Tuition Exemption for Texas Veterans: Open Discussion

Some public institutions of higher education in the state of Texas have requested funding from the state legislature to cover or subsidize the cost of tuition for veterans. Under the Hazlewood Act, Veterans and their dependents and spouses are exempt from paying tuition for up to 150 hours at certified institutions. Even though the act is mandated by the state government, the institution or system has the responsibility of paying for the tuition. The University of Houston system has requested full funding from the state legislature because of the great expense the university system has had in the past covering tuition. Here is a link to a story from The Cougar regarding this matter: http://thedailycougar.com/2015/04/29/uh-seeks-hazlewood-funding-legislature/

What do you think: Who should pay for tuition for veterans under the current Hazlewood model? Should it be an institutional or state responsibility? Please feel free to post comments below or tweet them @BigBlackScholar using  #HazlewoodTX

A History of Violence Part One

In lieu of recent protesting and more specifically, the “riots” in Baltimore, let us take some time to think back on the birth of our nation and the struggles that people had to endure for the American Revolution. We do indeed have a history of violence in this country. There were protests, riots, and looting. Remember this? Sons of Liberty

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Closing the Literacy Gap: Barbershop Books

Barbershop Books 2

Alvin Irby (former educator) created the “Barbershop Books” program, as an initiative to promote literacy for young black males. The program is also targeted at helping Black boys associate books and reading as a part of their identity. According to Irby, the idea is simple: identify barbershops that Black families frequent, and set up a shelf of children’s books. Continue reading

Race Together with USA Today and Starbucks

USA Today will expand on the initiative that Starbucks has taken to promote conversations and understanding on Race in America. What are your thoughts? Article Link

Thoughts on OU/SAE incident

Expulsion seems like the right thing to do, and seems to be a punishment that fits the bill for what these college students did and allowed to happen; however I disagree. It gives them the opportunity to bow out,  and off campus without having to face those who they offended and those that can teach them something about their actions and possibly challenge their thoughts and beliefs as well. A few days after the incident became widespread news, there was a community discussion regarding race relations within the OU community. Several people attended and it seems that a great dialogue took place, but this is not enough.

I have attended numerous panel discussions, community conversations, townhall meetings, open forums etc. related to race relations, diversity,  and inclusion,  and what I have noticed is that you see the same people on college campuses and within communities participating time and time again. Those who are already becoming part of the solution, are open-minded, wanting to bring about change, or are already change agents, show up and speak up.  Other people who truly NEED to attend do not, and so it becomes the same conversation with the same people who hear the same messages. No new action is taken, and not much changes.

Those young men expelled from OU should have been required to attend. They should have also been required to attend other cultural competence seminars, workshops, and they should have been forced to sit in a room among those who spoke out about their poor decisions and actions and felt offended  in the first place. If they shamed the OU community, make the face the OU community and learn how and why what they did was shameful.  More of these conversations and experiences are going to have to be forced in order for them to occur and for people to exchange more meaningful dialogue that is not one-sided. Young people today are still very frightened, apathetic, and unable to communicate effectively to build better interpersonal relations. It’s time to push people out of their comfort zones and get the learning and understanding process going before more incidents like this one occur and college campuses become further divided.

Want to improve schools?

Let the Teachers take over

This was an interesting article. But I think it comes down to the classic workers versus management debate. Administration has a set of parameters that they have to work with and teachers are trying to educate to the best of their ability with limited resources. Perhaps there is an issue with not allowing those who have the most contact with the student have the least amount of say so over what ultimately happens in the schools, but if all parties are supposedly in agreement with trying to educate children, why is there a schism?

Without taking into consideration the larger issues of school finance and administration, a school that fully supports its teachers in a way that is not solely monetary can only be to the benefit of the students.

2 OU Students Expelled

Update: 2 OU students have been expelled from the University by President Boren for playing a “leadership role” in the video that went viral over the weekend

OU's President, David Boren, expels two students after SAE video surfaces

OU’s President, David Boren, expels two students after SAE video surface

Geraldo Rivera on Hip Hop: Open Discussion

Geraldo Rivera recently said “hip hop has done more damage to Black and Brown people than racism in the last 10 years” What do you think?  Rivera on Hip Hop and Racism

Music and Black Youth: Open Discussion

This morning while watching News One Now with Roland Martin, Chuck D (Founder of Public Enemy, Artist/Musician, & Activist) commented on the connection between African Americans and music. He mentioned that taking away music programs in inner city schools is a detriment to Black Youth because Black people are gifted when it comes to musicianship and this limits the ability to pass on music education and the artistry to black youth. From what I understood, he did not directly say that this was a “conspiracy” to take away music from Black people, but it did make me wonder if there may be a hidden agenda behind the removal of important arts programs in public schools, especially those in urban education districts. So I will pose the question for open discussion: Is the removal of music programs in inner-city (or urban) K-12 schools a conspiracy that will have a negative impact on Black Youth?