Saturday, August 27, 2016

Before You Vote This Fall ...

While I usually stay out of partisan political discussions on this blog, I am sharing this video because women make up the majority demographic in the social work and education professions. Women generally do not discuss--or engage in--politics in everyday conversation. Yet this upcoming presidential election cycle has been full of surprises, to put it mildly. It will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most contentious elections in American history. As a result, it is important that women educate themselves on the candidates' positions, particularly on critical issues such as education, welfare, and criminal justice. Do not vote based on party affiliation or peer pressure; vote because you did your homework on the candidates.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Review: 101 Careers in Education (2016)

101 Careers in Education (2016) by John S. Carlson and Richard L. Carlson is a comprehensive career guide book on education-related fields. Education is a broad field with different career paths and a variety of subfields depending on which student population (e.g., age, profession, online vs. brick and mortar, and special needs) you want to specialize. A college-level degree is the minimum education necessary for the majority of careers in education. Increasingly, many fields are seeking majors with specialty in specific content area (e.g., calculus, biology, and music) or specific skills useful (e.g., counseling, foreign language, and educational technology). The introduction includes a list of in-demand careers to date. Each career profile includes a basic description, core competencies and skills needed, educational requirements, type of experience necessary to succeed in the field, certification and licensure, salary compensation, employment outlook, and list of professional associations. The career profiles are concise and comprehensive which makes this book such an invaluable resource to have in your personal library.

The book also spends a great amount of detail on educational careers in non-traditional settings, such as religion, camping, adult education, public health, book publishing, archives and museums. This section will interest anyone who has an interest working in an educational setting but does not have an undergraduate or advanced degree in education. Finally, the book concludes with the author's views on the future of education with two chapters dedicated to professional development and career growth and the job-search process. The introduction includes a self-assessment tool that will identify which careers in education fits a person's interests and skills. Since Careers in Education is newly published, the resources are accurate and up-to-date.

I also recommend Careers in Education to social workers who work with student populations. Social workers and educators often work together in similar fields to achieve the mission of their organizations. We have the gift to naturally give back and help others reach their potential.

    Introduction to a Career in Education
  • Careers in Early Childhood Education
  • Careers in K-12 Schools
  • Careers in Postsecondary Education
  • Part-Time Careers in Education
  • Careers Serving Special Needs Populations
  • Careers in Educational Administration and Leadership
  • Non-traditional Positions in Education
  • Careers Pertaining to Web-Based Learning and Educational Technology
  • The Future of Education

Saturday, July 16, 2016

DetNews: Detroit’s chance of netting major retailers improving

Something amazing is happening in Detroit. This could be the sign of a real renaissance. The local newspaper reported that major retailers, who historically shunned the inner city, may expand into the city. Detroit suffers as a food (or major store) desert, an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. Unsurprisingly, most food deserts are located in predominately black neighborhoods with the most need for access to healthy, nutritious food. Mom and pop stores, which are run predominately by Arab and Asian immigrants, dominate the grocery store market in Detroit. Mom and pop (and dollar) stores have limited selection and more likely to serve unhealthy food. City residents who desire more options must travel to the suburbs to shop at a major retailer with wider selection of goods such as Target or Costco. For city residents who lack a personal vehicle, this poses as a serious limitation. Detroiters deserve the same access and availability of stores as their suburban neighbors. Detroit needs more major retailers -- I welcome this fabulous news!
Detroit may be near the tipping point in getting major retailers like Target and Kroger to open in the greater downtown area.

In most cities, such stores are commonplace. In Detroit, every type of major national retailer – supermarkets, department stores, movie theaters, restaurants – started to vanish from the city limits more than 60 years ago. When residents began to move out of Detroit, big retalers followed them.

Even now, a Home Depot (one store), a Kroger (no stores) or a Starbucks (eight stores) are rare in the 142-square-mile city limits.

But the greater downtown area – the central business district, Midtown, Corktown, Eastern Market – has seen a recent wave of new residents and new specialty stores, including some chains like Whole Foods in Midtown and Nike downtown.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Department of Education Report: Spending on Prisons Rises 3 Times Faster than on Schools

The U.S. Department of Education recently released a policy brief where state and local spending on corrections is rising faster than spending on public education since 1990. More than 15 states invest more on incarceration than higher education. Texas leas the nation (up 668%!) in prison spending over schools. The school-to-prison pipeline is real: students of color are more likely than white children to be funneled into the criminal justice system for minor offenses that sets them up later for incarceration. The disparities has become so dire that it costs more money to house a prisoner than enroll a child in a private four-year institution!

As higher education appropriations declines, more public institutions increase their tuition to make up for the lack of revenue from the state. This alarming news is bad because states are prioritizing imprisonment rather than rehabilitation services to reduce recidivism rates. Furthermore, funding for social service programs (e.g., job training programs, affordable health care, affordable housing, foster care youth programs, and programs to combat homelessness) do not receive receive adequate funding. This current trend in prison spending is counterproductive and We need a more socially-just approach that does not penalize working families and communities of color. Click here for the Department of Education's policy brief, State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education.

State and local spending on prisons and jails is increasing at a faster rate than spending on public education over the past three decades, according to a U.S. Department of Education report. The report, released Thursday, highlights a dramatic increase in spending on prisons and jails nationally, and the relative disparity in increases to education-related spending.

According to the report, PK-12 expenditures increased from $258 billion in 1979-80 to $534 billion in 2012-13. Over the same period, state and local expenditures on correctional facilities increased from $17 billion to $71 billion.

The report also showed that 46 states, with the exception of West Virginia, Wyoming, North Dakota and Nebraska, reduced their expenditures for higher education over the past three decades, while increasing the amount spent on correctional facilities.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Origin of Affirmative Action

In a 4-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld affirmative action in college admissions. The court approved the University of Texas' use of a student's race as one of several factors in admissions for a portion of each entering class. This decision follows the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger case.

For several decades, affirmative action has been mislabeled as "quotas", "preferences" or "handouts that give out unfair advantage" by opponents who advocate for more colorblind approaches, such as class rank or socioeconomic status. However, recent government reports from the Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Department of Education revealed that we are far from a colorblind society. In reality, women and racial/ethnic minorities--especially African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans--continue to face insidious discriminatory barriers in educational, employment and economic opportunities. Breaking down these racial and gender barriers remains an ongoing national priority.

What is affirmative action? Why is affirmative action important? Here are six interesting facts that everyone should know about its origin.

  1. The term, "affirmative action", is rooted in U.S. employment law. To take an "affirmative action" was to act affirmatively, i.e. not allowing events to run their course but rather having the government or employers take an active role in treating employees fairly.

  2. One of the earliest sightings of the term "affirmative action" is the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (better known as the Wagner Act). Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, this legislation established the National Labor Relations Board and collective bargaining, as well as decreeing that employers engaged in practicing discriminatory labor laws would be required “ take such affirmative action including reinstatement of employees with or without backpay...”. Many private sector employers opposed this legislation. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Wagner Act in 1937.

  3. President John F. Kennedy would become the first president to connect the term “affirmative action” with its contemporary connotation of a policy seeking to ensure racial equality. On May, 6, 1961, in Executive Order 10925, Kennedy called on government contractors to "...take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."

    President Lyndon B. Johnson's Commencement Speech at Howard University in Washington, DC, June 4, 1965

  4. The phrase “affirmative action” entered the public discussion after President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 on September 28, 1965. This order demanded that federal contractors and subcontractors "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin." In 1966, Johnson then established the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in the U.S. Department of Labor to ensure that contractors followed Executive Order 11246.

  5. The Harvard Plan is considered one of the earliest and most effective affirmative action plans in the country. Walter J. Leonard, the architect of the Harvard Plan, worked out a formula in which race was considered, among other factors, in the admission process. It resulted in growing numbers of minority students and women at the law school and broadened the diversity of the university’s faculty and staff members. The Harvard Plan became a blueprint for colleges and universities trying to reflect the country’s growing diversity.

  6. While the U.S. Supreme declared quotas violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, race-based affirmative action was declared constitutional in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978). Race could be used as a factor in applications to promote diversity in education. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of race as one of several factors in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007), and Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (2016).
Several research studies have shown that minority students are more likely to excel and graduate within six years at elite colleges and universities. Affirmative action does not harm minority students--racial isolation does. Justice Kennedy's pivotal vote in Fisher II assures colleges and universities will continue to have the right to shape their student bodies in a way that better reflects the diversity of American society.