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Q&A: Early childhood education, Common Core and America’s future

Q&A: Early childhood education, Common Core and America’s future
David Lawrence Jr. arrived in Miami in 1989 as an experienced newspaper journalist and continued his stellar career for another decade at the Miami Herald. He then retired to devote himself to improving the childhood years of America’s children. He chairs the Children’s Movement of Florida, a statewide, non-partisan, advocacy organization that focuses on issues critical to the early stages of life. In an interview, which has been edited, with NAM editor Khalil Abdullah, Lawrence makes the case for why Floridians should adopt the Common Core state standards.
 
What is your stance on Common Core?
 
I support Common Core totally. No question in my mind that if we are going to compete internationally as a country, we need national standards. States will continue to play the primary role in achieving this. Florida has had, as so many other states, a dust up over what’s happening here with Common Core. In Florida, we say Florida Standards. Our state has tinkered a bit  with the Common Core State Standards, but I think they’re very closely aligned.

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  • Written by Khalil Abdullah-New America Media
  • Category: National

American Bar Association makes Judge Bernice Donald an award winner

American Bar Association makes Judge Bernice Donald an award winner
 
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Bernice B. Donald is the recipient of the 2014 John H. Pickering Award of Achievement, presented by the Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association.
 
In her letter nominating Donald for the award, Fremont, Calif., attorney Pauline Weaver wrote, “Judge Donald represents the best of the profession. She has consistently demonstrated the kind of integrity, legal ability, access to justice and public service that would make John Pickering proud. She is uniquely qualified for the award.”
 
Washington, D.C., lawyer Brooksley Born, chair of the Pickering Award Selection Committee, said, “Bernice Donald has followed in John Pickering’s footsteps in her strong commitment to equal justice, her devotion to the legal profession and her generosity in mentoring younger lawyers.”

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  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
  • Category: National

When it comes to voting, Freedom Summer wasn’t a one-time event

When it comes to voting, Freedom Summer wasn’t a one-time event
In January, my father retraced steps he took 50 years ago in Hattiesburg, Miss. As a teenager in 1964, he had locked arms with men and women of goodwill seeking the most sacred and elusive right of citizenship: the vote.
Later that year, Mississippi would become the site of the extraordinary Freedom Summer, when students and activists poured into our home state to register voters and teach in Freedom Schools. But a half-century later, freedom remains unclaimed by too many as millions of African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans remain unregistered to vote.
 
The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently released a stunning study, True South: Voters of Color in the Black Belt 50 Years After Freedom Summer, examining the changing demographics in the South. The findings are straightforward but complex: Despite holding the keys to political power, too few voters of color have taken the initial step toward exercising this capacity.

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  • Written by Rep. Stacey Abrams-The Root
  • Category: National

Flagging kids in early grades as ‘at risk’ – Does it help or harm?

Flagging kids in early grades as ‘at risk’ – Does it help or harm?
 
Long before students have even entered ninth grade, teachers are looking to detailed data to figure out which kids are most likely to drop out of high school. Though this flagging system can call attention to a need for additional help to a potential dropout, there may be concerns, like inaccurate predictions, or worse, lowered expectations.
 
At Clinton Middle School in East Los Angeles, teachers are using a system called Early Warning Indicators, or EWI, which is part of a school transformation program called Diplomas Now, currently used in 14 cities around the country. The system is based on recent research out of Johns Hopkins University that shows what specific factors best predict the likelihood of dropping out of high school. The warning system uses three data points – suspensions or behavior, attendance, and grades in middle school — to identify kids at risk of not making it to high school graduation. According to an op-ed written by Diplomas Now in the New York Times, in the 2012-13 school year, “the program achieved a 41 percent reduction in chronically absent students, a 70 percent reduction in suspended students, a 69 percent reduction in students failing English and a 52 percent reduction in students failing math.”

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  • Written by Alyson Bryant-VoiceWaves / New America Media
  • Category: National

Republicans should learn from Cantor’s mistake

Republicans should learn from Cantor’s mistake
The recent defeat of House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent shock waves throughout D.C. like I have never seen before.  But, in Cantor’s defeat, I see great opportunity for the Republican Party to make inroads into the black community.
 
Cantor represents Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, which is a suburb of Richmond.  According to the 2010 U.S. Census, it has a population of 757,917 (74.3 percent white, 17.1 percent black), median income of $ 64,751.  In other words, it is the definition of a middle-class district.  The district is rated as a solid Republican (R+10).

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  • Written by Raynard Jackson-NNPA News Service
  • Category: National

Blacks have not recovered from the recovery

Blacks have not recovered from the recovery
 Judging from its June 18-19 meeting, the Federal Reserve is hedging its bets.  It says the U.S. economy is on the mend, but more slowly than expected.  They’ve reduced their estimate for economic growth and say that it will take a year or more to get to where we were six years ago.
 
 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has offered a starker forecast. Expected growth for the United States is about 3 percent, a level considered “normal” and “in recovery.”  They projected something right above 2 percent earlier this year.  Now, they say the United States economy will grow at about 1.9 percent, below robust recovery, and that it will take until 2018 to get the labor market back on track.

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  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
  • Category: National

Do-it-herself diva

Do-it-herself diva
As the heads of many American households, women are increasingly forced to reckon with not only the odd handyman job like mowing lawns or replacing sealants, but also more demanding household repairs including plumbing and electrical work. In fact, what was once considered the man’s terrain within the home has become a space where women actively flex their muscle.
 
According to a recent survey by the Home Improvement Research Institute, the number of home improvement products purchased by women has increased over the years. Women account for more than $70 billion worth of purchases in the home improvement industry, up from just over $55 billion in 1995. This rising trend is due to women owning their own homes and tackling their own home repair projects. Industry research shows that single women are purchasing new homes at twice the rate of single men, and within the first year of home ownership, women spend almost $9,000 on home improvement projects. Contributing to the growing trend of women purchasing tools are home improvement shows and hardware stores.

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  • Written by F. Sia Ahmadu and Shantella Y. Sherman-NNPA News Service
  • Category: National