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Schools more segregated now than three decades ago

George Curry-160As we approach May 17, the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education landmark decision outlawing "separate but equal" schools, several studies show that our schools are more segregated now than they were three decades ago. And there are no indications that things are likely to change for the better in the foreseeable future.

A report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) titled, "Brown v. Board at 60," concluded, "Today, things are getting worse. The typical black student now attends a school where only 29 percent of his or her fellow students are white, down from 36 percent in 1980."

Actually there were two Brown decisions. The first, in 1954, outlawed racially segregated public schools, which had been defended as "separate but equal." Faced with foot-dragging by intransigent school officials in the Deep South, the Supreme Court issued a second ruling in 1955, sometimes called Brown II, declaring that the schools had to be desegregated "with all deliberate speed."

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Millennials are more diverse – in many ways

milleniums 600Millennials are easy to spot. They're the ones welded to their handheld devices, touting peculiar professional titles and ambitions. Born between 1980 and the early 2000s, Millennials, or Generation Y, are entitled, lazy, self-centered, and callow, according to popular perception.

It's true, this generation is different – but not for those oft-repeated gloomy reasons.

As a new report from the Pew Center titled, "Millennials in Adulthood: Detached from Institutions, Networked with Friends," demonstrates, most of the members of the Millennial generation were born into an American landscape that is vastly different from that of Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation.

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‘You have to get in touch with your roots’

africainaprilvendor 600The smell of mouth-watering food filled the air, vendors selling a variety of products from incense to jewelry to African Shea Butter lined the area and music blared as a healthy flow of people busily bustled about, stopping to browse the merchandise and sample the food.

This was the template scene for the Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, which kicked off April 16th and stretched through the following Sunday. On this – day three – the focus at Robert R. Church Park in Downtown Memphis was on children and senior citizens Day.

The 2014 event honored the West African country of Burkina Faso. Africa in April, which is run by Dr. David L. Acey and his wife, Yvonne B. Acey, annually honors different African cultures. And the cultural exposure that it brings to Memphis is important, according to one of the vendors present at the event.

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Shelby County Democratic Party chairman warns voters about rogue ballots.

bryancarson 600Saying some individuals produce ballots as a profit making venture during election season at the expense of the candidates, Shelby County Democratic Party Chairman Bryan Carson is warning voters about what he calls rogue ballots.

According to Carson, multiple ballots are being mailed or distributed during the Democratic Primary elections and they are not officially sanctioned by the Shelby County Democratic Party.

"These unofficial ballots are not a reliable, valid or sanctioned voting guide," said Carson. "Voters should avoid using these rogue ballots as a basis for making voting decisions."

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Inequality and the 1 percent rule

William Spriggs_600In what should be considered standing logic on its end, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that while public colleges have an interest in having a racially diverse student body, nonetheless, the racial majority of a state can vote to remove racial diversity as a goal. This is a radical and activist reinterpretation of the Constitution, since by strict construction, the 14th Amendment had been added to explicitly limit white majority action to deny full legal protection to the newly freed slaves and their descendants. The purpose was to limit majority rule from becoming mob rule, continuing a legacy of inequality.

Most disturbing, this ruling comes as our nation's need for success in having a diverse skilled workforce is increasing. The majority of babies born this year are children of color. A part of the reason our nation's middle class is seeing other countries incomes catch up to them is because the education advantage of Americans is shrinking. To keep pace, America must find ways to educate all its children.

Earlier this month, high school seniors received letters accepting or rejecting them from their dream schools. The selective institutions now receive thousands of applications for each available slot. The University of Michigan (the school at the heart of the Supreme Court case) received nearly 40,000 applicants and accepted about 16,000. Last year, the difference between the average SAT section score of the 2014 freshman class and those who were rejected was 672 compared to 642.

Clearly, many of those rejected differed little from those accepted; there are more qualified applicants than slots. So, the challenge for schools like Michigan is in putting together a class among virtually equal applicants.

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