All Articles Tagged "education"
There’s still a little more time before college students head back to class. And while the holidays are a time for rest and catching up with family and friends, Black Enterprise suggests that it’s also a good time to work on building that post-graduate career.
“To fully benefit from your vacation, you must come up with a winter break game plan that will keep you on track with your socialization AND career goals,” the site writes. Among the things you could be doing are preparing for the next semester and look for internships.
Don’t worry! There’s time for some fun too. But keeping your eye on the prize will help you stand out from those who simply lounged around during their time off. For more, visit BlackEnterprise.com.
The Material Girl is taking a serious stand on education in Malawi.
Pop superstar Madonna announced that her charity, Raising Malawi, built 10 schools in the country in 2012 and six of them are already in use. Initially, the schools were supposed to take 18 months to build, with the last one going up in June 2013, according to News24; however, with help from partners at the non-profit buildON, they are six months ahead of schedule. The four schools that aren’t already open will be ready to go by the first day of school in January, Madonna said.
With the opening of the schools, Raising Malawi noted that the schools would help an estimated 4,871 children receive an education. Malawi is listed as one of the world’s least developed countries and only a very small portion of boys and girls are able to go to school so this undoubtedly help in a tremendous way.
This huge project seems to make up for Madonna walking away from the creation of a $15 million girls academy in Malawi back in 2009 after Raising Malawi was accused of financial mismanagement. Madonna dismissed it by saying she decided not to continue with that project because she wanted to be able to reach thousands of children, not hundreds of girls.
If you’re wondering why Madonna seems so closely connected to Malawi, it is because two of her children – David and Mercy – were both adopted from there.
This is a huge undertaking so here’s hoping Raising Malawi and buildON continue to make it successful for the sake of the children.
As a mentoring organization, Minds Matter serves more than 500 low-income high school students in 10 cities across the country. Started more than 20 years ago as an individual chapter in New York, the organization is working to strengthen its national presence, and hired Chymeka Olfonse as executive director of Minds Matter National Inc. in February 2011.
Olfonse herself benefitted from a similar program — the Oliver Scholars Program – and has been giving back and working at nonprofit organizations with an education focus for more than 15 years.
“I’ve always had instilled in me the need to give back to the community so my career has been built around that,” she told Madame Noire. “I’ve worked in nonprofits and tried to work with organizations that were aligned, for the most part, in education and addressing those issues.”
Olfonse spoke to Madame Noire about Minds Matter, her goals, and how being an African-American woman has shaped her experience.
Madame Noire: As executive director, what do you do within Minds Matter?
Chymeka Olfonse: My day-to-day is coordinating a national organization — we have 10 chapters serving 520 students — and my job is to support our chapters. We have five staff persons, soon to be six, and we have more than 1,400 volunteers, nationally. My job is to coordinate everyone, work to educate the group and also make sure we have the resources available so everyone can effectively serve the students we have in the program.
MN: Wow—1,400 volunteers. How do they play a role?
CO: Volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization and that comes from the passion of the individuals who are involved in Minds Matter. Volunteers play various roles including on the ground, serving directly with our students as mentors or instruction leaders, like test preparation or writing and critical thinking advisors. They are a valuable corps of people who help us execute with excellence in serving our students and making sure they actually have college success.
At the same time, they also serve in leadership roles. We have a structure at each chapter where we have an executive committee that is able to execute the Minds Matter model at various levels and cities. We’re in 10 cities, and hopefully we’ll be in one or two more next year. And these individuals are fundraising, they’re managing operations, they’re marketing. They’re approaching [the issues] saying, “How best do I serve my students on the ground?” The positions can range from director of marketing, programs, or fundraising, to chapter president. These are individuals who are not only excited about leadership, but they care about the students they are serving.
MN: How has your experience as an African-American woman shaped who you have become, especially related to your desire to get involved through education?
CO: I take it as a privilege and an opportunity for me to be an executive director. Honestly, I used to be disappointed not to see individuals of color, male or female, leading at nonprofits. Now, I feel like I see lots of leadership in a range of colors, which is very exciting. For women, a lot of these organizations are run by men, and that’s not a bad thing, but women need to find their place here as well.
Being a black woman, it’s important that we find our voice and come prepared to take on these larger roles. I look at my entire path and if it wasn’t for some of these experiences that I went through — all the programs and even working at younger nonprofits with an entrepreneurial spirit — I don’t know if I would be prepared for this position or this type of position, which I was very fortunate to experience. Being executive director is a heavy feat, but if you are ambitious and want to get a lot done, you need to build a strong team.
For black women in general, one of my mentors, who actually is a male, says that black women often undersell themselves. In my head I’m saying, “I’m not arrogant! That’s not the type of person I am.” But I think it’s important to be able to talk about the assets we bring to the table and promote the great work we can do. I feel like if you have a passion or dream, you should step up and share that and not be afraid to promote it and get excited about. And then other people will get excited about it too.
The Philadelphia School System is in the midst of a crisis and rapper Meek Mill, a Philly native, is trying to do his part according to All Hip Hop.
Meek found out last Thursday that 37 schools are set to shut down (at the end of the school year provided it is approved by the School Reform Commission), including his former high school, Strawberry Mansion High School. He took to Twitter to voice his displeasure saying, “They about to close down 37 schools in Philly…. They gone have kids from different hoods going 2 schools in different hoods # problems.” He continues by saying, “37 schools being closed in Philly ….gone be the worst thing 2 happen 2. Philly!”
But he decided to do more than talk. Although his alma mater is closing, Meek is donating $10,000 to the school as well as Puma sneakers to the basketball team. While it seems a bit odd that he’d donate money to a school definitely closing, it is possible that he just wants them to try and make the most out of the remaining months. During a time when it seems hard to give back, it is a great thing Meek is doing.
Most of the schools closing are elementary schools which means young children will have to travel further for their education but it also saves about $28 million dollars per year by closing them. The Philly school system has already borrowed $300 million to operate and would be facing a deficit of over $1.1 billion if they didn’t make changes.
Good for Meek Mill and hopefully others will find it in their hearts to donate as little – or as much – as they can.
This year has been a great year to learn more about your own finances, how to start your own business, manage your finances and be savvy while doing so, according to Madame Noire Business. From small business tips on how to create your own mobile app as a small business to tips on preparing for the next tax season, MN Biz has informed, introduced and changed the way we see the business and financial part of our lives. Yesterday, we took a look at the big issues we covered over the past six months. Today, we look back on some of the best business advice from Madame Noire in 2012.
The latest version of President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative allowed specific school districts to apply for nearly $400 million in grants, rather that just at the state level. Race to the Top-District awarded grants ranging from $10 million to $40 million to 16 applicants, which represent 55 districts in 11 states. According to the AP, three charter schools won grants and more than 300 applications were rejected. Districts could team up and apply together.
Winners were from all areas—suburban, urban, rural—and included Green River Regional Educational Cooperative in Kentucky, Carson City School District in Nevada, School Board of Miami-Dade County in Florida, and the Puget Sound Educational Service District in Washington.
“Districts have been hungry to drive reform at the local level, and now these winners can empower their school leaders to pursue innovative ideas where they have the greatest impact: in the classroom,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a statement about the winners. “The Race to the Top-District grantees have shown tremendous leadership though developing plans that will transform the learning environment and enable students to receive a personalized, world-class education.”
The announcement of Race to the Top-District winners comes as two international studies found that US students still lag behind students from around the world, particularly those from Asian countries. Additionally, the NAACP also released a study highlighting how pre-K prep, effective teaching, “targeted spending,” and additional learning time will help improve education overall in the US.
Hopefully these grants will help, as the winnings schools have said they will use the funds to introduce technology for a more personalized learning experience, expand partnerships with community organizations, and create courses designed to go deeper with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), among other projects.
The NAACP has released a new report — “Finding Our Way Back to First: Reclaiming World Leadership by Educating All America’s Children” — that suggests four areas where education practices must improve if the system is going to keep up with the global economy. Those areas are: effective teaching, pre-K prep, “targeted spending,” and additional learning time.
NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous says in this blog post on the NAACP website, “Our proposition is simple: if every public school does what the best schools do, every child will be able to get a great education.” The emphasis of the report is on children across the socioeconomic spectrum.
Black Voice News explains the four areas of improvement in more detail:
The first element, “Prekindergarten Prep for Achievement,” suggests that higher quality, universal prekindergarten programs that better prepare students for school; the second, “Effective Teaching,” seeks to better prepare teachers and make ensures that only the most qualified teachers lead classrooms.
“More Time, More Learning,” points to both a longer school day and an extended school year, while “Targeted Spending for Widespread Success” points to the better usage of the limited resources schools and school district have.
Just today, we reported on a new analysis that found that while American students have moved up on education scale, there are still a number of countries that are excelling beyond us. The report also found that race and financial status determine educational achievement.
“If the United States is to remain competitive in the global marketplace, we must have a strong and innovative workforce. To attain that workforce, we need to educate students at a higher level than in the past,” Black Voice News quotes NAACP Education Director Beth Glenn.
How would you like to see the American education system improved?
Two international reports were released this week, analyzing how students around the world perform in math, science, and reading. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study show mixed results for US students.
Looking at fourth and eighth grade students, the US performed better than it has in the past, but still fell behind students in Singapore and Hong Kong, especially in math and science, the Washington Post reported. Several states requested to be tested separately, including Florida, Minnesota, and Massachusetts, and often performed better than the US average, though there were some critics with concerns.
According to The New York Times, the US was 11th and 7th for fourth-grade math and science, respectively, and 9th and 10th for eighth-grade math and science. For reading, US students overall ranked 6th.
There were some findings that came out showing the differences among race and ethnicity in the tests. According to the Washington Post, white, Asian, and multiracial students in the US performed better than average on the reading tests, while blacks and Hispanics scored lower.
And CBS News went into more depth: “Racial and class disparities are all too real. In eighth grade, Americans in the schools with the highest poverty—those with 75 percent or more of students on free or reduced-price lunch—performed below both the US average and the lower international average. Students at schools with fewer poor kids performed better. In fourth-grade reading, all ethnic groups outperformed the international average, but white and Asian students did better than their black and Hispanic classmates.”
Education reform is a big issue in this country, with educators, charter schools, and the public education system looking to find ways to improve results nationwide. Just last week, the Chicago Teachers Union accused the city’s public education system of racism.
Hackbright Academy, a programming training program just for women in San Francisco, is hoping to expand in 2013 and is currently accepting applications for its next class, which starts March 4. Applications are due January 15.
So far, Hackbright has graduated two classes of women: the first with 12 and the second with 16. Eight of the 12 members of the first class immediately started looking for employment and all received offers, TechCrunch reported.
“Once I got in, I noticed a difference for myself because I’m kind of quiet,” Zoe Kay, part of Hackbright’s first class, told TechCrunch. “I like to be really sure of my ideas before I talk about them. It’s not like all women are like that, or that men aren’t like that, but I find that there are a lot of similarities between women. So it was a really supportive environment. We had really good rapport.”
Hackbright Academy hopes to expand by bringing in more students and instructors, as well as looking into running the program in other cities. What do you think? Is this something you’d be interested in?
It’s a select group of college students who can claim the title of a Rhodes Scholar. This year, a record three African-American female students were just chosen for the honor.
Joy A. Buolamwini, Rhiana E. Gunn-Wright, and Nina M. Yancy will be off to study at the UK’s Oxford University next year. The three women beat out 1,700 other American students who sought the scholarship.
The Rhodes Scholarships are considered by many to be the most prestigious awards given to U.S. college students. It was created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist who made a fortune in colonial Africa. “Each year, 32 Americans are named Rhodes Scholars. The scholarships provide funds for two or three years of graduate study at Oxford University in Britain,” writes The Journal of Blacks in Education (JBHE).
Rhodes Scholars are also picked from 14 other destinations around the world for a total of about 80 Rhodes Scholars worldwide annually. Among the famous Rhodes Scholars are United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice; Newark Mayor Cory Booker; Apprentice winner, entrepreneur Randal Pinkett; and former President Bill Clinton.
While their numbers are few, there have been other black Rhodes Scholars, such as Alain LeRoy Locke. He was awarded a scholarship in 1907 and went on to become a major philosopher and literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance. “It is generally believed that at the time of the award the Rhodes committee did not know that Locke was Black until after he had been chosen,” reports JBHE. The next African-American Rhodes Scholar wasn’t selected until 1962, when John Edgar Wideman, now an author and professor at Brown University, was chosen. Other African-American Rhodes Scholars include Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School; Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore and now dean of the law school at Howard University; and Franklin D. Raines, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and former CEO of Fannie Mae. The first African-American woman selected as a Rhodes Scholar was selected in 1978, Karen Stevenson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The new awardees are already off to a great start. Buolamwini, a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and computer science major, is currently working at the Carter Center in Atlanta. She has founded or co-founded three businesses. At Oxford, she wants to obtain a degree in African studies. Yale University graduate Gunn-Wright holds a Bachelor’s degree in African American studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She has been working at Women’s Policy Research and plans a Master’s degree in comparative social policy at Oxford. Unlike the other two, Yancy is a still in school. She is senior at Harvard University where she majors in social studies. She has interned at CNN, the Center for American Political Studies and in the British House of Commons. She is also a member of the Harvard Ballet Company. Yancy plans on pursuing a Master’s degree in global health science as a Rhodes Scholar.