Friday, May 31, 2013

Homeless in San Diego

Christy Riddle pushes her 9-month-old baby, Charlie, in his stroller from the Rescue Mission Emergency Shelter.

I am shedding some light on something we all see daily living in San Diego.

“Homeless Families Crowd San Diego Shelters”

“Families make up nearly one-third of the nation’s homeless population. The National Center on Family Homelessness estimates 1.6 million children will experience homelessness this year”.

“A record number of San Diego homeless families are waiting to get into a long-term shelter. Waiting lists average two to four months. During the wait, many families stay at emergency shelters, like the San Diego Rescue Mission's Emergency Shelter for Women and Children, which has been over-capacity just about every night for the past two years”.


This is America; I know we can do better.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, May 30, 2013

So it continues…

“Dartmouth Students In Clery Act Complaint Charged With Violating Code Of Conduct”

“Dartmouth College students pressing a federal complaint claiming the school underreported sexual assaults said Dartmouth is retaliating by charging them with violating the student code of conduct for an April protest”.

“At least 10 students involved in the April 19 demonstration were notified this week that they face adjudications for a possible violation of the Dartmouth standards of conduct for failing to follow college officials' instructions, according to letters from Nathan Miller, director of the Undergraduate Judicial Affairs Office. Seven students who received letters were either public complainants or were involved in preparing and processing a federal Clery Act complaint filed against Dartmouth last week, alleging the school failed to prosecute and report sexual violence on campus, said Dartmouth senior Lea Roth”.

"We were protesting sexual assault on this campus, and the administration's failure to respond to homophobia and racism on campus," Nastassja Schmiedt, a Dartmouth sophomore, told The Huffington Post. We were informally informing the college of civil rights violations".

Eventually people need to have a real conversation on prevention, but also on how to communicate effectively with each other. The original incident is getting lost in a quagmire of other things.

Keep our students safe, and students find a way to have a conversation all the while remembering that each issue deserves its own separate conversation.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Online Etiquette

With today’s rapid methods of communication, we often forget to slow down sometimes and actually communicate. Worse, we think nothing of communicating really badly:

“i missed ta class yesterday, well honestly because i was out to late and feelin’

crappy the next day did i miss anything cn i make up the quiz?”

“dear XXXX. Hows it going? I am writing 2 U to let U know that we are mssing you transcripts and U will not be admitted. I know you are probably on vakay, but I thought I’d drop you a line. Later!”

I kid you not; these are real supposedly professional emails in an education setting!

Slow down people and remember we are in the business of education, and the first step is to communicate effectively.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Drama of School Testing

It is that time of the year when many K12 students are taking standardized tests, and schools are revving the students up for them. You also get many parents who are against testing trying to lobby you to boycott them, etc.
We are lucky to be living a country with so many freedoms and with a free working education system, even if the system is far from perfect. These freedoms allow everyone to question without retaliation (in theory). I am not arguing for the test or against the test, what I am talking about is how different administrators, teachers, and parents behave at this time.
I always receive more correspondence from administrators at this time, all about the test of course. I wish I would hear from them when I call about matters that are of equal importance to me.
Teachers are telling student “do your best”, “get plenty of sleep”, and “have a good breakfast”. However, isn’t that what they are supposed to do every day? What is different now? I remember gum being one of the banes of my existence while I was a classroom teacher, and I find during tests this year they are giving students spearmint gum to chew because “it helps them focus”. Where do you think that gum is going to end up? Under the table of course!
Parents join the insanity by protesting everything they dislike about the tests, and they are given extra fodder with allowance of gum and other special “sweet test treats”.
No one at school is happy during this time; there are a lot of strained faces, a lot of anger, and a lot of people holding their breath. This is not healthy!
We need to pick our battles better because the children see all this and wonder what is going on with everyone. They begin to dread this time of the year not because of the tests, but because of the element of madness that exists during this time.
Testing exists, whether you like it or not, but do we need to fill or children with dread and test anxiety? Do we need argue, fuss, and fight at this time every year? The conversation about testing needs to begin before testing starts and it does not need to be an uncivilized loud conversation; it is ok to talk in your ‘inside voice’.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam
School testing search: About 516,000,000 results (0.43 seconds) from Google

Monday, May 27, 2013

Good explanation of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday which occurs every year on the final Monday of May.[1] Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.[2] Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.[3] It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South, notably in the mountains. In cases involving a family graveyard where remote ancestors as well as those who were deceased more recently are buried, this may take on the character of an extended family reunion to which some people travel hundreds of miles. People gather on the designated day and put flowers on graves and renew contacts with kinfolk and others. There often is a religious service and a "dinner on the ground," the traditional term for a potluck meal in which people used to spread the dishes out on sheets or tablecloths on the grass. It is believed that this practice began before the American Civil War and thus may reflect the real origin of the "memorial day" idea.[4]

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.[5]

Friday, May 24, 2013

Our Children Are Not The Enemy They Are The Future

In this day and age of #zerotolerance in schools, it is often too easy for a smart vibrant student to all of a sudden be labeled as a criminal and have their life ruined. It can be worse for African-American children since often they do not get the ‘press’ needed to clear their names.

Putting felonies on children who do not even have the legal right to vote means you are #disenfranchising a future generation of humans and voters (cannot vote with a felony).

“Teen Who Was Expelled From School For Science Explosion Receives Full Scholarship U.S. Space Academy”

“Kiera Wilmot, the 16-year-old honor student expelled from her high school after she allegedly ignited a chemical explosion on school property, received a full scholarship to the U.S. Space Academy, courtesy of a NASA veteran who, as a teenager, was accused of starting a forest fire during a science experiment”.

“Kiera Wilmot made an honest mistake, but the police were trying to throw away her life with a felony. After the community stood up for the girl, the charges were dropped, and she was allowed to move on with her life. Well, her greatness is really starting to shine, as she was recently granted several extraordinary opportunities through scholarship offers she has received”.

Dr. Boyce Watkins recently wrote about another group of students who were arrested for throwing water balloons. Is it now open season on black children? We have to start asking ourselves why it’s suddenly become so easy for a black child to be sent to prison or jail. It appears that learning and education have been outlawed by the school systems, but getting arrested has become a leading trend. Rev. Jesse Jackson also regularly mentions all the schools in Chicago with old books but brand new metal detectors”.

“Dr. Christopher Emdin, a professor of education at Columbia University, says that the schools are now very similar to prisons in terms of how they are structured, and how the inhabitants are treated. Kiera overcame her situation, but there are thousands of kids across the country who aren’t so lucky. Maybe it’s time to attack the system that is attacking us”.

Kids will be curious, but that does not mean they are criminal. They need guidance and nurturing, as well as the knowledge that we have their best interests at heart. We incarcerate too many people as it is for too long.

We are concerned about the kids are we not?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Leadership in Higher Education

For those of you who work in #highered, I would like you take a moment, and look around at your leaders and think about a few things. How did they get into that #leadership position, do they have the leadership qualifications, are they good friends with folks high up the food chain, how long do they last?
This piece is not a blame game, I am just pointing out facts:
1.      Leaders often are promoted because of longevity not skill set
2.      It is often who you know that matters
3.      Having a doctorate does not automatically make you a leader
4.      Leadership skills must constantly be renewed
5.      A lot of people promoted to leadership positions are not ready and go through a “trial by fire”
6.      How many institutions have a written succession plan or a leadership #training program that their staff can take?
I could ask many more questions, but I hope you get the point: sometimes we set people up for failure even though we do not mean to, sometimes the political choice is not the smart choice, and sometimes we have the wrong people in leadership.
“College Leader Takes Over Effort to Train New Campus Chiefs”
“After 15 years as president of Juniata College, a small, liberal-arts institution in Huntingdon, Pa., Thomas R. Kepple Jr. is about to take the reins at one of the country's few organizations that specialize in training potential college and university presidents”.
“He has no doubt that the task of coaching deans, provosts, and vice presidents for leadership roles will increase in urgency in the coming decade, because so many chief executives are nearing retirement in a time of great change”.
Why aren’t there more training programs like this? In #K12 education, if a person wants to become a principal they need to get another credential as well as have a certain amount of experience. Why don’t highered institutions have this?
If we have good leaders in place, that institute good policies and programs, we will have fewer incidents like this one:
“New Complaints Against Colleges on Sexual Assaults”
“Students, joined by civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, on Wednesday filed complaints against Dartmouth and Swarthmore Colleges, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California over their handling of complaints of sexual assaults, The Los Angeles Times reported. The complaints -- filed with the U.S. Department of Education -- charge that the institutions have failed to adequately investigate reports of sexual assault or to accurate report such incidents as required by federal law. The charges are similar to those made recently with the Education Department about Occidental College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. College officials, while acknowledging periodic missteps, have generally said that they make every effort to comply with the relevant laws”.
Seems like a no brainer to me. We are educators right?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Case for Female Political Empowerment, and Leadership in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Today I am sharing inmformation that someone else has written, and the purpose of this is to try and shed light on the continuing issues in the DRC. Please read it and join the conversation.

"At 4 am in a dismal and dirty pit, seven thousand miles away from the golden lights, the glitz, the glitter, and the black tarred highways of the developed world a ten year old boy is digging dark red earth out of an open pit mine, a massive sore on the once green landscape of this beautiful country.  He is hungry, thirsty, tired and terrified yet he keeps on digging out the valuable red earth and shovels it into the waiting wheelbarrows of the other adolescent miners waiting nearby. He knows that if he were to stop working, despite his bone deep exhaustion, the consequences for not only himself but his entire family would be dire.  The hard eyes of the foreign soldiers guarding them, full of the promise of pain and degradation, these men who look like him and speak the same language as him and his fellow workers seem to possess a hatred of them which borders on insanity.  So he keeps on digging out the valuable red earth, he keeps on digging not for the meager scraps of food that they are provided to keep them energized enough to continue working, nor out of any sense of work ethic or pride that this work inspires.   No, he keeps on digging in the hope that as long as the hard eyes of these savage soldiers from a neighboring land are upon him and his fellow workers there is a chance that they will not stray to the village where their mothers, aunts and sisters are held hostage to their good behavior.  But these foreign soldiers are like animals and despite all his hard work and all his best efforts he knows that tonight when he returns to his village he will once again have to comfort some female member of his family, who has become another victim of rape perpetrated by these soldiers and perhaps he will have to wipe the tears of someone else’s mother as she laments the abduction of her young son to swell the ranks of these barbaric conquerors.  And as he shovels the valuable red earth into the wheelbarrow he cannot help but wonder what his people did to merit such torment?  When his shift ends several hours after sunset and he is being escorted home through the forest by the foreign soldiers who salute the blue helmeted U.N. soldiers lounging in their white armored vehicles, he wonders where were the U.N. soldiers and the stalwart nations of the developed world when his nine year old sister was raped last week"?

Read the rest here:

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Clothing donations can sometimes be harmful

I have seen firsthand the abandoned cloth factories in Central Africa, I have seen firsthand the truck loads of clothes that has been carted into the public markets by the Salvation Army; this clothing is destined to be sold by the pound.

The pre-printed t-shirts from the losing superbowl team, the castoffs that look so out of place but are very commonly seen:

People mean well, but let us face the truth, most people do not think beyond getting rid of stuff they do not want, most people have no clue of the negative impact their castoff clothing can have.

“About 80 percent of the donations are carted away by textile recyclers, says Jackie King, the executive director of Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART), a trade association for textile recyclers. She says that means about 3.8 billion pounds of clothing that is donated each year is recycled”.

“King says nearly half the donated clothes -- about 45 percent -- is exported”.

“The sale of Western cast-offs starts with charities in European and North American countries that earn money by offloading donated clothes they cannot find buyers for. The unwanted used clothes often end up in landfills. Increasingly, however, they are also being purchased by wholesalers, who then sort, label and package them into containers for export to different markets”.

“A large portion of these previously owned clothes ends up in market stalls across Africa -- according to an Oxfam report, used garments account for over 50% of the clothing sector by volume in many sub-Saharan African countries”.

"The long-term effect is that countries such as Malawi or Mozambique or Zambia can't really establish or protect their own clothing industries if they are importing second-hand goods," says Andrew Brooks, lecturer at King's College London and co-author of a study called Unravelling the Relationships between Used-Clothing Imports and the Decline of African Clothing Industries".  "Your t-shirt may be quite cheap for someone to buy, but it would be better if that person could buy a locally manufactured t-shirt, so the money stays within the economy and that helps generate jobs," he adds.

There needs to be a balance in charity. In the short term, the donations do help; however, what is the long-term goal? If the goal continues to be ‘get rid of stuff we do not want’, then the system is completely flawed. The continent of Africa needs real lasting investment, not just ‘dump and run’ as what is happening with the clothing donations, or ‘come in and takeover’, as what has happened with Asian manufacturing.
 The introduction of trade-liberalization policies and the opening of economies in the 1980s and 1990 allowed both second-hand and cheap new imports, especially from Asian countries, to enter markets across the continent. This undermined growth opportunities for many local industries and led to the closure of several African clothing factories, say experts.” (
Educate yourself on the long-term effects of the things we do, ignorance is not a good excuse.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Monday, May 20, 2013

Recommend this article…

Read this article in the chronicle today, and I think the authors sums up many of the issues of an unhealthy sexual environment on college campuses right now.

“let’s talk about sex on campus”

By Andrew P. Smiler and Rebecca F. Plante

 “Nonconsensual sex on campus has been a persistent topic of public conversation over the last few years. The current academic year has included a first-person account of rape published in the Amherst College student paper and a subsequent oversight-committee report, student protests that led the administration at Dartmouth College to cancel classes for a day, and claims that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill retaliated against a student who HAD spoken publicly about the institution's lack of response to her claims of sexual assault. And in what seems like an annual event, a high-profile athletic team was investigated for sexual assault; this year it was the University of Montana football team”.

“Administrators may think there is little they can do, because sexual conduct and misconduct reflect individual choices that are beyond institutional control—but we disagree. Campus-based awareness, educational, and support programs—including events to promote safety, rape-awareness activities, and counseling services for victims—suggest that the institution plays an important role. When sexual assault or rape occurs, campus police and the institutional judicial system often, but not always, become involved; local police and courts rarely do”.

“Critics accurately point out that most safety programs teach "don't get raped" instead of teaching "don't rape," and that other programs help victims but don't prevent victimization. They argue that campus judicial systems do not effectively handle subsequent concerns about safety: Victims are typically left to alter their course schedules and living arrangements to ensure that they don't come in contact with perpetrators. This creates neither a sense of safety nor a positive learning environment for those trying to cope. What's more, prohibiting victims from speaking publicly about their cases suggests that these judicial systems are more interested in protecting the college's image than in protecting students”.

Please read it and chime in. The solutions do exist.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sharing an article on military sexual assault

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odienaro, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey at the White House in Washington D.C., on May 16, 2013.

“The Roots of Sexual Abuse in the Military”

“Even before the Army confirmed a third military sexual-assault preventer had been implicated in sexual harassment in the past two weeks late Thursday – the charges ranged from sexual battery, to pandering, to stalking an ex-wife – the Army’s top general, and the commander-in chief, said they’ve had enough”.

“Sexual assault in the ranks is going to make — and has made — the military less effective than it can be,” President Obama said at a meeting of the nation’s military leaders to focus on the issue. It is dangerous to our national security”.

Keep your eyes open!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, May 16, 2013

President is now weighing in on sexual assault issue

“Obama to meet military leaders on sexual assault”

“WASHINGTON -- President Obama will meet today with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to discuss the military's sexual assault crisis, the Pentagon announced”.

“The meeting is scheduled for 3:45. The military has been rocked by several high-profile sex scandals, the latest of which involves the investigation of a sergeant at Ft. Hood who officials say had been running a prostitution service and sexually assaulted another soldier”.

“The other service chiefs and secretaries and senior enlisted officers will also attend the meeting with Obama”.


Make no mistake everyone this is a crisis and it has been so for a long time. I still believe educators can have a major impact on this, I believe we can help with the solution.

Do not take your eyes away from  this issue.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More military sexual assault news May 15, 2013

The main gate at the U.S. Army post at Fort Hood, Texas (Reuters)

I actually find this quite depressing. There are so many fine people who serve in the U.S military. Why does this continue to happen?

“Investigators in Fort Hood, Texas, are looking into allegations that an Army sergeant sexually assaulted three female soldiers and forced one into prostitution”.

“Just a week after an Air Force lieutenant colonel working in its sexual-assault prevention office was arrested and accused of sexual battery, a second U.S. service member assigned to a military sexual assault program is being investigated for various forms of sexual misconduct, officials revealed Tuesday”.

“A U.S. Army sergeant first class, assigned to III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, is now under investigation for pandering — a prostitution solicitation charge — abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates, the Pentagon said”.

“A Defense Department source told NBC News the publicly unidentified soldier allegedly forced at least one subordinate soldier into prostitution and sexually assaulted two others”.


You know, this article speaks for itself. Let me put a question out there: what can we educators do to help solve this problem?

Solution time folks!  It is getting worse.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

HigherEd Update May 2013

Latest and greatest on a major player in the education industry:

“U. of Phoenix Might Face Lesser Sanction from Accreditor”

“A committee of a regional accreditor last week recommended that the University of Phoenix be placed "on notice," which is a lesser sanction than the probation a peer review team suggested earlier this year, the university said in a financial statement. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is considering the university's 10-year bid for reaffirmation. The peer review team identified alleged governance problems at the university, including a lack of autonomy from its holding company, the Apollo Group. The university made subsequent changes in response to the report. The commission's Board of Trustees is scheduled to make the final ruling on the university's bid next month. The board gets the final call and is not required to take into account the report released last week by the commission's Institutional Actions Council First Committee”.


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Monday, May 13, 2013

Let us start the week with something not so negative

I found this interesting, but not necessarily for the reasons one might think:
“WASHINGTON — Right after the election in November, it seemed that Congressional Republicans and the Obama administration had reached a rare policy consensus: both supported requiring colleges to disclose more information about graduates’ outcomes in general, and a bill from Senators Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden that would require the disclosure of salary data (among other statistics) in particular”.
They are talking about tracking student beyond college, something that many colleges try and do, or could do anyway. The good news is that this is step in the right direction to track military/veteran students; this is something that is not currently being done.

I focused my dissertation on this subject (much smaller scale), and one of my conclusions are that in order to support our military/veterans in college, we must understand how they are achieving.
The data is actually there, and if we started letting all those eager graduate students take a crack at collating the data, we might actually start getting some surprising results. Too much useful information is hidden away in silos when it should be available for responsible and ethical research. As for cost, the good news is that it probably would not cost anything because graduate students need topics anyway.
Imagine the possibilities if they get this database right! There could be some real growth in student services.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sharing a story again

I read this today and realized this was in my backyard, and that I actually know folks at this campus. Disappointing, but it needs to come to light…

“San Marcos Students Protest University Response to ‘Cholas’ Photos”

— Students at Cal State San Marcos, joined by a few staff and faculty, staged a sit-in outside the university president’s off Thursday. The protesters are unhappy about the university’s response to sorority members who posed as ‘cholas’ or Latina gang members in photos, then posted those photos on social media during a sorority retreat”.

It will get better!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Just sharing info today

As a California educator and a parent, I found this story rather disturbing:
“California's Looming Educational Attainment Crisis”
“A low level of educational attainment is the one common characteristic of California's working poor, according to a new report from the Campaign for College Opportunity, a California-based advocacy group. About one in five adult Californians have not earned a high school degree or its equivalent, the report said, and the state is facing a workforce shortage of 2.3 million college graduates by 2025. To help fix the problem the group recommended better coordination between the state's K-12 and higher education systems as well as a statewide data system to track students' progress”.
I would be interested in knowing more about who is part of the “Campaign for College Opportunity” group. Are there teachers involved with them? Why are so often trying to fix problems rather than preventing them in first place? We have the expertise available free, just look at all the great teachers we do have; let us use their expertise.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The media’s culture of fear

Do you remember the “Africanized” killer bees? Do you remember how in the 70s and 80s we were told they were coming to wipe us out?  Do you remember all those really bad movies they made about the bees? Most importantly, do you remember what happened? Absolutely nothing is what happened; the so-called killer bees are now part of the native bee population and we are all still alive.
“The hybrid bees are far more defensive than any of the various European subspecies. Small swarms of Africanized bees are capable of taking over European honey bee hives by invading the hive and establishing their own queen after killing the European queen” (really?)
Meet the latest “African threat”:  Deadly giant snail found in Houston”
“Residents of a Houston neighborhood are being warned to stay away from giant African land snails after a woman found one in her garden and snapped a photo of it. The snails, researchers warn, are potentially dangerous to touch, in part because they can carry meningitis. Scientists have warned anyone who comes in contact with them to wash their hands thoroughly”.

“There are some misconceptions out there that land snails carry harmful bacteria and diseases that people can become very ill from. That is not true so do not worry if you touch some of their slime or items they have come into contact. You do want to wash your hands well with soap and water though after handling them”.
“However, people can become ill of the snails they eat aren’t properly cooked. If you are trying new recipes then you want to make sure you follow the cooking instructions well. That way you can avoid this becoming a problem. There are plenty of terrific recipes to try too so if you don’t like snails cooked one way give a new approach a try. Not everyone is a fan of eating them though so don’t feel obligated if you aren’t comfortable with it”.
I remember as a child in Nigeria, eating these so called very “deadly giant African snails”, and the only thing I can remember is that they were delicious. None of us caught any disease or got sick because they were cooked properly.
Snails will eat your plants and mess up your garden, no doubt, but have we not heard this BS before? Why does the media try and keep us afraid? In addition, why do they continue to use Africa to do it? Africa is a continent, not a country and it is one of the most diverse continents in the world (yes it is). This giant snail that is here, if it even does causes disease, has nothing to do with Africa because it is here not there. How many cases of meningitis have actually been proven due this snail?
The continent of Africa deserves more recognition than war, poverty, disease, and death. It is most likely the birthplace of humanity and there is a rich history and many positive traditions that still exist.

Let us teach our kids about the positives of Africa shall we? Who knows, they might even enjoy learning about it.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

We do not need guns on college campuses

Recently, a few states have or are getting close to allowing students to carry guns on campus. Texas I believe is the state closest to getting it done, and in Montana, the governor just vetoed the bill that would have allowed it to happen.
What are they thinking! Before we get into who is conservative or liberal, who believes in the second amendment or not, let us remember this is about student safety not politics. Keep your political views out of the equation and think for a moment!
Here are just some of the issues colleges are having
·         Women getting sexually assaulted on campus
·         Drug and alcohol fueled parties
·         Racism
·         Cultures of extreme meanness
·         Classism
I could go on, however, the question is do you really want to throw firearms into that mix? Imagine what could happen if young, emotional, hormone filled, sometimes irrationally ignorant students get a hold of a firearm.
College is supposed to be a place of learning, and we are supposed to be teaching our students not arming them. I have no issue with guns in the right place at the right time, and as a long time educator, I strongly believe based upon experience that arming students will make things worse.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Monday, May 6, 2013

How courtesy can counter this culture of extreme rudeness on campuses

The other day during a discussion with friends and family, the topic of racist people came up. It was a well-balanced and constructive discussion, and the conclusion I came up with, was one that had been obvious to my family for a long time; I deal with racists folks very well, it is those that are rude that set me off.
Let me clarify.
Not to pick on the south (but I will), if I go to Mississippi, I expect a certain amount of ‘old racial’ values to persist, I expect to hear certain racial epithets, I expect to be looked at with suspicion in certain situations. While I wish we lived in a world that did not still have such ignorance, it does not bother me because my experience is those folks will still be polite about it. Funny eh? Polite racists! However, the simple attempt at courtesy makes a difference.  They are not pretending to be something that they are not, there is no ‘back stabbing’.
Here is are a couple articles that describes the kind of rudeness I despise:
1.       “Dealing With Racism on College Campuses”
“Because of her Muslim surname, classmates often asked Mohamed if her family was religious. When she explained that they weren't, her classmates routinely expressed relief. "Oh, good, 'cause I know how crazy they can be," they said”.
2.      “Racism tears through Providence College”
“They say that minority students are followed by security officers in places such as the bookstore and have been called racial epithets by other students, and that the N-word was written in a dorm bathroom last year”.
“Ben Alves, 22, a junior from Boston, said he and two friends who are also minorities were recently asked to show their IDs while playing basketball at the gym, though they had already swiped them to get in. He said white students weren’t asked to do the same”.
My biggest issue here is that colleges are supposed to be places of learning; ignorance is supposed to be low on the list, and the willingness to embrace diversity and differences should be at the top (mere tolerance will not do). When people or institutions seem to go out of their way to make you feel unwelcome it bothers me. When rude behavior is rewarded (such as sports coaches against players) and those who report this behavior are censured, then we need to admit change is necessary. The end does not justify the means.
Please try to foster an environment of extreme courtesy on your campus (genuine courtesy) and I guarantee you will see positive changes.
We are trying to teach students to be successful I the future correct?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, May 3, 2013

Lest we forget, all is not perfect: confronting racial issues in education

Sharing a link first: “When Too Few Minorities Are Too Many”
It is very easy to walk on to a college campus, to look around and think you are seeing diversity. Yes, you might see people of different creeds, cultures, and colors (we are all one race, the human race). However, if you actually look at the school stats, you will find that things are still very skewed. Some of it has to do with things that started long before the kids ever got to college, civil rights in America were only just granted within living memory of a lot of people, and the fact that affirmative action is still necessary means that there are still problems to fix.
Anyway, the type of racism I am talking about is something that we can control, and that is how we treat people. Have you ever spent time in the south? We often think of the south as the bastion of racism (I am not disputing history here), but what you will notice is how unfailingly polite everyone is. Just simple good manners that seem to have been forgotten by many people. That is where we start, by simply being polite.
Racist jokes are not funny because they hurt people, exclusion and shunning all because someone is different, is like putting someone in solitary confinement in prison. Humans are communal, we need to belong, and when you have a culture that is not welcoming, bad things happen.
Forget about school violence for a moment and let us look at the dropout rate and suicide; I do not have the exact numbers but they are higher than they should be. Cyber bullying seems to be all the rage now, and we do nothing because it is ‘virtual’ not physical.
This is all preventable, start by being nice; yes, I believe it is that simple. We do not have to accept the level of rudeness that currently exists and schools should enforce a simple code of good relations. Words like please, may I, you are welcome, and thank you should be back in fashion.

Teach our students to be polite, it will translate to school.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Bad Manners Behind Bashing Educators

The other day I posted my resume in a professional forum looking to pick up some extra education work. As an educational consultant, I personally know the economy is very slow; contracts are hard to find. However, I love what I do, I love working in education, and these slowdowns come with the territory.
Anyway, there is always one a$$ clown who feels they have the right to denigrate you because you simply because you are an educator, you many degrees, and because you are not looking for work in sales. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with sales, but if you have explicitly said you are not interested in sales, what gives someone the right to say “you are an over educated dinosaur” because I do not want to sell products? (Please do not say everything in life is sales because that is not true)
It turns out that I am considered over educated, that the years of hard work improving myself to better help my students is not always appreciated. Since when is it bad to have a lot of education, in any field? Since when did we have to start dumbing down our achievements to be accepted?
This is a symptom of educator bashing. This is what happens when non-professionals think they can tell you how to do your profession. This is what happens when the people running your profession do not always have your best interests at heart and are more interested in just the bottom line, when hiring managers are passing over highly experienced and educated people for those without as much, because we are worried about having to pay them a little more!
Time to share some links now:
“Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, or Add
“-Why our kids rank to, or at the bottom of international tests in math and science
-Why "self-esteem" has supplanted grades and genuine achievements
-How the educational establishment lowers standards and quality in our schools-while continuing to raise their budgets and our school taxes
-The dumbing down of the curriculum so everyone can pass-but no one excel
-How parents, students, and teachers can evaluate schools and restore quality learning”
Educator's Letter to Oprah -- 'Ask teachers.
Oprah’s show heavily promoted the release of Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for Superman documentary but what it was not heavy on was inclusion of public school teachers. In fact, there were no teachers included on the panel. Instead, viewers heard only from Guggenheim, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, charter school founder Geoffrey Canada and Microsoft magnate Bill Gates”.
“After all, what other profession would allow me to make $37,000 a year after 14 years of experience and have people tell me how greedy I am?”
Today’s blog is written out of disgust and frustration. Disgust in the rudeness some people feel they can say too me (of course they hide behind email), frustration in a system that seems to be getting worse but yet the solutions are right in front of us.
We can solve many problems if we include educators in the conversation. There is no doubt that things need to change, however, being rude to educators is not the answer. This is what is happening; very bad manners.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam