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NEA president opposes ‘toxic’ tests

NEA president opposes ‘toxic’ tests

WASHINGTON – The new president of the nation's largest teachers union is a guitar-playing, Spanish-speaking author who takes over as once-sacred tenure protections are challenged and new Common Core standards roll out in much of the country.

The National Education Association's Lily Eskelsen Garcia, a former Utah teacher of the year, does not shy from criticizing what she describes as "toxic" testing. For the union's 3 million members, standardized tests are a cause for concern. Supporters of the tests say they are a way to measure schools and students, and to make sure no one falls through the cracks.

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  • Written by Kimberly Hefling-Associated Press
  • Category: National

Ex-FAMU band member guilty in student hazing death

Ex-FAMU band member guilty in student hazing death

ORLANDO, Fla. – A former Florida A&M University (FAMU) marching band member accused of being the ringleader of a brutal hazing ritual that killed a drum major was convicted Friday of manslaughter and felony hazing.

Dante Martin, 27, was the first to stand trial in the November 2011 death of 26-year-old Robert Champion aboard a band bus parked outside a football game where the well-regarded FAMU Marching 100 band had performed. The case brought into focus the culture of hazing in the band, which was suspended for more than a year while officials tried to clean up the program.

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  • Written by Kyle Hightower-Associated Press
  • Category: National

Midterm Elections: What do black women want?

 Midterm Elections: What do black women want?

Making sense of high-profile House, Senate and gubernatorial races this tight will mean breaking down every voting bloc into the microscopic bits of data to parse through in the postmortem. And of all the big mysteries that will be closely watched and dissected on Nov. 4, few will be as anxiously anticipated as the exit polling for women voters—since they were 53 percent of the electorate in 2012. Commentators, strategists and campaign managers walking that last electoral mile will be looking for answers to one of the more vexing questions of the 2014 midterms: What do women voters care about?

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  • Written by Charles D. Ellison-The Root
  • Category: National

Obamacare 2.0: Know the facts and get covered

Obamacare 2.0: Know the facts and get covered

Last April, President Barack Obama gave a speech in the White House Rose Garden that enrollment in the historic first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act exceeded projections, with more than 7 million Americans receiving quality, affordable health insurance. That figure went on to exceed 8 million – including the more than 150,000 who signed up in Tennessee – and millions more who signed up through Medicaid programs like TennCare and now have the peace of mind and security that comes with not having to worry that an unexpected illness or a broken bone will bankrupt them and their families. Or that they’ll have to forgo treatment.

That’s great news. What’s even better, though, is that even more families will soon have the opportunity to get that same coverage through Obamacare. We know the desire is there. In a national survey by Enroll America, about half of African Americans said they “definitely” or “probably” will sign up for coverage in the second Open Enrollment Period that begins on November 15 – higher rates than other groups. But some may not even have to wait; they can sign up right now.

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  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
  • Category: National

The top cities for readers of African-American literature

The top cities for readers of African-American literature

AALBC.com assessed the relative strengths of almost 300 American cities to determine which ones are best able to provide environments that are supportive of, and conducive to, the enjoyment of African-American Literature.

Our 2014 list improves on our original list, first published in 2013, by considering more factors for each city. Some of the factors we considered and evaluated included:

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  • Written by Troy Johnson-AALBC.com
  • Category: National

Connecticut family sues over school's Ebola fears

Connecticut family sues over school's Ebola fears

HARTFORD, Conn. – The father of a Connecticut third-grader filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday saying his daughter has been unfairly barred from school amid fears she may have been exposed to the Ebola virus while in Africa.

Ikeoluwa Opayemi and her family, who live in Milford, visited Nigeria for a family wedding from Oct. 2-13, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven. The suit is seeking damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act, asserting that Ikeoluwa is being discriminated against because of a "perceived impairment."

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  • Written by Pat Eaton-Robb-Associated Press
  • Category: National

How to pick a college? Data crunchers hope to help

How to pick a college? Data crunchers hope to help

WASHINGTON – For many high school seniors, fall means deciding where to apply for college and maybe visiting a guidance counselor. Data crunchers hope to help.

The popularity of social media sites and advancements in the ability to analyze the vast amounts of data we put online give members of the class of 2015 more tools than ever to help chart their next step, even if finding the right college is an inexact science.

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  • Written by Anne Flaherty-Associated Press
  • Category: National