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I don't even KNOW right now. WHUT?
D.C.'s Murderous Prostitution Policy

This is the stupidest thing
I’ve heard so far this year.

Anti-prostitution policies in D.C. pose serious threats to health and safety of community members identified or otherwise targeted as sex workers. Two policies stand out in particular: first, “move along” polices geared at cleansing certain neighborhoods of sex workers; and second, the use of condoms and safe sex as evidence to arrest or prosecute someone for prosecution and the related practice of confiscating and destroying condoms and other safe sex materials.


I hardly know where to begin. For starters, as a former HIV/AIDS prevention educator, I think carrying condoms and having them on hand is a terrific idea for anyone who’s sexually active. Period. When my boys are old enough I plan to tell them “the facts of life,” right down to how to protect themselves and their partners from STD’s, unwanted pregnancies, etc.

Sure, as a parent, I’d prefer that they abstain from having having sex until they are old enough and mature enough to deal with all the potential consequences and outcomes. But at the same time, if they’re going to be sexually active, I’d want them to use condoms. I’d want them to have condoms with them. I’d make sure they know how to use them. I’d even go to the drug store and buy condoms, and give them to my boys myself, to make sure they have them.

(I’d do the exact same thing for a daughter, if I had one, because I’d want her to have her own on hand.)
Because I’m a parent, but I’m also a realist. I don’t imagine that not teaching them about condoms, and not they have them is somehow going to stop them from having sex. They’re people. People have sex. People have sex with or without condoms, birth control, etc. People have sex without regard for the consequences, sometimes. And I don’t think my kids should have their lives unalterably changed by an STD or unplanned pregnancies, just for having sex. I don’t think they should sacrifice their lives for having sex. I don’t think anyone should. People have sex. There’s little you can do to stop them.

The Politics of Being Transgender (Seriously Mr. Letterman? Really?)

Barack Obama made the first transgender political appointments that we know of recently–Amanda Simpson, appointed last week as senior technical adviser in the Bureau of Industry and Security in the Commerce Department, and Dylan Orr, special assistant to Assistant Secretary of Labor Kathleen Martinez in the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the Department of Labor–but even David Letterman couldn’t resist making a crack at Simpson’s expense.

The “T” at the end of LGBT often seems like an afterthought, with transgender rights being excluded even when LGBT rights are approved. Today on GRITtv we talk to Julia Serano, author of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, Naomi Clark of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and blogger at Feministe, and filmmaker Jules Rosskam of Against a Trans Narrative, featured on GRITtv last summer, about being transgender in the U.S. and how far we still have to go.


The college admissions scam

Faith Leaders To Move Their Money Out Of Bank Of America Unless Demands Are Met HELLS YES. WOOT!!!
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Revisionaries:How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks.

Battles over textbooks are nothing new, especially in Texas, where bitter skirmishes regularly erupt over everything from sex education to phonics and new math. But never before has the board’s right wing wielded so much power over the writing of the state’s standards. And when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas rarely stays in Texas. The reasons for this are economic: Texas is the nation’s second-largest textbook market and one of the few biggies where the state picks what books schools can buy rather than leaving it up to the whims of local districts, which means publishers that get their books approved can count on millions of dollars in sales. As a result, the Lone Star State has outsized influence over the reading material used in classrooms nationwide, since publishers craft their standard textbooks based on the specs of the biggest buyers. As one senior industry executive told me, “Publishers will do whatever it takes to get on the Texas list.”

Until recently, Texas’s influence was balanced to some degree by the more-liberal pull of California, the nation’s largest textbook market. But its economy is in such shambles that California has put off buying new books until at least 2014. This means that McLeroy and his ultraconservative crew have unparalleled power to shape the textbooks that children around the country read for years to come.


On the global front, Barton and company want textbooks to play up clashes with Islamic cultures, particularly where Muslims were the aggressors, and to paint them as part of an ongoing battle between the West and Muslim extremists.
Barton argues, for instance, that the Barbary wars, a string of skirmishes over piracy that pitted America against Ottoman vassal states in the 1800s, were the “original war against Islamic Terrorism.” What’s more, the group aims to give history a pro-Republican slant—the most obvious example being their push to swap the term “democratic” for “republican” when describing our system of government. Barton, who was hired by the GOP to do outreach to black churches in the run-up to the 2004 election, has argued elsewhere that African Americans owe their civil rights almost entirely to Republicans and that, given the “atrocious” treatment blacks have gotten at the hands of Democrats, “it might be much more appropriate that … demands for reparations were made to the Democrat Party rather than to the federal government.” He is trying to shoehorn this view into textbooks, partly by shifting the focus of black history away from the civil rights era to the post-Reconstruction period, when blacks were friendlier with Republicans.

Barton and Peter Marshall initially tried to purge the standards of key figures of the civil rights era, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall, though they were forced to back down amid a deafening public uproar. They have since resorted to a more subtle tack; while they concede that people like Martin Luther King Jr. deserve a place in history, they argue that they shouldn’t be given credit for advancing the rights of minorities. As Barton put it, “Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.” Ergo, any rights people of color have were handed to them by whites—in his view, mostly white Republican men. MORE

Yo. This shit is SERIOUS. Hell needs to be raised.
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Big Picture: A Better School Model?

The masterminds behind Big Picture Learning are Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor, educators with a zeal for what they like to call "disruptive innovation." The two met in college and lived parallel but separate professional lives until they were given the opportunity by the state of Rhode Island to open an alternative public high school in Providence. There, they strove to build a model that realized their shared beliefs about education: first, schools should stay small; second, learning should be individualized and relationship-based; and third, traditional schools spend far too much energy trying to keep students in their seats.
"I have always thought it's hysterical that inside the school building we work really hard to make lessons that look and feel real, when all the while, the real world is going on outside -- and it's filled with history, social issues, work issues, scientific exploration, math, writing, technology and everything else," Littky writes in his book, The Big Picture: Education Is Everybody's Business. "Why don't we just step back outside?"
Accordingly, Big Picture Learning schools push students to pursue "real work" whenever possible. Academic classes, which occur only three days a week, emphasize depth and practical application. Instead of taking biology, for example, 10th grade students at the Met spend one afternoon a week working with education specialists at the zoo. Back at school, their advisors support them in documenting the skills and knowledge they gain from this work.
Assessment at Big Picture Learning schools is equally unconventional. Four times a year, students prepare and deliver 45-minute "exhibitions" in which they share their work with a panel of students, teachers, administrators and parents. Students are evaluated on the quality of their work as well as demonstrated progress toward their individualized learning goals, which are determined at the beginning of each year. For the most part, feedback comes in the form of lengthy narratives rather than numeric grades.

The real real work at Big Picture Learning schools takes the shape of an intense four-year-long internship program. During their fall semester, freshmen undergo training to prepare them for the rigors of working in the professional world, learning everything from telephone etiquette to resume-writing. At the same time, with the guidance of their home advisors -- teachers who "loop" with them throughout all four years -- they reflect on their skills and professional aspirations. "We want to get kids in touch with themselves," explained Washor in a recent interview. "We help them figure out what they love and then we support them in pursuing that."
By the middle of their freshman year, the students are ready to get to work. Literally. They interview with one or more of the school's local businesses partners until they land a position to which they report on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school day. Teachers spend these days tutoring students who are between internships and doing site visits in order to help their advisees prepare rigorous presentations about their work. Some students change internships every few months, exploring different careers and developing a range of professional skills; some find a niche where they stay for all four years of high school.MORE
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Diversity chief ousted at University of Maryland via [livejournal.com profile] seize (i am sooooo sorry. I was unable to post it immediately after I saw it, then I completely forgot it!)

The Nyumburu Cultural Center’s multipurpose room pulsed with anger last night as hundreds of students and faculty members vented their frustrations about the removal of Assistant Provost of Equity and Diversity Cordell Black from his longtime position. “If someone has given to this university their blood, sweat and tears as he has, they should be able to walk out the door on their own terms and not because of back-door dealings that some folks did in terms of plotting and removing him from his position,” Relations Director for the Nyumburu Cultural Center Solomon Comissiong said. “We need to mobilize and organize around one single thing and that is reinstating Dr. Black ... by any means necessary.”

Last Thursday, Black was called into a meeting with Provost Nariman Farvardin, where he was informed that as a result of budget cuts he would be replaced at the end of this fiscal year — June 30, 2010. The Office of the Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity, which Black oversees, houses the Nyumburu Cultural Center, the Office of LBGT Equity and the Office of Multi-ethnic Student Education. Farvardin said these departments will not be cut or altered in any way. “I have three units that report to me and [Farvardin] says, ‘Nyumburu, I can’t touch that because that’s student fees and not state money, and LGBT Office of Equity, that’s much too political for me to touch, and OMSE because that’s crucial to our drive to [increase] the retainment of black and Latino males,’” Black said of his conversation with the provost last week.

But for many, these concessions are not enough. The announcement, coming a week after a diversity town hall where officials asserted their commitment to diversity, came as a shock. Student activists are planning a march from Nyumburu to the Main Administration Building at noon today to show their contempt with the administration for its decision and to push for Black’s reinstatement. MORE
Student activists plan to continue pressuring officials:Further protests will follow up on last week’s 600-person march
Student activists, still energized from a successful 600-person protest on the steps of the Main Administration last week, aren’t giving up their crusade for more diversity, transparency and student representation in university policy decisions. At a meeting last night, student leaders, united under the banner of a new coalition — Students Taking Action to Reclaim our Education — addressed more than 300 students, faculty and administrators in the multipurpose room of the Nyumburu Cultural Center, in an attempt to fan the flames of indignation ignited by the provost’s decision to remove Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity Cordell Black from the position he has held for more than a decade.

After last week’s march demanding Black’s reinstatement, more transparency and a moratorium on all firings and mergers at the university, student activists said they need to keep the pressure on the administration until they adhere to their demands. “We pride ourselves to hold all levels of administration to the core purposes of the university and matriculating all students in an environment of inclusion and critical thought as well as fostering active and engaged citizens,” STARE’s mission statement read.

In order to achieve their goals, student leaders encouraged attendees to rebel in small ways at last night’s meeting. Some students planned to sit on the steps of the Main Administration Building between classes while others volunteered to “phone bomb,” or relentlessly call, top administrators.MORE
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No child left behind...by the military

John Travers was striding purposefully into the Westfield mall in Wheaton, Maryland, for some back-to-school shopping before starting his junior year at Bowling Green State University. When I asked him whether he'd ever talked to a military recruiter, Travers, a 19-year-old African American with a buzz cut, a crisp white T-shirt, and a diamond stud in his left ear, smiled wryly. "To get to lunch in my high school, you had to pass recruiters," he said. "It was overwhelming." Then he added, "I thought the recruiters had too much information about me. They called me, but I never gave them my phone number." Nor did he give the recruiters his email address, Social Security number, or details about his ethnicity, shopping habits, or college plans. Yet they probably knew all that, too. In the past few years, the military has mounted a virtual invasion into the lives of young Americans. Using data mining, stealth websites, career tests, and sophisticated marketing software, the Pentagon is harvesting and analyzing information on everything from high school students' GPAs and SAT scores to which video games they play. Before an Army recruiter even picks up the phone to call a prospect like Travers, the soldier may know more about the kid's habits than do his own parents.

The military has long struggled to find more effective ways to reach potential enlistees; for every new GI it signed up last year, the Army spent $24,500 on recruitment. (In contrast, four-year colleges spend an average of $2,000 per incoming student.) Recruiters hit pay dirt in 2002, when then-Rep. (now Sen.) David Vitter (R-La.) slipped a provision into the No Child Left Behind Act that requires high schools to give recruiters the names and contact details of all juniors and seniors. Schools that fail to comply risk losing their NCLB funding. This little-known regulation effectively transformed President George W. Bush's signature education bill into the most aggressive military recruitment tool since the draft. Students may sign an opt-out form—but not all school districts let them know about it.

Yet NCLB is just the tip of the data iceberg. In 2005, privacy advocates discovered that the Pentagon had spent the past two years quietly amassing records from Selective Service, state DMVs, and data brokers to create a database of tens of millions of young adults and teens, some as young as 15. The massive data-mining project is overseen by the Joint Advertising Market Research & Studies program, whose website has described the database, which now holds 34 million names, as "arguably the largest repository of 16-25-year-old youth data in the country." The JAMRS database is in turn run by Equifax, the credit reporting giant.MORE
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College president honors "diversity" by naming center for Dick Cheney

One of the biggest pet peeves on the right is the way that America's universities worship such "socialist" principles as "diversity" and "tolerance" -- so I wonder how they feel when a university president is citing "diversity and tolerance" as a good reason to accept millions of dollars in blood money from Dick Cheney for a new campus center.
It's hard to even know where to begin with the irony here: The man who sent more than 4,000 Americans abroad to die in his unjustified crusade, responsble for the Kafka-esque detainment and torture of prisoners, some of whom were innocent, at Guantanamo and secret sites around the globe, and who did more than anyone in U.S. history to create an international climate of distrust, is being honored with a center at the University of Wyoming to foster world understanding...to send Americans overseas and support foreigners studying in the United States.

Dick Cheney said his time as a student at the University of Wyoming laid the foundation for an "extraordinary career.""We hope that this center will provide the kind of support for Wyoming students to travel overseas, to travel internationally, to learn a lot of the lessons that we've learned over the years," he said.

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Public Schools vs. Charter Schools

To charter school or not to charter school? As the new school year kicks off, we talk to Brian Jones, a NYC public school teacher, James Merriman, CEO of NYC Center for Charter School Excellence, and Christian Roselund, a New Orleans-based writer and education advocate about the choice.

Read more... )
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Are the Kids All Right?

It’s not easy being a kid these days. Jobs are more difficult to find, college tuition costs continue to rise, and the military is seeking to ramp up its recruiting to fight foreign wars. The national teen unemployment rate is now estimated at about 24 percent, as the economy remains in decline and out of work adults vie for and replace teens in jobs usually reserved for a younger crowd. Figures are even worse for minorities. So what do America's youth have to look forward to?
Mo Beasley, contributing writer to "Be A Father To Your Child" and an instructor at Medgar Evers College, youth activists Sharmin Hossain and Zaire Small of the Ya-Ya Network, and Fransesca Smith, a counselor at Camp Homeward Bound on what kids are doing to cope with the financial crisis.
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Article from 1999 "Educate to Liberate!": Multiculturalism and the Struggle for Ethnic Studies

Thirty years ago, students of color at San Francisco State College called a strike demanding a Third World College. The authorities deployed up to ten thousand armed men almost every day for more than two months to crush the Third World strike, but the students prevailed—and Ethnic Studies was born. Similar battles erupted at Berkeley, Columbia, Cornell, and other white universities throughout the country.

Despite almost constant attacks by hostile politicians, administrators, and academics over the last three decades, Ethnic Studies has endured. As one of the few spoils of student wars that has been institutionalized, Ethnic Studies today probably occupies a more prominent place in U.S. academic and intellectual life than at any time in history.

But the years of struggle have also taken their toll. Lodged within white universities and bereft of powerful social movements, Ethnic Studies has increasingly submitted to academia’s elitist rules, rewards, and punishments.

How has Ethnic Studies survived? What remains of its original mission? What struggles shape Ethnic Studies today?MORE

Having their say

UNESCO lists almost 2,500 languages worldwide as “endangered,” meaning they are at risk of falling out of use and even disappearing as fluent native speakers die and younger generations fail to take up the language. A bulk of endangered languages are the tongues of indigenous groups who have been colonized or encroached upon by a dominant culture and forced or coerced to give up their native language. In the past, students were beaten for speaking their language in strict boarding schools in the United States and Australia. More recently in parts of the U.S. and countless other regions worldwide, people feel cultural and economic pressure to switch to the dominant language, seeing it as a means of opportunity and feeling a sense of shame in their indigenous identity.

But recent years have also seen a resurgence in the interest to preserve indigenous languages among academics, nongovernmental organizations and indigenous communities. In many cases, young people, who did not grow up speaking their native language, are now studying and embracing it as a way to understand and celebrate their heritage and connect with their elders.

Benjamin Young is a perfect example.MORE
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What the hell ABC? At a time when when grandads are siccing their 10 year old boys on their transgender classmates because he objects to said transgender classmate using the girl's bathroom? When the security at London Pride denies access to the ladies bathroom to a a post operative trans woman? When ZOMG rapists and pervs!!!!" is EXACTLY the way religious right fuckers shoot down trans civil rights bills? Even the supposedly most progressive of places are contributing to this vicious myth of trans folk as evil rapists and pedos, not fit for society, thereby contributing to the societal impulse to severely harass kids in school and murder both adults and children? When said vicious myth still leads to people getting away with trans panic defenses????

Against that background, which I dug up in five minutes of googling and which is by NO means comprehensive, your writers of "10 Things I hate About You" deiced that he best way to further Kat's relationship with Patrick and her best friend, is to make up a character that is an Asian trans kid and make said kid obnoxiously come on to Kat while she's in the bathroom?!?!?!?!?!??!?? And since the "gender-confused kid" (your words) won't take no for an answer, the loyal best friend has to punch her to get her to stop? REALLY? So that Kat can assume its Patrick that is defending her and take that as an excuse to have more interaction with him? Are you fucking serious??????? How many people's prejudices and ignorance do you think you have just confirmed? Did you all give ANY thought at all to the kids and adults who will be further tortured by their fellow students and adult citizens because you have just legitimised that trans folk are so sexually threatening that one needs to beat them up to get them to stop being criminals!?!?!?! When Trans kids deal with THIS and more every day...

Key findings of Harsh Realities include:
Biased language:
  • 90% of transgender students heard derogatory remarks, such as "dyke" or "faggot," sometimes, often or frequently in school in the past year.
  • 90% of transgender students heard negative remarks about someone’s gender expression sometimes, often or frequently in school in the past year.
  • Less than a fifth of transgender students said that school staff intervened most of the time or always when hearing homophobic remarks (16%) or negative remarks about someone’s gender expression (11%).
  • School staff also contributed to the harassment. A third of transgender students heard school staff make homophobic remarks (32%), sexist remarks (39%) and negative comments about someone’s gender expression (39%) sometimes, often or frequently in the past year.
School Safety and Experiences of Harassment and Assault
  • Two-thirds of transgender students felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation (69%) and how they expressed their gender (65%).
  • Almost all transgender students had been verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened) in the past year at school because of their sexual orientation (89%) and gender expression (87%).
  • More than half of all transgender students had been physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation (55%) and gender expression (53%).
  • More than a quarter of transgender students had been physically assaulted (e.g., punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation (28%) and gender expression (26%).

Do you SEE those numbers? What the hell is wrong with you????? Thsi is not a fucking JOKE. This is PEOPLE"S LIVES AND SAFETY THAT YOU ARE FUCKING WITH HERE!!!!That's TRANSPHOBIC you ignoramuses, and you fed the lies to CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS!!!As a JOKE. What is WRONG with you?
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Civil rights leaders Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall -- whose names appear on schools, libraries, streets and parks across the U.S. -- are given too much attention in Texas social studies classes, conservatives advising the state on curriculum standards say.

"To have Cesar Chavez listed next to Ben Franklin" -- as in the current standards -- "is ludicrous," wrote evangelical minister Peter Marshall, one of six experts advising the state as it develops new curriculum standards for social studies classes and textbooks. David Barton, president of Aledo-based WallBuilders, said in his review that Chavez, a Hispanic labor leader, "lacks the stature, impact and overall contributions of so many others."

Marshall also questioned whether Thurgood Marshall, who argued the landmark case that resulted in school desegregation and was the first black U.S. Supreme Court justice, should be presented to Texas students as an important historical figure. He wrote that the late justice is "not a strong enough example" of such a figure.MORE

White woman gets raped, black man goes to jail, despite a certain glaring lack of evidence

Birth in Chains

Sikh Students Speak Out: “We Want Safe Schools Now!”

Quality of Black Nursing Home Care is Drastically Behind That of Whites

Payday Loans Squeeze Millions in Fees from Blacks and Latinos

Children of Utah's Immigrant crackdown

Language Barriers in the courtroom

They can't go home again: New Orleans making sure that poor POC don't find it easy to resettle there
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OUT OF REACH: Is college only for the rich?

This shit is PAST serious. What the hell are you teaching at universities to be charging these humongous amounts of money evrey damned year? The hell you all can find money for tax cuts and war and military spending and the IMF and greedy thieving bankers all goddamn day long, but school , oh no, teh budget!!!


Jun. 17th, 2009 12:24 am
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The 10% Fight Is Back

The percent plan idea originated as a law in Texas to respond to court rulings against affirmative action, but has been used elsewhere with different cutoffs. In Texas, those in the top 10 percent of their high school classes are assured admission to the public university of their choice -- regardless of standardized test scores.

The idea behind the percentage plans is that black and Latino students, on average, don't do as well on standardized tests as do white and Asian students. In addition, Texas is a state with many high schools that are overwhelmingly Latino or overwhelmingly black. Since every high school has a top 10 percent, eliminating the testing requirement meant that these largely minority high schools were going to end up producing good numbers of Latino and black students who would be admitted -- without consideration of race in ways that might offend courts or critics of affirmative action -- to such competitive institutions as the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M at College Station.

In many respects, the plan has been a major success in Texas, helping the flagship institutions to admit more minority students than they would have been able to otherwise -- at least while the state was under a court order not to use affirmative action. But ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that public colleges could consider race in admissions, University of Texas officials have been pushing to get rid of 10 percent and to instead rely on other admissions strategies (including affirmative action). In the 2007 legislative session, the university was expected to win its fight, but at the last minute, the 10 percent system survived.

This year, UT officials are again asking for the admissions system to be changed, with William Powers, the president at Austin, telling the
Texas Associated Press Managing Editors last week that 81 percent of freshmen are now admitted through 10 percent, leaving the institution with too little control over whom to enroll. “We’ve lost control of our entering class because we don’t have any discretion on the admissions,” Powers said. In California, where those in the top 4 percent are assured University of California admission, a faculty panel is recommending that up to 9 percent be admitted that way (although in a key difference from Texas, the California 9 percent plan would guarantee a spot somewhere in the university system, not on a particular campus).

With these debates going on, the new research may challenge several assumptions. The study was conducted by Kalena E. Cortes, an assistant professor of education at Syracuse University, and was presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association. Cortes used data from Texas on admission of students from various high school ranks to the state's more competitive and less competitive colleges, and then tracked six-year graduation rates.MORE

Too many legacy admissions not making the cut?

As for this?

Her findings go directly to a fear that some have had about the 10 percent plan and that others have about affirmative action generally -- namely that it could end up hurting the minority students it is supposed to benefit. According to this "minority mismatch" idea, minority students who earn admission to competitive institutions (either through a percent plan or more traditional affirmative action) are likely to do less well than they would have if they had enrolled at less competitive institutions. Advocates for this position say that minority students would be more likely to graduate and excel if they ended up at institutions without any mismatch risk. The mismatch argument is popular with some and criticized by others because of its political potency: It allows people to criticize affirmative action not for its its impact on white students, but on minority students.
But Cortes found evidence to rebut this assumption.
She found that minority students who attended selective colleges are 38 percentage points more likely to complete college within six years of enrollment than are the minority students who enroll at other colleges. While she found that some of the gap is based on student characteristics and high school characteristics, excluding those elements still left a gap of 21 percentage points.

I have no comment that is printable about that minority mismatch idea. The fucking patronizing assholes.
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Add Education and Class to your RSS feed

Sample links and articles:

The Universities in Trouble

But the public–private partnership that did much to democratize American higher education has been coming apart. In 1976, federal Pell grants for low-income students covered 72 percent of the average cost of attending a four-year state institution; by 2003, Pell grants covered only 38 percent of the cost. Meanwhile, financial aid administered by the states is being allocated more and more on the basis of "merit" rather than need—meaning that scholarships are going increasingly to high-achieving students from high-income families, leaving deserving students from low-income families without the means to pay for college.

In 2002, a federal advisory committee issued a report, aptly entitled "Empty Promises," which estimated, according to Donald E. Heller, a leading authority on the economics of higher education, that "more than 400,000 students nationally from families with incomes below $50,000" met the standards of college admission "and yet were unable to enroll in a four-year college because of financial barriers. More than 160,000 of these students did not attend any college because of these barriers, not even a two-year institution." Two years later, Heller pointed out that "the college-going rates of the highest-socioeconomic-status students with the lowest achievement levels is the same level as the poorest students with the highest achievement levels."[12] In short, bright and focused kids from poor families are going to college at the same rate as unfocused or low-scoring kids from families much better off.

This fact is an affront to America's claim to be a nation of equal opportunity where talent and effort can overcome poverty and prejudice. Today the United States stands tenth, along with Australia, Spain, and Sweden, behind Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, and France in the percentage of its young people (ages 25–34) who have earned a post-secondary degree. Since secondary education abroad is often stronger than in the United States, the comparative educational attainment of Americans is probably even worse than these rankings suggest. Among adults in the age group 55–64, we still lead the world in the percentage who are college graduates—which means not only that over the past three decades many nations have surpassed us, but that, in the aggregate, younger Americans are less well educated than their elders.[13]MORE

Why Can’t Those Working-Class Kids Value Education Like Our Middle-Class Kids?

Class division on facebook and myspace

Working Class Families in Books for Kids

College in Need Closes a Door to Needy Students

PORTLAND, Ore. — The admissions team at Reed College, known for its free-spirited students, learned in March that the prospective freshman class it had so carefully composed after weeks of reviewing essays, scores and recommendations was unworkable.

Money was the problem. Too many of the students needed financial aid, and the college did not have enough. So the director of financial aid gave the team another task: drop more than 100 needy students before sending out acceptances, and substitute those who could pay full freight.

The whole idea of excluding a student simply because of money clashed with the college’s ideals, Leslie Limper, the aid director, acknowledged. “None of us are very happy,” she said, adding that Reed did not strike anyone from its list last year and that never before had it needed to weed out so many worthy students. “Sometimes I wonder why I’m still doing this.”MORE

Spring 2009 Issue of PATHWAYS
A magazine on poverty, inequality, and social policy

Parsing the Achievement Gap II

A new report released by ETS, Parsing the Achievement GapII (pdf attached below) documents that relative to middle-class children and white children, low-income and minority children:

* are less likely to be taught by certified teachers
* are more likely to attend schools with high teacher absenteeism and teacher turn-over
* learn in bigger classes
* report issues of fear and safety in school
* be taught by inexperienced teachers

Data is also reported on low birth rates, access to the internet, exposure to mercury and lead, and hunger. Low-income and minority kids are at the losing end on all counts.

How to make school not..SUCK

Interview with the Authors of Resilience: Queer Professors From the Working Class

Paying in Full as the Ticket Into Colleges

Networking and Teaching...

Dropping standardized testing in admissions would result in great economic and ethnic diversity.

Harvard University Press: Hope and Despair in the American City : Why There Are No Bad Schools in Raleigh by Gerald Grant

Hard Lessons: The Challenges of Teaching about Class

What is Working-Class Studies?
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Educating ourselves into Oblivion

It's simply not enough to prepare students for a job: We need to prepare them for life, while challenging them to think beyond the confines of their often parochial and provincial upbringings. (As a child of the working class from a provincial background, I speak from experience.) And here's one compelling lesson all of us, students and teachers alike, need to relearn constantly: If you view education in purely instrumental terms as a way to a higher-paying job—if it's merely a mechanism for mass customization within a marketplace of ephemeral consumer goods—you've effectively given a free pass to the prevailing machinery of power and those who run it.

Three Realities of Higher Ed

What do torture, a major recession, and two debilitating wars have to do with our educational system? My guess: plenty. These are the three most immediate realities of a system that fails to challenge, or even critique, authority in any meaningful way. They are bills that are now long overdue thanks, in part, to that system's technocratic bias and pedagogical shortfalls—thanks, that is, to what we are taught to see and not see, regard and disregard, value and dismiss.

Over the last two decades, higher education, like the housing market, enjoyed its own growth bubble, characterized by rising enrollments, fancier high-tech facilities, and ballooning endowments. Americans invested heavily in these derivative products as part of an educational surge that may prove at least as expensive and one-dimensional as our military surges in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As usual, the humanities were allowed to wither. Don't know much about history? Go ahead and authorize waterboarding, even though the U.S. prosecuted it as a war crime after World War II. Don't know much about geography? Go ahead and send our troops into mountainous Afghanistan, that "graveyard of empires," and allow them to be swallowed up by the terrain as they fight a seemingly endless war.

Perhaps I'm biased because I teach history, but here's a fact to consider: Unless a cadet at the Air Force Academy (where I once taught) decides to major in the subject, he or she is never required to take a U.S. history course. Cadets are, however, required to take a mind-boggling array of required courses in various engineering and scientific disciplines as well as calculus. Or civilians, chew on this: At the Pennsylvania College of Technology, where I currently teach, of the roughly 6,600 students currently enrolled, only 30 took a course this semester on U.S. history since the Civil War, and only three were programmatically required to do so.

We don't have to worry about our college graduates forgetting the lessons of history—not when they never learned them to begin with.MORE

Do you know how fucking scary that last part is?
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Free Higher Education: A GI Bill for Everybody

What if education were available without tuition charges to every resident meeting admissions criteria, as a right, at any public, post-secondary educational institution in the United States? Is this idea feasible? Is there potential public support for it? What would be its likely effects if implemented? What would such a commitment cost? How could those costs be met? These questions are not on the radar screen of American public discourse today. In fact, they are virtually unthinkable in the current consensus that sets the boundaries of acceptable policy debate.

Yet paying for higher education is a major concern for most Americans. In 2000, polls indicated that respondents included education, along with the economy, as one of the two highest priority issues in choosing a presidential candidate. Although much of this expressed concern is centered on the quality of pre-collegiate schooling, Americans are also worried about access to post-secondary education. Legitimately so, for post-secondary education is increasingly a prerequisite for effective labor force participation, for any hope of a relatively secure, decent job. If that is the case, shouldn't society have an obligation to provide universal access to such an essential social good? Why should we accept a putative consensus that preempts consideration of an issue so important to so many Americans?

Universal access to higher education is not entirely unprecedented in recent American history. The most dramatic approximation to it was the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, popularly known as the GI Bill, under which a generation of Second World War veterans received what was usually full tuition support and stipends (up to nearly $12,000 per year in 1994 dollars) to attend post-secondary educational institutions. By 1952, the federal government had spent $7 billion (nearly $39 billion in 1994 dollars) on sending veterans to college. This amounted to 1.3 percent of total federal expenditures ($521.8 billion) during that period. A 1988 report by a congressional subcommittee on education and health estimated that 40 percent of those who attended college under the GI Bill would not otherwise have done so. The report also found that each dollar spent educating that 40 percent produced a $6.90 return (more than $267 billion in 1994 dollars) in national output due to extra education and increased federal tax revenues from the extra income the beneficiaries earned.MORE

why auto industry and student loans are intertwined. see La Lubu's comment in particular.


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