- Created on 24 September 2011
By World Staff
There are six candidates running for the vacant Atlanta Board of Education District 2 seat, created by the resignation of former Board Chair Khaatim Sherrer El. Some of them have answered questionnaires from different education groups.
Four of the five candidates for the vacant Atlanta Board of Education District 2 seat have completed a brief questionnaire giving insight into their positions on charter schools, the Georgia Charter Schools Association announced recently. The candidates – Byron Amos, Angela Brown, Dwanda Farmer and Donald Walker – are all Democrats and are vying for the seat left vacant by the resignation of former board chair Khaatim El, earlier this year. The seat is currently being held on an interim basis by Nisha Simama, a counselor and administrator at a private school in Atlanta. The election is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
All of the candidates expressed at least moderate support for charter schools. The questionnaire is strictly informational and is not being used by the GCSA to judge or rank any of the candidates, according to GCSA Executive Vice President Andrew Lewis, who interviewed each candidate. The documents were sent to Atlanta charter school leaders recently.
"While the association does not take the position of officially endorsing any one candidate, we believe we have an
obligation to our members and to the public to provide insight as to where each candidate stands on charter related issues," Lewis said.
The candidates elected to the Atlanta Board of Education this Nov. 8 will profoundly affect the board's ability to continue the school reform agenda, and the advancement of our children, EduPAC's said.
The EduPAC Board consists of business, civic and faith-based community stakeholders from Atlanta's most influential organizations who are committed to promoting qualified school board candidates and getting them elected, according to an EduPAC news release.
Since 1993, EduPAC has convened every four years to evaluate, endorse and advocate a slate of credible and competent candidates for the Atlanta Board of Education. Members who are elected to this board are critical as they provide oversight and leadership for the Atlanta Public Schools. Atlanta Public Schools is midway through its ambitious school reform agenda, and is poised to become one of the top-performing urban school systems in America.
On Oct. 7, EduPAC will release its endorsed slate of candidates.
Candidates vying for the school board are: Dewanda Furman, who admits the school cheating scandal has not only hurt students, but the regional economy as a whole. She also believes that every graduate from high school must have work-ready skills; Kwabena Nkromo has a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old in Atlanta Public Schools and is angry about the the cheating scandal and says he remains dedicated and committed; Donald Walker a psychological professor and motivational speaker and mentor for the public schools, says he is committed to quality education and he himself is a product of public schools; Byron Amos, vice president of the PTA for two years, also has a young student enrolled in the Atlanta Public Schools. He says he wants to celebrate the good about the Atlanta Public Schools; Angela Brown has spent more than 20 years training young people to be leaders in the West End area.
She says she wants to serve on the school board to make certain that the policies are in place to protect students and grow leaders; and finally Michael Jeter is also a candidate for the Atlanta School Board.
- Created on 14 August 2011
By Special to the Daily World
CAPE TOWN, South Africa—American and South African high school students came together here recently with their teachers and principals to launch a new HIV/AIDS prevention project that will link Cape Town teenagers with their counterparts in Southern California.
In the project backed by the American Federation of Teachers, students from Manenberg High School in Cape Town and from Artesia High School in the ABC School District in Los Angeles County, Calif., will use the Internet and web-based interactive technology to exchange information about the impact of HIV/AIDS in their respective communities.
"Our ability to come together across oceans and continents for this important effort illustrates once again a key fact about our schools: Education is so much more than math, science and reading," AFT President Randi Weingarten said during ceremonies this morning at Manenberg High School marking the official launch of the project. "Schools are also part of the life of the communities they serve."
The information that the students gather and exchange will help them understand the infected population in their communities. As a result, they and their teachers will be better able to advocate for HIV testing, promote abstinence and condom use, and support the families and orphans of AIDS victims.
The AFT has been active in AIDS prevention efforts in South Africa for more than a decade. Laura Rico, past president of the ABC Federation of Teachers in Southern California, helped make the Artesia/Manenberg project a reality. She and Weingarten both participated in the project launch in Cape Town, where they also attended the Educational International World Congress.
The AIDS epidemic has had a devastating impact in South Africa. In its mid-2010 statistical report, the government estimated that 5.24 million people—more than 10 percent of the population—were living with HIV. That report showed that AIDS has accounted for more than 40 percent of all deaths in South Africa every year since 2002.
Also, in 2010, the South African government estimated there were 410,000 new HIV infections—40,000 of them among children. One response has been the South Africa Department of Basic Education's new HIV/AIDS strategy that puts students and others in the school system at the center of efforts to achieve the next HIV-free generation.
- Created on 25 July 2011
By Nadra Kareem Nittle (America's Wire)
LOS ANGELES—Krystal Murphy received her first cellphone at age 13 and she used it solely to keep her parents in the loop about her activities. Four years later, her use of the phone has changed dramatically. Now 17, she relies on it to text friends, surf the Internet and send messages on Twitter.
"I'm on my cell all day, every day, as soon as I wake up and until I go to bed," says the African-American teen from South Los Angeles.
According to a Northwestern University study of youth media consumption, Krystal's habits are widespread among young people of color. Released in June, "Children, Media and Race: Media Use Among White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian American Children" found that those between ages 8 and 18 use cellphones, television, computers and other electronic devices to consume an average of 13 hours of media content daily. That's 4-1/2 hours more than their White counterparts.
The study has renewed debate about whether minority youths spend too much time on media consumption and not enough on reading and studying. While some people insist that the disparity in media consumption contributes to the education gap between minority and White youths, others cite it as a positive that can aid a child's educational growth.
"I think that the results of this study coupled with the other factors that we know influence student performance," says Sharon Lewis, research director for the Council of the Great City Schools, an advocate for urban public schools and students. "When you combine all of this together, it's another indication that we need to take extra steps to reach [minority] youth.
"Factors such as health, such as preschool experience, such as a sibling that may not have graduated, such as coming
from a single-parent household and then you add this [media consumption] to it—it's another indication."
Past reports have shown a correlation between television viewing and low academic performance. A 20-year study of 678 families released in 2007 by the New York State Psychiatric Institute found that teens who watched three or more hours of television daily had an 82 percent greater chance of not graduating from high school when compared with those who watched less than an hour. However, critics of that study say students who struggle academically may be more inclined to watch TV to avoid the rigors of schoolwork.
The Northwestern study is said to be the first in the United States to examine children's media use by race. Nearly 1,900 youths participated. The study re-analyzed data from previous Kaiser Family Foundation studies on media consumption, finding that racial differences in children's media use remained static when accounting for socioeconomic status or whether youths came from single- or two-parent homes.
The results, which appeared to counter concerns about a possible digital divide and may give parents and educators new strategies to meet needs of minority youths, surprised Ellen Wartella, head of Northwestern's Center on Media and Human Development. She co-authored the study.
"Recreational media use is an enormous part of young people's lives, more than we ever thought," she says. "It's quite clear we have a group of young people who are tethered to their technology."
The report finds that Black and Latino youths spend one to two more hours daily watching TV and videos, an hour more listening to music, up to 90 minutes more on computers and 90 minutes on cellphones, and 30 to 40 minutes more playing video games than white youths. During the past decade, Black youths have doubled their daily media use, and Latino youths have quadrupled theirs, according to Wartella.
Asian-American youths also consume more media than their white peers. Asians lead all groups in use of mobile devices at 3 hours and 7 minutes daily, compared with 2 hours and 53 minutes for Latinos, 2 hours and 52 minutes for Blacks and just 80 minutes for Whites. Asians also spend 14 more minutes daily watching traditional TV than do White youths and more than an hour daily than Whites watching TV online, via TiVo or on DVD. Nevertheless, Asian-American youths remain high academic achievers, challenging the contention that media consumption hurts student performance.
- Created on 14 August 2011
UNCF Pres. Lomax Challenges-African American Scientists And Science Students To Help Prepare The Next Generation
By Special to the Daily World
FAIRFAX, Va.-- Michael Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization, challenged an audience of African-American scientists and science students to make sure that as they build their careers, they also reach out to help younger students get the pre-college education they need to study science in college. Lomax spoke at the annual 2011 UNCF/Merck Fellows Day, celebrating the 2011 class of 37 African Americans receiving scholarships and fellowships under the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative, a partnership of UNCF and Merck, a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well.
Now in its 16th year, UMSI is a 20-year partnership that has supported over 550 scholarships and fellowships to promising undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral science students pursing careers in biomedical research. The UNCF/Merck scholarships and fellowships provide the future scientists with financial support, hands-on training, close mentoring and networking relationships, and institutional support. Recipients are chosen through a competitive application process that selects candidates based on their academic achievements and potential in the fields of biomedical research and engineering.
"Merck's investment in these promising students and scholars is a major commitment to developing the next generation of researchers, professors, and teachers in biological science and engineering and an investment in longer and better lives for millions of people not only in America but around the world," said Lomax. "Merck Fellows and alumni can invest, too, by getting involved to help educate the middle- and high-schoolers of today prepare to become the next generation of African American science majors and graduate students."
American undergraduate students select natural science and engineering (NS&E) disciplines as their primary field of study at considerably lower rates than their counterparts in other countries, according to the National Science Board's 2010 report, "Preparing the Next Generation of STEM innovators: Identifying and Developing Our Nation's Human Capital." According to the most recent data, only 16 percent of U.S. undergraduates choose an NS&E major, compared to 25 percent of undergraduates in the
European Union, 47 percent in China, and 38 percent in South Korea. The same trend is reflected among students studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as graduate and post-doctoral students. 33 percent of all U.S. STEM doctoral students in U.S. universities, and 57 percent of U.S. postdoctoral STEM fellows are foreign students on temporary visas. The UNCF/Merck Science Initiative thus represents a substantial continuing increase in the number of African Americans in the STEM fields.
Merck and UNCF began UMSI in 1995 with a 10-year, $20 million grant from the Merck Company Foundation and Merck Research Laboratories. The project was extended in 2006 with an additional $13 million grant and again earlier this year for $10.6 million over five years.
"Merck's global philosophy is to hire the best and most qualified talent available to help us develop and deliver novel medicines and vaccines that address unmet medical needs," said Peter S. Kim, president, Merck Research Laboratories. "We recognize that to achieve breakthrough science and innovation, we need diversity of thought and an inclusive culture so that everyone can contribute and grow to their full potential. Our longstanding partnership with the UNCF is an important element to our success."
The 2011 UNCF/Merck Fellows receive awards ranging from $25,000 for undergraduate scholarship recipients to $92,000 for recipients of postdoctoral fellowships. In addition, the program's alumni have organized the Association of UNCF/Merck Fellows to facilitate continued professional growth. This network allows UNCF/Merck Fellows to collaborate in academia, government and the private sector to leverage their wealth of scientific, technical and biomedical knowledge and experience.
"The UNCF/Merck Science Initiative is more than an award that honors outstanding African American scientists," said Andra S. Stevenson, Ph.D., a Merck scientist and former UNCF/Merck Postdoctoral Fellow, "It recognizes our commitment as scientists to better the lives of those around us. Being a UNCF/Merck Fellow has opened doors to numerous invaluable opportunities including the position I hold now as a senior biologist at Merck. Serving in this capacity enables me to work as a member of large program teams that are working toward bringing life-changing treatments and cures to the world and its patients."
Support from the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative scholarships targets students entering their final undergraduate year, graduate students in their final two-to-three years of dissertation research, and postdoctoral Fellows continuing their research training. African American students in the life, physical and engineering sciences at American four-year colleges and universities are eligible to apply for the scholarship
To learn more about the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative, visit http://umsi.uncf.org/.
- Created on 17 June 2011
By Special to the Daily World
Cox Enterprises announced recently that The James M. Cox Foundation is contributing a $1.75 million gift to Teach For America. The gift will be given over the next three years to fund "The Cox Pre-K Program." Teach For America recruits, trains and supports top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in under-resourced schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity. The graduates who join Teach For America are known as corps members, and those participating in The Cox Pre-K Program will be recognized as Cox Fellows.
In the fall of 2011, Teach For America–Metro Atlanta will expand from kindergarten- to 12th-grade classrooms to include early childhood education. Through the support of this partnership, nearly 50 teachers will serve as educators and Cox Fellows in area Pre-K classrooms over the next three years.
"I strongly believe in the importance of pre-K in the development of young children and am thrilled Teach For America is bringing this focus to Georgia," said Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises. "Teach For America is one of the nation's largest providers of teachers for low-income communities. Our founder, James M. Cox, began his career as a schoolteacher, so this partnership is a natural fit. The James M. Cox Foundation is proud to partner with an organization that is helping students build skills for a sustainable future."
This fall, 300 new teachers will be welcomed to the region to make for a total of approximately 400 Teach For America corps members reaching more than 25,000 students in metro Atlanta schools. Approximately 700 of Teach For America's local alumni continue to lead critical education and social reforms on behalf of students and families in low-income communities.
"For nearly 12 years, Teach For America has served the metro Atlanta region with the goal of ensuring every student receives an excellent education, regardless of where they live and their economic status," said Teach For America–Metro Atlanta Executive Director Kwame Griffith. "With the support of the James M. Cox Foundation, we look forward to working alongside our district and charter school partners' early education efforts as we begin to place highly qualified teachers in pre-K classrooms across the region."
The James M. Cox Foundation is named in honor of Cox Enterprises' founder and provides funding for capital campaigns and special projects in communities where the company operates. James M. Cox was Ohio's first three-term governor and the 1920 Democratic nominee for president of the United States. Cox Enterprises is a leading communications, media and automotive services company.