Category Archives: Teachers

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

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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First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the 2010 George Washington University Commencement

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

“Keep going. Keep giving. Keep engaging.”

First Lady Michelle Obama greets GWU graduate Zoe Petkanas, who won the school's student speaker competition, prior to giving the George Washington University commencement address on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. May 16, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

In the fall, the First Lady issued a challenge to George Washington University students, faculty, staff and trustees to perform 100,000 hours of community service, promising she’d speak at their graduation if they rose to it. They did and, as a woman of her word, Mrs. Obama delivered the commencement address to the Class of 2010 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

From digging neighbors out after “Snowmageddon” to restoring a local high school to running a clinic for those in need of medical aid to a host of global service projects – Mrs. Obama was impressed by what the George Washington University community did, but more, so how they did it. She asked that the graduates take on one more challenge:

So today, graduates, I have one more request to make of you, one more challenge, and that is: Keep going. Keep giving. Keep engaging.

I’m asking you to take what you’ve learned here and embrace the full responsibilities that a degree from an institution like GW gives you. I’m asking your generation to be America’s face to the world. It will make the world safer, it will make America stronger, and it will make you more competitive.

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The First Lady continued, encouraging global engagement through the story of a young woman that she met during her visit to Mexico last month who traveled to Vietnam to volunteer with children on a whim:

She described her days there as very “unfair” and “difficult.” She said there were days there “that [made] us feel meaningless.” But she also said there were days “…where I felt I could change the world.” And that trip made her realize she wanted to be a doctor. And when she returned to Mexico, she enrolled in medical school. But her journey led her to an important pivot point in her life. She said, and these are her words, “I realized that this is my country. This is where I belong and this is my culture, where I need to help.”

You see, that young woman, she went halfway around the world before she found her way home. And I suspect that something has — like that has happened to many of you.

And through Davina Durgana’s story, a young woman graduating that day, whose simple mission trip to El Salvador inspired her to take up the cause of human trafficking when she came back:

She found an internship that allowed her to work on an anti-human trafficking campaign, and she’s going to pursue graduate studies in human rights next year at the Sorbonne.

And by the way, Davina, she also serves as a Big Sister to a young girl in Anacostia; she volunteers with wounded warriors at Walter Reed; she helped run a Girl Scouts troop where she encouraged underprivileged girls to get involved; she volunteers as an EMT at the busiest fire department in the D.C. area, and convinced other classmates to join her –- and, somehow, she found time to graduate!

In closing, The First Lady touched on the historical significance of the commencement location as a landmark of change in this country:

In the end, the simple act of opening your mind and engaging abroad –- whether it’s in the heart of campus or in the most remote villages -– can change your definition of what’s possible.

And more importantly, you can change ours. See, after all, it’s your generation that always has –- often from the very Mall where we’re sitting right now. I mean, just look around you. It was on this Mall where young people marched for women’s rights. It was on this Mall where young people marched for civil rights. It was on this Mall where young people marched for peace, for equality, for awareness.

Decade after decade, young Americans who loved their country; and loved its ideals; who knew that it stood for something larger in the world; came here to this spot to wade into the rushing currents of history because they believed that they could change its course.

And on a cold January morning last year, many of you came here to wade in yourselves. It was the day my husband took the oath of office as President of the United States. And that day, he pledged to seek a new era of American engagement, and he asked each of us to embrace anew our duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world.

Now, I’m not a President. I’m just a citizen. But as a citizen, I’m asking you, as graduates of this global institution, to seize those responsibilities gladly. I’m asking you to fully embrace your role in the next vital chapter of our history. I’m asking you to play your part.

And from what I’ve seen from your class, I have no doubt that you will. Look, we believe in you so deeply. So, your new challenge begins now –- and it’s one that doesn’t end after 100,000 hours.

Students from George Washington University celebrate during their commencement ceremony on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., May 16, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Sadly, as hopeful a day as it was for the thousands of George Washington students, the commencement began with a moment of silence for student Taylor Hubbard who died tragically the day before.  Read George Washington University President Steven Knapp’s statement at the University website.

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

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Filed under Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

President Obama Speaks at Hampton University Commencement

AP~President Barack Obama, addressing graduates at historically black Hampton University on Sunday, said that it is the responsibility of all Americans to offer every child the type of education that will make them competitive in an economy in which just a high school diploma is no longer enough.

Obama told the nearly 1,100 graduates assembled in the university’s sun-splashed Armstrong Stadium that they have the added responsibility of being role models and mentors in their communities.

Clad in a blue gown, Obama recalled the university’s humble beginning in September 1861 as a school for escaped slaves who sought asylum after fleeing nearby plantations in the Confederate South. Obama said the founders recognized that, with the right education, such barriers as inequality would not persist for long.

“They recognized, as Frederick Douglass once put it, that ‘education means emancipation.’ They recognized that education is how America and its people might fulfill our promise,” said Obama, the first black U.S. president.

Drawing parallels to current challenges, Obama noted that Hampton’s graduates are leaving school as the economy rebounds from its worst downturn since the 1930s, and with the U.S. at war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Obama said education can help them manage the uncertainties of a 21st century economy.

For much of the last century, a high school diploma “was a ticket to a solid middle-class life,” he said. But no more, as jobs today often require at least a bachelor’s degree – or higher. To that end, Obama is pouring tens of billions of dollars into K-12 and higher education with an eye on raising standards and building the future workforce.

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First Lady Michelle Obama to Speak at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 2010 Commencement

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama will be the keynote speaker for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s (UAPB) 2010 Spring Commencement exercise on Saturday, May 8 at 3 p.m. The university announced today that the event will be broadcast live on UAPB Channel 24 and streamed online via www.uapb.edu.

History of the University

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is a historically Black university located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Founded in 1873, it is the oldest HBCU and the second oldest public institution in the state in Arkansas (after the University of Arkansas).

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was founded in 1873 as the Branch Normal College; it was nominally part of the “normal” (education) department of Arkansas Industrial University, later the University of Arkansas, but was operated separately due to segregation. It later became a land-grant college under the 1890 amendments to Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, which required states which did not open their land-grant university to all races to establish a separate land-grant university for each race. The school severed its ties with the University of Arkansas and became Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal (AM&N) College in 1927; it moved to its current campus location in 1929. The school re-joined what is now the University of Arkansas System in 1972, this time as a full-fledged campus, gaining its current name and university status in the process.

Since 1988, the university has gained recognition as a leading research institution in aquaculture studies, offering the state’s only comprehensive program in this field, and supporting a growing regional industry throughout the Mid-South (according to the school, aquaculture is a $167 million industry in Arkansas alone and approximately $1.2 billion in the Mississippi Delta region).

The Examiner notes that,  this month, President Obama, the First Lady, and officials from throughout the Administration will deliver commencement addresses to Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the nation.  In total, eleven HBCUs will receive commencement addresses from Obama Administration officials this year.

Other officials participating in graduation ceremonies include Secretary Robert Gates, Department of Defense (Morehouse College)Secretary Arne Duncan, Department of Education (Xavier University), Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA (Huston-Tillotson University), Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President (Morgan State University)Melody Barnes, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council (Virginia Union University), and Ambassador Susan Rice, United Nations (Spellman College). In addition, John Wilson, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is scheduled to speak to Wilberforce University, Wiley College, and Harris-Stowe State University.

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

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts the 20th Annual National Science Bowl

Posted by: Audiegrl
Posted by Secretary Steven Chu

New Faces, New Solutions

First Lady Michelle Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu with the winning teams, North Carolina School of Science and Mathmatics, left, and Albuquerque Academy, right, at the 20th Annual National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. May 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama and I have the distinct pleasure of lending a hand at the National Science Bowl – an impressive display of the scientific talents of our young people.  Over the past few days, students from sixty-eight high school teams and thirty-seven middle school teams have competed for the championship titles by answering questions in a range of scientific disciplines, including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics and astronomy, and math.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu ask the championship round bonus point questions at the Department’s 20th Annual National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. May 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

I have been going to Science Bowls for many years, and I always come away hopeful for America’s future.  I know the First Lady would agree that the knowledge and dedication of these students is inspiring. Read the First Lady’s remarks here.

Competitions like this one are important because America’s leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today.  We need a bold new generation of scientists and engineers to make America competitive in this century.  Only by having our best and brightest young people pursue careers in science and engineering can America compete for the high-wage, high-tech jobs of the 21st century.  We also face an unprecedented challenge to our very way of life from a changing climate, and we need this generation to help find new solutions to the energy and climate problem. In fact, all of the great challenges we will face in this century will require science and innovation to meet them.

Steven Chu is the Secretary of Energy

Students from Across the Country Prepare
for Regional Science Competitions


Students, coaches and parents takes photos of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Science in Washington, D.C. May 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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

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Filed under Alternative Energy, Children, Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, Green, Sciences, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized