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African-American unemployment dips to 5-year low

Valerie Wilson_600WASHINGTON – The African-American unemployment rate fell to 11.6 percent in April, the lowest mark since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Labor Department's latest jobs report.

In January 2009, the African-American jobless rate was 12.7 percent. The last time the African-American unemployment rate dipped below 12 percent was in November 2008 when the rate was 11.5 percent.

The economy added 288,000 jobs and the national unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in April, down from 6.7 percent in March.

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Partnership positions Southwest to funnel students to Western Governors University Tennessee

southwest 600The online, non-profit university WGU (Western Governors University) Tennessee and Southwest Tennessee Community College have formed a partnership that allows Southwest graduates and staff to receive application fee waivers and discounted tuition to WGU.

"Southwest Tennessee Community College has long been known for providing adult learners with quality higher education," said Dr. Kimberly Estep, WGU chancellor. "This partnership with WGU Tennessee will offer Southwest graduates and staff an even more affordable pathway toward achieving the dream of earning a bachelor's degree."

Gov. Bill Haslam launched WGU last July as part of his "Drive to 55" initiative to bring the percentage of Tennesseans with a college degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. The online university is primarily aimed at working adults seeking to earn a bachelor's or master's degree.

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From Uganda to Douglass K-8

chessmutesti 600Ugandan chess phenom Phiona Mutesi will visit Memphis to share her inspiring story with the award-winning chess team at Douglass K-8 School on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

Mutesi, who lost her father to AIDS at age 3, grew up in a Ugandan slum – one of the worst in the world – and began playing chess in a missionary program as a way to receive free food. She would eventually become the three-time Women's Junior Chess Champion of Uganda and the youngest person to ever win the African Chess Championship.

Douglass chess instructor Dr. Jeff Bulington believes Mutesi's visit will be a great learning opportunity for his students.

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In Tennessee, paradigm shift required for Common Core

Kimberly King_Jupiter_600Tennessee's implementation of the new Common Core State Standards was a focal point of controversy during this year's legislative session. Kimberly L. King-Jupiter, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education and professor at Tennessee State University, is a veteran educator with experience in international comparative education and higher education administration. She shared a few perspectives on Common Core with New America Media editor Khalil Abdullah.

As the Common Core is being rolled out in Tennessee and other states, are people misinformed about what it is and what it aims to do?

It is less that people are misinformed and more that the conversation has become enmeshed in or overshadowed by partisan politics. What needs to be remembered is that the goal of the Common Core State Standards is to create a generation of students who can literally problem solve. It is now less about rote memorization. I think if you understand the intent, it's not something people could be opposed to.

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Study: U.S. teachers Don’t reflect the diversity of students

teachers 600A new study from the Center for American Progress and National Education Association has shown that U.S. teachers don't reflect the diversity of their students. According to the study, nearly half of the students who attend public schools are minorities and yet, less than 1 in five of their teachers are nonwhite, Associated Press reports.

The study hopes to call attention to this "diversity gap" at elementary and secondary schools in the United States and both groups believe more can be done to help create more diverse classrooms.

"It becomes easier for students to believe "when they can look and see someone who looks just like them, that they can relate to," Kevin Gilbert, coordinator of teacher leadership and special projects for the Clinton Public School District in Clinton, Mississippi told AP. "Nothing can help motivate our students more than to see success standing right in front of them."

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