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ACT Report: Many African-American students inadequately prepared for postsecondary education

act 600Nearly all African-American students report that they aspire to earn a postsecondary degree, but most are inadequately prepared to succeed in their first-year courses in college, degree or certificate programs, according to a report released today by ACT.

The report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013: African American Students, shows that only 10 percent of African-American 2013 high school graduates met at least three of four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, compared to 39 percent for all ACT-tested graduates.

The research-based ACT College Readiness Benchmarks specify the minimum scores students must earn on each of ACT's four subject tests (English, mathematics, reading, and science) to have about a 75 percent chance of earning a grade of C or higher in a typical credit-bearing first-year college course in the corresponding subject area. ACT research suggests that students who meet the benchmarks are more likely than those who do not to persist in college and earn a degree.

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The ‘tanning of America’ spreads to film and television industries

whoswatching 6002013 was a banner year for diversity in the movies, both on-screen and in audiences.

In a year that saw the success of films such as "Lee Daniel's 'The Butler,'" "12 Years a Slave," and "Best Man Holiday," the MPAA reports that minority attendance also saw a surge.

Black movie attendance jumped by 13 percent in 2013, with 170 million movie tickets being sold to African-American filmgoers. And though African-Americans only make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, they made up 13 percent of the movie-going audience in 2013. (Latinos, who make up 17 percent of the population, accounted for 25 percent of movie ticket sales.)

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Hey, Chris Brown: When you get out, let’s do dinner

ChrisBrownDinner 600The question was, "If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?" My answer: Chris Brown.

During a magazine interview last year, I was asked a series of get-to-know-you questions. What books are you reading? Where do you like to vacation? What's your passion? But my answer to the dinner question prompted a puzzled looked from the interviewer. I'm a journalist, so one might assume I'd say I'd like to have dinner with a world leader, or a famed journalist, or maybe a historical figure.

Clearly, I'm not in Chris Brown's core fan base. I'm not a teenage girl. And though I like some of his music, I've never been more than a casual fan. After his brutal assault on his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, I was done with him. I was disgusted by him and his abusive behavior. I went so far as removing his songs from my iPod because I wasn't comfortable with even that tacit support of a man who would hit a woman.

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Mitchell & the road to state


Mithcell 600Mitchell High School put a big time whippin' on Meigs County, decisively affixing its stamp on the TSSAA Division 1 Class A Boys Basketball State Championship with a 56-27 thump'n.

On Saturday (March 29th), two weeks after the Tigers captured the Southwest Memphis school's first state basketball title, a community celebration will unfold. A parade and a string of speakers – community leaders, previous coaches, former players – will add energy to an experience that already has so many feeling like they are floating on air.

Coach Faragi Phillips engineered the title in his third year at Mitchell.

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From ‘Superman’ to pilot and beyond

TonyHolder 600Captain Anthony "Tony" Holder started to dream of flying at age seven. After watching an episode of "Superman" on his family's black and white TV, his imagination took flight. Using a bath towel as his cape, he opened the front window of their first-floor apartment in the Bronx, N.Y. and leaped from the building.

Fortunately, he wasn't hurt and decades later he still remembers that defining moment in the Throggs Neck public housing project.

Today, Holder is a FedEx Captain of the Boeing 777 jumbo jet, the world's largest twinjet, and he has traveled to nearly every corner of the earth. Currently serving his 35th year as a FedEx pilot, Holder has accumulated more than 20,000 hours of flying time and is in the upper echelon of experienced international airline pilots.

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