11 African American students named “2015 Truman Scholars”

2015 Truman ScholarsThis year over 600 candidates were nominated by over 200 institutions of higher education for the Truman Scholarship, awarded and funded by The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Of the 58 students selected for this prestigious honor, 11 are African American and represent a wide range of colleges and universities across the nation. According to www.truman.gov, “students were selected based on their records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement.”   Continue reading

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

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

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.

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?

Imagine America without Black People.

#BlackHistoryMonth

For everyone that comes across this post, I want you to really sit back and think about what life in this country would be like if Black people had never been chained and delivered to this country. I would great appreciate if you spent just a little bit of your mental time to consider exactly what it would be like if Blacks were never brought to North America, The Carribean, South America. This is not something that should be lightly considered.
If you would, please share with me your thoughts on the comments. I’m interested in knowing what you come up with.

I’ll start it off: If there were no Blacks, there would be not be a monopoloy on music by 6 record companies. There would be no allied victory in WWII and there surely would be internet for you to read this post on.

Student Loan Debt Hits a New High

1.2 Trillion dollars.

Let that sink in and after you get finished with that, this site will help you visualize what a trillion dollars actually is

In one way I reckon that large student debt is evidence that people are seeking their education, which is a wonderful thing. It enriches one’s life in numerous way, not just having the parchment that makes you acceptable to employers.
But on the other hand, I cannot help but ponder why an education is causing so many SO much financial burden. $1000+ student loan repayments, just 6 months after you’ve graduated? What kind of situation do the holders of these loans expect graduates to be in?
If you look at it from a business standpoint, opportunities are rarely richer or more guaranteed than loaning money to people who need to get an education in order to make money and hope to have a middle class lifestyle. It’s almost like ransoming education. School is so expensive, (or should I say the “better” schools)… it might be justified by the quality of education, but its also the weight that the degree holds, which allows for more opportunities for the holder, along with many other factors, but for loaners the more it costs for the learner the higher stream of income that one can expect. On $100,000 in student loans, one can expect a return of perhaps $125,000? Sweet! A college education is supposed to allow one to “make it”, but how can you make it when a mountain of student loan debt is weighing on you before you really have a chance to get started.
The first years of one’s career are the most lean, and they become even leaner when you have a $500 bill coming right along with it.

I propose that student loan debt be treated like a mortgage, because it is more akin to a lifelong investment than it is to a payday loan, which is what it seems like now. It should be structured at an interest rate that is no more that 1.25% and should be spread out over 30 years. That means a student borrowing $100,000 for the life of their education would be paying $105 a month. I think that is fair and solid. It would prevent predatory lending to students and allow them to not be burdened with a huge sum before they are able to establish themselves.

1.2 Trillion is a lot of money.

America’s College Promise Proposal

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 9, 2015

FACT SHEET: White House Unveils America’s College Promise Proposal:

Tuition-Free Community College for Responsible Students

Nearly a century ago, a movement that made high school widely available helped lead to rapid growth in the education and skills training of Americans, driving decades of economic growth and prosperity. America thrived in the 20th century in large part because we had the most educated workforce in the world.  But other nations have matched or exceeded the secret to our success. Today, more than ever, Americans need more knowledge and skills to meet the demands of a growing global economy without having to take on decades of debt before they even embark on their career.

Today the President is unveiling the America’s College Promise proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students, letting students earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree and earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost. Continue reading

Code.org wants to help you learn computer science 1 hour at a time.

http://code.org/ is trying to get students to do 100 million hours of coding, 1 hour a day. http://code.org/learn.

I think this is fantastic because we are in such dire need of computer science education. As I have said before, it is a way to bridge the skills gap, and the more computerized this world becomes the more important it will be to have the skills necessary to not only navigate, but manipulate it.