More Teachers of Color Needed in Classrooms

The student body in America has become increasingly diverse, yet according to The Study of Racial Diversity In the Educator Workforce, a report released recently by the United States Department of Education, racial diversity amongst staff doesn’t reflect the same change.

During a talk given at Howard University, the second top ranking Historically Black College and University in the country, Education Secretary John B. King, Jr said,

“Without question, when the majority of students in public schools are students of color and only 18 percent of our teachers are teachers of color, we have an urgent need to act. We’ve got to understand that all students benefit from teacher diversity. We have strong evidence that students of color benefit from having teachers and leaders who look like them as role models and also benefit from the classroom dynamics that diversity creates. But it is also important for our white students to see that teachers of color in leadership roles in their classrooms and communities. The question for the nation is how do we address this quickly and thoughtfully? “

The new study, which was released early March, shows that during the 2011-12 school year, 82 percent of elementary and secondary public school teachers were white in comparison to 51 percent of public school children being white. “In contrast, 16 percent of students were black, and 7 percent of public teachers were black.”

In addition to teachers being mostly white, the reports states that “for the most part, principals are also a racially homogenous group.” For nearly a decade the percentage of white public school principals have been between 80-82 percent.

To reverse these trends, or to at the very least incorporate some diversity within schools programs like Teach Tomorrow in Oakland aim to recruit and develop programs to have whatever racial demographic a student population leans towards be reflected with teachers.

In addition, President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget incorporates a variety of proposals that offer to alter the diversity issue.

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Poor College Students Lives Matter

Access to college for low-income students has become easier since the passing of the 1965 Higher Education Act, but graduation rates for those receiving financial aid show a disparity amongst their wealthier peers.

Annie Waldman of Propublica writes,”An estimated 51 percent of Pell recipients – students whose families typically make less than $30,000 year- graduate from college, compared to 65 percent of non-Pell recipients.” The inequality is causing attention.

Last year, Propublica in conjunction with government data, featured a new tool to determine the debt students face by institution and found that while some colleges offer financial support, many don’t guide students onto a successful career path afterwards. Some don’t admit students based on their financial merits alone.

During last years State of the Union Address, President Obama urged Pell Grant inflation, in order to alleviate stress for recipients in financial need. Between the years of 2008 and 2014, Pell Grants have on average reduced the cost of education by $3,700 dollars.

The United States Department of Education is urging postsecondary institutions to improve the relationships they have with low income students, who more often than not tend to be minorities.

 

 

Queens Love Triangle Ends in Death

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Outerbridge, left, with Malik and Devonnee Wilkerson at Rockaway Beach, Queens.

Mourners turned out for the memorial service of a Harlem mother of three at Unity Funeral Chapels in Harlem on Wednesday. Sheryl Outerbridge, 38, was kidnapped and beaten to death by a husband and wife with whom she had a polyamorous relationship.

Outerbridge was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on December 4th by a couple that said they found her lying nearby on Sutphin Boulevard. Her wounds were so severe that police initially believed them when they lied and claimed she had been shot, authorities said.

Devonnee Wilkerson, one of the suspects in Outerbridge’s death, has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and assault. According to police, her husband Malik Wilkerson was in custody in Pittsburgh and awaits extradition to New York.

According to documents from the Queens District Attorney’s office, Devonnee Wilkerson told investigators that she was furious at Outerbridge for tattooing her pet name for her husband without permission.

Outerbridge was beaten to death at the Wilkerson’s South Jamaica home, where neighbors believed she stayed for weeks at a time.

Hasidic Men Accused of Gay Attack

20110705-shomrimEarlier this month it was reported that a large group of Hasidic men accosted Taj Peterson as he returned from a bar in Brooklyn. They allegedly attacked him while using homophobic slurs, this attack was witnessed by multiple people who took photos of both the perpetrators and their vehicles. Peterson Suffered from a fractured eye socket, a torn retina, blood clotting as well as cuts and bruises.

Even with all of the eye witness accounts and photos the investigation, in the publics opinion, seems to be stalled. Witness to the crime also allege that the men looked like members of a police group, which may be the unofficial volunteer patrol of the Shomrim. The NYPD is investigating this as a hate crime, and with the long recorded tensions between the Hasidic and black community, caution may be slowing the public release of information, as this is an important investigation to the Brooklyn community

April: Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month and one Brooklyn mom continues to make strides in bringing awareness to Autism.

Taren Guy, a mother of two autistic boys launched an organization titled Faces of Autism as a way “for the autistic community to be visible.”

Below, Guy elaborates more on her organization and what autism really means to her.

For more information on Faces of Austism, click here.

Lavern Wilkinson Loses Fight to Cancer

The C word is something nobody wants to hear. Lavern Wilkinson wished she had been informed earlier. It might have saved her life.

Lavern Wilkinson, 41, walked into Kings County Hospital on Feb. 2, 2010 complaining of chest pains, where she was given an EKG and a chest X-ray.The results showed a two-centimeter nodule in her right lung, which she was never told, but was instead advised to take Motrin for pain by first-year resident Dr. James Willis.

Wilkinson would return to Kings County Hospital numerous times thereafter, including in the Spring of 2012, where she would hear the news that would change her life forever.

After complaining of chest pains and wheezing, Wilkinson was given another chest X-ray. The results showed the nodule that was in her lung two years ago had doubled in size and metastasized to her left lung, liver, spine and brain. She was now diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.

With six months to live, Wilkinson couldn’t help to think about her 15-year-old autistic and mentally retarded daughter, Micalia. “She is going to be left without a mother. What is going to happen to my little girl?” she told NYDailyNews.

Wilkinson filed a lawsuit against the city, “seeking monetary damages for pain and suffering and severe injuries ‘as a result of the carelessness, recklessness, negligence and medical malpractice’ at Kings County Hospital.” She accepted a $625,000 settlement. Attorneys predicted Wilkinson could have received as much as $10 million had not for New York’s statue of limitations.

Wilkinson died of cancer Thursday at 2:50 a.m. at Long Island College Hospital, health officials said.

“This Beat is Sick”

508_NM-Beat-Is-Sick-ADemlI am impressed. 10 art spaces in Bushwick, Brooklyn will unify on October 24, for “This Beat is Sick: Bush Art Space Stay Open Late.” An event to exhibit work from artist in the neighborhood. Each of the 10 spaces will remain open until 10 PM.

According to BushwickBk.com, which is sponsoring the event, “there is no theme shared among the spaces” and the purpose of the event is to “see all the art you never had the time for before! Without the clutter of hundreds of random living rooms diverting your attention.”

The neighborhood of Bushwick is sure to liven up; its rare to hear art spaces being open up until 10PM and doing so, will bring out many people who missed out on other events, due to work or other obligations. It sure to be a great night for Bushwick art.