Friday, February 28, 2014

The mis-education of our prison population

  • Fact: United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world.
  • Fact: United States has 25% of the world’s prison population
  • Fact: Recidivism is extremely high and prison has become a revolving door
  • Fact: There is very little ‘correction’ in correctional facilities, and few opportunities to improve yourself

Knowing this, why are we afraid of trying something different such as what this next article is about?

“Prison U.”

“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to bring professors back into prisons 20 years after Congress and one of his predecessors cut funding for inmate higher education.”

“Congress and the Clinton administration ended Pell Grant funding for prisoners in 1994, effectively cutting off funds for most college education in prisons. New York followed suit a year later and made sure its inmates couldn’t get funding from the state’s Tuition Assistance Program either.”  

“Now, Cuomo has proposed a plan -- drawing fire from many -- that he says will save money by giving prisoners a better chance to find jobs and stay out of trouble once they are released.”

“The federal and state moves in the 1990s left many prisons without any higher education offerings, except for relatively small programs offered by private groups. Cuomo's plan is an unusual effort by a powerful politician to put real money into college programs behind bars.”

“"We’re imprisoning. We’re isolating. But we’re not rehabilitating the way we should,” Cuomo said this month when he announced the plan to a church gathering of the state’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. “We’re not correcting the way we should. We’re not improving the way we should.””

“The governor wants to better-prepare prisoners for life after jail and cut New York’s recidivism rate of 40 percent, which is still below the national average.”

What is wrong with trying to prevent people going back to jail for the same reasons? What is wrong with true rehabilitation?

Is this the correct solution? I do not know, however, we cannot be afraid and simply reject the conversation out of hand.

Education does not hurt anybody.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Something for Higher Education and something for K12 today February 27 2014

Sometimes some things are so interesting that I have to share more than just one.

On the K12 side, I was very pleased to see this article because it is something that I truly believe in, as do many teachers; but yet school policies do not always allow this to happen.

“Suspensions Should Be Last Resort”

“U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced their new guidelines at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, which is a shining example of a public school that has seen marked student improvement since it changed its discipline practices and implemented other reforms to improve student achievement.”

“Every school must create climates where everyone feels safe and respected and where every child has the opportunity to succeed. Schools should be safe, welcoming, and respectful, with meaningful professional development, wraparound services to meet children's health and social service needs, and alternatives to suspensions. But policies in a vacuum without real resources and support will not succeed.”

The zero tolerance approach so desperately needs to be changed, because students are not the enemy.

On the higher education side, I found this worth thinking about, especially since I teach in a non-traditional environment.


“Teaching Nontraditional Students Calls for a Nontraditional Lesson Plan”

“The takeaway: It’s no secret that the number of nontraditional students has been trending upwards on many college campuses in recent years. The economic downturn has brought older adults back to school, and many institutions are widening their nets to attract older students for continuing-education programs.”

“But that demographic change comes with a challenge: When college students bring more life experience to the classroom, professors have some catching up to do.”

Recommendations for new professors:

“Know your audience. Figure out how the older adults in your classroom learn, try to get a sense of the reasons why they’re in college, and be clear about how the content of your course can be immediately useful to them.”

“Create a welcoming environment. Adult learners need to feel confident and safe to participate alongside their younger classmates. Be clear about the learning goals and objectives of your course.”

“Respect that they have different learning styles. Older adults tend to learn at their own pace, not at the pace of their instructors. Be sure that your teaching practices are in alignment with your students’ learning, and provide curriculum tailored to the cultural backgrounds of your students.”

“Recognize that they will likely want to share their own experiences in discussions. Encourage older students to speak up and participate in class activities so they don’t feel like the “old man” or “old woman” pariah sitting in the corner of the classroom.”

“Be flexible and provide support for life-changing events. There’s no getting around the fact that, from time to time, these may occur in your students’ lives. Remember, they must balance work, family, and school.”

Good simple advice and we should constantly be revaluating as we teach our classes.

Happy Thursday!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sharing articles February 26 2014

I thought these two stories today were both worth sharing:

“Risk Management”

“The U.S. Education Department needs to do more to ensure the billions of dollars it offers in financial aid aren’t wasted on students who fraudulently enroll in distance education programs, the department's Office of Inspector General has concluded in a critical new report.”

“The OIG audited eight distance education providers between 2009 and 2011 to assess how each college or university complied with Title IV of the Higher Education Act, which governs federal student grant, loan and work-study programs. Despite the Education Department’s efforts in recent years to curb cases of fraud where students enroll in courses to exploit those financial aid programs -- schemes known as fraud rings -- the audit found the institutions struggle to verify students’ identities and track their attendance and academic engagement.”

““The 8 schools disbursed nearly $222 million to more than 42,000 distance education students who did not earn any credits during a payment period,” the report reads. “Collecting and analyzing sufficient and appropriate data would help the department appropriately address risks, proactively adapt policies to address those risks, and better target its school compliance monitoring.””

Please preserve this privilege for future generations; let us make sure all schools are being compliant (this phenomenon is not new so do not place all blame on the non-traditional).

“Bob Jones U. Revives Study of Responses to Sex Abuse”

“Bob Jones University has faced considerable criticism for its announcement this month that it had ended a contract with an outside group to investigate how the university has responded when students have reported sex abuse. The university was vague about why it ended the study, and many noted that abuse victims who shared their stories with the investigators would feel betrayed. But the university has now announced that based on additional discussions with the investigators, they have been rehired to finish their work.

This is what can happen when you pay attention! Embarrassment can be a powerful tool; let us hope they actually pay attention to the results.

Have a good rest of the week everyone.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Do not forget about the importance of this subject

Protect our defenders: stop rape in the military

“AP Investigation Exposes Dysfunctional Military Justice System”

“Washington DC – On Sunday, the Associated Press released a new report revealing in shocking detail the military’s flawed and insufficient handling of over 1,000 sex crimes that were reported by service members stationed in Japan between 2005 and 2013. The investigation reveals “a pattern of random and inconsistent judgments” that confirm the urgent need for fundamental reform of the broken military justice system. The story points directly to cases where commanders refused to move forward to courts-martial even after an Article 32 preliminary hearing produced a recommendation to prosecute.”

“Just one example of the persistent and pervasive attitudes towards these cases as shown in the report is the case of Protect Our Defenders Advocacy Committee Member Stacey Thompson. After joining the Marines at age 17, Thompson was stationed in Okinawa, Japan where she was assaulted by her commanding officer. While her rapist was allowed to separate from the Marines during an active investigation and never faced charges for his crime, Stacey was threatened with retaliatory charges and forced to end her career.”

This subject has been rather quiet lately, but the silence has only been in the press: it is still rampant!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, February 24, 2014

Good morning, there is news in the higher education world today

I have always been an advocate for paying attention to the big players in the higher education market because what happens there has an effect on all the rest of the industry; especially in the non-traditional market.

“Induced to Fail?”

“A group of former Excelsior College students have sued the institution over its online associate degree program in nursing, claiming the self-paced, competency-based curriculum clashes with an expensive and "subjective" clinical exam.”


“In the complaint, filed in a federal district court in New York, 17 former students in Excelsior’s associate degree program in nursing from 11 different states say the college sold them “an ‘educational’ program that was devoid of any education, and ... an ‘objective’ test, which was anything but objective.” The students, many of whom have decades of experience in the medical field, are suing Excelsior for breach of contract and deceptive or misleading practices.”


“The nursing program’s curriculum can be accessed online or, for students without Internet access, as a set of CD-ROMs. Once students have passed several nursing theory exams, completed 21 out of the 31 required credits and taken a computer-based clinical assessment test, they take the college's Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination. The 17 students, however, say the coursework did not prepare them for the CPNE, and that Excelsior withheld information about the test until they “had expended resources and were irreversibly committed to completing the program.””

“The CPNE costs $2,225 per attempt, and students are given a test date between three and eight months after signing up.”


“One of the 17 students, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not sign up to retake the test after failing it the first time. The student described being subjected to “psychological tricks,” such as facing constant interruptions and having to whisper the reasoning behind each step of the clinical process. At one point during the test, the student said a registered nurse walked up and said “I feel really sorry for you guys.””


““They were trying to induce you to fail,” the student said. “When you’re playing against a stacked deck, you don’t stand much of a chance of winning.””



I would say Excelsior College has some work to do if even only a small percentage of this is true. However, we should constantly be asking ourselves: are we preparing our students for the real world?


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy Friday all!

I am just going to end the week by saying its Friday and 80 degrees where I live! No complaining about that here:))

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Thursday, February 20, 2014

IT security breaches at colleges

Schools are prime targets for cyber criminals because they are ripe with so much information.

“Hackers Make Off With 300,000 Personnel Records at U. of Maryland”

““A sophisticated computer-security attack” on the University of Maryland on Tuesday gave hackers access to more than 300,000 records of students, faculty and staff members, and others who have been issued university IDs on two of the system’s campuses since 1998.”

“According to a letter by Wallace D. Loh, the system’s president, experts are trying “to determine how our sophisticated, multilayered security defenses were bypassed,” and a criminal investigation is under way.”

“Brian D. Voss, the university’s vice president for information technology, told The Washington Post that the attackers got into the database, “made a Xerox of it, and took off.””

“The hackers “picked through several locks to get to this data,” he said, suggesting they had a “very significant understanding” of how the database was constructed and safe-guarded.”

“The records, which concern people connected with the university’s College Park and Shady Grove campuses, contain names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers. Like many colleges and other institutions that have been the victims of hacker attacks, the university is offering a year of free credit monitoring to the people affected.”

““We recently doubled the number of our IT security engineers and analysts,” President Loh wrote in his letter. “We also doubled our investment in top-end security tools. Obviously, we need to do more and better, and we will.””

Read here:
If only we could get these cyber thieves into school, imagine their productivity!

Be vigilant schools because some of these thieves are determined.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What are your thoughts on college sports?

I grew up playing many sports, I enjoyed it because they were fun (the exercise did not hurt either). I choose not to play in college because frankly there were not enough hours in the day.

“Northwestern U. Quarterback Makes Case for Players’ Union”

“Northwestern University's quarterback testified on Tuesday before the National Labor Relations Board as part of his team's high-profile push to form the first labor union in college sports.”


“Seated at the witness stand in a federal building in Chicago, Kain Colter, who just completed his senior season, detailed the demands of big-time sports, including football obligations that he said can eat up more than 50 hours a week. "It's a job, there is no way around it—it's a job," he said, according to the Associated Press.”


“A lawyer representing the university, Alex Barbour, disputed that players are employees, saying that academics are a core part of a Northwestern player's experience.”


“"Academics always trumps athletics at Northwestern," he said. "Northwestern is not a football factory."”


“The hearing is scheduled to continue on Wednesday as the board weighs whether big-time athletes should be considered employees. Below are a few highlights from Mr. Colter's testimony.”



What do you think? Are athletes sacrificing academics for sports? Are they more like employees then students?


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam