Monthly Archives: June 2012

Good News:No Student Loan Increase

Congress Avoids Student-Loan Increase

Debt-addled college students can breathe a sigh of relief: Thanks to a rare moment of congressional compromise, the interest rate on their student loans won’t double on Sunday—instead, they will freeze at 3.4 percent for the next year. The measure was tucked into a larger bill which included bridge and road funding that sailed through the House and Senate earlier today, and it will save more than 7 million students an estimated $1,000 in loan fees over the next year. “This legislation proves that when Republicans decide to work with Democrats, we can do a lot to move our economy forward,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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Posted by on June 30, 2012 in Education News


Pennies Add Up To Pay For Student’s Room And Board

Woman Pays College With 500000 Pennies

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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Education News


Crappy TV Won’t Help Your Kid’s Self Esteem

Watching TV Can Lower Children’s Self Esteem, Study Finds
The Huffington Post | By Michelle Marques

Busy parents have become master multitaskers. But as making dinner, cleaning the house and doing laundry are all underway, the TV is often on in the background, which could be a disservice to your kids, experts say.

Research from the University of Cincinnati finds that children are watching TV while their parents are trying to complete the many errands on their never ending to-do lists. And while parents may be pros at tuning out, they may not be considering the effects that TV can have on their children.

A study conducted by Indiana University found that TV viewing can alter children’s self esteem. White girls and black boys and girls tend to feel worse about themselves after viewing various forms of electronic media. However, white boys are in luck, TV viewing actually increases their self confidence.

The study surveyed 400 black and white preadolescents in the Midwest over one year. Professors Nicole Martins and Kristen Harrison focused on the correlation between total time spent watching TV and self esteem, rather than the impact of certain types of programming. They found watching more TV negatively affected self esteem for all children, except white males.

“Regardless of what show you’re watching, if you’re a white male, things in life are pretty good for you,” Martins said in a release. “You tend to be in positions of power, you have prestigious occupations, high education, glamorous houses, a beautiful wife, with very little portrayals of how hard you worked to get there.”

But other groups of children were subject to endless stereotypes. According to the study, female children are hard-pressed to find a diversity of roles for women on television. Black boys are no better off. Their TV brothers are often portrayed as criminals or lacking intelligence.

Black children in the study on average watched 10 more hours of TV per week than their white counterparts.
But don’t banish the TV just yet. Parents can help counter these negative effects by choosing programming that reflects positive values and refrains from promoting stereotypes, said Sierra Filucci, TV and DVD editor at Common Sense Media.

“The images that our kids see through media and the news and images they see in video games informs their sense of what’s normal,” she said. “I think it’s important that we have our kids be savvy media critics and consumers and that we insert our own comments about media as often as we possibly can.”

Fliccui encourages parents to watch TV with their children in order to start a dialogue and to help children interpret the images and messages they see on the small screen. She says parents should choose programs that promote diversity, such as “Handy Manny,” “Doc McStuffins” and “A.N.T. Farm.” She also suggests adhering to the Academy of Pediatrics reccomendation of no screen time for children under 2 years old and to monitor the amount of TV older children watch per day.

“It’s about balance, where kids are playing in the real world, doing sports, interacting with their parents and the community,” Fliccui said. “Parents are the best resource for kids and they’re the ones that can have the biggest effect on kids self esteem.”

As an alternative to TV, Martha Cornog, book reviewer for the School Library Journal, suggest these graphic novels with African-American characters. A few of our picks are below.

•Billions of Bats: A Buzz Beaker Brainstorm by Scott NickelBuzz Beaker is a kid inventor who loves science, but sometimes his gadgets backfire. He also gets to save the day when others get into science-related trouble. This time, his girl-genius classmate Sarah wants to demonstrate her new cosmic copy machine to the school, but instead of one copy of a friend’s pet bat, she gets a ton of them.

•Invasion of the Gym Class Zombies by Scott NickelTrevor’s new teacher has turned the gym class into zombielike, radio-controlled jocks. It’s up to him to figure out how to get them back to normal.

•Luke on the Loose by Harry BlissLittle Luke’s enjoying a day in the park with dad, but when he gets into boring daddy talk with adults, Luke tears off chasing pigeons, leaving a frantic father far behind. Galloping merrily through traffic, pedestrians, and then across the Brooklyn Bridge, he finally joins his prey on a rooftop, where he falls asleep and is rescued by the fire department.

•Monster and Me by Robert MarshBig, loveable Dwight is twelve-year-old Gabby’s pet monster and he’s tapped to play Scrooge in her class’s annual Christmas play. Problem is, Dwight speaks only monster-talk, not English.

•The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by George Beard and Harold HutchinsThis spin-off of the popular Captain Underpants series introduces a newborn superhero, inadvertently powerized upon falling into a container of “super power juice” stolen from Captain Underpants by the evil Deputy Dangerous.

•The Boy Who Burped Too Much by Scott NickelBobby burps loudly just about everywhere, which upsets other people more than it bothers him. But he has to control his burping if he wants to do well in the upcoming spelling bee.

•WordGirl: Coalition of Malice by Chris KarwowskiFifth-grader Becky Botsforth has a secret identity: WordGirl, with superhero strength and a huge vocabulary. Landing on Earth with her monkey sidekick when their spaceship crash-landed, she fights evil villains while introducing new words.

•In Search of the Fog Zombie: A Mystery About Matter by Lynda BeauregardThere’s a rumor at Camp Dakota about the fog zombie: when the thick fog wafts from the lake, people hear noises like footsteps and moaning. There’s a scientific explanation, too, which five of the campers figure out when a hip counselor drops clues they can solve.

•Living on Spongecake: The Curtis Chronicles by Ray BillingsleyWilkins family life is never boring, thanks to the shenanigans of eleven-year-old Curtis and his younger brother Barry. While the good-hearted Curtis softens to the charms of potential girlfriend Michelle, Barry remains oblivious to the romantic intentions of cute little Chutney. An ongoing plotline features a town block of minority-owned small businesses that is to be demolished to make way for a supermall, and the townspeople’s efforts to stop the bulldozers.

•Mama’s Boyz: The Big Picture; What You Need To Succeed! by Jerry CraftLighthearted vignettes with a serious message convey how mundane, day-to-day living habits can affect one’s future. Slacker teen Yusuf Porter blows off his mama’s advice but is then visited in his dreams, as in A Christmas Carol, by four phantoms that are versions of his future self. They counsel him on matters of health, appearance, family, self-esteem, education, and respect for others.

•Muhammad Ali: The King of the Ring by Lewis HelfandIn its back matter, the Ali includes information on how the graphic novel was made plus stories about other prizefighters.

•The Prison-Ship Adventure of James Forten, Revolutionary War Captive by Marty Rhodes FigleyJames Forten was a historical figure, an African American born free in Philadelphia in 1766. He enlisted as a teen in the Revolutionary War and was captured by the British. As a prisoner of war he also faced the possibility being sold as a slave.

•The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor DavisUltra-nerd Julian Calendar hopes he can hide his supersmarts so he can fit in at junior high, but then he meets Ben and Greta, two closet brainiacs like himself. The trio forms a secret club with a high-tech hideaway to design goofy and inventive gadgets, all rendered in wildly detailed art. An evil scientist grabs their inventions to pull off a midnight heist. Can they foil his plot?

•Ultimate Comics Spider-Man by Brian Michael BendisIn this version of the Spider-Man universe, Peter Parker is killed suddenly and Miles Morales, an African American/Latino middle-schooler, takes over the web-slinging.

CaseClosed2: Black Kids and adults who suffer low self esteem would feel better about themselves if they saw positive images of themselves on television. If they only see negative portrayals day in and day out it will do nothing to enhance their self esteem and behavior. Stop watching crappy shows and concentrate on good programming tv executives seem not know much about.Get out and find places you can take your kids to where they will see positive images of themselves such as black museums, plays and other forms of quality entertainment. Don’t have tv babysitting your kids.

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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Education News


Slave For A Day?

‘Slave for a Day’ black history program causes controversy

By Jon Meoli, Towson Times

The July 8 event, which park ranger and event organizer Angela Roberts-Burton said is part of the historical site’s monthly black history educational series, caused a stir on the Internet for what some believe was insensitive wording.

“By no means am I trying to, or are we the Park Service, trying to assimilate the atrocities that slave African-Americans endured,” Roberts-Burton said Wednesday.

“This is just a glimpse of the hard work, being out in the heat and sun,” she said.

In the initial event description on the Hampton National Historic Site website, which was online until Tuesday, Roberts-Burton used the “Slave for a Day” heading.

The release also used exclamation points to note that it was the “first time ever at Hampton!” and participants could “carry buckets of water with a yoke on your shoulders!”

The posting drew response online, including from the site Baltimore Fishbowl, where blogger Rachel Monroe wrote, “Clearly Hampton is approaching this from an education-is-good! perspective. Their hearts are in the right place. … Still, the inescapable and brutal fact of slavery was that it wasn’t for a day. … Some things are too profound to playact, it seems to me.”

Roberts-Burton said that since Monday, she’s received around 50 emails and phone calls reacting to the title.

Anthony Fugett, vice president of the Baltimore County chapter of the NAACP and a former board member for the national NAACP, said he had no problem with the program, but agreed the title was an issue.

“The event was well-intentioned, but the name may have been inappropriate, and I’m glad to see they changed it,” said Fugett, an Owings Mill resident.

“I don’t see it as a menacing event at all,” Fugett said. “Slavery is a part of the history of the country and the state of Maryland. The one thing we don’t want is for our history to be missed, and sometimes it’s good to get a perspective of a day in the life of a slave.”

Roberts-Burton said she used the language in the initial posting because she was excited for the fact that it’s the first such event at Hampton.

After reaction started coming in, the title was switched yesterday from “Slave for a Day” to “Walk a Mile, a Minute in the Footsteps of the Enslaved on the Hampton Plantation,” and the description was changed to remove exclamation points.

Roberts-Burton said the park superintendent and the Northeast Regional Office asked her to changed the title of the event.

“We changed the name and [the National Park Service] allowed me to pick it,” she said. “No one did it for me.”

“I’m the one who told them to alter it,” said Vincent Vaise, chief of interpretation for the National Park Service, overseeing Hampton and Fort McHenry.

“We didn’t want people to be upset because of the title of the program,” he said, “but we want people to see the purpose of the program, to tell the story and empathize with people of that era.”

“This is how we learn from each other,” Vaise said of the reaction. “And really, that’s part of the dialogue we want to have. Places like Hampton can be used as a forum for race relations and a critical look at history.

“To be blunt, we could do a concert or a furniture tour — that’s easy history,” he said. “These are the types of things the park service wants to do to make itself relevant. But when you go there [discussing slavery], we know we have to expect some people are going to react, and we should be ready for it. Hopefully, this experience might bring out more people to see what it’s really about.”

Roberts-Burton said the free program will allow participants to experience the same type of farm labor as enslaved people at Hampton Mansion did.

“Obviously, I have the backing of the National Park Service,” she said.

The July 8 event will end with a memorial ceremony conducted by the African Diaspora Ancestral Commemoration Institute, and will commemorate those who were enslaved at Hampton.

Roberts-Burton, who is black, said some critics who contacted her after the event was posted suggested they just hold the healing ceremony, but she said that ceremony would be moot without knowledge of what needed healing.

She has also heard from supporters, including Carl Miller, a race relations tutor at Harvard University who Roberts-Burton said “knew what I was doing.”

On Wednesday morning, Miller set up a Facebook chat on the page of the Community Healing Network that allowed Roberts-Burton to tell her side of the story.

Roberts-Burton said she studied the African diaspora — the historical movement of Africans and their descendants throughout the world — while earning her master’s degree at Howard University.

She said the original title was meant to draw attention to the event.

The National Park Service began running the property in 1948, but the slave quarters and overseer’s quarters have only been open to the public since 2006. The mansion was the home to the Ridgely family, and according to its website, “It preserves and tells the story of the occupancy of seven generations of one family, the Ridgelys, and their large and diverse labor force. …

“Hampton is the story of people — enslaved African-Americans, indentured servants, industrial and agricultural workers, and owners. It is also the story of the economic and moral changes that made this kind of life obsolete,” the website states.

“We have programs on a monthly basis on the African-American experience, and most of the time people who attend are a majority white,” Roberts-burton said. “We’re trying to get more African-Americans to come to the site, but considering the city is majority black, the majority of our visitation is white.”

Recently, she said, musician Joe Becton performed a concert detailing the evolution of blues music. Roberts-Burton said it was attended by 40 people, “and there wasn’t one African-American sitting there.”

She also gives monthly tours dressed in period attire that describe the mansion and surrounding buildings strictly from the perspective of African-Americans during the slavery era.

“If you look at the website itself, on the home page, it says ‘black history month is every month at Hampton,’” Roberts-Burton said.

“People who are complaining about this are people who don’t even come here.”

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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Education News


Police Called On Top Student

British school calls police to remove pupil ‘obsessed’ with studying
Posted: Jun 21, 2012 5:55 AM CDT
Updated: Jun 21, 2012 7:59 AM CDT
A British high school called police to remove a star pupil who is so “obsessed” with revising that he refused to leave the library.

Jamie Gagliardi, 18, was ejected from Ifield Community College in southern England, after refusing to leave the library, the Crawley News reported.

The school accused Gagliardi, who is predicted to be an A-grade student, of being “obsessed” with after-school tuition and said that it called the police because the pupil was causing a “nuisance.”

Gagliardi, who was forced to call his mother to pick him up, said, “I have been punished for wanting to do well. I am a hard-working and dedicated student, and this could have such an impact on my future.”

The student went to the library despite being banned from the premises for the day as a punishment for interrupting the school principal during a meeting — to request extra revision sessions.

Marilyn Evans, the school’s director of administration, said, “He became vociferous and irritated that he couldn’t have after-school revision.”

She described Gagliardi as a “top student” who should do well in his exams, but said he had been “causing a nuisance and a disturbance on the premises,” adding, “He is obsessed with doing after-school revision.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed that officers were called to the school to remove a “disruptive” pupil who was refusing to leave the premises, but said that Gagliardi will not face any charges.


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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Education News


Charter Schools Don’t Want Students Who Are Not Up To Their Standards

Charter Schools Still Enroll Fewer Disabled Students

Charter schools in most states continue to enroll proportionately fewer students with disabilities than traditional public schools, a new government report shows.

Across the country, disabled students represented 8.2 percent of all students enrolled during the 2009-10 year in charter schools, compared with 11.2 percent of students attending traditional public schools, according to a Government Accountability Office analysis of Department of Education data.

In the previous year, 7.7 percent of students in charter schools had disabilities, compared with 11.3 percent in traditional public schools. Data covered students ages 6 to 21 in the 40 states that have charter schools.

Critics of charter schools, which are financed with taxpayer money but typically enjoy more autonomy than district public schools, have said the charters skim the best students from their communities and are less likely to enroll students with special needs.

Representative George Miller, a California Democrat who is the ranking member on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said the lower enrollment of students with disabilities in charter schools was “not acceptable by any means.” But given the controversy over charter schools, Mr. Miller said, “my political antennae would have said that the disparity would have been greater.”

The G.A.O. report showed that in six states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, charter schools enrolled a higher proportion of disabled students than traditional public schools. And schools where more than 20 percent of the students had disabilities were more likely to be charter schools than traditional schools, in part because some charter schools cater specifically to students with special needs such as autism.

The report’s authors posited several possible reasons for the overall disparity. Some parents choose public schools that have more established programs for students with disabilities, while some charter schools do not have the resources or teaching staff to support individual students’ needs. But in some cases, the report said, school administrators tacitly discriminate by discouraging students with disabilities from enrolling.

Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary of innovation and improvement, the Department of Education office that oversees charter schools, said some district schools might be identifying students as disabled who are not, a factor that could skew the data.

But in response to some complaints of discrimination, the Education Department opened an office to help charter schools support students with disabilities.

James H. Wendorf, executive director of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, described the report’s findings as “troubling.”

“There could be a number of reasons that this is happening, but it’s starting to quack like a duck,” Mr. Wendorf said. “I think we need to start looking carefully at how decisions are made by charter schools in admitting students or in releasing students. We’re concerned from some previous studies that children with disabilities are admitted but then counseled out.”

Todd Ziebarth, vice president of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, said charter schools did not always receive sufficient financing to provide special education.

“Anything we can do to better equip charter schools to be able to serve the fullest range of students possible is something we support,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in print on June 20, 2012, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Charter Schools Still Enroll Fewer Disabled Students.

CaseClosed2: Charter Schools academically are among the best. However,they expect students to be on point academically and psychologically. If a student has a behavorial issue,they don’t want to be bothered. They will give that student help at the end of the school year instead of during the beginning of the school year to prevent him or her being held back to repeat the grade even if he attends another highly qualified school and especially if he’s an African American student. Some charter schools who are considered among the best perform on a millitary style basis which is not beneficial or necessary to can learn and achieve without super strick and strigent school rules and have been doing so since the beginning of time. Charter Schools don’t want students with issues to make them look bad in the eyes of the public and others so they get rid of such students by any means necessary.No Child Left Behind is not in their criteria.

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Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Education News


African American Students Homeschooled Increases

African-Americans increasingly turn to home-schooling
By Garrett Tenney

It’s the end of another school year, and for a growing number of African-American kids, it will be their last outside the home.

Nationwide, more and more families are choosing to home school their children each year, and the fastest growing segment of the home school movement is African-Americans, experts say. Some 220,000 black children are home-schooled, according to one estimate.

“Each one of them has excelled so much, and I can see it,” Kisha Hayes, of Baton Rouge, La., says of her three children, whom she began home-schooling five years ago. “I can see the difference in their learning.”

Alkinee Jackson, also of Baton Rouge, began home-schooling her five children after she and her husband saw the attitude and behavior of their oldest son, Alante, worsen. He was only in second grade.

“If we allowed him to continue to be there and be influenced, by the time he reached high school he’d already be gone; and we know where he’d end up,” Jackson said.

Nationwide, home-schooling grew from 1.7 percent of the school-age population in 1999 to 2.9 percent in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The total number of kids being home-schooled has more than doubled since 1999 to more than two million, according to estimates. Some 220,000 of those students are African-American, according to The National Home Education Research Institute.

George Noblit, an education sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said African-American parents increasingly turn to home-schooling to protect their children from drugs and bullying, as well as to ensure the kids get more individualized instruction.

“For African Americans, the current state of education is actually not one that is conducive to kids learning,” Noblit told “More and more kids end up not being served well. African Americans are positively saying, ‘It’s time to find a better educational situation.’”

Hayes, who calls her classroom the “Hayes Homeschool Academy,” said she and her husband are able to spend the kind of one-on-one time with their kids that school teachers couldn’t. They can also emphasize subjects they believe public schools don’t, including religion and African-American history.

“We’re able to focus on black history a little bit more than I think public schools would give it,” said Hayes, who moved from San Bernadino, Calif., five years ago. “We’re actually able to learn the things we want to learn, whatever that might be, and I think that would go with any nationality.”

While home school families do have some flexibility in what is taught, each state sets out certain standards and requirements that home schoolers are obligated to meet each year.

New York, for example, has some of the tightest regulations on home schooling, and maintains a very detailed list of what subjects must be taught and when. It also requires parents to file quarterly reports for each subject describing what was taught, how many hours were spent on it, and what grade the student received.

Texas, which has some of the friendliest home school laws in the country, only requires instruction on good citizenship, math, reading, spelling, and grammar.

Noblit expects the home-schooling trend to accelerate among African-Americans over the next decade.

“The African American community is building the networks and linking with white home schoolers,” he said. “Unless we figure out how to make the schools work for kids of color, we are going to see more and more people consider all of the options available to them.”

Now 15, Alante is preparing to graduate high school a year early. He’s taking a Chinese language course online, and deciding whether to major in engineering or medicine in college.

Kamal Hayes, who at age 16 is a five-year veteran of his mom’s “academy,” said home-schooling has worked out well for him, too.

“Nothing against public school,” he said, “but you’re not really missing out on anything.”

Garrett Tenney is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the Junior Reporters Program here.

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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Education News