Monthly Archives: October 2011

Newark After School Program Saved

New Jersey After 3, which had planned to shutter due to a loss of state funding, will continue its work through a new partnership with the state Department of Education

TRENTON — A popular after school program for children of working families known as New Jersey After 3, which had planned to shutter due to a loss of state funding, will continue its work through a new partnership with the state Department of Education, Gov. Chris Christie announced today.

The partnership, forged in the program’s eleventh hour, will help New Jersey After 3 remain operational and help the state apply for a waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind law. The application requires proof of a state’s commitment to extending students’ learning time, the program’s hallmark.

“New Jersey After 3 is a good and worthwhile program that benefits children and working families,” Christie said in a statement.

The federal No Child Left Behind law requires students nationwide to demonstrate proficiency in math and reading by 2014. States seeking to waive that requirement must apply by deadlines in November or January and prove that they are making progress toward that goal.

Since its inception in 2004, NJ After 3 has extended the school day by 40 percent for some 75,000 students in 29 school districts across the state, offering tutoring, fitness activities, arts programs and other services for the families it served.

The non-profit has always operated using a combination of state and private dollars, but saw it’s state funding decreased in recent years. Four months ago, Christie erased the group’s $3 million in state funds for fiscal year 2012 using a line-item veto. The governor similarly cut funding for Wynona’s House, a treatment center for child abuse victims, only to subsequently restore it.

“Funding decisions in challenging times like these are very difficult,” Christie said. “I wanted my administration to find whatever ways we could to work with New Jersey After 3, to leverage public-private cooperation and find innovative approaches to refine their program and ultimately make it possible to provide more school children with quality extended learning time programs.”

Christie’s announcement about NJ After 3’s future comes days after Democrats in the legislature protested the program’s demise. Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Middlesex) said last week that NJ After 3 exemplified the benefits of a public-private partnership by leveraging taxpayer dollars to secure corporate support.

“It is beyond unfortunate that the children of working-class families have to be the latest casualty in the Governor’s budget all so he can stand with millionaires to preserve their tax breaks,” Stender said last week.

NJ After 3 President and CEO Mark Valli said in a statement last week that the group had explored “virtually every option” before announcing it’s shut-down. In a statement released today, Douglas Kennedy, chairman of the group’s board, called the partnership “an innovative and educational approach.”

“We will tap our own public-private expertise and partner with the Department of Education to design and develop an extended learning program that fits with and complements the state’s federal No Child Left Behind waiver application,” Kennedy said.

Though NJ After 3 already offers academic enrichment for students enrolled in it’s after school programs, the quality and quantity of school work may need to increase to meet the requirements of the waiver application.

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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Education News


A Florida teacher could be fined for helping kids register to vote. (Shutterstock)

Teacher Breaks Law by Registering Kids to Vote

Tougher Florida election rules spark anger

By Matt Cantor, Newser Staff
A Florida civics teacher didn’t know about a new state law when she helped students register to vote—and now may have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. The law required her to first register with the state as a third party who planned to sign up new voters, which Jill Cicciarelli didn’t do before starting her registration drive. “I just want them to be participating in our democracy,” she says. “The more participation we have, the stronger our democracy will be.”

Republican state lawmakers passed the measure mostly along party lines, and say it’s aimed at reducing voter fraud—but others fear it will shrink participation. In Cicciarelli’s county, both parties have found the law baffling, says one elections official: “I haven’t found one person who likes this law.” Thus far, state officials have only issued warnings; Cicciarelli probably won’t be fined because she didn’t intend to commit fraud. Meanwhile, the ACLU has sued over the measure, and sections of it are currently under review in a federal court. It’s one of several new laws cracking down on voter registration.

CaseClosed2: The more partcipation in the voting process by young voters, the more some of the old fuddy duddys in office far too long will be removed.

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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Education News


Bias In School Aid

Study: Fewer Black College Students Receive Merit-Based Aid

In contrast, more Black undergrads received grants based on financial need when compared to whites.

By Britt Middleton

During the 2007–08 academic year, undergraduate students received $62 billion in financial aid through the government, educational institutions and other sources, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Education. During that same period, the department found that Black college students were less likely than white students to receive merit-based financial aid, but more likely to receive aid based on financial need.

The report found that during the 2007-2008 academic year, 11. 4 percent of all Black undergraduate students received merit-based scholarships, which are based upon standardized test scores or other indicators of academic achievement, compared to 16.4 percent of all white undergraduates. When it came to grants based on financial need, as determined by the financial background of the student’s grantor, nearly 53 percent of Black college undergrads received need-based grants as opposed to about 30 percent of white students.

When looking only at students who attended four-year colleges and universities on a full-time basis, the report found that 26.9 percent of Black students received merit-based grants when compared to 35.1 percent of white students. Just over 70 percent of Black students received need-based financial aid compared to nearly 40 percent of white students.

President Barack Obama’s recent proposal to help ease the burden of student loans could bring a sigh of relief to millions of Americans mired in debt. Starting in 2014, student loan payments will be reduced to 10 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income, the president announced on Wednesday. Student borrowers also have the option of consolidating their federal student loans at lower interest rates. According to the White House, this plan could help 1.6 million Americans see their payments decrease by hundreds of dollars a month.

(Photo: Commercial Appeal/Landov)

CaseClosed2: African American students should not give up because where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can achieve!

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Posted by on October 29, 2011 in Education News


From Boys To Eventually Men

Detroit After-School Program Turns Boys To Gentlemen

Written by Casey Gane-McCalla, Lead Blogger on October 26

DETROIT — Brenda Scott Academy’s elementary school principal Ronnie Sim has started a “Gentleman’s Club” for boys to teach them not only the three Rs, respect, responsibility and reasoning, but manners as well.

Sims’ after-school program meets three times a week and students are required to wear jackets and ties.

Now, the 80 boys of the Brenda Scott Academy’s Gentlemen’s Club gather twice a week in the gymnasium and learn to properly shake hands, maintain eye contact and dress neatly. In addition to Sims’s revamp of the three “R’s”, boys are also introduced to Sims’s four T’s; Take Time To Think. And there is a dress code: older boys are required to wear jackets and all the boys must don ties; the tying of which is a part of the club curriculum itself.

“What I hope is that these boys will break the cycle of male irresponsibility,” said Sims. “I want them to make better choices.”

Read more at BET

CaseClosed2: This is an excellent program which will work because the students are at the ages they are eager to learn.Get them while they’re young and impressionable and what they learn will last a lifetime which they will be able to pass on for generations to come.

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Posted by on October 27, 2011 in Education News


It’s Time For This Teacher To Retire

6-Yr Old Has Jacket Tied Around Her Neck, Dragged by Teacher Across the Playground

Monday, October 24, 20116-Yr Old Has Jacket Tied Around Her Neck, Dragged by Teacher Across the Playground

Your Black World reports.

A school teacher has been taken to jail for harming a 6-year old child. Mildred Russ, 65, was arrested after a little girl’s mother said that Russ dragged her across a playground on Monday. The officers with the Baker Police Department studied the child’s clothing and determined that her story is likely true.

“She tied my jacket around my neck and she dragged me to the playground to the office,” said Kiya Rogers.

When the girl’s mother, Jessica Rogers, went to the police station to pick up the child’s uniform, there were holes in it. Her shorts also had grass stains. The mother is also upset because school officials didn’t tell her what happened until Wednesday.

“What were you doing before she did this?” the little girl was asked. “I was talking in the classroom, but we started walking to the lunch room,” Kiya answered.

“But, that does not give anybody a right to do that to her,” said Jessica Rogers. “She’s only six years old. She should not have experienced anything like that.”

Police Chief Mike Knaps said that he’s known the school teacher for years, and was shocked.

“There is no valid excuse to take such action against a child,” said Knaps. “I’m in my 31st year with the police department and I’ve never been witness to anything like this before.”

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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Education News


Bad Teacher, Drunk Teacher

(Newser) – A London kindergarten teacher got so drunk at lunch, the principal thought she was having a stroke. (Shutterstock

(Newser) – It’s Bad Teacher come true: A kindergarten teacher in London got so smashed during lunch that her coworkers called an ambulance. Her principal thought the stumbling 51-year-old, who had tried to teach after drinking, was suffering a stroke; paramedics soon discovered the truth. A teachers’ council has found her guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct,” the Daily Mail reports.

Penny Truman’s “actions have the potential to bring the reputation and standing of the profession into serious disrepute,” said an official, though he noted that “she was clearly going through a period of personal stress, apparently deteriorating health, she suffered a family bereavement at the time and was exhausted.” She hasn’t been fired, but she’s required to show a “satisfactory medical report” indicating good mental health before she can return to her job.

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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Education News


President Obama Plans Relief For Student Loans

US President Barack Obama waves to his supporters during a campaign event in San Francisco, California, on October 25, 2011. (Getty Images)

(Newser) – President Obama’s next plan for struggling Americans: student loan relief that could save borrowers hundreds of dollars a month, the White House says. Using his executive authority, Obama will speed up a measure that caps student loan payments at 10% of discretionary income, starting in 2012 instead of 2014. He will also order that debts be forgiven after 20 years instead of 25, the AP reports.

Further, the president will let borrowers consolidate two loans into one, if they have borrowed directly from the government and the Family Education Loan Program. Obama plans to roll out the proposal in Denver tomorrow during his campaign-style tour of Western states. His plan updates a law passed by Democrats in Congress last year, reducing the loan payment cap and removing banks as middlemen in student loans.

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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Education News


13 Year Old Goes To College

who said black kids can’t learn? Yes they can and they are learning and entering college early.

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Education News


Mom Packs Gun In Child’s Lunch Bag

A retired NYPD police detective mistakenly packed a pistol in her daughter’s school bag this week. (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – One 6-year-old girl surprised her classmates at a New York school this week by opening her bag and brandishing a .25-caliber handgun—left courtesy of her mom, a retired NYPD detective. “No one was hurt—but maybe she don’t know it’s a real gun and bang, bang, bang,” said one disturbed parent. The girl’s mother, Marian Brioso, put her Taurus pistol in the bag for safekeeping but forgot about it, police said.

Shaken classmates met with school therapists the next day, and parents remained distressed by the incident, the New York Daily News reports. “I’m really worried. I don’t know why a child would have a gun,” said the mother of a second-grader. Brioso wasn’t charged, but cops notified the Administration for Children’s Services. Her husband, an NYPD captain, opted not to comment on the pistol packing.

CaseClosed2: How could a retired cop be so careless to pack a gun in her daughter’s lunch and not remember it was there? Suppose the child used the gun and killed one of her classmates? What will the authorities do to this retired cop? NYPD’s finest.SMH

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Education News


Twice as Less: Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Does Black English stand between black students and success in math and science?
A teacher for over thirty-five years, Eleanor Wilson Orr discovered that many of her students’ difficulties were rooted in language. This is her account of the program she established to help them reach their potential. In the light of the current debate over Ebonics, she has written an introduction for the reissue of this important study.

“This book is not naive about Black English Vernacular and it is untainted by racism. It is a deeply thoughtful discussion of the possibility that subtle nonstandard understandings, or a simple lack of experience with standard understandings, of prepositions, conjunctions, and relative pronouns can impede comprehension of basic concepts in mathematics and science. Eleanor Wilson Orr has filled her book with evidence and so put the reader in a position to judge what conclusions are justified. This very original and possibly very consequential work deserves the close dispassionate study of sociolinguists, psycholinguists, educators, and everyone who cares about the advancement of Black Americans”. — Roger Brown, Harvard University

“A major contribution…. Developing ways to help black students overcome these barriers and participate fully in the fields of mathematics and science is critical to the future of our country…. A fine, sensitive, and insightful pedagogical tool to aid in this effort”. — John B. Slaughter, chancellor, University of Maryland

“Invites compelling speculation on how… to unleash the scientific potential of disadvantaged black students”. — Publishers Weekly

CaseClosed2: African American students can do well in math and science if taught properly just like any other student.

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Education News