Tag 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

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

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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Filed under Change, Dr. Jill Biden, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Young Men, Young Women

First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the National PTA Conference

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about her Lets Move campaign during a meeting of the National PTA in Arlington, Va., Wednesday, March 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Today First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the National Legislative Conference of the Parent Teacher Association on her Let’s Move! initiative~~a movement pertinent to the National PTA’s efforts toward fighting childhood obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles.

The three-day conference is designed to motivate ‘grasstop’ leaders from across the country and provide an in-depth look at the latest PTA Public Policy Agenda through a series of workshops, skill building trainings, panel discussions, and guest speakers.

Remarks by The First Lady at the National PTA Conference

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First Lady Launches Contest for Healthy Kids Games

Apps for Healthy KidsAP~First lady Michelle Obama challenged software and video game designers Wednesday to develop games and tools that get kids, especially 9- to 12-year-olds, excited about eating better and exercising more.

The carrot? A chance to share in $40,000 in cash prizes.

The Apps for Healthy Kids contest is part of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to raise public awareness about the national problem of childhood obesity. One in three U.S. children is overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure or other medical conditions.

Mrs. Obama said kids spend an average of seven and a half hours a day watching TV or playing with computers, video games or other devices.

Maybe you’ve seen those dance video games or those exercise games that families are playing together at home, or the ones that kids play using their mobile phones and home computers?” she said at the national Parent Teacher Association conference. “Those are the kinds of games that we’re talking about.”

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The Apps for Healthy Kids Challenge is a contest with the USDA to challenge professional and amateur developers to come up with games that incorporate nutritional information and promote healthy living. From dance video games to nutrition mobile applications, they’re challenging designers to come up with the next big idea to make healthy living fun. The App Challenge is just one of the innovative ways that the First Lady is working to help kids lead active, healthy lives and end childhood obesity within a generation, as part of the nationwide Let’s Move! campaign.

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 Childhood Obesity, Children, Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama To Deliver Three Commencement Addresses

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama gave inspiration and encouragement in her commencement speech to the Class of 2009, the first to attend four full years at UC's newest campus in Merced.

Three colleges will host First Lady Michelle Obama as their commencement speaker. The White House announced the colleges selected on Tuesday:

On May 8th, the First Lady will address the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Established more than 130 years ago, the University began as the only state-supported institution of higher education for African Americans in Arkansas. Like many of the nation’s more than one-hundred historically black colleges and universities, the University has played a special role in enabling young people from many walks of life to further their education. While the University offers many different areas of study, it remains dedicated to the mission of providing educational opportunities to under-served communities particularly in the Arkansas Delta region. It is one of a small number of HBCUs that also are land-grant institutions and thus have a long history of preparing students for fields in agriculture, farming, and engineering. The University currently boasts an enrollment of more than 3500 students.

On May 16th, The George Washington University will host their graduation ceremonies in Washington DC. Mrs. Obama is scheduled to address this group provided the student body, faculty and staff complete the 100,000 hours of community service required during the 2009-2010 academic year. Mrs. Obama issued the challenge for these service hours in exchange for her commencement visit in September of 2009, during the first National Day of Service and Remembrance, which was the culmination of President Barack Obama’s “United We Serve” summer service initiative.

On June 11th, Mrs. Obama will address the Anacostia Senior High School Commencement, a DC public school that Mrs. Obama visited in the spring of 2009 in conjunction with her Women of Excellence event and her early mentoring activities as First Lady.

In 2009, Mrs. Obama spoke to the University of California, Merced’s first full senior class. She also addressed the Washington Math and Science Tech Public Charter High School Graduation in Washington DC.

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Filed under Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, HBCU, Students, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates NEA’s Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama prepares to read Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, during an event at the Library of Congress on March 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Over three hundred local students participated in the event to promote reading . and to mark Read Across America Day and the birthday of author Theodor Seuss Geisel. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

AP~First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday Tuesday by reading “The Cat in the Hat” to a group of children wearing red-and-white-striped stovepipe hats like the book’s main character.

Mrs. Obama helped kick off the National Education Association’s 13th annual “Read Across America” celebration at the Library of Congress. The event marked the day that Dr. Seuss, or Theodor Seuss Geisel, would have turned 106.

Do you know the president of the United States reads all the time,” Mrs. Obama told a group of more than 200 students from elementary schools in Washington and Arlington, Va. “Our girls at home read every single night.”

The first lady said that her daughters, Sasha and Malia, are allowed to stay up 30 minutes later if they are reading.

Some of the first family’s favorite children’s books are “Horton Hatches the Egg,” by Dr. Seuss and “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak, Mrs. Obama said in response to one of the children’s questions.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan also read “Horton Hears a Who!

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel led the children in a rhyming pledge to read every day. It began: “I promise to read each day and each night. I know it’s the key to growing up right.”

On Monday President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2 Read Across America Day.

Read Across America Day
What is NEA’s Read Across America?

NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

NEA’s Read Across America also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year.

In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA’s Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials recognize the role reading plays in their communities with proclamations and floor statements. Athletes and actors issue reading challenges to young readers. And teachers and principals seem to be more than happy to dye their hair green or be duct-taped to a wall if it boosts their students’ reading.

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Filed under Books, Children, Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, Obama Administration, Secretary Arne Duncan (Sec of Education), Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube