Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lest we forget that this is still a problem…

This is just a reminder that sexual assault on college campuses and the way they are handled is still a problem.

“A Star Player Accused, and a Flawed Rape Investigation”

“Tallahassee, Fla. — Early on the morning of Dec. 7, 2012, a freshman at Florida State University reported that she had been raped by a stranger somewhere off campus after a night of drinking at a popular Tallahassee bar called Potbelly’s.”

“As she gave her account to the police, several bruises began to appear, indicating recent trauma. Tests would later find semen on her underwear.”

“For nearly a year, the events of that evening remained a well-kept secret until the woman’s allegations burst into the open, roiling the university and threatening a prized asset: Jameis Winston, one of the marquee names of college football.”

“The case has unfolded as colleges and universities across the country are facing rising criticism over how they deal with sexual assault, as well as questions about whether athletes sometimes receive preferential treatment. The Times’s examination — based on police and university records, as well as interviews with people close to the case, including lawyers and sexual assault experts — found that, in the Winston case, Florida State did little to determine what had happened.”

Read the whole thing here:

Disgraceful handling! That is all I can say here about this.

“Dueling Ads Over Sex Assault at Dartmouth”

“Dartmouth College is running an advertising campaign touting its work to better prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus, to counter another online ad campaign by the women’s rights advocacy group UltraViolet, which says Dartmouth has a “rape problem.” Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the UltraViolet ads, which are aimed at prospective and current students and alumni, have been seen more than 60,000 times since they started running more than a week ago. The Dartmouth ads, which are running on websites including that of The Boston Globe, redirect readers to a web page describing how – “Consistent with President Obama’s call to action to address sexual assault” – the college is “making progress on a number of fronts.””

“Dartmouth is one of a few dozen colleges whose students filled Title IX complaints alleging the institution does not do enough to protect against sexual assault.”

Read it here:

Where there is smoke there is fire. You have a problem Dartmouth, and you need to handle it.
Until we all truly take this seriously, it will not be handled seriously. The message we are sending currently says we care more about covering ourselves than prevention and helping victims.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Things about textbooks that make you go hmm…

When we think about textbooks as a student, we often think “my gosh they are so expensive” or “darn these are heavy”. I remember as a K12 teacher seeing rows of brand new books gathering dust because the ‘budget money had to be spent’(use it or lose it money).

I understand that textbooks are truly necessary, especially good ones. Also, I do personally prefer hard copy texts to eBooks, but that might be just a generational thingJ

After reading this article today, I do realize that somewhere along the line something has to change about textbooks; I am just not sure exactly what though.

“The hidden costs of unsolicited textbooks — a view from the mailroom”

“Ugh, I HATE those! Nobody wants them, nobody asks for them, and they take up valuable space in our truck and our holding area.”

“As far as the cost it passes onto us, it’s definitely hard to quantify, but I can tell you all the different ways we waste time on those packages.”

“First, we get the packages from UPS or Fedex and start the receiving process. That means identifying the name and department of each package so we can scan it in. Some of the publishers seem to think that Math, Statistics, and Computer Science are all one department [ed.: These are three separate departments at our place], so that means looking people up and sometimes calling a few departments to find out where to take the package that nobody wants. I’d say that when the mailings come (it’s usually in waves), we spend 20–30% of the receiving time on them, depending on how much other mail we have that day.”

“After being scanned into our own tracking software, the books get moved into our holding space. They’ll sit there for an hour or so, until whoever’s delivering packages loads them into the truck. Each one adds 5–10 seconds to our loading time, so they add up pretty quick when we’re getting 5 or more for each department. It’s worse with the ones that are packed in that heavy paper as opposed to an actual box. We have to find a space to wedge them in securely, because they don’t stack well.”

“The delivery phase isn’t heavily affected by the books, unless there’s a lot of them or they sent books for several departments. Usually, we’ll get one or two departments’ mailings at a time, and there’s often other things going to the same department or building, so the extra stop isn’t a huge factor on a normal day.[…]”

“As far as solutions go, there’s not much hope. We could refuse shipment when we get them, but if we mistake a wanted package for a book (not easy, but it does happen), we run into problems. They don’t put packing slips on the majority of the boxes, and even if they did, the carriers and we don’t have time to check each one we suspect.”

What are your thoughts on this subject? What are your experiences like? Do you have any recommendations?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sometimes we do not celebrate achievements or fail to see them altogether

I am a first generation American; my parents are from countries in West and Central Africa. However, higher educational achievement has been a staple in my family for many generations (yes you heard me correctly and I am generation number seven), so stories of success are expected, they are not just prayed for. What is wrong with expecting high educational achievement from ourselves, and our kids, regardless of our cultures? What is wrong with people actually achieving it?

The first article I am going to share demonstrates how we still have a long way to go when it comes to culture and education. I use the word culture not race, because we are all the human race and skin color does not make a culture:

“This Is What Racial Inequality Looks Like”

“Recently two black male high-school students made news when they each earned impressive numbers of acceptances to Ivy League Universities. Kwasi Enin is a first-generation American from Long Island, whose parents, who are nurses, emigrated from Ghana. He was accepted into all eight Ivy League colleges: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Penn.”

“The other student, Avery Coffey, from Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, grew up in the impoverished 8th Ward of Washington. He was raised by his mother, a medical technician, and was accepted into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, and Penn.”

“A columnist in The Washington Post dismissed the achievements, saying far too much was being made of the story and choosing to use the occasion to write an article about “how we need to stop talking about the Ivy Leagues” so much, because they are overvalued. An article in USA Today announcing Enin’s accomplishments ignited a firestorm when some readers took offense to a passage that the newspaper has now edited out: A college-admissions expert from New York City was quoted as saying that because Enin was a first-generation American of Ghanaian descent, he wasn’t a “typical African-American kid.””

“These achievements deserve more than dismissal, qualification, and complaint, particularly given the low numbers of black students who even attend four-year colleges, much less those that are elite. Consider this: Almost 70 percent of blacks in the United States who receive college degrees do so from for-profit institutions or community colleges, not B.A.-granting four-year colleges and universities, much less those in the Ivy League.”


What these young men achieved is a statistical anomaly that goes beyond any culture, and it is a wonderful anomaly; we should all be proud of and celebrating it, not scoffing! How many people do you know who have achieved what they did regardless of culture?

This next story deserves more notice because there are people out there who go out every day trying to help students reach a goal that is normally out of reach for them (across all cultures):

“Tragic Death of an Idealist”

“This is the season when the press runs article after article about how it was harder to get into the Ivy League this year than it was last. The stories suggest that the admissions is about gatekeeping. Thursday's tragic accident in which a truck hit a bus carrying high school students to Humboldt State University is a reminder that there are many people and programs in admissions focused much more on opening gates than guarding them.”

“Among the 10 people killed was Arthur Arzola, 26, a Humboldt State admissions representative in Los Angeles and a graduate student in educational counseling at the University of La Verne. He not only recruited students for the program, but accompanied them on the long ride from Los Angeles to Humboldt State, the northernmost campus in the California State University System. While bodies are still being identified, 5 of the 10 dead are believed to be high school students.

“Arzola was one of the reasons why scores of students from Los Angeles made the trip. He personally recruited them. He understood what it meant to work multiple jobs -- not all of them glamorous -- to achieve goals. On his Facebook page, he lists his work as being a graduate student; being an admissions representative; and being an associate at In-and-Out Burger.”

This young man lived a short life that meant something; he trying to pull people up with him as he rose. Why are we not celebrating his life a little more? Why do we focus on the typical education stories of achievement when this young man clearly was a high achiever?

We have long way to go in the United States when it comes to issues of culture, and yes there are many issues yet to be dealt with. However, this country can achieve anything when it sets its mind to doing so. I know that my blog will not solve the issues, but I hope it will start an honest conversation within us and with each other.

How do we want future generations of Americans to remember us? Are we committed to the betterment of future generations or are we simply obsessed with keeping the status quo?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, April 11, 2014

Have a good weekend April 11 2014

Have a great weekend and do something positive!

Here is an interesting and fun story for you:

“Stephen Colbert Takes on Common-Core Tests”

“As news about the Common Core State Standards continue to trickle into the public consciousness, opponents have similarly stepped up their criticism.”

“And now that criticism has come to late night: On "The Colbert Report" Tuesday, Stephen Colbert (or the pseudo-conservative character he plays, at least) ripped into the common-core-aligned tests, which have many parents and teachers worried:”

Have fun and have a good weekend.

P.S just enjoy the video, no politics here.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What do you do on spring break

Spring break is always interesting because my kids go to a year round school, which means they get almost a month off for spring break. I wish we could go on a month long vacation, but we all know that does not work out in the U.SJ

What do you like to do with your spring break time (those of you with kids I should say)? Please share, maybe we can steal ideas from each other!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

News on City College of San Francisco April 8 2014

“Judge Dismisses a Lawsuit Against City College of San Francisco’s Accreditor”

“Judge Curtis Karnow of the San Francisco Superior Court has dismissed one of the lawsuits asserting that the City College of San Francisco’s accreditor acted improperly when it last year moved to revoke the institution’s accreditation.

“The lawsuit was filed by the Save CCSF Coalition, a group made up of faculty and staff members as well as students, against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Judge Karnow granted the commission’s motion to dismiss the suit, saying he disagreed with the suit’s assertion that the commission had acted unfairly or illegally.”

“Similar lawsuits against the commission are still pending, including one by San Francisco’s city attorney. Judge Karnow ruled in January that the college could not be stripped of its accreditation until a trial was completed. That trial is expected to begin in October.”

Read it here:

I sincerely hope there is a real plan in place to help those 80,000 students who are affected by this ongoing issue, because lawsuits are not plans.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, April 7, 2014

Something for highered and something for K12 April 7 2014

  • I will say this should count for all colleges in general:

“Community Colleges Can Foster Student Success by Supporting Their Adjuncts”

“When community colleges fail to support the part-time faculty members who teach more than half of the classes offered at such institutions, they are fostering a culture that creates a barrier to student success, according to a new report (click here to read report).

“Part-time faculty members, themselves marginalized on campuses, are more likely to teach struggling students, says the report, which was produced by the Center for Community College Student Engagement, at the University of Texas at Austin. And that dynamic is most pronounced in developmental (or remedial) courses, where more than three-quarters of faculty members are adjuncts.”

“"Too often, students’ education experiences are contingent on the employment status of the faculty members they happen to encounter," reads the report, "Contingent Commitments: Bringing Part-Time Faculty Into Focus." It is being released here today during the American Association of Community Colleges’ annual convention.”

  • In this next article, I am glad the author pointed out something that is not often mentioned in the overall K12 education conversation: ‘decent salary is important for educators however, a high level of societal respect is probably more important’. After all, they are serving the community:

“Teacher Quality Is a New National-Security Issue”

“It's more than just traditional classroom management and preparing to be effective in classrooms with a mix of students in language, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and learning styles. Today, transformational technologies are bombarding classrooms faster than schools of education can absorb and evaluate them. Then there is the challenging mix of new, uncertain teacher-evaluation systems, high-stakes tests, and the Common Core State Standards and related assessments, all of which will have a commanding influence in today's classrooms and teaching practice.”

“One way to reframe the complex preparation conversation is to view public education as a national-security issue.”

“In countries such as Finland and Singapore, teaching’s allure builds from an amalgam of substantial incentives, from college scholarships to promises of respectable salaries. And, coincidentally, these benefits come with a certain level of social and professional respect that trumps most other occupations.”

We have a lot of work to do, but until we truly look at this in the best interest of students overall, we will continue to struggle with this issue.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam