Since 1921, the nation has observed American Education Week "for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs." The first observance was held December, 4-10, 1921 and each year, since then has been celebrated the week prior to Thanksgiving.
This year, American Education Week falls during the week of November 18 - 22, 2013 and in commemoration, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans will host a series of virtual roundtable discussions via Twitter. These online chats will be hosted by the Initiative's executive director, David J. Johns and occur daily from 12:00 - 1:00 pm EST. To engage in the discussions, follow @AfAmEducation and use hashtag #AfAmEdchat.
The week will culminate with a discussion on equity, excellence and providing African American students an opportunity to learn. On Friday, November 22nd David Johns (@MrDavidJohns) will be joined by the following panelists:
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (@MayorSRB) - Baltimore City, MD
Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper (@MACooperPhD) - Institute for Higher Education Policy
Dr. Sandy Darity (@SandyDarity) - Duke University
Nakisha M. Lewis (@NakLew) - Schott Foundation for Public Education
Dr. Andre Perry (@andreperryedu) - Davenport University
Deen Pierott & Zion (@iUrbanTeen) - iUrban Teen
Here is the schedule for the full week:
Monday 11.18.13 - All in the Family: Effective Faith and Community Partnerships to Support African American Educational Excellence
Tuesday 11.19.13 - Code Switch: Exposing Black Girls to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (#STEAM) Careers
Wednesday 11.20.13 - To Whom Much Is Given: Quality Practices in Cultivating Black Male Achievement
Thursday 11.21.13 - Each One Teach One: Recruiting and Supporting Black Scholars in the Education Ecosystem
Friday 11.22.13 - The Opportunity Gap: Facts, Myths, and Possibilities in Black Academic Excellence
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Originally published by Dropout Nation, Posted: October 18, 2013
Back in 2005, then-Harvard University President Lawrence Summers infamously speculated that the gender inequalities in the sciences at his institution may be genetic. Put simply, Summers thought that women were not as talented as men in mathematics.Researchers have been assiduously looking for a math gene since he made those remarks, but have not yet reported success.Those efforts, no doubt, are taking place in parallel with the effort to find the gene that prevents men from asking for directions.
A review of the data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and enrollment patterns at flagship institutions of higher education, such as Harvard, might be helpful while we wait for definitive results from genetic and phrenological studies. In fourth grade, 10 percent of White, non-Hispanic, males score at the Advanced level on the NAEP Mathematics assessment, as compared to seven percent of White, non-Hispanic, females.One percent each of Black male and female fourth graders score at the Advanced level.Two percent of Hispanic males and one percent of Hispanic females reach the Advanced level, while 19 percent of Asian males and 20 percent of Asian females reach the Advanced level in fourth grade math.
Two aspects of these results concerning students at the beginning of their schooling stand out: the gender differences are small and do not all point in the same direction; gender differences are dwarfed by differences in students from different race/ethnicities.Of course the race and ethnicity categories are themselves highly questionable.“Asians,” for example, include Chinese, Vietnamese, Indians, Afghans, Laos, Uighurs and others of diverse backgrounds and genetic heritage.Hispanics are similarly diverse, as are White, non-Hispanics, and Black students.
After four more years of schooling we find that 11 percent of male White, non-Hispanics, reach the Advanced level in eighth grade, as do nine percent of female White, non-Hispanic, students.Up one for males; up two for females.Black students are still at one percent and one percent. Hispanic male and female students are up one percent each to three percent for males and two percent for females and the percentage of male Asian students scoring at the Advanced level has gone up four percent to 23 percent, while female Asian students have gained just one percent, losing their advantage.Again, Asians are twice as likely to score at the Advanced level as White, non-Hispanic, students, while the percentages of Black and Hispanic students at the Advanced level remain very small indeed.
Turning to postsecondary education, we are astonished to find that Summers’ own Harvard University graduates more than twice as many men with math undergraduate degrees as women (24 to 10) and equal numbers of White, non-Hispanics, and Asians (ten each). Within those last two categories White, non-Hispanic, men out number White, non-Hispanic, women six to four, while Asian men outnumber Asian women eight to two.This is quite odd if math talent is genetic.How does it happen that while at grade 4 the percentage of Asian students at the Advanced level in Mathematics is twice that of White, non-Hispanic, students, but by the time they go through Harvard, the numbers are equal?And how has the gender disparity among Asians—Chinese, Vietnamese, Indians, Afghans, Laos and Uighurs—become so large? Perhaps the gene in question only “expresses” itself after admission to Harvard.
However, the situation is even more extreme at the University of California, Berkeley, than at Harvard. There 65 male students received degrees in Mathematics, as compared to 12 female students and 28 White, non-Hispanic, students did so as compared to 20 Asian students. This in a region and university with an unusually high concentration of Asian-Americans. Nationally, only a quarter of those receiving undergraduate degrees in Mathematics are women. Black students are the only group with equal gender shares.
Which brings us to how we don’t provide high-quality science and math education to black and Latino children, especially young black and Latino women. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2001 Harvard awarded 74 Bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and statistics, and, for example, MIT, a few blocks down river, awarded 93. Only three of the Harvard graduates were Latina women, and none were Black women. No Black or Latina women received degrees in Mathematics from MIT in that year. The story is disappointingly similar for 2009, the latest year for which data is available. Out of a total of 173 Bachelors degrees in Mathematics awarded from these two institutions, only 4 went to Black or Latina women. Not much progress to be seen there.
At least since President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address, the wage gap between men and women in the workplace has again risen to prominence in our national discourse. Serious efforts to close that gap must address both the persistent concentration of women, and specifically Black and Latino women, in lower income occupations, and continuing gender inequities in wages across all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 60 percent of employed Black women are in the sales, office and service occupations, as are 65 percent of Hispanic women. In the prestigious management, professional and related occupation sectors Black and Latina women work for much lower wages than do White, non-Hispanic, men: $812 and $789 per week compared to $1,273 per week.
The high road to occupational and income equity runs through the STEM fields, especially math. Once a specialized and somewhat arcane field, math is now required for many, if not most, business and governmental management positions and it is essential for careers in the sciences. Black and Latino students nationally have less access to key opportunities that prepare them for school and ensure they continue to succeed once they’re there. All children should, but many don’t, have access to high quality early childhood education, highly prepared and effective teachers, college preparatory curriculum or equitable instructional materials. In many middle schools with predominant Black and Latino enrollment, there are no “gateway” courses to college preparatory math offered. On top of that, young Black and Latina women must often contend with gender and racial stereotyping that pushes them down a school-to-low-wage-work pipeline. What America needs is a continuous K-12 pipeline of opportunities and resources giving young women, especially young Black and Latino women, access to the STEM fields.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
ICYMI last week: My class of ABFE Fellows was inspired by the celebration of Black philanthropy last month to write the following article about our time spent in Flint, MI last fall.
Revitalizing a Dream:
Redefining Empowerment for the Black Community in Flint, MI
Just 40 years ago, Flint, Michigan deemed "Vehicle City" touted the title of America's 4th largest city. Predominately African American working class families found great opportunities to flourish in manufacturing jobs that became the entre to economic security for many families. In Flint's heydays, the city bolstered a population of 200,000 people. In the 1970's General Motors, became the predominate employer in the city, providing jobs for up to 80,000 people. Today, the city is known for different statistics. From an outsider's perspective the highlights of Flint include links to the infamous film maker Michael Moore, high crime rates, and stories of many dreams deferred. Despite negative labels the city has several strengths that should be uplifted and reinforced. In reflection of Black Philanthropy Month, we would like to share our experiences in Flint with the hopes that it will encourage others to look beyond the valleys and take time to promote philanthropic investments in all communities. We also hope to encourage the next set of ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellows to deepen their commitment to strategies that promote economic equality in our communities.
In 2012, we landed in Flint to start our tenure as the 2012-2013 Class of ABFE's Connecting Leaders Fellows. Invited by former fellows working at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, we came to learn about the city and the work of our philanthropic colleagues. Upon our arrival we were slightly disheartened by the state of the city. Despite our ambivalence, we were welcomed with open arms to tour the city and to meet key representatives of the community. By the time we left Flint, we all felt a sense of hopefulness and confidence in the individuals on the ground committed to working to revitalize the community.
As we commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and celebrate the work of some of the greatest dreamers in history, it is important to recognize the dreams of everyday people; particularly those who have had so much stripped from them and have been left holding nothing but a dream. The residents of Flint are these people. While the nation may see a community unworthy of investment and a city with empty coffers, the souls of Black Flintonians are not bankrupt.
During our visit, we received a guided tour through the streets of Flint's Black neighborhoods by former Flint Mayor, Woodrow Stanley. We were struck by the glimmers of hope peeking through endless blocks of urban blight. Nestled in between dilapidated buildings and abandoned businesses were local gems like the historic Berston Field House (training ground of Olympic gold medalist, Claressa Shields) and the New McCree Theatre (Black community theater). We also met with native Flintonians who shared stories about once thriving neighborhoods and Black businesses. As the days continued, we realized that embedded within the great challenges facing Flint's Black community; there is still great potential to ignite real change.
In Flint, as in many blighted towns across America, there is unrealized value and prospective wealth in the land occupied by abandoned buildings. The land can represent a pathway to individual and community prosperity; if acquired by the residents of Flint. Throughout our community talks we began to realize the connection between land ownership and the Black community's ability to be an integral part of the re-development process. One available opportunity that we learned about involved the Genesee County Land Bank Authority's Side Lot program. This program offers homeowners in Flint first rights to purchase vacant lots adjacent to their property for a nominal cost of $25 plus an administrative fee. The Side Lot program is one example of how Flint's Black residents could collectively leverage their resources to reverse urban blight. A collective approach could lead to a block by block take over and provide a blueprint for systematic community revitalization.
The African American residents of Flint have demonstrated a commitment to their city and have shown a resiliency that is not easily matched. We enjoyed listening to the stories not shared often by national media; an oral history of their efforts to give the best of their time, talent and treasure. Rightfully, we want to celebrate and recognize Black Flintonians as philanthropists in their own right. Our hope is that institutional philanthropy will see the value of investing in Flint's Black community. As we move forward, we must remember that there is also an opportunity for a renaissance in Flint and everybody should have a role in designing it.
We look forward to embracing the next cohort of ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellows who will kick off their fellowship year with a retreat in Flint, we pass the proverbial torch to them and ask that they give serious consideration to how they can give back to the residents. We ask that they build on the legacy that we are leaving and continue to lift up Flint and its people.
2012-2013 ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellows
Tammy Dowley Blackman
Angel Roberson Daniels
Summer N. Jackson
Nakisha M. Lewis
Denise St. Omer
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
This August, we're celebrating Black Philanthropy Month and we want you to join us!
Black Philanthropy Month(BPM), held every August, was created by the African Women’s Development Fund USA (AWDF USA) in August 2011 as an annual, global celebration of African-descent giving - AWDF USA invites all black communities and their allies to take August and beyond to promote the power of giving to transform lives. In it's third year of observance, BPM is being celebrated by philanthropists around the globe. This year The Community Investment Network, The Giving Back Project and Black Gives Back have joined forces with AWDF USA to mobilize the nation around Black giving and giving in Black communities. A concerted effort is underway to invite public participation in a wave of activities, discussions, thought pieces, events and generosity, that starts in August, surges through the year and washes into 2014. The multimedia campaign will occur online and offline with local and global dimensions.
This year also holds special significance since August 28th marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech and the Great March on Washington. Commemoration of this watershed event gives cause for reflection and action and gave rise to the focal concept of BPM 2013: Of Dreams and Mountaintops.
This month, Next Gen Change Agent has joined the philanthropic movement and is contributing in every way we can to this amazing effort. We've signed on as a BPM Social Media Ally and will do our part to get the word out about Black Giving. We are also hosting a number of local events (in the Boston area) with our friends in the philanthropic sector. If you're around, please join us on August 22nd (register here: https://bpm2013-heartofcommunity.eventbrite.com) and 29th or listen for us on the radio at Touch 106.1 FM.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
I grew up in an immigrant community that was steeped in the tradition of collective responsibility where I learned to take care of those around me and to always look for opportunities to support others. In my early years I used my time and talent as an organizer working to transform my community. Now as a philanthropic practitioner I have the privilege of working with foundations and individual donors to support some phenomenal organizations and have come to see firsthand how important it is to financially support the people, issues and movements we care about. And so although I am not independently wealthy, I have developed my own personal philanthropy and am committed to giving to the causes that advance my values.
Today is Give Out Day, the first ever national day of giving to LGBTQ causes so I thought I’d share why and how I am using my treasure in support of LGBTQ organizations that empower and advocate for LGBTQ youth of color. Early in my career as a social change agent I managed a drop-in center at the Youth Health Empowerment Project (Y-HEP) in Philadelphia, PA where we sought to create a non-judgmental safe space for the city’s hardest-to-reach youth to access prevention services and support. During my time at Y-HEP many of the young people that came through my door were gay or transgender and victims of bullying or had been abandoned by their families. I carry the faces and stories of these young people with me every day as I pursue social justice through philanthropy. So it is only fitting that my personal giving reflects my values and commitment to the Y-HEP family as well gay and transgender youth of color across the country.
Today I am giving to the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and The Gay Straight-Alliance Network (GSA). NBJC is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black LGBT people and their mission is to eradicate racism and homophobia. One of their key priorities is addressing bullying in schools and advocating for federal protections for Black LGBT students. We know that Black LGBT students that are bullied in school are more likely to drop-out and find themselves in harmful situations, so NBJC’s work is critical to saving our young people. NBJC is headed by Sharon Lettman-Hicks, one of the fiercest women I have ever known. I met Sharon about five years ago when I first transitioned into philanthropy and I remember the excitement I had about being able to work with her. I was still pretty young and had never worked at an organization where a Black woman was in a position of leadership. In the short time we spent together, I watched her always speak truth to power and never compromise her values. I applaud Sharon’s leadership as Executive Director & CEO of NBJC and am thoroughly convinced that without them leading the fight for Black LGBT civil rights neither the Black community nor the LGBT community will be able to achieve full equality and justice.
The GSA Network is a national youth leadership organization that connects school-based GSAs to each other and community resources through peer support, leadership development, and training. I got to know the work of the GSA Network through their Senior Manager for Racial & Economic Justice Programs, Geoffrey Winder. Geoffrey and I met a few years ago and immediately hit it off. While waiting for our flights after a conference we talked about the lack of research on barriers to success for girls of color in schools and how the race and gender lens utilized by many in the education justice movement seemed to only capture boys of color. Our conversation revealed that we both wanted to raise awareness about the challenges cis and transgender girls of color face in schools and since then I have been thoroughly impressed with the work Geoffrey has done organizing LBT young women across the country. He and his colleagues at the GSA Network are building a national movement that brings to light the criminalization, harsh discipline and unsafe environments that young LBT women of color contend with. I recently asked him to present on the GSA Network’s work to a group of funders and he made a point of incorporating the voices of the young women he’s working with. Here’s a short video of one of those young women:
As a former youth organizer I have the utmost respect for young people who speak their truth and demand justice for themselves and others. Without organizations like the GSA Network cultivating youth leadership and encouraging young people to stand in their power the voices of girls of color will continue to be silenced.
I am proud to support the National Black Justice Coalition and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network! I hope you’ll join me in supporting young people and communities of color today and every day.