Some colleges view community-engagement as a form of service and require students to clock-in service-learning hours via volunteerism. The belief is that students have useful skills and resources (particularly time) that may benefit a variety of communities. Through their work in various different types of communities, the students in turn gain work and educational experiences.
If implemented with only the university’s goals in mind, this process, however beneficial it may be to students, can unintentionally replicate social inequities and may place a further burden on the off-campus community group or agency that partners with the university.
Community-engagement often centers on low-income neighborhoods and residents that are within close proximity of the university. This perception of what is meant by “the community” inherently sets up a class-based dichotomy of the wealthy university (“the gown”) that has the resources (time, money, technical expertise) to help the poor communities (“the town”) that surround it.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Friday, December 19, 2014
Public libraries have always been democratic, serving a cross-section of the population. After all, they are public, often easily accessible, and free.
As these populations have shifted to include more of the disadvantaged population, including people who are homeless, there is a small but growing trend for libraries to include social workers—not as patrons, but as helping professionals on staff.
It’s not surprising that libraries have become hubs for homeless people or even the equivalent of day shelters. In addition to their other assets, libraries have plenty of bathrooms and no security checks.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Last year, Wendy Heller Chovnick, a former Teach For America manager, spoke out against her former organization in The Washington Post, decrying its “inability and unwillingness to honestly address valid criticism.” In recent years, such criticism has centered on Teach For America’s intimate involvement in the education privatization movement and its five-week training, two-year teaching model, which critics claim offers recruits a transformative résumé-boosting experience but burdens schools with disruptive turnover cycles.
In the interview, Chovnick referenced the extent to which Teach For America manufactured its public image, explaining, “Instead of engaging in real conversations with critics, and even supporters, about the weaknesses of Teach For America and where it falls short, Teach For America seemed to put a positive spin on everything. During my tenure on staff, we even got a national team, the communications team, whose job it was to get positive press out about Teach For America in our region and to help us quickly and swiftly address any negative stories, press or media.”
[UPDATE: January 11, 2015]: Why are school districts paying millions in "finder's fees" to an organization that places people without education degrees to teach in urban schools—even where applications from veteran teachers abound? Rachel M. Cohen, writing fellow at The American Prospect, explores another area of controversy in the Teach For America program: the start-up costs of hiring a TFA teacher, and the program’s impact on the retention of veteran teachers.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Joshua Holland: Most people believe that Ferguson became so racially polarized because of “white flight” — white people fled the area because of personal prejudice against African-Americans. In your report, you argue that this misses a crucial point. What are we overlooking?
Richard Rothstein: The segregation that characterizes Ferguson, and that characterizes St. Louis, was the creation of purposeful public policy. We have a segregated nation by design.
...It was done primarily with two policies: First, public housing was segregated, purposely, by the federal government, so that what were previously somewhat integrated neighborhoods in urban areas were separated into separate black and white public housing projects.
And then, in the 1950s, as suburbs came to be developed, the federal government subsidized white residents of St. Louis to move to the suburbs, but effectively prohibited black residents from doing so. The federal government subsidized the construction of many, many subdivisions by requiring that bank loans for the builders be made on the condition that no homes be sold to blacks.
Because black housing was so restrictive, there were so few places where African-Americans could live in St. Louis. So what was left of St. Louis’ African-American community became overcrowded. City services were not readily available. The city was zoned so that the industrial or commercial areas were placed in black neighborhoods but not in white neighborhoods. So the industrial areas, where African-Americans lived, became slums.
And then white residents in places like Ferguson came to associate slum conditions with African-Americans, not realizing that this was not a characteristic of the people themselves, but rather it was a creation of public policy.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Wealthy families, understandably, invest huge amounts of money to ensure that their children receive the best possible education starting at the kindergarten and even preschool levels. Students’ transcripts and college applications are in effect inventories of wealth-related facts: academic rigor of schools attended, grades achieved, course options, extracurricular pursuits, test scores, even involvement in "volunteer work," which admissions officers interpret as evidence of social commitment and leadership potential. Advantages in all of those areas make children from wealthy backgrounds more competitive from the start, without any need for outright consideration of family resources.
Most children from poor families—even households deeply committed to their children’s education—do not have a chance in this competition. Their families cannot make anywhere near the same investments, and it shows in their comparative performance, even when the children in question are every bit as gifted and able as their affluent counterparts.
So, what is the fix? Should we end the use of need-blind policies? In some cases, yes. Wealthy, elite institutions that are unable to admit appropriate numbers of students from poor families through a need-blind policy should instead become "access aware." In the lingo of college admissions, they should give students from poor families a "bump" when assessing their applications. It can clearly be done: Many institutions give comparable advantages to the children of alumni.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
1. Learn about the racialized history of Ferguson and how it reflects the racialized history of America. Brown’s killing is not an anomaly or a statistical outlier. It is the direct product of deadly tensions born from decades of housing discrimination, white flight, intergenerational poverty and racial profiling.
2. Reject the “He was a good kid” or “He was a criminal” narrative and lift up the “Black lives matter” narrative.
3. Use words that speak the truth about the disempowerment, oppression, disinvestment and racism that are rampant in our communities.
4. Understand the modern forms of race oppression and slavery and how they are intertwined with policing, the courts and the prison-industrial complex. Black people aren’t enslaved on the plantation anymore. Now African Americans are locked up in for-profit prisons at disproportionate rates and for longer sentences for the same crimes committed by white people. And when we’re released we’re second-class citizens, stripped of voting rights in some states and denied access to housing, employment and education. Mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow.
5. Examine the interplay between poverty and racial equity. The twin pillar of racism is economic injustice, but don’t use class issues to trump race issues and avoid the racism conversation.
6. Diversify your media. Be intentional about looking for and paying close attention to diverse voices of color on television, on radio, online and in print to help shape your awareness, understanding and thinking about political, economic and social issues.
7. Adhere to the philosophy of nonviolence as you resist racism and oppression.
8. Find support from fellow white allies. Challenge and encourage one another to dig deeper, even when it hurts and especially when you feel confused, angry and hopeless, so that you can be more authentic in your shared journey with people of color to protect principles of anti-racism and equity.
9. If you are a person of faith, look to your Scriptures or other holy texts for guidance.
10. Don’t be afraid to be unpopular. If you start calling out all the racism you witness (and it will be a lot, once you know what you’re seeing), some people might not want to hang out with you as much. But think about it like this: Staying silent when you witness oppression is the same as supporting oppression.
11. Be proactive in your own community. As a white ally, you are not limited to reacting only when black people are subjected to violence very visibly and publicly. Moments of crisis do not need to be the catalyst. Taking action against systemic racism is always appropriate because systemic racism permeates this country. Some ideas for action: Organize a community conversation about the state of police-community relations in your neighborhood; support leaders of color by donating
12. Don’t give up. We’re 400 years into this racist system, and it’s going to take decades—centuries, probably—to dismantle.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
An excerpt from Salon interview with PolicyLink founder and CEO, Angela Blackwell:
Salon: Linking racial equality and economic equality makes sense, but it’s not something you often hear being promoted in more mainstream or establishment-friendly places. How do you respond to people if and when you come up against resistance or skepticism — or simple confusion, since making the link is not especially common?
Angela: One of the things I often say is that if people of color don’t become the middle class there will be no middle class in this nation. Not only are we becoming a nation in which the majority will be people of color, but the majority of young people will be people of color. Right now, 46.5 percent of all children under 18 are children of color, but 80 percent of all those over 65 are white. The median age among white people is 42; the median age among Latinos, the fastest-growing population, is 27.
We have to understand that as we become a nation of mostly people of color, that we have mostly people who would be the parents, the young earners, the young entrepreneurs. Those are the people of color who we have to make sure can be the middle class. When we think about some of the work of Raj Chetty and Emmanuel Saez, who are looking at social mobility in this country, they’ve pointed out that social mobility is very much tied to class and geography. If you’re born into a family that’s low-income you’re very likely to stay there, and if you’re born in certain areas of the country — particularly the South — you’re very likely to not have much social mobility.
Those things can also be talked about in racial terms. In the South, what we see is our inability as a nation to deal with race, and so segregated communities and disadvantaged people of color disadvantages everyone. We have to get over this holding some people back because what it means is that we’re holding everybody back. We’re not investing in a robust public education system, not invested in a robust infrastructure that could connect regions to the global economy.
This notion of being born into a certain area — we know that people who are Latino and African-American are disproportionately poor and low-income, so we have to create more pathways out of poverty, not just in terms of people who are poor having pathways out of poverty but people who are poor because of the way we have racialized opportunity in America. We cannot separate the nation’s dire need to have a strategy for a vast and stable middle class from the nation’s dire need to finally have strategies that deal with the legacy of racism and the continuing impact of racism in America.
Every parent of a child of color lives, every day, in fear that a hoodie, a certain gait or an offhand remark might inspire authorities to see menace, and to strike with lethal force. I can't begin to know how to explain that to my son, now 11 and brown-skinned and beginning to look like some of the older kids I see in news reports like those from Ferguson.
Every parent in the nation should live with unease over the sustained and wretched dehumanization that assigns expendability to some children. Can we respect each other, let alone live together, if it's OK to kill some of our kids?
We are required to go deeper — back to promises made to all Americans but unfulfilled, still, for African Americans. We are required to look broader — to the swelling number of incidents that remind us, not in isolation, of how easily and without consequence black life can be taken. And we are required to think harder — about who we are as a nation, and whether we can ever reconcile enough of our history to create a future built around the idea of justice.
As black people, America breaks our hearts over and over again. No group has more reason to resent this country's very existence, built as it was on the notion of unmovable racial inferiority. And yet, no Americans have persevered so much, for so long — journeying from three-fifths of a man to president of the U.S. in just more than 200 years.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Foundations are giving differently in Detroit, in a manner unseen in other American cities. And the $366 million "grand bargain," is a prime example of that.
It's philanthropy's biggest calling and its biggest collaboration in Detroit history, credited as the cornerstone in the city's bankruptcy.
The joint agreement by 12 foundations, in which private funds as well as $195 million from the state and $100 from the Detroit Institute of Arts, will be used to shore up city pensions and protect the art collection from creditors.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
...only 42 percent of all Americans now live in a middle-class neighborhood, down from 65 percent in 1970. Because of the increasing separation of the affluent and the highly educated from everyone else, place, where one lives, often determines who has access to high-quality K-12 education and, in turn, selective higher education. Today there are only 17 counties in the United States in which more than half the population are college educated -- counties that selective college recruiters flock to, including Marin County north of San Francisco; Orange County in North Carolina's research triangle; Boulder County, Colorado; and affluent suburbs bordering Washington D.C. and New York City. In the vast majority of U.S. counties, however, college graduates are a small minority. College graduates used to be more evenly distributed, but segregation between them and high school graduates has nearly tripled since 1940.
Highly educated people are drawn to metro centers where other people like themselves live, and within the metropolis they gravitate to neighborhoods of their own kind. This is a phenomenon that transcends race. College graduates living in America's most highly educated metro areas are more residentially isolated than African Americans.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
The report provides a demographic profile on these low-wage workers. They comprise 37 percent of those earning wages in the private sector; 39 percent of women and 35 percent of men. The vast majority—83 percent—are persons of color.
Despite the widespread belief that most low-wage workers are teens earning extra spending money while attending school, in Los Angeles few of them are teens; 38 percent of low wage workers are in their twenties, nearly 22 percent are in their thirties, and 37 percent are over forty. The majority work full time, and 36 percent have children.
The bulk of these workers are employed in restaurants, retail, health services, and administrative and waste management services. Right now, their median income is $16,000; in 2014, the federal poverty level for a two-person household is $15,730
Friday, October 17, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The contributors at The Social Work Helper has since published more recent articles that highlighted what I discussed in greater detail. I hope you enjoy what these authors have to offer because I share the same sentiments regarding the social work profession: too much focus on title protection / clinical casework and not enough focus on serving the people most in need through advocacy / policy-making. Social work pioneers such as Jane Addams, Frances Perkins, Dorothy Height, and Whitney Young would be ashamed to see how the social work profession lost sight of its mission.
- Top Five Reasons Why Social Worker Is Failing (August 2014)
- The Struggles of Being a Macro Student and How We Can All Be Supportive (July 2014)
- Licensed Social Workers Don't Mean More Qualified (February 2014)
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Kids at the most selective colleges often struggle academically, but they are capable of doing the work. The real key is whether they feel comfortable going to professors to ask for help or teaming up with other students in study groups and to manage the workload. At that school in Brooklyn, I taught history, leading students through writing 10-page position papers with proper citations, as well as presenting and defending their work to a panel of adults. Other teachers did the same in their subjects. Through the college application process, these students had help with every step — including convincing their parents that going away to school would be a good thing.
But once those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds arrive on campus, it’s often the subtler things, the signifiers of who they are and where they come from, that cause the most trouble, challenging their very identity, comfort and right to be on that campus. The more elite the school, the wider that gap. I remember struggling with references to things I’d never heard of, from Homer to the Social Register. I couldn’t read The New York Times — not because the words were too hard, but because I didn’t have enough knowledge of the world to follow the articles. Hardest was the awareness that my own experiences were not only undervalued but often mocked, used to indicate when someone was stupid or low-class: No one at Barnard ate Velveeta or had ever butchered a deer.
Urban students face different slights but ones with a more dangerous edge. One former student was told by multiple people in his small Pennsylvania college town not to wear a hoodie at night, because it made him look “sketchy.” Standing out like that — being himself — could put him at risk.
Another link I recommend on social and cultural capital is Peter Kaufman's Guide to Succeeding in College on Everyday Sociology.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Culturally competent services are needed beyond race and ethnicity. Culturally competent social workers are also better able to address issues of gender and help persons with disabilities, older adults, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people. A working knowledge of these groups’ cultures and values helps social workers tailor care so it is effective and appropriate for their clients’ needs.
Hall wrote an excellent article on teaching cultural competence in the classroom on The New Social Worker. Furthermore, the NASWpublished a standards guidebook about cultural competence in social work practice. For social workers preparing for the licensure exams, the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) define the terms diversity and cultural competence.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Watching and reading about the killing of Michael Brown—followed by the indelible scenes of tear-gas canisters and armored tanks—she looked down at her research on theoretical cosmology and thought to herself: “I can’t do this.”
“Who cares about cosmic inflation during the first seconds of the universe’s existence when black people are getting shot left and right by police officers and vigilantes?” she remembers thinking. “I felt guilty. I wanted to go to Ferguson. I wanted to be a body in the streets and a barrier between the police and my people.”
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Let’s be totally honest about the Michael Brown incident: it is all about race. When was the last time we read about an unarmed upper-class white male being killed by the police—much less by a Black police officer? How many predominantly white communities around the United States have a police force comprised predominantly of officers of color? And when unarmed white men or women are shot by the police, are there ever public opinion polls to even ascertain if race is significant?
To think that the case of Michael Brown (or Trayvon Martin, Ezell Ford, Oscar Grant, Anthony Dwain Lee, or any of the other unarmed Black males who were fatally shot) is not about race is to be oblivious and ignorant about the social, historical, and political landscape of the United States. Since its very beginning and continuing to the present day, our country has been shaped, scarred, and defined by race. This is a basic sociological premise. As a sociologist, I’m grappling with how so many people can lack this elementary understanding of the society in which we live.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
This article in the Washington Post examines the realities of college graduates who cannot find work in their field, particularly women who make up 60 percent of all college graduates in the U.S.
Poor Sally. She has spent tens of thousands of dollars and four long years to get her college degree and has $26,000 in student loans to pay off, yet she can’t find a job that puts her degree to good use. Sally and her parents may be asking whether college was “worth it.”
Sally epitomizes many of her fellow college graduates who wonder why college graduates can’t find good jobs.
The experts give all sorts of explanations for Sally’s plight.
One of the most perplexing and frustrating explanations is that Sally is over-educated....
This analysis leads to a final reason why Sally can’t get a good job with her college degree.
She has the wrong degree.
Students with traditional liberal arts degrees frequently find themselves underemployed, while students with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have little trouble finding good jobs in their profession. Nine out of the top 10 least underemployed majors are in STEM (law is the exception).
Women, however, aren’t studying STEM. Biology is the only STEM degree among the top 10 most popular bachelor’s degrees for women, and it comes in slightly above English language and literature as a preferred degree. Moreover, women aren’t making up for this gap by studying science and technology in graduate school — not a single STEM subject makes it among the top 10 master’s degrees for women.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Fifty years to the day that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. told a crowd of 250,000 in Washington that "the Negro…finds himself an exile in his own land," Wall Street is mostly a foreign country for black workers.
The difficult road that blacks still face in the heart of America's financial capital was underscored by news on Wednesday that brokerage giant Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay $160 million to settle racial discrimination claims by black brokers.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
The first two African-American students had been admitted to U-M in 1868. But only a handful followed, and by the 1920s, blacks still comprised just a tiny fragment of the student body. By University practice and informal understandings, they lived in a segregated sphere, joining white students only in classrooms.
In that era only women lived in University dormitories – but not the six or seven black women enrolled at U-M. They lived in a boarding house arranged by the University. African-American men lived in either of two black fraternity houses, Kappa Alpha Psi or Omega Psi Phi, or boarded with black families. They were not served at the Michigan Union, nor were they allowed into University swimming pools or University-sponsored dances.
The faculty senate’s Committee on Student Affairs recognized the group as an official student organization for only one year, and only on two conditions: It must drop its stated purpose of working “for the abolition of discrimination against Negroes,” and “the name of the University of Michigan shall not be used in connection with the activities of the Club.”
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
ThinkProgress: Getting A College Degree Won’t Protect Black Workers From The Economy’s Racial Barriers
"The economy is heavily tilted against black people. In a study of entry-level job openings, equally qualified black job applicants were half as likely as white ones to get a call back or an offer. Jobs that drug test are more likely to hire black workers because without the tests, they assume black applicants use drugs. While black workers make up 32 percent of the workforce, they make up 42 percent of minimum wage workers.
Black women have been particularly dogged in recent years in graduating college: they made up two-thirds of all black students who finished a Bachelor’s Degree in 2010 and 71 percent with a Master’s. But they still struggle in other ways: when they’re working full-time, year-round, they make 64 percent of what white men make and less than both white women and black men."
In another study, researchers found that in online sales Americans would rather do business with Whites than Blacks.
Check out more ThinkProgress articles below!
Friday, May 30, 2014
Although the process of lifelong learning is vital, if you are anything like me, you know there is also practical value in being able to put that learning into practice to assist others in their growth and development (and pay back your student loans and afford to support yourself). The job search process in student affairs can be a time-consuming endeavor full of self-assessment, anxiety, excitement, and a host of other emotional and logistical complexities. It is also a numbers game. For example, in my last job search after my Ph.D. program, I applied for 46 jobs, participated in 12 phone interviews, visited 5 campuses for in-person interviews, and received 3 job offers. I like to think I am a solid candidate; the numbers also show you that I did not receive interviews with half of the places to which I applied. In fact, if you do the math, I was asked to interview with only 23 percent of the institutions to which I applied.Here are two related articles about finding a job in admissions: Hiring in Admissions (August 7, 2009) - InsideHigherEd AND Getting Into the Admission Office (April 8, 2013) -InsideHigherEd.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
10 Key Job Search Tips for New Graduates
- Don't wait to start job searching.
- Include ll of your work experience on your resume.
- Don't listen to every piece of job-search advice you hear.
- Don't apply for everything you see.
- Broaden your horizons.
- Don't think you can't intern just because you're no longer a student.
- Use your network.
- Practice interviewing.
- Make sure that your email address, outgoing voice mail message and online presence all portray you as a professional, mature adult, not a partying college student.
- Don't panic.
How To Get a Job When You Don't Have Much Experience
- Figure out why you'd be great at the job.
- Don't worry about being a perfect match.
- Write an outstanding cover letter.
- Pay a ton of attention to soft skills.
- Think about what non-obvious experience you can highlight.
- In your interview, strike the right balance between confidence and humility.
- Look for ways to get the experience you lack.
- Be realistic.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
From "Class, Cost, and College" (May 17, 2014):
THE word “crisis” pops up frequently in “Ivory Tower,” a compelling new documentary about the state of higher education in America.
It pops up in regard to the mountains of student debt. It pops up in regard to the steep drop in government funding for public universities, which have been forced to charge higher and higher tuition in response. That price increase is also a “crisis” in the estimation of one of many alarmed educators and experts on camera.
And “crisis” isn’t even their direst appellation. Andrew Delbanco, a Columbia University professor of American studies who functions as the movie’s conscience, notes an “apocalyptic dimension” to today’s discussion of college’s failings. The movie is set on verdant campuses. It’s rife with lecterns, books and graduation gowns. And yet it’s a kind of horror story.
Scheduled for theatrical release next month, “Ivory Tower” does an astonishingly thorough tour of the university landscape in a brisk 90 minutes, touching on the major changes and challenges, each of which could sustain its own documentary.
From "Who Gets to College?" (May 15, 2014):
There are thousands of students like Vanessa at the University of Texas, and millions like her throughout the country — high-achieving students from low-income families who want desperately to earn a four-year degree but who run into trouble along the way. Many are derailed before they ever set foot on a campus, tripped up by complicated financial-aid forms or held back by the powerful tug of family obligations. Some don’t know how to choose the right college, so they drift into a mediocre school that produces more dropouts than graduates. Many are overwhelmed by expenses or take on too many loans. And some do what Vanessa was on the verge of doing: They get to a good college and encounter what should be a minor obstacle, and they freak out. They don’t want to ask for help, or they don’t know how. Things spiral, and before they know it, they’re back at home, resentful, demoralized and in debt.
When you look at the national statistics on college graduation rates, there are two big trends that stand out right away. The first is that there are a whole lot of students who make it to college — who show up on campus and enroll in classes — but never get their degrees. More than 40 percent of American students who start at four-year colleges haven’t earned a degree after six years. If you include community-college students in the tabulation, the dropout rate is more than half, worse than any other country except Hungary.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Black and Latino students are more likely to attend schools with mostly poor students, while white and Asian students are more likely to attend middle-class schools, according to a report released Thursday by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.
In New York, California and Texas, more than half of Latino students are enrolled in schools that are 90% minority or more. In New York, Illinois, Maryland and Michigan, more than half of black students attend schools where 90% or more are minority, the report shows. Latinos are now the largest minority in public schools.
Black student attendance at majority-white schools steadily increased since the civil rights era but has been on the decline since the early 1990s. In 2011, only 23% of black students attended a majority white school -- the same percentage as in 1968, according to the report.
For more information, check out these articles:
Friday, May 16, 2014
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
The trouble is that it’s difficult to be a social worker. On the job we face high volume case loads, long hours, and crisis after crisis that leaves providers emotionally and physically exhausted. Unfortunately, these aren’t the only obstacles we face. Social workers are mental health practioners who are required to have a Masters level education and usually obtain licensure in their respective states. They work towards continuing education hours and often attend conferences and trainings for specializations. Despite this specialized skillset, social workers continue to make the list of the lowest paid professionals whether it is on Forbes, career-advice, or the Bureau of labor statistics. In addition, social workers graduate with an average of over $35,000 in student loan debt. The combination of low pay and high loan amount means that social workers are having trouble keeping their heads above water. While a few loan forgiveness programs exist, few offer real availability for jobs without relocating, or have starting salaries well below the average. Some areas are also excluded from any forgiveness or reimbursement programs that are available, despite high needs, or at risk populations.Support the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act by contacting your legislators today!
Friday, May 2, 2014
There has been much talk recently about who can legitimately call themselves social workers. What training is required? Which licenses are needed? And, there have been many discussions about the variations of social work licenses that exist in different states. License or no license, we know that many social workers are “hiding” in non-clinical environments and in places where it doesn’t seem much social work is happening. Places like Congress, the World Bank and federal agencies such as the departments of Labor, Housing, Education and Health and Human Services (HHS). In many of these settings, social workers operate under cover. They often do not identify themselves as social workers and they have little or no connection to professional social work organizations. Yet they are trained social workers with a B.S.W, a M.S.W., or a Ph.D. from an accredited social work school, but you would never know.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
WASHINGTON — In a fractured decision that revealed deep divisions over what role the judiciary should play in protecting racial and ethnic minorities, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a Michigan constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities.For more extensive coverage on this ruling, please browse the links below:
The 6-to-2 ruling effectively endorsed similar measures in seven other states. It may also encourage more states to enact measures banning the use of race in admissions or to consider race-neutral alternatives to ensure diversity.
States that forbid affirmative action in higher education, like Florida and California, as well as Michigan, have seen a significant drop in the enrollment of black and Hispanic students in their most selective colleges and universities. Continue reading the main story Related in Opinion
In five separate opinions spanning more than 100 pages, the justices set out starkly conflicting views. The justices in the majority, with varying degrees of vehemence, said that policies affecting minorities that do not involve intentional discrimination should be decided at the ballot box rather than in the courtroom.
- Colleges Seek New Paths to Diversity After Court Ruling (The New York Times)
- Answers on Affirmative Action Depend on How You Pose the Question (The New York Times)
- The Supreme Court deals a blow to affirmative action (The Washington Post)
- 5 takeaways from affirmative-action ruling (POLITICO)
- Supreme Court Upholds Bans on Racial Preferences in College Admissions (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- How Has Mich.’s Ban on Affirmative Action Affected Minority Enrollment? (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- U.S. Supreme Court upholds Michigan's ban on affirmative action in college admissions (The Ann Arbor News)
- Supreme Court's affirmative action ruling prompts passionate reaction on both sides of issue (The Ann Arbor News)
- Affirmative action ruling: AG Schuette calls decision 'monumental' and victory for 'citizens of Michigan' (The Ann Arbor News)
- Supreme Court's affirmative action ruling 'blindly ignores biases,' says Detroit congressman (The Ann Arbor News)
- Supreme Court shuts door on affirmative action in Michigan: What's next for U-M? (The Ann Arbor News)
- What we have lost because of Michigan's affirmative action ban (guest column) (The Ann Arbor News)
- Rochelle Riley: High court only deals with one side of race issue in admissions ruling (Detroit Free Press)
- Stephen Henderson: I am affirmative action (Detroit Free Press)
- Editorial: Michigan must forge new path to equal opportunity (Detroit Free Press)
- Schuette: Supreme Court 'made the right call' on affirmative action (Detroit Free Press)
- Nancy Kaffer: After affirmative action ruling, what now? (Detroit Free Press)
- Laura Berman: Affirmative action ruling jeopardizes Michigan's progress against inequality (The Detroit News)
- Affirmative action ruling may push more state votes to limit race considerations (The Detroit News)
- Michigan's college admissions fight far from over (The Detroit News)
- Matthew Gaertner: Next Chapter for Affirmative Action (InsideHigherEd)
- The New York Times Coverage on Affirmative Action
While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.
After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.
The numbers, based on surveys conducted over the past 35 years, offer some of the most detailed publicly available comparisons for different income groups in different countries over time. They suggest that most American families are paying a steep price for high and rising income inequality.
Friday, April 18, 2014
This list includes fifty people—listed chronologically in terms of their early important accomplishments—who helped change America in a more progressive direction during the twentieth century by organizing movements, pushing for radical reforms and popularizing progressive ideas. They are not equally famous, but they are all leaders who spurred others to action. Most were not single-issue activists but were involved in broad crusades for economic and social justice, revealing the many connections among different movements across generations. Most were organizers and activists, but the list includes academics, lawyers and Supreme Court justices, artists and musicians who also played important roles in key movements.
Some of the progressives on the list included educators and social workers: Jane Addams (2), Florence Kelley (4), John Dewey (5), W.E.B. Du Bois (7), and Frances Perkins (12).
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Her message: social workers need to be involved in all phases of the political process. She gives three reasons. One, political activity is part of the profession’s mission to be both about helping people to change and working to change society. Second, she believes social workers are uniquely trained to serve in the political arena. And third, because federal, state and local policy-making and legislation increasingly has to do with social services issues, social workers’ knowledge, experience, and understanding of the social welfare system are essential to effective policy making. The bottom line is that if social workers are not willing to participate in politics we forfeit our right to complain about the fairness of the system.
Related Article [October 2015]: Legislative Field Placements & Social Work's Impact on Policy
Saturday, April 12, 2014
The book aims to introduce readers to the depth and complexity of pursuing a public service career. It starts with an industry outlook to bring awareness about advantages and drawbacks in this type of work. The most common response is that people want to make a difference. The author scanned sources from industry professionals, association and employment websites, college carer centers, and books and newspaper articles. Overall, this book is very easy to read and left a positive impression on the types of job positions that exist in public and nonprofit sectors. In this world, networking (who you know) is very important to move up the career ladder.
The book is divided into three parts: politics, activism, and and government. Each job description contains a career profile with duties, similar titles, and career ladder (promotions). In addition, each career profile includes salary range, employment prospects, advancement prospects, sample of skills and experience, education and training, and tips for entry. There is an expansive appendices section containing frequently asked questions about civil service and federal employment, federal pay scale, graduate school programs in public service, advocacy groups, how to run for political office, and much more. This is a great resource if you're a recent college graduate or career changer who wants in public service.
- Political campaigns
- Political office
- Local/state government - general positions
- Local government
- Local/state specialists
- State/federal legislative staff
- Other state/federal positions
- International affairs
- Nonprofit advocacy administration
- Public interest law
- Community, social and international issues
- Lobbies, unions, and associations
- Service programs
Friday, April 4, 2014
A sense of belonging to the middle class occupies a cherished place in America. It conjures images of self-sufficient people with stable jobs and pleasant homes working toward prosperity.
Yet nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, more people are coming to the painful realization that they're no longer part of it.
They are former professionals now stocking shelves at grocery stores, retirees struggling with rising costs and people working part-time jobs but desperate for full-time pay. Such setbacks have emerged in economic statistics for several years. Now they're affecting how Americans think of themselves.
Since 2008, the number of people who call themselves middle class has fallen by nearly a fifth, according to a survey in January by the Pew Research Center, from 53 percent to 44 percent. Forty percent now identify as either lower-middle or lower class compared with just 25 percent in February 2008.
According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who say they're middle or upper-middle class fell 8 points between 2008 and 2012, to 55 percent.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014
Both residential and school segregation based on income have risen significantly over the past two decades, at the same time as the gap between rich and poor Americans has reached levels not seen since the early 1900s. There is growing evidence that, contrary to the cherished U.S. ideal of social mobility, disparities in wealth are ever more difficult to overcome and likely to be transmitted from one generation to the next.
I provide two outstanding guest posts from the discussions below:
- Sherrilyn Ifill: Focus on the Costs of Segregation for All (Discussion #1: Why Integration?)
- Richard Rothstein: Race Remains the American Dilemma (Discussion #2: Economic Segregation in Schools)
Thursday, March 13, 2014
In the city of Detroit, 56% of Latino adults don’t have a high school degree, the highest percentage among racial and ethnic groups in the tri-county region. In contrast, 76% of Asian-American adults in Oakland County have a college degree, the highest rate in the region.
There’s also an income gap across racial lines. In Oakland County, 25% of Asian-Americans make more than $150,000 a year, the highest among all groups in the region. An additional 22% of Asian-Americans in the county make between $100,00 to $150,000. Whites in Oakland County were the second wealthiest group in the region, with 16% of them making more than $150,000.
In contrast, 44% of African-Americans in the city of Detroit make less than $25,000, the highest percentage among racial groups in Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties. About 40% of Native Americans and 32% of Latinos in Wayne County make less than $25,000.
The report also showed that while Detroit’s population is 84% black, 56% of people who work in the city are white while 39% are African-American. The data shows that many African-Americans in the city of Detroit are commuting to the suburbs for their jobs.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
If all of the War on Poverty's programs had been fully funded in 1964, or were fully funded today, America could wipe out poverty. But, as it is, we face sharp cuts in food stamps and unemployment benefits at precisely the wrong time, when many American families are still attempting to pull out of the Great Recession. Nevertheless, the legacy of the War on Poverty – a more complex understanding of poverty and a framework for addressing it – remains strong, across party lines, today.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Social Work in the News:
- Good News for Macro Social Work Practice? (CRISP)
- CRISP Annual Donor Drive Seeks to Ensure Social Work Representation and Involvement in Public Policy (CRISP)
- U.S. Reps say more public policy social workers needed (NASW News)
- Reclaiming social welfare: Remembering Whitney Young (NASW News)
Don't forget to visit my last year's posts on the problems affecting the social work profession:
- Social Work Problem #1: Lack of Professional Support for Macro-Practice Social Workers
- Social Work Problem #2: Too Much Focus on Professionalization, Not Enough Focus on Social Justice
- Social Work Problem #3: The Curriculum Discourages the Recruitment of Men and Racial/Ethnic Minorities
- Social Work Problem #4: The Profession Suffers from an Identity Crisis
Monday, February 24, 2014
Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou Who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou Who hast by Thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
- All-night sit-in at the Ugli addresses the campus racial climate (Michigan Daily)
- U-M students hold all-night protest of racial climate (Detroit Free Press)
- U. of Michigan students to protest what they say is low minority enrollment, poor racial climate (WDIV Detroit)
- U-M students hold all-night protest for racial diversity (Fox News Detroit)
- 1,000-plus flock to University of Michigan 'Speak Out' to share minority experience, support activism (Ann Arbor News)
- How A Twitter Hashtag Sparked A Push For Diversity At The University Of Michigan (Huffington Post)
- The University of Michigan wants more black students (Michigan Radio)
- Black students 'feel silenced' as U-M president publicly reaffirms commitment to diversity (Ann Arbor News)
- Colorblind Notion Aside, Colleges Grapple With Racial Tension (The New York Times)
- Share Your Experience with Racism on Campus (The New York Times Blog: The Lede)
- In Diversity Gap at Michigan Flagship, Signs of a Lost Public Mission (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Being Black at Michigan (Michigan Today)
Friday, January 24, 2014
My name is Lester Spence. I am an Associate Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1991, and my PhD from the University of Michigan in 2001.
I worked hard for both of those degrees. But contrary to stories of “individual initiative,” I know my degrees didn’t come from my hard work alone. Student protest created the Comprehensive Studies Program that accepted me in 1987. Student protest created the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies where I took many of my classes, where I wrote the undergraduate paper in 1989 that led to my first book 22 years later. Student protest led to the hires of every single letter writer I had for grad school. Black students (and their allies) risked their academic careers. Risked their academic careers so years later people like me could find themselves and their purpose. Risked their careers to force the university to live up to its highest principles and values.
When I saw that black students at Michigan were forced to protest again, forced to issue demands protesters issued almost thirty years ago, I couldn’t stand by silently. We know what they’re risking. We know what they’re fighting for.
Our petition accomplishes two goals: First, the petition tells students they aren’t alone. They have received hate mail and threats. This in addition to the stress they’re already undergoing as students. Second, the university recently named Dr. Mark Schlissel (current Brown University provost) its next President. This petition tells incoming President Schlissel and other university officials that the issue of racial and economic equity are critical concerns they should not ignore.
The University of Michigan, like all prestigious institutions, is sensitive to public pressure. Adding your name will turn up the heat on university leadership and further enable students organizing for a Michigan that truly represents the leaders and best.
Tell the University of Michigan that it’s time they stand up and support student demands for more racial diversity and more economic support for poorer students.
- Black Student Union at U-M: Change needs to happen
- U-M to boost racial diversity following social media outpouring
- Online petition urges University of Michigan to act on black students' demands
- Black Student Union, U-M officials meet to talk solutions to students' diversity concerns
- Being Black at Michigan (Michigan Today)
Thursday, January 9, 2014
For years, the bargaining power of American workers has also been eroding because of the ever more efficient means of outsourcing abroad, new computer software that can replace almost any routine job, and an ongoing shift of full-time to part-time and contract work. And unions have been hit hard. In the 1950s, more than a third of private-sector workers were members of labor unions. Now, fewer than 7% are unionized.
All this helps explain why corporate profits have been increasing throughout this recovery (they grew more than 18% in 2013 alone) while wages have been dropping. Corporate earnings now represent the largest share of the gross domestic product — and wages the smallest share of GDP — since records have been kept.
Hence, the Great Redistribution.
Check out Reich's documentary on income inequality, Inequality for All (2013).
- Reich: The four biggest right-wing lies about income inequality (May 21, 2014)
- Reich: Debunking the myth that 'you're paid what you're worth' (March 19, 2014)
- Reich: The great U-turn (March 11, 2014)
- Reich: Minimum wage increase woes are wrong -- again (March 9, 2011)
- Reich: Lousy wages are the real job killers (March 1, 2014)
- Reich: The American right focuses on poverty, not inequality, to avoid blame (February 22, 2014)
- Reich: America, we have a 'we' problem (February 19, 2014)
- Reich: America can't afford to forget post-war economic booms (February 13, 2014)
Monday, January 6, 2014
Inequality is breeding more inequality. It's a story about paychecks, marriage, and homework. Now, it's not entirely clear why the top 1 percent have pulled so far away from everyone else, but there's a long list of suspects. Technology has let winners take, if not all, at least most, in fields like music; deregulation has set Wall Street free to make big bonuses off big bets (and leave taxpayers with the bill when they go bad); globalization and the decline of unions have left labor with far less leverage andshare of income; and falling top-end tax rates have exacerbated it all. But high-earners aren't just earning more today; they're also marrying each other more. It's what economists romantically call "assortative mating" -- and Christine Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, estimates inequality would be 25 to 30 percent lower if not for it.
Marriage is widening inequality today, and keeping it wide tomorrow. Well-off couples get married more, stay together more, read to their children more, and otherwise have more time and money to spend on their children's education. As the New York Times points out, economists Richard Murname and Greg Duncan have found that high-income couples have poured resources into the educational arms race at a prodigious pace the past generation. For one, the amount of time college-educated parents spend with their kids has grown at double the rate of others since 1975; for another, high-income households invested 150 percent more in "enrichment activities" for their kids from 1972 to 2006, compared to a 57 percent increase for low-income households.
UPDATE [January 8, 2014]: Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson introduced his plan, the War on Poverty, in his State of the Union address in January 8, 1964. The national poverty rate was 19 percent in 1964. His War on Poverty project created Medicare, Medicaid, a permanent food stamp rpogram, Head Start, Volunteers in Service to America, and the Job Corps. Since 1964, much remain the same -- the national poverty rate hovers around 15 percent. The New York Times' Room for Debate has a discussion on whether the United States needs another War on Poverty. Six experts, ranging from research institutes to non-profit organizations, debate the issue. Watch the six-minute speech below:
Sunday, January 5, 2014
There is $1 trillion in federal student debt today, and the possibility of default on those taxpayer-backed loans poses an acute risk to the economy’s recovery. Congress, faced with troubling default rates in the past, has made it especially hard for borrowers to get bankruptcy relief for student loans, and so only some hundreds try every year. And while there has been attention to aggressive student debt collectors hired by the federal government, the organization pursuing Ms. Jorgensen does something else: it brings legal challenges to those few who are desperate enough to seek bankruptcy relief.
That organization is the Educational Credit Management Corporation, which, since its founding in Minnesota nearly two decades ago, has been the main private entity hired by the Department of Education to fight student debtors who file for bankruptcy on federal loans.