trained to be a high achiever right from when he was a kid. We have been encouraging him to be an all-around student. So far, he has proved himself.”

Kwasi says he’s currently leaning towards Yale.

“They seem to embody all the kinds of things I want in a college. The family. The wonderful education. The amazing diverse students. Financial aid as well.”

Way to go, Kwasi!

Half Of Country’s Business Schools May Disappear By 2020

March 18th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Hard to imagine, but there could be a time when there are few business schools in the US. The culprit: a surge in online MBA programs. “Half of the business schools in this country could be out of business in 10 years—or five,” Richard Lyons, the dean of University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, told BusinessWeek.

With more students taking advantage of the online educational opportunities, physical campus buildings, especially at the lower-ranked business schools, may be forced to close.

“Part-time and EMBA programs are a financial engine because they award less financial aid than full-time programs. Since most of their students are corporate strivers already living near campus—and because competition for those students is limited by geography—part-time programs can count on a steady stream of high-quality attendees,” reports BusinessWeek.

While schools such as the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management can compete on price against higher-ranked programs, it might not be able to attract a Phoenix-based executive if she gets accepted into an online program from Wharton or Stanford. Thus the gloomy forecast.

According to Lyons, while average the full-time student at an elite school receives about a 25 percent discount on tuition, the average student attending part time or in EMBA programs pays a lower tuition.

Michael Desiderio, the executive director of the Executive MBA Council, says the shift prediction isn’t far off, but he thinks schools can adapt.  “We’re not saying it’s a threat or this is the end of the EMBA space,” he says. “It’s stimulating a discussion: How do we adapt to continue to serve a population that has changing needs?”

’12 Years A Slave’ Coming To A History Class Near You

February 26th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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12 years a skave

 

From The Grio 

Steve McQueen’s acclaimed drama 12 Years a Slave has been hailed as the definitive portrayal of American slavery — a position that at least the National School Boards Association has embraced.

According to TIME, the organization is recommending that the Oscar-nominated film be added to the curriculum of U.S. schools.

The distribution of the movie to schools has been funded by talk show host Montel Williams (who played an instrumental role in the Civil War film Glory being shown in schools) in partnership with New Regency, Penguin Books and Fox Searchlight Pictures.

“This gives high school teachers a lot of options, so they can decide how they can fit it in with the curricula they’re teaching,” said NSBA executive director, Tom Gentzel. “[Slavery] is an important topic, and it’s an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Read more about ’12 Year A Slave’ at TheGrio.com 

I Have Two Degrees And He Never Finished College, Am I Settling?

February 18th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Essence 

Dr. Sherry,

I’m totally confused about what to do in my relationship. “Alex” and I dated once before a few years ago and it didn’t work out. I wasn’t where I wanted to be professionally and neither was he, so we broke up. He has three children (all from his ex) and I have a son. My son doesn’t care for him, but I’ve fallen in love and I can’t figure out why. He never finished college and I have two degrees. He makes a good living but it’s manual labor and it’s taking a toll on his health. I love that he accepted me at my worst and still loves me when I’m thriving and succeeding. The thing is, I feel like I’m settling. His manners are subpar, he dresses like a 9-year-old boy, and he never helps in the house when he’s over, unless I nag him. I don’t know if I want to raise three more children, and again, my son can’t stand him. I don’t know if I’m with him because the sex is amazing and because he loves me or if I just don’t want to be alone. I do love him; I’m just not sure if it’s enough to overlook his flaws. Help.

Signed,

Confused in California

Read more Dr. Sherry’s response at Essence.com