Category Archives: Education

California Throws Education Under the Bus

Written by: BlueDog89

California Gov. Jerry Brown recently proposed to cut more than $1 billion from higher education. Photo courtesy Associated Press.

Student activists and teachers unions in California are organizing statewide protests in opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to cut $1.4 billion from public colleges and universities.

Protesters at a demonstration at Modesto Junior College. Photo courtesy Turlock Journal.

California’s public education system is racked by threats of spending cuts due to the state’s fiscal crises, which include a deficit that has ballooned to more than $25 billion.

The California State University System is facing possible budget cuts of $500 million. The University of California would also face a $500 million cut under Brown’s budget proposal.

Brown has proposed cutting $400 million from the state’s community colleges, and raising tuition by 38 percent.

Modesto Junior College (MJC) administrators recently informed faculty members that jobs may be cut as the college attempts to shed $8 million from its budget.

MJC President Gaither Loewenstein answered questions about the budget cuts in a Q&A forum with students last week. He confirmed that the entire communications department, including majors in journalism, television and radio, would be cut in his budget reduction proposal.

Modesto Junior College President Gaither Loewensteinaddresses concerns over $8 million budget cut proposal. Photo courtesy Turlock Journal.

Other programs to end are culinary arts, communication graphics, architecture, engineering, industrial technology, dental assisting and all foreign languages, except Spanish and sign language.

The MJC West Campus library would close and be used as a learning resource center. Coach stipends would end, but competitive sports would continue.

Additional faculty and management employees would lose their jobs under Loewenstein’s budget proposal. Those layoffs would be effective June 30.
Reductions in salary or benefits for employees are not included in the proposal, which have yet to be negotiated.

Many students fear losing their favorite instructors, like anthropology professor James Todd. According to anthropology major and campus President of the Anthropology Club Priscilla Peralta, the department will be crippled with the layoff of Professor Todd. “Anthropology is a much needed discipline and should continue to be offered to the fullest extent,” said Peralta.

Loewenstein said that the decision to target specific programs rather than split the cuts across the board was intended to leave the college with fewer strong programs instead of making the entire college mediocre.

Californians need to step up, get involved with their schools, and reach out to school administrators and congressional representatives about this issue.

Ms. Peralta urges those who support her cause to send a personal message to Modesto Junior College President Gaither Loewenstein via email at loewensteing@mjc.edu.

In addition to getting personally involved with the schools in your community, education advocates encourage citizens to express their concerns to Gov. Brown. He may be reached via phone at 916.445.2841 or log on to his website to post a comment http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php.

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Filed under Anthropology, California, Civil Protest, Economy, Education, Governors, Students, Teachers, Unions, United States

Behind the Scenes Video from the White House Science Fair

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Katelyn Sabochik

Last week, President Obama hosted the first ever White House Science Fair, bringing together middle school and high school students from around the country and their award winning science, engineering and technology projects.  The White House Science Fair was a part of the President’s Educate to Innovate initiative to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade.

Check out this behind the scenes video from the White House Science Fair, including Bill Nye the Science Guy and hosts of the show Mythbusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage.

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Filed under Change, Education, Pres. Barack Obama, Sciences, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Fall 2010 Kitchen Garden Harvest

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Robin Scheppe

First Lady Michelle Obama, with students from Bancroft and Tubman Elementary Schools and members of the Culinary Olympic Team, participates in a White House Kitchen garden harvest on the South Lawn of the White House, October 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

The rain stopped and the sun came out just in time for the First Lady’s Fall 2010 Kitchen Garden Harvest. Joined by more than 25 students from Washington, DC’s Bancroft and Tubman Elementary Schools, the First Lady and several world-renowned chefs spent the afternoon in the White House garden digging up sweet potatoes, clipping herbs, picking tomatoes, and admiring the pumpkins before sitting down to enjoy a fresh salad from the garden.

The school-children were paired with chefs Daniel Boulud and James Kent as well as several White House chefs. Armed with large baskets and wheelbarrows, they scoured the garden for peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce and other fall vegetables. The First Lady joined them, rolling up her sleeves, to dig up enormous sweet potatoes, including a near record-breaking four pounder, and to pick deep purple egg plants. The children and the First Lady also admired the two pumpkins growing in the garden – just in time for Halloween.

First Lady Michelle Obama, with students from Bancroft and Tubman Elementary Schools and members of the Culinary Olympic Team, participates in a White House Kitchen garden harvest on the South Lawn of the White House, October 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

First Lady Michelle Obama, with students from Bancroft and Tubman Elementary Schools, look participates in a White House Kitchen garden harvest on the South Lawn of the White House, October 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

First Lady Michelle Obama, with students from Bancroft Elementary School, watch closely as a sweet potato from the White House Kitchen Garden fall harvest is weighed on the South Lawn of the White House, October 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

In less than an hour, the children and chefs brought baskets brimming with vegetables and overflowing wheelbarrows to weigh-stations where several hundred pounds of food was collected and washed.

The festivities continued when the children joined the famous chefs to slice and dice vegetables for a garden salad meal.

The White House garden is part of the Let’s Move! Initiative which seeks to end childhood obesity within a generation through improved nutrition and increased physical activity.  In the spring of 2009, the First Lady and students from the DC area broke ground for the garden and since then nearly 1,600 pounds of food has been harvested. The produce is used in the White House but is also donated to local area food banks. The White House Garden has inspired communities across the country to plant similar gardens at schools, in abandoned lots, and in community spaces.

Connecting chefs, gardens, and schools has been a critical component of the Let’s Move! initiative.  Through the Chef’s Move to Schools program and the Healthier US Schools Challenge hundreds of schools and communities are improving the health of America’s children. What are you waiting for? Plant a garden at your school or in your community and have a harvest yourself.

Robin Schepper is Executive Director of the Let’s Move! Initiative, Office of the First Lady

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Filed under Change, Childhood Obesity, Children, Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, Pres. Barack Obama, Students, Uncategorized

President Obama Signs Executive Order On Education and Hispanics

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Luis Miranda

En Español.

President Barack Obama signs the Executive Order on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics as Javier Garcia looks on during an East Room event at the White House October 19, 2010 in Washington, DC. The executive order placed a high priority on issues ranging from early childhood learning to higher education for the Hispanic community. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)


In a ceremony in the East Room today, President Obama will sign an Executive Order to renew and enhance the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics so that it better serves communities across the country by engaging them in the process of improving the education of Latino students, who represent 1 of every 5 students in our nation’s schools.

The new Executive Order is based on feedback gathered by the Initiative in more than 100 community conversations across the country with experts in education, community leaders from more than 30 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from comments from more than 10,000 Americans on how to develop real solutions to the challenges confronting the Hispanic community in education.

The signing ceremony follows a National Education Summit and Call to Action hosted by the U.S. Department of Education that began on Monday and brought together experts and community leaders from around the country on issues ranging from early childhood learning to higher education.

The President has now signed the Executive Order, read it in full.

President Barack Obama talks with Javier Garcia of Brownsville, Tex., in the Green Room of the White House before the two of them entered the East Room for the signing ceremony of the Executive Order for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans Oct. 19, 2010. Javier introduced the President at the event. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Filed under Change, Education, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Pres. Barack Obama, Students, Uncategorized

President Obama Meets With Students From the Documentary, “Waiting for Superman

Posted by: Audiegrl

Watch a behind-the-scenes video with President Obama and students from the film Waiting for Superman. Yesterday, the children, their families and others that worked on the movie met with President Obama in the Oval Office and watched him depart in helicopter Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House.

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Filed under Change, Children, Documentary, Education, Pres. Barack Obama, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts United Nations General Assembly Spouses at Stone Barns

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Shulman

Today, the First Lady hosted a special event for the spouses of Chiefs of State and Heads of Government participating in the United Nations General Assembly at the Stone Barns Center, a non-profit farm and education center north of New York City.

First Lady Michelle Obama and spouses of United Nations leaders tour Stone Barns Food and Agricultural Center with Dan Barber, co-owner and executive chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, before the UNGA spousal luncheon in Pocantinco, N.Y. September 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

After a tour of the farm, the spouses were introduced to the Center’s children’s education program, where local third graders from Pocantico Hill School and JFK Magnet School demonstrated their experiences in hands-on farming, including harvesting vegetables and collecting eggs from pasture-raised hens.

The White House kitchen garden inspired the day’s event and led to the development of Let’s Move!, the First Lady’s initiate to raise a healthier generation of kids. A key component of the initiative is school education. Stone Barns Center is an example of what can be done when local businesses, local farms, and neighborhood schools work together to educate children. In her remarks, Mrs. Obama discussed the power of hands-on experiences from her own child’s experience:

Sasha doesn’t like tomatoes — or so she says — not until she took a cooking class at her school and made a tomato-pesto-basil-mozzarella sandwich.

So she comes home and she says, Mom, have you ever heard of these “hair” potatoes — tomatoes? And I was like, what are you — are you talking about heirloom tomatoes? She says, yeah, that’s it. She said, now those are good tomatoes. I was like, you eat those everyday. No, these were different, Mom. These were different.

And the point is, is that, yeah, it was different for her because it was her discovery. It wasn’t something that her mother was telling her to do. She had discovered it. She made the sandwich. She made the pesto. And it was good. And now she’s a fan of tomatoes. We can do that with our children.

At an event that brought together the spouses of leaders from around the world, Mrs. Obama noted that childhood obesity is not just an American challenge.

As I talk to these spouses, I’m understanding that we’re seeing — many of you are seeing these same issues in your own countries. And you’re working very hard on nutrition and education. And my hope is that we can continue to partner and have conversations so that this local campaign becomes a national conversation in so many ways.

So I thank you all for your leadership on this issue. Thank you all for taking the time to spend this afternoon focused on an issue that is near and dear to me. I am always grateful for your friendship and your kindness. It makes these gatherings even more special, to be able to share these ideas and to share in fellowship and toast and all that good stuff.

Remarks by the First Lady at United Nations General Assembly Spousal Luncheon

First Lady Michelle Obama and spouses of United Nations leaders learn how chickens have been raised and integrated into the farm food system, during a tour of Stone Barns Food and Agricultural Center, before the UNGA spousal luncheon in Pocantinco, N.Y. September 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


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President Obama’s Back to School Speech

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President Obama to Historically Black Colleges and Universities: “You’ve Got a Partner in Me

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Katelyn Sabochik

President Barack Obama is videoed by an attendee with an iPhone as he delivers remarks at the Historically Blacks Colleges and Universities (HCBUs) reception in the White House on September 13, 2010 in Washington, DC. In his remarks Obama promised to the presidents of HCBUs to improve graduation rates and prepare as many students as possible for the challenges of the 21st century workplace. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

This morning, President Obama hosted a reception for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) at the White House in honor of National HBCU Week. HBCU’s have played a crucial role in the American higher education system.  As President Obama said in his remarks, HBCU’s have “made it possible for millions of people to achieve their dreams and gave so many young people a chance they never thought they’d have — a chance that nobody else would give them.”

In his remarks President Obama reflected on the history of HBCU’s as well as the critical role they will play in meeting his goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020:

We cannot reach that goal without HBCUs.  We can’t get there — (applause) — we can’t get there unless all of you are improving your graduation rates.  We can’t get there unless all of you are continuing to make the dream of a college education a reality for more students.  We want to help you do that in every way that we can.  Already, we’ve eliminated billions of dollars of unnecessary subsidies to banks and financial institutions so that that money could go directly to your students.  And that is incredibly important.  (Applause.)  And as a consequence of that, we’re making it possible for millions of more students to attend colleges and universities and community colleges all across the country.

The President also reiterated the Administration’s commitment to HBCU’s.  In February, the President re-established the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

We also want to keep strengthening HBCUs, which is why we’re investing $850 million in these institutions over the next 10 years.  (Applause.)  And as I said in February, strengthening your institutions isn’t just a task for our advisory board or for the Department of Education; it’s a job for the entire federal government.  And I expect all agencies to support this mission.

Now, none of this is going to be easy.  I know — I’m sure you know that.  As leaders of these institutions, you are up against enormous challenges, especially during an economic crisis like the one that we are going through.  But we all have to try. We have to try.  We have to remain determined.  We have to persevere.

That’s what the first founders of HBCUs did.  They knew that even if they succeeded, that inequality would persist for a very, very long time.  They knew that the barriers in our laws, the barriers in our hearts would not vanish overnight.  But they also recognized a larger and distinctly American truth, and that is that the right education might one day allow us to overcome barriers, to let every child fulfill their God-given potential.  They recognized, as Frederick Douglass once put it, that education means emancipation.  And they recognized that education is how America and its people might fulfill our promise.

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First Grandmother Marion Robinson Says First Pup Bo is ‘Precious’

Posted by: Audiegrl

Marian Robinson, mother of First Lady Michelle Obama, reads to local school children at the Department of Educations Lets Read, Let's Move summer enrichment program in Washington, Thursday, July 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

AP ~ First grandmother Marian Robinson didn’t have a dog growing up. Neither did her daughter, first lady Michelle Obama.

But since Bo moved into the White House and become part of the first family, Robinson says she loves him “almost like a person.”

Mrs. Robinson told about 100 pre-kindergarten through third-grade pupils Thursday that Bo is “precious.” She answered the kids’ questions after reading to them during an Education Department-sponsored story hour.

Mrs. Robinson lives at the White House with her son-in-law, President Barack Obama, her daughter and granddaughters Malia and Sasha, and nearly 2-year-old Bo.

She turns 73 on July 29.

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our special section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, Pets

First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Dance Students At The White House

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama cheers and applauds during a dress rehearsal of 20 dance students from Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the Joy of Motion Dance Center ahead of the White House music series celebrating the arts featuring Broadway performers in the East Room of the White House July 19, 2010 in Washington, DC. As part of the music series, the students are participating in an educational workshop and rehearsal of a segment from the Broadway show, Hairspray. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)

This afternoon, dance students from the local Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the Joy of Motion Dance Center worked with Tony Award winning choreographer Jerry Mitchell on a segment from the Broadway show Hairspray. The youth ensemble came to the White House to perform in a special dress rehearsal for the First Lady, their parents and teachers, before joining the ranks of some of Broadway’s most prestigious performers.

Remarks by the First Lady at a Broadway Music Series Student Workshop

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Filed under Dancing, First Lady Michelle Obama, Students