August 22, 2013
LAWT News Service
Thousands of concerned parents, educators, and community leaders across the country descended on district offices of the nation’s congressional leaders August 14, to insist that mindless sequestration cuts don’t harm children.
Here in Los Angeles, child care providers and Head Start teachers delivered a letter to members of Congress—signed by local community groups, parent advocates, and social justice organizations—that describes the devastating impact these cuts have on our youngest learners. Letters were delivered to Representatives Tony Cardenas (29th District), Linda Sanchez (38th District), Lucille Roybal-Allard (40th District), Judy Chu (27th District), Gloria Negrete McLeod (35th District), and Janice Hahn (44th District).
Research shows that 90% of brain development has already occurred by the time children enter kindergarten. President Obama and other leaders around the country agree that quality early learning is the key to closing the education gap, while Congress plows ahead on plans that cut these very programs.
“Folks in Washington, D.C., claim that there’s nothing they can do to stop these cuts,” said Barbara Williams, a child care provider from Colton. “I wanted to remind them that if they can reverse budget cuts to make sure we have air traffic control towers that keep our flights on time, they can certainly do the same for our most precious national resource: our kids.”
Early educators targeted key Southland legislators who hold positions of influence in congressional committees making decisions that impact children and families. These early care and education professionals are building a coalition of community leaders and partner organizations to continue pushing for investment in early learning.
August 08, 2013
By Freddie Allen
NNPA Washington Correspondent
Despite high test scores and access to higher education, Black students often attend poorly-funded colleges and receive certificates instead of earning degrees, according to a recent report.
The report titled “Separate and Unequal,” by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, found that, “White students are increasingly concentrated today, relative to population share, in the nation’s 468 most well-funded, selective four-year colleges and universities while African-American and Hispanic students are more and more concentrated in the 3,250 least well-funded, open-access, two- and four-year colleges.”
According to the report, Black freshman enrollment increased by 73 percent compared to 15 percent for Whites freshman from 1995-2009, but 72 percent of Black college students attend resource-bare schools.
“The American postsecondary system increasingly has become a dual system of racially separate pathways, even as overall minority access to the postsecondary system has grown dramatically,” said Jeff Strohl, one of the report’s co-authors and the research director at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Blacks were underrepresented at the nation’s top schools by 8 percentage points, Whites were overrepresented by 13 percentage points compared to their share of the college age (18-24 years-old) population, the study found.
Blacks accounted for just 7 percent of freshmen student enrollment at the best 468 colleges and universities in the nation, compared to Whites students who captured a 75 percent share of the students attending top schools.
According to the report, “Eighty-two percent of the growth in white freshman enrollment has been in the nation’s 468 most selective four-year colleges from 1995-2009.” On the other hand, Blacks represented 48 percent of the enrollment in open-access schools, while Whites accounted for just 21 percent of the growth in such schools.
According to The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, a nonprofit organization that advocates for educational and training opportunities after high school, open-access schools are “public four-year colleges and universities that admit at least 80% of applicants.”
Georgetown researchers found that even when Blacks and Hispanics finish high school with good SAT/ACT test scores, they still don’t go to college as much as their White counterparts and are often guided into two-year and open-access colleges.
“This data clearly shows that race matters, even controlling for readiness – high scoring African Americans and Hispanics go to college at the same rates as similarly high-scoring, Whites but drop out more often and are less likely to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree,” stated the report
Even as colleges and universities are urged to adopt race-neutral diversity policies for admission, the report found that admission policies based on class or income alone would not improve racial diversity in our colleges and universities.
“While politically attractive, the direct substitution of class for race-based preferences does not yield the same numbers of African-American and Hispanic candidates as a more direct reliance on race-based admissions,” stated the report.
Only 12 percent of low-income Black college students graduate with bachelors’ degrees, compared to 23 percent of low-income Whites that earn bachelors’ degrees.
The bachelor’s degree is often seen as the gateway to higher lifetime earnings with more than $2 million in earnings separating those with bachelors’ degrees and those without them.
“African Americans and Hispanics gain 21 percent in earnings advantages when they attend the more selective schools compared with 15 percent for whites who attend the same colleges,” stated the report.
Researchers admitted that admission policies alone would not change the enrollment numbers for Blacks at high-achieving selective colleges and universities; that would take a concerted effort among policymakers.
“In combination, both race- and class-based affirmative action can ensure that highly qualified African- American, Hispanic, and lower-income students gain access to well-funded and selective colleges that lead to elite careers,” said the report. “Affirmative action, whether it is race- or class-based or some combination of the two, can help out those who strive and overcome the odds, yet does relatively little to change the odds themselves.”
The report stated: “Ultimately, there is no better way to guarantee a certain level of racial diversity than by employing race per se at some juncture in the selection process.”
August 01, 2013
California State University, Dominguez Hills is recognized as one of the nation’s top 100 universities granting undergraduate and graduate degrees to minority students, according to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.
In the magazine’s “Top 100 Undergraduate Degree Producers” published this month, CSU Dominguez Hills ranked 52nd nationally in total number of bachelor’s degrees and 85th in total number of master’s degrees awarded to minority students during academic year 2011-12, the year of the most current data reported to the U.S. Department of Education.
In 2011-12, 1,639 minority students, representing 72 percent of the graduating class, earned their bachelor’s degrees from CSU Dominguez Hills. In addition, more than 50 percent of those receiving their master’s degrees that year were minority students (437).
CSU Dominguez Hills also ranked 53rd nationally in awarding master’s degrees to Hispanic students and was a top-ranked university for undergraduate degrees granted to Hispanic and African American students:
• 38th nationally for bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanic students.
• First in California and 78th nationally for bachelor’s degrees conferred to African American students.
“I commend the perseverance of our inspirational students, many of whom come to us from under-resourced school districts and are first generation college students,” said University President Willie J. Hagan. “These numbers represent not only degrees achieved, but also dreams realized. CSU Dominguez Hills is focused on improving graduation rates for all students, and I applaud our outstanding faculty and staff for their dedication and commitment to our students.”
In addition to overall rankings, CSU Dominguez Hills was high on the list nationally in awarding bachelor’s degrees to minorities students in many academic disciplines, including the following top 50 rankings:
• 10th — Public administration
• 14th — Liberal arts
• 20th — Business administration
• 24th — Nursing
• 34th — History
• 36th — Health professions
• 39th — Psychology and Social sciences
• 44th — Marketing
• 50th — Communications
For a full list of rankings overall and by discipline, visit www.diverseeducation.com/top100/.
Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer stands next to Belinda Jackson, executive director of the Expo Center, as they are surrounded by youth from the center who were inspired by Jones-Sawyer’s call to create art pieces that depict the greatness of the state of California. Below are a collection of art pieces that were produced by the youth.
July 25, 2013
By Charlene Muhammad
LAWT Contributing Writer
A new charter school promising financial literacy and college education for all of its graduates plans to open its doors and a gateway to a brighter future for L.A. County students this August.
Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance, a new co-ed public charter high school located at 2506 W. Imperial Highway in Hawthorne, is the brainchild of Omar McGee. The proud Howard University alum and entrepreneur has combined his two loves - education and business - to help chart a path to economic independence for community youth.
McGee has partnered with various financial and community agencies to serve students through Executive Prep. According to McGee, after enrollment, students automatically get their own bank account through Bank of America.
In addition, financial classes, such as Banking 101, are integrated with A-G college prep courses. Students will be taught how to manage bank accounts, the difference between checking and savings, the importance of credit, how to use social security numbers, and the difference between creating a job and working for others.
“We teach them everything they need to know about business and on top of that, we flip the script. We give them an opportunity to actually run a business,” McGee stated.
Executive Prep has partnered with 102.3 FM-KJLH Radio and disc jockey Kevin Nash to run its own radio station right on campus, according to the young educator. Part of the student’s responsibilities will be developing marketing packages to solicit companies for advertisements, he shared.
“During the first and second year, we find out our kids’ strengths and through those strengths, we expose them to different career paths. If they want to be a lawyer, doctor, music exec, whatever they want to be, we guide them from there,” with mentors who are highly successful in those fields, McGee explained.
The mentors are critical to give students a true comparison of the actual impact of an education compared to the streets, he continued. “Nine times out of 10, kids don’t have a comparison. They just see it’s a one sided deal because the only thing they see is the success of drug dealers. They don’t see the fruits and the beautiful thing that an education can give you,” he said.
Thus, Executive Prep’s field trips will journey to residences of famous doctors, lawyers, and entertainers to give them a visual picture of what they can achieve and to help them make a logical comparison, McGee stated.
The school grew out of Inner City Outreach, McGee’s non-profit organization, which he began while at Howard. It helps students pay for their college educations.
“I actually started my non-profit organization through experience. I had no idea what a non-profit organization was ... I always wanted to help but I just didn’t know the vehicle because coming from the environments we come from, we’re just not exposed to a lot,” McGee said.
He had big dreams of becoming a film director after college but his father’s message of community first and giving back resonated with him long after his campus days in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve seen so much death and I’ve seen so much violence in my life, I know the need first hand. It’s not just me reading it, what these kids need. It’s through my own experiences,” the Flint, Michigan native told the Sentinel.
His niche is he’s from the same environment as the youth he’s trying to serve and that’s a factor that’s lacking in a growing number of schools, he said.
At Executive Prep, not only are students given an aim, they’re given a target, McGee stated. “You know by the time you graduate from high school, if you know what you want to be, that’s half the battle because you know as well as I know, there are people in grad school still undecided what they want to do with their life,” he said.
McGee added, “Our expectations are high. There’s only one rule. There’s only one goal. And there’s only one way out. The only way out of this school is college.”
Executive Prep is currently accepting student applications for 2013-2014 at www.executiveprep.org.
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