Category Archives: Young Men

Community Colleges: “America’s Best Kept Secret

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Katelyn Sabochik

President Barack Obama and Dr. Jill Biden take part in the White House Summit on Community Colleges, highlighting the critical role that community colleges play in developing America’s workforce and reaching our educational goals, in the East Room of the White House, October 5, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, Dr. Jill Biden hosted the first ever White House Summit on Community Colleges.  The summit brought together community colleges, business, philanthropy, federal and state policy leaders, faculty and students to discuss how community colleges can help meet the job training and education needs of the nation’s evolving workforce, as well as the critical role these institutions play in achieving the President’s goal to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.

As Dr. Biden said in her remarks earlier today, community colleges are “one of America’s best-kept secrets,” providing affordable, quality higher education to millions of Americans each year and preparing them for the jobs of the 21st century:

Getting Americans back to work is America’s great challenge.  And community colleges are critically important to preparing graduates for those jobs.  We are here today because community colleges are entering a new day in America, and here’s why:  For more and more people, community colleges are the way to the future.  They’re giving real opportunity to students who otherwise wouldn’t have it.  They’re giving hope to families who thought the American Dream was slipping away.  They are equipping Americans with the skills and expertise that are relevant to the emerging jobs of the future.  They’re opening doors for the middle class at a time when the middle class has seen so many doors close to them.

In his remarks at the opening session of the summit, President Obama emphasized the importance of providing all students with access to higher education to meet his goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.

That’s why last year I launched the American Graduation Initiative.  I promised that we would end wasteful subsidies to big banks for student loans, and instead use that money to make college more affordable, and to make a historic investment in community colleges.  And after a tough fight, we passed those reforms, and today we’re using this money towards the interest of higher education in America.

And this is helping us modernize community colleges at a critical time -– because many of these schools are under pressure to cut costs and to cap enrollments and scrap courses even as demand has soared.  It’s going to make it possible for colleges to better harness technology in the classroom and beyond.  And it’s going to promote reform, as colleges compete for funding by improving graduation rates, and matching courses to the needs of local businesses, and making sure that when a graduate is handed a diploma it means that she or he are ready for a career.

We’re also helping students succeed by making college more affordable.  So we’ve increased student aid by thousands of dollars.  We’ve simplified the loan application process.  And we’re making it easier for students to pay back their loans by limiting payments to 10 percent of their income.  But reaching the 2020 goal that I’ve set is not just going to depend on government.  It also depends on educators and students doing their part.  And it depends on businesses and non-for-profits working with colleges to connect students with jobs.

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The President also reiterated the importance of investing in education as a means of growing our economy even in tough economic times – a point he made yesterday when he announced the Skills for America program.

That’s why I so strongly disagree with the economic plan that was released last week by the Republican leaders in Congress, which would actually cut education by 20 percent.  It would reduce or eliminate financial aid for 8 million college students.  And it would leave community colleges without the resources they need to meet the goals we’ve talked about today.

Instead, this money would help pay for a $700 billion tax cut that only 2 percent of the wealthiest Americans would ever see –- an average of $100,000 for every millionaire and billionaire in the country.  And that just doesn’t make sense -– not for students, not for our economy.

Think about it.  China isn’t slashing education by 20 percent right now.  India is not slashing education by 20 percent.  We are in a fight for the future -– a fight that depends on education.  And cutting aid for 8 million students, or scaling back our community — our commitment to community colleges, that’s like unilaterally disarming our troops right as they head to the frontlines.

To learn more about the White House Summit on Community Colleges, visit WhiteHouse.gov/CommunityCollege.

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President Obama Signs Largest Reform Of Student Aid In 40 Years

Posted by: Audiegrl

A Great Battle Pitting the Interests of the Banks and Financial Institutions Against the Interests of Students

President Barack Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 during a signing ceremony at Northern Virginia Community College March 30, 2010 in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Pete Souza, White House)

Today at Northern Virginia Community College, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, the last step on health reform that provided fixes for some elements and which improved upon the core health reforms by increasing tax credits for the middle class, investing in community health centers, and strengthening efforts to fight waste and fraud.

But the legislation also include another major priority of the President’s that was often overshadowed by the health reform debate, as he explained: “But what’s gotten overlooked amid all the hoopla, all the drama of last week, is what happened in education — when a great battle pitting the interests of the banks and financial institutions against the interests of students finally came to an end.” The President was referring to reform of student loans to make higher education more affordable, allowing students to get loans without relying on large banks as unnecessary middlemen, and saving American taxpayers $68 billion in the coming years.

The President explained that the government will reinvest the savings back into education by upgrading community colleges, increasing Pell Grants, and making it easier for responsible students to pay off their loans. Brian Levine from the Middle Class Task Force explains how the Income Based Repayment program will benefit students and help borrowers avoid unmanageable debt burdens here. The Act will also invest savings in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions.

Joined by Dr. Jill Biden, who spoke on the boost for community colleges in a video here earlier today, the President explained that this law takes another important step to invest in the country’s future through education:

For a long time, our student loan system has worked for banks and financial institutions. Today, we’re finally making our student loan system work for students and our families. But we’re also doing something more.

From the moment I was sworn into office, I’ve spoken about the urgent need for us to lay a new foundation for our economy and for our future. And two pillars of that foundation are health care and education, and each has long suffered from problems that we chose to kick down the road.

With the bill I signed last week, we finally undertook meaningful reform of our health care system. With this bill, and other steps we’ve pursued over the last year, we are finally undertaking meaningful reform in our higher education system. So this week, we can rightly say the foundation on which America’s future will be built is stronger than it was one year ago.

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What the Health Care Bill Does for Average Americans

Posted by: Bluedog89

President Barack Obama addresses doctors at the White House.

HP~After months of fierce debate around the country and after an intense day of voting on Capitol Hill, a health care reform bill is on its way to President Obama’s desk.

Once Obama signs the bill into law, as he is expected to do on Tuesday, it will mean an end to the current health care system as we know it.

Pundits on the right and left have been reacting to passage of the legislation, but what does the bill actually mean for the average American?

The immediate effects of the health care bill as well as some that will take effect in the first year of implementation are as follows:

1. Health Insurers cannot deny children health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. A ban on the discrimination in adults will take effect in 2014.

2. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.

3. Seniors will get a rebate to fill the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare drug coverage, which severely limits prescription medication coverage expenditures over $2,700. As of next year, 50% of the donut hole will be filled.

4. The cut-off age for young adults to continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance rises to the age 27.

5. Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance an individual can have will be banned. Annual caps will be limited, and banned in 2014.

6. A temporary high-risk pool will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions. Health care exchanges will eliminate the program in 2014.

7. New plans must cover checkups and other preventative care without co-pays. All plans will be affected by 2018.

8. Insurance companies can no longer cut someone when he or she gets sick.

9. Insurers must now reveal how much money is spent on overhead.

10. Any new plan must now implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.

11. This tax will impose a 10% tax on indoor tanning services. This tax, which replaced the proposed tax on cosmetic surgery, would be effective for services on or after July 1, 2010.

12. New screening procedures will be implemented to help eliminate health insurance fraud and waste.

13. Medicare payment protections will be extended to small rural hospitals and other health care facilities that have a small number of Medicare patients.

14. Non-profit Blue Cross organizations will be required to maintain a medical loss ratio — money spent on procedures over money incoming — of 85% or higher to take advantage of IRS tax benefits.

15. Chain restaurants will be required to provide a “nutrient content disclosure statement” alongside their items. Expect to see calories listed both on in-store and drive-through menus of fast-food restaurants sometime soon.

16. The bill establishes a temporary program for companies that provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55‐64 in order to help reduce the often-expensive cost of that coverage.

17. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will set up a new Web site to make it easy for Americans in any state to seek out affordable health insurance options The site will also include helpful information for small businesses.

18. A two‐year temporary credit (up to a maximum of $1 billion) is in the bill to encourage investment in new therapies for the prevention and treatment of diseases.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Teams with US Soccer Foundation, Major League Soccer, Women’s Professional Soccer to Combat Childhood Obesity

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama (L) participates in a youth soccer clinic with Luis Sanchez (C), a fourth grader of Barnard Elementary School in Washington, and Washington Freedom Soccer Team mascot Glory (R) March 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

In support of her Let’s Move! campaign, the US Soccer Foundation, Major League Soccer, Women’s Professional Soccer, and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health has joined forces with First Lady Michelle Obama to eliminate childhood obesity in one generation and commits to getting more children active, playing or moving for 60 minutes a day. On Friday they are holding a soccer clinic in Washington at the City Center DC and the First Lady will be in attendance.

This event is being held to expand outreach and participation in youth soccer and education efforts on the importance of eating well and staying active. After the clinic is finished, U.S. Soccer Foundation and Sport Court® will donate the soccer fields to urban soccer organizations in the U.S. The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the Charitable Arm of Soccer in the U.S., will disassemble and ship the courts to their final destinations.

First Lady Michelle Obama (L) participates in a youth soccer clinic with Luis Sanchez (C), a fourth grader of Barnard Elementary School in Washington, and Washington Freedom Soccer Team mascot Glory (R) March 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. The clinic is to promote the national fight against childhood obesity and in support for the first ladys Lets Move campaign that encourage children to get 60 minutes of active play each day.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

The U. S. Soccer Foundation provides grants focused on developing players, coaches and referees and building or enhancing fields and soccer complexes, with a special emphasis on youth in economically disadvantaged urban communities.

MLS W.O.R.K.S. will support the First Lady and the White House by expanding our existing programs and creatively developing new ideas to help fight childhood obesity,” said JoAnn Neale, MLS executive vice president. “Soccer is the perfect sport to keep children active and fit. We are committed to this campaign and will work with our clubs at the grassroots level to increase the accessibility of soccer, support local youth programs and create play spaces to encourage children to engage in physical activity.”

Soccer is the number one sport among America’s youth, with 4 million young boys and girls registered to play across the country.


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President Obama: Strengthening America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama signs an executive order for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Friday, Feb. 26, 2010, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama signed an executive order strengthening the capacity of and increasing the access to Federal funding for the nations historically black colleges and universities.

Obama says these schools have felt the pain of the recession most acutely because they enroll a higher proportion of low and middle-income students. He’s calling for increased funding for historically black colleges in his proposed budget.

President Obama says historically black colleges and universities still play a vital role and their success is crucial to a better future for all Americans. He’ll speak at the commencement ceremony for one of these institutions, Hampton University in Virginia, this spring.

The executive order is below:

Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Members of Virginia State University's Trojan Explosion Marching Band carry their drums through the Grand Foyer before performing at the White House. The band then watched as President Barack Obama signed an executive order for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Feb. 26, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Recognizing What Historically Black Colleges and Universities Mean to America

Written by William Jawando, Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement (cross-posted from WhiteHouse.gov)

“As I stood watching the Virginia State University drum-line perform in the White House this week (likely the first time an HBCU drum-line has ever performed at the White House), I was reminded of how far we have come as a nation and hopeful about where we are heading. The nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities have served our nation since 1837. They educated freed slaves, giving them the priceless gift of a mind filled with world’s possibilities. Today, this noble goal of our HBCUs continues as they unveil for their students the world of possibilities for themselves, their communities and our nation.

Guests attending this White House event left with a glow not unlike that of January 20, 2009, but they also left with a resolve to do the work that will be necessary to ensure all students have access to a high quality education and armed with the tools they need to reach for the American Dream.

When the President reflected on some of the legends that have matriculated through HBCU’s – Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King, WEB Dubois -I thought about how important and critically necessary these institutions have been to the fabric of our nation. I was reminded of the tremendous legacy of HBCUs and that when we invest in our young people at these schools we are preparing the way for the next King, Marshall, and Dubois.

President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to these institutions not just with this event, but also through his budget. The 2011 budget calls for $98 million in new money for HBCUs, including a commitment of $850 million over ten years. These are resources the schools can use however they see fit to build their capacity to deliver a quality education to their students. For the students, this year’s budget calls for an increase in the Pell Grant program, raising it to $5,710 annually. More than 50 percent of the students attending HBCUs qualify for Pell Grants and other forms of support. This is important because, as President Obama said, one in two students at HBCUs are the first in their family to attend college, and HBCUs continue to educate many students who often times would not be able to go to college for financial reasons.

The HBCU presidents and other guests present nodded in agreement as the President talked about the need to increase access and completion at HBCUs and the critical role they play. President Obama believes we must continue investing and supporting HBCUs as part of meeting his mission to develop a world-class education system in America. This is not just for the benefit of African Americans, but as we work to compete with our neighbors around this globe, it is to the benefit of all Americans.

Often in Washington we get mired in partisan debate and lose track of what’s really important. Education. Access to opportunity. A fair and living wage. These are things that matter and can make a difference in the lives of people no matter who they are, what they look like or where they are from. We were reminded of these truly American values this week, and for that I am eternally grateful. Now let’s get to work!”

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts the White House Governors Ball Talent Preview

Post by: Audiegrl

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama poses for a group photo with music students from Myrtilla Miner elementary school at the White House in Washington February 21, 2010.

U.S. First lady Michelle Obama poses for a group photo with music students from Myrtilla Miner elementary school at the White House in Washington February 21, 2010.

Today the First Lady gave a group of Washington, DC music students a special preview of the 2010 Governors’ Ball performance. Grammy Award Winning artist, Harry Connick Jr. spend time talking to students and closed out the event with a song, joined by a few residents from the New Orleans Musicians’ Village. The Musician’s Village was conceived by New Orleans native Harry Connick, Jr. in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to rebuild homes for many of New Orleans cherished but displaced artists, those who have defined the city’s culture and created the sounds that have shaped the musical vernacular of the world.



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President Obama Announces Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge

Posted by: Audiegrl


The White House and the Department of Education have announced a new Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge and are inviting public schools across the country to compete to have President Obama speak at their graduation. At the beginning of the school year, the President encouraged students across the country to take responsibility for their education, study hard and graduate from high school. The Race to the Top High School Commencement challenge encourages schools to show how they are making great strides on personal responsibility, academic excellence and college readiness.

Applications must be completed by students and submitted by a high school’s Principal using the Commencement Challenge Application Form no later than Monday, March 15th at 11:59 pm EST. Each school may submit only one application and high schools must be public to apply. Following the application deadline, six finalists will be selected by the White House and Department of Education. These schools will then be featured on the White House website and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the President’s goal. The President will select a national winner from these three finalists and visit the winning high school to deliver the commencement address to the class of 2010.

The application’s four essay questions focus on demonstrating how the school is helping prepare students to meet the President’s 2020 goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Applications will be judged based on the school’s performance and dedication to providing students an excellent education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices. Each question must be answered in full to qualify and data that substantiates each answer is strongly encouraged.

In addition to the required essay responses, applicants are invited to submit the following optional supplemental materials:

  • A video — no more than 2 minutes in length — showing the school’s culture and character and highlighting how it is a model of educational success for other high schools around the country.
  • Supplemental data on key indicators such as attendance, student achievement, graduation rates and where available, college enrollment rates. This data may be presented in the form of tables, graphs or spreadsheets and should be used to help the school make the most compelling arguments possible.

Please use the Commencement Challenge Application Form to apply.

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