1 Billion Dollars for Early Childhood Education

President Obama has pledged 1 billion dollars for early childhood education; the federal government along with corporate sponsors are going to help kids get a leg up in life.

“The effort being led by the First Five Years Fund will challenge the private and public sectors to spend more on early childhood education. Among those supporting the campaign are The Walt Disney Co. with $55 million, the LEGO Foundation with $5 million and the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation with $25 million.”

Some questions to ponder are: How significant is this? and Does it bother anyone that there is a  corporate sponsorship of the earliest and most basic formal education of future children? Is this a trend that we will continue to see in the future?

Get your learn on!

Want to watch some enriching education videos? Use this link:  http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-places-watch-fun-educational-videos-online/ lists and enjoy your exploration. After all, there is more to education than science, math, and english. An educated mind is an enriched mind.

College Access & the Admissions Office

As a higher education professional who works with low-income, first-generation college students at a large, top-tier research university, I believe the admissions office plays the role of the “gatekeeper” in terms of providing access to prospective college students. Their practices and policies definitely lean in favor of those from higher income families who are more versed in the admissions process.

A recent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Why the Admissions Office May Be Part of the Problem of College Access” discusses this issue.

“The admissions office, especially at highly selective institutions, is the agent that keeps these students out of college in the first place, by creating a game that is heavily skewed in favor of students from high-income, well-educated families.”

Like the author, who is also a higher education professional, I too believe that it is time to change the requirements and means of evaluating students for college admissions. Admissions requirements still weigh test scores as an indicator of college admissions by using scores to assess the success they believe students will have at their institutions. However, research should have taught us long ago, that low-income and/or minority students are are more likely to have lower standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, etc.), than their counterparts.

Additionally, other factors such as class rank (which can be heavily based on the amount of AP (Advanced Placement), IB (International Baccalaureate) or honors courses students take, depending on the schools and their methods of calculating grade point averages and ratios), letters of recommendation, legacy status, and extracurricular activities are also weighted heavily. But what if a student from a lower socioeconomic status (SES) background had to work after school to provide for himself and contribute to the family income, and was unable to be involved in extracurricular activities? what if that same student was first-generation and no one ever talked to him about the importance of networking, building relationships with college officials, high school counselors, admissions reps, teachers etc. in order to get a great letter of recommendation or proofread his admissions essays? And what if that student made all A’s in all of his classes, but did not have the chance to graduate in the top 10% of his high school class because he was not in AP or IB classes? Finally, what if he did not have the money or additional resources needed for ACT or SAT prep classes, so he did not make high scores on his exams? Does he not deserve to be admitted into a selective university? Does his lack of money and social capital automatically mean that he will not succeed in college? After all, he did maintain high grades while being employed and taking on family responsibilities at home, which can sometimes make it more difficult to manage time effectively than students who are involved in clubs and organizations.

According to the article, if institutions want to continue to increase the enrollment of first-generation, low-income, or minority students, there should be an expectation that the admissions offices do more. I agree, but I also add, that additional measures and services must be implemented to support students before they set foot on campus, while they are learning how to navigate the college environment during their first-year, and beyond. These students come with a unique set of challenges that begin once they accept admission, and these challenges must be addressed not underscored or dumped into student affairs or students services offices. Academic affairs must also assist. It should be the interest of everyone entity on campus that has a connection with the students to understand and accommodate their unique needs, if the mission of the institution truly endeavors to provide them with the best education and opportunity for development possible.

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education http://chronicle.com/article/Why-the-Admissions-Office-May/150883/ 

 

 

Shared Posts #1: The price of being Black and “OK”

A friend of mine sent me an email with a link to this post and I had to share it! I believe it is powerful, thought provoking, beautiful, scary, and true. As an academic working at an institution that is considered to be “elite” within the state and has national prestige, I often question my worth, my work, my progress, and sense of belonging here on campus and within the “college town” community where I live. I also often wonder how what I am doing, or not doing for “my people” impacts black lives. Finally, in lieu of recent events in this country involving racial matters, I have been pondering the question “What is the price that we as Black people in America must pay in order to be ok?”

Please read, comment, and share!

Link: My Vassar College Faculty ID Makes Everything OK

Student Record Privacy

If anyone is versed in FERPA laws and regulations, perhaps you could help me to figure this out….In a New York Times article on privacy in education, the creators of a behavioral tracking software called ClassDojo have implemented a new policy to only hold student records for a year and then they will be deleted. For me, it seems that the issue that would come into play would be regarding the “sensitive” and “confidential” records that are being kept by a third-party company who is responsible for the administration of the database at educational institutions. Is this not the kind of information that historically has been kept on file longer, but also has been kept “in-house?’ In the age of information security breaches and social media, what would happen if a student became someone important in society (let’s say a celebrity because we are that vain in how we view important people), and somehow the student’s behavioral records were “accidentally leaked” to the public? Not only would this be a violation of FERPA, but it could prove to be an interesting issue in the future; but perhaps only saving the records for 1 year would seek to mitigate these potential issues instead of keeping a permanent file that could be leaked, released, or tampered with in the future. Still, it would seem that holding this kind of information gives people who do not have an “educational need to know” as defined in FERPA policies access to confidential records about a student. Is this beneficial or potentially harmful for educational entities?

 

Link to Article: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/classdojo-adopts-deletion-policy-for-student-data/?_r=0

More information on FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act) visit http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

 

 

Thought of the Weekend

Though people may make it difficult to get a good education, find a good job, and place many other obstacles between non-whites and success, they are not stopping anyone from doing anything.
No one is forcing kids to drop out of school, no one is forcing people to commit crimes. Perhaps what we should be thinking about is why are these such a popular choices?

The Tale of an HBCU with a 90% White Student Population

Bluefield college 5

One of the most interesting stories regarding Higher Education that I have come across recently is about an HBCU, Bluefield State (Historically named Bluefield Colored Institute), that now has a 90% White student population. I must admit, that I have never come across any other stories on the history of the declining Black student population at this institution, nor have I ever heard much about it at all. But it was both shocking and sad to learn what has come of the legacy of this institution. Below is the link to what I read about it. I encourage you to read it and comment if you would like to share your thoughts!

The Whitest Historically Black College in America– Link

Bluefield state 4Bluefield 1Bluefield 2Bluefield 3

Closing the “color” Gap in Public Schools: An open discussion

How can we increase the population of minority public school educators and administrators in this country? Our schools are populated with students of color, but few educators of color to teach and lead them…. For more details on this alarming problem, see the following article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/03/student-teacher-demographics_n_5738888.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000595 Please feel free to provide comments.

 

Return to segregation?

In this (once again great) Frontline report, they examine the return to segregation in american schools:

Here in texas we have been watching the gradual change in the quality of education. Over the last 20 years, and even more recently it seems, even to a casual eye, that it is harder and harder to get a good education from a public school when you are in a large city. Inner city schools have not always been bad, but what is the reason that they are so poor these days, to the point where the middle class no longer believe in them, and those that are in them, feel stuck with them? What is it that make people believe that public schools aren’t even worth the effort in trying to save them?

The Crushing Weight of Student Debt

from this Time article

Households headed by a young college graduate with student loans outstanding have a typical net worth of just $8,700—a pittance compared to the typical $64,700 net worth of similar households only with no student loans outstanding. But that’s just the start. Those with student loans have total debts of $137,010—nearly double the typical $73,250 indebtedness of those without student debt outstanding.

The title is only rich kids should go to college, I might have to agree as I can see for myself and others will be paying back student loans for at least 10 years, while trying to build a life with the education we’ve acquired.

Should the price of education be as much as your monthly rent? How much are we prepared to sacrifice in order to get the parchment that gets us to higher levels of income (hopefully)?