Fri04182014

News

SAT officials hope to score high in eliminating racial bias


SATs 600WASHINGTON – Administrators of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) have announced with great fanfare that they are overhauling the standardized tool that helps determine whether an applicant will get accepted into the college of his or her choice.

But in revamping the test, SAT officials are facing a test of their own.

"The redesign is trying to get a sense of what students learned in high school...and trying to help students demonstrate their critical thinking skills instead of just picking an answer. And that's all well and good," said Michelle Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, a college-access policy think tank.

 

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If Ebony Wilkerson has a mental illness, it’s a wake-up call for all African Americans

mental 600Ebony Wilkerson is sitting inside a Florida jail cell, but should she be viewed as a cold-blooded criminal or a mentally-ill person in need of long-term mental health care?

Wilkerson, 32, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and is being held on $1.2 million bail after she drove herself and her three children (two girls and a boy, ages 3, 9 and 10) into the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach last week.

While it has not been confirmed, reports suggest that Wilkerson may have been suffering from a mental disorder, thus renewing public conversations on how the mentally ill should be treated by the legal system and society in general.

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Unemployment rate for black women falls to single digits

black-umeployeement 600WASHINGTON – During another slow month of economic recovery, the unemployment rate for black women 20 years and older fell to 9.9 percent in February, the lowest rate for that group in five years, according to the Labor Department.

Meanwhile, black men and black teenagers continue to lag behind other major worker groups.

In March 2009, the unemployment rate for black men 20 years and over was 15.4 percent. According to the latest jobs report, the jobless rate for black men is 12.9 percent, the same rate recorded in February 2013.

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Parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis protest ‘Stand your ground’

standyourground 600The Rev. Al Sharpton, the parents of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, as well as Tom Joyner and members of the Dream Defenders, are once again marching for change to Florida's "Stand your ground" law, Tallahassee.com reports.

Joined by hundreds of other marchers, the group – including family members of Emmett Till – traveled less than a mile from the Leon County Civic Center to the Florida Capitol, calling on lawmakers to address the law, the news site reports.

"It's a flawed law," Sharpton said. "Because you don't need an actual threat. All you've got to do is believe a threat and you can use deadly force."

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Mom charged with attempted 1st-degree murder after driving kids into the ocean

oceanmom 600Thirty-two-year-old Ebony Wilkerson's three children were reportedly screaming for their lives when she drove a minivan into the ocean surf off of Florida, the Associated Press reports.

The children, ages 3, 9 and 10, were rescued Tuesday by bystanders and officers as the minivan was almost submerged off a coast in Daytona Beach, Fla. Wilkerson, who is pregnant, was charged Friday with three counts each of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse, police said.

Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said that while she denied trying to harm her children, they disputed her claim. Witnesses also stated that she tried to block their rescue and the windows were rolled up and the doors were locked. One of the children reportedly tried to wrest control of the steering wheel, the AP reports.

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‘Spring Forward’ Sunday

smoke 600Sunday at 2 a.m. marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time for 2014. "Spring Forward" by setting your clocks ahead by one hour.

The twice a year ritual is also a great time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, test them, and review your preparedness plans with your family and co-workers.

The Shelby County Office of Preparedness, under the leadership of Bob Nations, Jr., Director, recommends the following safety tips:

 

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Uplifting our young brothers

judgemathis 600I, along with my three brothers, was raised by a single mother who worked multiple jobs and sacrificed a tremendous amount for us. Despite all of her love and hard work, in my youth, I did not escape the pitfalls that commonly plague young boys growing up in low-income and single parent households.

I was arrested multiple times until a Michigan judge gave me an ultimatum to either turn my life around and get my education or serve a long term prison sentence. The goodwill sentencing of that judge allowed me to change for the better and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds that my friends I faced growing up.

I was trapped in a cycle of self-destructive behavior. It's the same cycle that far too many of our minority brothers are stuck in today.

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The case for homeschooling African-American children

homeschool 600We hear so much about the plight of black children and their low test scores. We have not heard that African-American children who are homeschooled are scoring at the 82 percent level in reading and 77 percent in math. This is 30-40 percent above their counterparts being taught in school.

There is a 30 percent racial gap in schools, but there is no racial gap in reading if taught in the home and only a 5 percent gap in math.

What explains the success of African-American students being taught by their parents? I believe that it's love and high expectations.

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Family reunion at sea

familyreunion 600BUSAN, Republic of Korea – Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Aleasha Gatewood, assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet Staff embarked on the flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), had a rare opportunity to spend time with her aunt Lt.j.g. Aricka Faulkner while underway in support of the ongoing Key Resolve 2014 exercise.

A Memphis native, Gatewood is a 2010 graduate of Bolton High School and has been serving her country for 3 years. This is the second visit the two have had on board Blue Ridge in the last 7 months as Faulkner participated in the joint U.S.-ROK exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian in August 2013.

"It was fantastic to see her and I am so proud of what she has accomplished since she has arrived on board as an E-2 three years ago and is now a second class petty officer," Faulkner said about Gatewood. "I have only heard positive reactions from the people she works for."

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Who killed the mayor?’

killedmayor 600Hinds County, Miss. supervisor Kenny Stokes believes that late Jackson mayor Chokwe Lumumba was assassinated and he wants an autopsy performed to rule out foul play, reports the Clarion-Ledger.

Lumumba, a legendary human rights activist and attorney who was elected mayor of Jackson last June, died of alleged natural causes on February 25.

Speculation has been rampant that he was killed because of his platform of self-determination for the black community and his refusal to tap-dance around issues of white supremacy and systemic racism in the Deep South.

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Gun violence aimed at black males triggers concern

gunviolence 600WASHINGTON – Several new studies confirm what most people have suspected all along: No group is harmed more by gun violence than young black males.

"While 13 percent of Americans are black, in 2010, 65 percent of gun murder victims between the ages of 15 and 24 were black," revealed a report by the Center for American Progress (CAP). "Forty-two percent of the total gun deaths of individuals in this age group were of black males."

This trend has continued, the report noted, even as crime rates decline.

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President Obama gets personal in launching new program ‘My Brother’s Keeper’

obama bam_600At an event that felt like a black church service at times, President Obama on Thursday spoke in deeply personal terms about growing up without a father and urged the entire country to get behind his newly-launched "My Brother's Keeper" program to help young black and Latino men.

"I didn't have a dad in the house and I was angry about it, even though I didn't necessarily realize it at the time," the president said of his childhood, with 20 black and Latino boys standing behind him in the White House's East Room.

He added,"I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn't always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short."

 

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President moves forward with My Brother’s Keeper initiative

mybrother 600President Barack Obama is taking action to launch My Brother's Keeper – an initiative to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead.

The White House announced late Wednesday that the President would unveil the initiative during an event in the East Room of the White House on Thursday (Feb. 27th) afternoon. It involves a partnership with foundations, businesses and others to make sure "that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential."

Building on his Year of Action, the new initiative is pitched as another way the President will use his pen and his phone, involving both the private and public sectors, to expand opportunity for Americans.

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