Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why we are afraid of the police: an education issue

I am not going to present any data because this is not a research article, and I am not going to take on the various police departments because it is not necessary. What I would like to do is just point out some obvious facts and ask: why?

How many of you smile and think ‘owe it’s only the cops” when you see a police car behind you, even if you are doing nothing wrong? I would wager that is an impossibly short list.

How many of you welcome the police into your home when they knock on your door? Again, I would say a very short list.

How many of you feel safe when the police around? Short list.

There seems to be a huge increase in videos depicting police brutality, and a large number of websites dedicated on what to do if you “encounter” the police. Incarceration is up, jobs are down, and it seems the police are increasingly adopting military tactics.

How did we come to the point where the people who we appoint to “protect and serve us” instead instill fear and apprehension? I have heard the argument from the police side about how “no one respects authority anymore”, but I have to disagree for a few reasons:

  • I certainly respect my parents who are authority figures in my life even now
  • I respect the mentors in my life

People respect authority when they are in turn, respected as human beings.

I could go on, but let me say that if only one tenth of all we see about police brutality is true, that is still a very high number. What does this tell our kids? How does that fit into a “civilized” society?

People are afraid of the police and for good reason. Even off duty law enforcement are not spared from police brutality it seems. Law enforcement needs to be educated on how to fit into society before it is too late, and fyi this is not a dig at law enforcement as much as I am pointing out obvious facts.
There is something wrong, and it is getting worse. Educators can help since part of our job is finding solutions.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sharing an article about student loans April 22 2014

“Default by Death”

“WASHINGTON -- Some student loan borrowers have reported to federal consumer protection officials that their private lenders automatically placed them in default when their cosigner died or filed for bankruptcy, even when the borrowers were otherwise paying the loan on time.”

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau highlighted that issue on Wednesday in a report analyzing the more than 2,300 complaints it had received about private student loan companies from the beginning of last October through the end of March. (The volume of complaints was up by more than one-third compared to the same period last year).”  

“The issue is that some private student loans contain terms allowing lenders to demand the full outstanding amount of a loan when a borrower’s cosigner -- often a parent or grandparent -- dies or files for bankruptcy protection, according to Rohit Chopra, the CFPB’s student loan ombudsman who authored the report.”

“In some cases, Chopra said in a call with reporters, lenders have automatically placed a borrower in default upon the death or bankruptcy of the cosigner, without giving the borrower the opportunity to pay the full outstanding amount.”

“The report says that the CFPB “routinely” receives complaints about cosigner problems on private student loans, but Chopra conceded that officials do not know the prevalence of the problems.”

Have a great Tuesday

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Monday, April 21, 2014

Life in the digital age continued

I thought this would be a fun Monday story to share because it is an amusing look at how new technology can create new problems.

“Bryant Bans Selfies From Commencement”

Bryant University has told graduating seniors that they should refrain from taking selfies during commencement, USA Today reported. The president of Bryant, Ronald Machtley, is a social media fan and regularly participates in selfies with students. But officials worry that if many graduates stop for a selfie, the length of the ceremony could get too long.

Read it here:
Who would have thought?!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sharing an article on PLUS Loans April 18 2014

“Education Dept. Proposes New PLUS Loan Standards”

The U.S. Department of Education is proposing new eligibility requirements for Parent PLUS loans. Under draft regulatory language sent this week to members of the department’s negotiated rule making panel, parents would generally be barred from taking out PLUS loans if they have any type of debt exceeding $2,085 that is 90 or more days delinquent or that has been sent to a collection agency or charged off. The proposal also changes the look-back period for that “adverse credit” history from five years to two years.

Under a separate policy change that goes into effect July 1, families that are denied a Parent PLUS loan because of an adverse credit history may appeal to the Education Department, which can then provide the loan if there are "extenuating circumstances."

Have a nice weekend every one!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sharing an article April 17 2014

“Dartmouth President Seeks End to 'Extreme' Behaviors”

“Phil Hanlon, president of Dartmouth College, Wednesday night told student leaders that it was time for the institution to end certain behaviors that he said are undermining the college's outstanding undergraduate education and experience.”

“"Dartmouth's promise is being hijacked, hijacked by extreme and harmful behaviors, masked by their perpetrators as acceptable fun," Hanlson said. "The list of offenses is familiar. From sexual assaults on campus … to dangerous drinking that has become more the rule than the exception … to a general disregard for human dignity as exemplified by hazing, events with racist and sexist undertones, disgusting and sometimes threatening insults hurled on the Internet … a social scene that is too often at odds with the practices of inclusion that students are right to expect on a college campus in 2014."”

“Hanlon said that these behaviors are hurting the college, citing a decline in applications this year as one example. "We can no longer allow this college to be held back by the few who wrongly hide harmful behaviors behind the illusion of youthful exuberance. Routinized excessive drinking, sexual misconduct, and blatant disregard of social norms have no place at Dartmouth. Enough is enough."”

“He called for a task force -- including students -- to move to come up with strategies for changing campus culture.”

I think “extreme” is a conservative way of putting it, based upon some the things that have been happening most recently…

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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