States invest in lavish sports arenas but cut education budget

The owners of the Cleveland sports teams, (l - r) Indians owner Paul Dolan, Browns owner Jimmy Haslem, and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, were successful in securing state taxpayer funds to bolster profits.

The owners of the Cleveland sports teams, (l – r) Indians owner Paul Dolan, Browns owner Jimmy Haslem, and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, were successful in securing state taxpayer funds to bolster profits.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

According to a longstanding trend, sports ranks higher on states’ priority list than education in many places throughout this country, with Georgia, Ohio and Minnesota becoming the latest additions. While owners of sports teams are making record profits, citizens continue to complain about the inferior quality and rising costs associated with education. But, oddly, the issue has not been given much attention as politicians take their dog and pony show around the country, currying favor for more donations in their  presidential bids.

The cycle of low-income students and inferior education on students' future earning potential.

The cycle of low-income students and inferior education on students’ future earning potential.

Cleveland, for instance, in deciding to fund a new stadium at huge costs to the residents, is a microcosm of the juxtaposition of the values between the highest and lowest class citizens of a city. With unemployment and wages as the backdrop this July, Cleveland officials  decided taxpayers should absorb the cost of building the new, extravagant stadium. City officials argued that the construction project would help generate more jobs.

New York Times writer Michael Powell explained the situation pointing out, “[Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan] Gilbert and his fellow sports billionaires — Larry Dolan, who owns the Indians, and Jimmy Haslam, who owns the Browns — worked together to push through a referendum that extended a countywide “sin tax” on cigarettes, beer and liquor.” The outcome of this decision means that for the next 20 years, taxpayers in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County will contribute roughly $260 million into improvements for the city’s sports arenas and stadiums.

(l-r) Dolan, Haslem, and Gilbert find nothing wrong with asking taxpayers to help them make more money.

(l-r) Dolan, Haslem, and Gilbert find nothing wrong with asking taxpayers to help them make more money.

Meanwhile, this past March, the Cleveland school district proposed a budget that would cut costs by $3.4 million, much to the dismay of the Cleveland Teachers Union and parents in the city. Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke asked some searing questions in his consternation over the budget including, “Why are all of these struggling students being denied the resources and teachers they need to become successful? and, How are their academic needs being met?”

The answers to those questions remain unclear, but Cleveland Plain Dealer’s reporter Patrick O’Donnell discerns, “District officials said the cuts are just a prudent way to manage the district’s budget while they keep losing students. Though enrollment declines are still far less than in previous years, the district predicts it will lose 375 students for next school year.”

Cleveland Teachers Union members protest budget cuts for schools with red signs at the school board meeting while staff from the district's central office counter with their own green ones. (Photo courtesy of Patrick O'Donnell/The Plain Dealer)

Cleveland Teachers Union members protest budget cuts for schools with red signs at the school board meeting while staff from the district’s central office counter with their own green ones. (Photo courtesy of Patrick O’Donnell/The Plain Dealer)

The issue of state funds being misappropriated to benefit billionaires at the expense of poor, largely minority, inner-city children has raised alarm in some quarters but so far has not become the major issue that it should in the presidential campaign.

Numerous cities are facing a similar dynamic— inadequate funding for education and other public services but obscene amounts allocated to invest in lavish arenas and stadiums. As Deadspin’s Kevin Draper reports this July, “The Wisconsin Senate voted 21-10 to approve $250 million in public financing for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.” While just a few days earlier in July, “Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a state budget that includes cuts of $250 million to the University of Wisconsin system, among other cuts to public education funding.”

Other reports have stated that one of the owners of the Bucks has bought up property near to the projected site of the new stadium in anticipation of making a windfall on that prime real estate once the stadium is built. Meanwhile, classrooms are over-crowded and children in Wisconsin lack the educational investment that they need to succeed.

Madison District Public Schools will be among those affected by Gov. Walker's budget proposal of $250 million in cuts.

Madison District Public Schools will be among those affected by Gov. Walker’s budget proposal of $250 million in cuts.

These recent examples are following a pattern seen in other cities like Atlanta, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and countless other towns which have professional teams that see the owners receive money that would be better served supporting the local citizens. The theory behind the support for these arenas and stadiums is they will help grow the economy by providing jobs and tourist attractions.

However, economist George Zeller cites studies that show that “The theory that all of these sports teams are producing a gigantic boom is completely false.” The school year has already started in some parts of this country and will resume shortly in other areas. The NFL regular season will also start in a few weeks. Which is a priority for you?.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a senior writer and a licensed insurance professional partnered with HealthMarkets. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com. Check out www.HealthMarkets.com/cglover for your free health insurance and life insurance quotes.

Medical school set to open at Harlem’s CUNY campus in 2016

City University of New York (CUNY) will open a medical school on it's Harlem-based City College campus

City University of New York (CUNY) will open a medical school on the Harlem-based City College campus

By Carmen Glover

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday, July 14, that the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s largest public university system, which offers affordable tuition to middle and working class families, the poor and immigrants, will open a medical school in 2016, accepting its first batch of medical students that September.

“This new school is another step toward making medical care more accessible for all,” said Cuomo, who also stated that the medical school “increases employment, research and learning opportunities for students and faculty.”

CUNY's City College is located on Convent Avenue in Harlem, New York City.

CUNY’s City College is located on Convent Avenue in Harlem, New York City.

The CUNY School of Medicine will be housed at the City College campus, located at Convent Avenue in Harlem. City College boasts top-tier graduates including retired Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell. CUNY has a reputation for churning out Pulitzer Prize winners, Noble Prize winners and other exceptional graduates, including Lehman College graduate and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, who have made significant contributions in various fields across the world.

CUNY has run the Sophie Davis School, which offers pre-medical classes, as of 1973, and many students at the school got the foundation which allowed them to pursue medical careers upon graduation. With the CUNY School of Medicine becoming a part of the university’s brand, those students, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, will find attending medical school to be more affordable.

James Milliken, CUNY Chancellor.

James Milliken, CUNY Chancellor.

CUNY Chancellor James Milliken said the medical school, which is being created in collaboration with Saint Barnabas Health System in the Bronx, is a “logical and necessary expansion,” while touting the expected scope of the medical school in training doctors to serve in underserved communities through the provision of increased medical access.

Although CUNY initially offered tuition-free education, that changed decades ago and the yearly tuition increases have marginalized many potential students who are too poor to afford the rising costs. Nevertheless, with CUNY revamping itself during the past decade and introducing an Honors Program, many competitive high school seniors have declined admission to Ivy League universities and chosen to accept full scholarships to CUNY instead, boosting the institution’s reputation as a cheaper alternative which provides quality education.

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CUNY was established in New York city 170 years ago and has a rich tradition of educational variety and excellence. President Barack Obama launched his signature initiative for minority boys, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, at CUNY’s majestic Lehman College campus in the Bronx, earlier this spring.–OnPointPress.net.

OnPointPress.net’s Editorial Director earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in counselor education at Lehman College, CUNY.

 

Caribbean organization, CSF, appeals for sponsorship of STEM students

 

Caribbean students participating in SPISE program.

Caribbean students participating in SPISE program.

Carmen Glover

The ability for some students to participate in an annual immersion program, scheduled for July 18 to August 15 at the Barbados campus of the University of the West Indies, is in jeopardy, according to a letter from Cardinal Warde, MIT professor and interim executive director of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF). The immersion program is geared towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers  In an effort to generate support for the students who cannot afford to participate in the program, Warde made an email appeal for sponsorship. The edited email appears below:

“Each summer the Caribbean Science Foundation CSF) offers the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) to the most gifted 16 and 17- year- old Caribbean students who are interested in pursuing careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines. The goal of SPISE is to groom these youngsters to become the next generation of high-tech science and engineering leaders and entrepreneurs in the region.

Caribbean Science Foundation's logo.

Caribbean Science Foundation’s logo.

“The long-term overall goal of the CSF is to help diversify the economies of the region by stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship, creating more high paying jobs, and thereby raising the standard of living of the people. SPISE uses the facilities of the campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill, Barbados. Key important partners for SPISE are the UWI – Cave Hill Campus, and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

The purpose of this e-mail is to solicit a contribution in support of the five remaining students who are currently wait-listed for admission into the 2015 SPISE. This year we have capacity to serve 20 students. Fifteen students have already been fully sponsored into the 2015 SPISE, thanks to generous contributions so far from this year’s sponsors. The  five unfunded students are from Jamaica, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis and Grenada.

Participants in the SPISE immersion workshop.

Participants in the SPISE immersion workshop.

 

“The full cost of sponsorship for one student is US$ 6,000 plus round trip air travel to Barbados. With full sponsorship, we brand the student as the SPISE 2015 scholar of his/her sponsor.”

Online contributions can be made by credit card at the CSF Website (via CADSTI) at http://caribbeanscience.org/donation/. Checks made payable in US dollars or Barbados dollars to the Caribbean Science Foundation may be mailed to Caribbean Science Foundation, CARICOM Research Building, UWI Cave Hill Campus, St. Michael, Barbados, West indies By wire to: Bank Name: BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA
SWIFT Code: NOSCBBBB, Bank Key (bank + branch code): BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA (40055), Bank Address: Broad Street, Bridgetown, Barbados, Account Name: Caribbean Science Foundation, Account Number: 9013083.

SPISE participants.

SPISE participants.

SPISE is modeled after the well-known and highly successful MITES program at MIT (http://web.mit.edu/mites/) for which Professor Cardinal Warde also serves as the Faculty Director.  Please view the video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75UUowD7-oM, from SPISE 2012 to capture the real spirit of SPISE. More specifics about SPISE can be found at http://caribbeanscience.org/projects/spise.php. The CSF Website is http://caribbeanscience.org.

For more information about sponsorship, opportunities please contact Professor Cardinal Warde, Interim Executive Director of CSF at warde.csf@gmail.com, Tel. 617-699-1281–OnPointPress.net.

 

 

Accomplished educator Ja’Nice Wisdom pushes for access to books in beautiful Jamaica

Educator Ja'Nice Wisdom

Educator Ja’Nice Wisdom is the founder and executive director of  the Read Across Jamaica Foundation that was created to expand reading resources for children.

By Carmen Glover

Twelve years ago, accomplished educator Ja’Nice Wisdom, decided to make a change in Jamaica, West Indies by ensuring that story books were more readily available to children who lacked the resources to purchase a variety of reading material. She created and launched Read Across Jamaica (RAJ), an initiative designed to expand reading opportunities on the island, through a non-profit foundation with the same name.

RAJ, currently underway in Jamaica since May 4, wraps up with activities over the weekend. The theme for this year’s event is “Consolidating the Gains: Collaborating for Growth and Sustainability.”

A reading volunteer participates in Read Across Jamaica event.

A reading volunteer participates in Read Across Jamaica event.

This year, Read Across Jamaica Foundation collaborated with The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) and the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ) to celebrate Education Week 2015. Activities have included a bus tour across the island where reading volunteers stop at schools in St James, St. Thomas, St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Elizabeth and engage eager students in reading activities with the expectation that the buzz built during the week will permeate the students’ daily lives.

For children whose parents and guardians have challenges with reading, Wisdom is pleased that they “come to the schools to observe and show interest,” which goes a long way in strengthening a reading environment in the home. “We pass on books to the parents and we encourage the children to share the books with their parents,” she said.

Reading volunteer engages children in reading activity.

Reading volunteer engages children in reading activity.

RAJ, Wisdom said  “was launched to reach out and give back to the children. It was part of a research project I was doing at the University of Maryland to see why children were passing through the system” without acquiring the skills needed to succeed. She decided to model a similar system that was used in the USA and tailor it to meet the Jamaican community.

Twelve years later, RAJ is more robust than ever. After the weeklong reading events are completed, Wisdom and her delegation relies on “the schools to provide follow-up,” to ensure that the excitement generated for reading is nurtured throughout the year. “We do not have the capacity to collect the data,” during the weeklong activities to determine the children’s progress, she said. However, “We talk to the students, see their attitudes about reading,” and use that as a gauge to plan for the following year’s events.

Reading volunteer reads to children who interact with excitement.

Reading volunteer reads to children who interact with excitement.

One of the features of the 2015 RAJ is the inclusion of musical ambassadors Tasha T, and Asante Amen who juxtapose reading with the elements of music and poetry. Tasha T, who hails from Toronto, Canada, has been involved in RAJ since 2011 and sees her role as vital to the RAJ initiative and she explained that she utilizes various measures to win the children’s interest and attention.

Read Across Jamaica's Music Ambassador Tasha T.

Read Across Jamaica’s Music Ambassador Tasha T.

“I introduce myself to them as a recording artist and I get them to sing along,’ she explained of her style. “I encourage them to continue reading because everyone has to work together for the children to succeed.”  Tasha T said that she also plays games with the children because her aim is to show the children “what they are capable of and that education is a way of survival.” Tasha T’s signature song for the RAJ initiative is “Educate Yourself,” on the RasVibe label.

Read Across Jamaica Music Ambassador Asante Amen.

Read Across Jamaica Music Ambassador Asante Amen.

As the RAJ initiative has grown over the years, so has the need for books to meet the demand for eager readers. “We need funds. We have a book clinic online and we ship the books to Jamaica,” said Wisdom of the project. “There’s no favoritism with the schools that we visit. We follow each school that we visit for five years.” Citing the scope of RAJ and the goal of expansion, Wisdom invites supporters across the globe to get involved. “We encourage people to visit online and donate funds and books,’ she said.

To contact Read Across Jamaica and Ms. Wisdom, call (301)-672-4133, (876)-852-3418, or email: jwisdom2u@gmail.com.–OnPointPress.net.

 

 

Jamaica gears up to celebrate the joys of reading during Education Week, May 3-9

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Children eagerly participate in Read Across Jamaica in 2014.

Children eagerly participate in Read Across Jamaica in 2014 by raising their hands in response to questions posed about books that were read to them.

Washington, DC, April 30, 2015 – The Read Across Jamaica (RAJ) Foundation, in collaboration with the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA), will launch its annual Education Week activities, May 3 to 9, 2015 under the theme  “Consolidating the Gains: Collaborating for Growth and Sustainability.” The RAJ delegation will include Tasha T and Asante Amen, musical ambassadors, who will use their talents to highlight reading and writing as well as emphasize the message that “Education is the Key” as they recite in song. The entire team will focus on schools in St. James, St. Thomas, St. Catherine, St., Kingston and St. Elizabeth to close out their annual Read Across Jamaica Bus Tour.

Jamaica's Prime Minister Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller reads to a child during Read Across Jamaica 2013.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller reads to a child during Read Across Jamaica 2013.

Read Across Jamaica, an initiative created and introduced by Ja’nice Wisdom in 2003 to help promote literacy in Jamaica, supports the VISION 2030 Goals set by the Ministry of Education, and seeks to achieve 95 percent literacy at the primary level by facilitating literacy efforts that encourage children of all ages to master basic literacy skills through the act of reading. The growth and success of the RAJ program has sprung up in many classrooms across the island with the declaration of Read Across Jamaica Day, which will be celebrated this year on Tuesday, 5 May 2015.

Participant reads to children as part of Read Across Jamaica.

Participant reads to children as part of Read Across Jamaica.

During Education Week, literacy ambassadors will be joining local volunteers to involve children in creative and interactive forms of reading. These activities encourage children to enjoy literature and to better understand and appreciate family, diversity and global community needs.

“We place a high value on kids reading for fun and having stories that reflect their experience,” said Ja’nice Wisdom, president and founder of the Read Across Jamaica movement.

Participant reads to a group of boys who peer intently at the book being read.

Participant reads to a group of boys who peer intently at the book being read.

Since 2003, the Read Across Jamaica Literacy Project has served over 25,000 students and provided over 50,000 books and supplies to children in Jamaica. This year, Read Across Jamaica Foundation will partner with the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ) to include in their distribution 500 brand-new books written by Jamaican authors and feature several of these local authors as “key readers” throughout their journey across Jamaica. Thirty-five authors, six publishers and two booksellers will contribute to this year’s initiative.

Children point excitedly at characters in a book being read by a Read Across Jamaica participant.

Children point excitedly at characters in a book being read by a Read Across Jamaica participant.

To find out more about sponsorship, serving as a local volunteer or literacy ambassador, contact: Ja’nice Wisdom (301) 672-4133, (876) 852-3418 or email: jwisdom2u@gmail.com. Donate books online at www.ReadAcrossJamaica.com and visit our facebook page: ReadAcrossJA. The Read Across Jamaica Foundation (RAJ) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to introduce creative and interactive methods of reading to children and encourage them to enjoy literature as an aid to changing future disparaging lifestyles affected by illiteracy.-OnPointPress.net.

Punishment, reforms and higher standards mark national education debate

Former Deerwood Academy assistant principal Tabeeka Jordan, center, is led to a holding cell after a jury found her guilty in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating trial, Wednesday, April 1, 2015, in Atlanta. Jordan and 10 other former Atlanta Public Schools educators accused of participating in a test cheating conspiracy that drew nationwide attention were convicted Wednesday of racketeering charges. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kent D. Johnson, Pool)

Former Deerwood Academy assistant principal Tabeeka Jordan, center, is led to a holding cell after a jury found her guilty in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating trial, Wednesday, April 1, 2015, in Atlanta. Jordan and 10 other former Atlanta Public Schools educators accused of participating in a test cheating conspiracy that drew nationwide attention were convicted Wednesday of racketeering charges. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kent D. Johnson, Pool)

The eyes of the nation have been transfixed on various scandals that have affected various school districts culminating in educators facing harsh punishment such as jail time in New York City, California, Washington D.C. Philadelphia, New Jersey and most recently in Atlanta, Georgia, where eleven African-American educators were mercilessly chastised by Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter as they were led away in handcuffs.

New York (CNN) -- A public school teacher in the Bronx has been arrested for allegedly raping a 10-year-old student in his car after school, according to NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. Anthony Criscuolo, 40, was arrested on Wednesday after the victims mother reported the alleged rape to the police, according to NYPD detective Marc Nell. He was charged with first-degree rape and predatory sexual assault of a child, Browne said. The incident occurred on Monday.

New York (CNN) — A public school teacher in the Bronx has been arrested for allegedly raping a 10-year-old student in his car after school, according to NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. Anthony Criscuolo, 40, was arrested on Wednesday after the victim’s mother reported the alleged rape to the police, according to NYPD detective Marc Nell. He was charged with first-degree rape and predatory sexual assault of a child, Browne said. The incident occurred on Monday.

“They are convicted felons as far as I’m concerned. They made their bed and now they have to lie in it,” Baxter said, with barely concealed disgust etched across his face.

The educators in Atlanta were convicted on racketeering charges stemming from a massive test cheating scandal that was unearthed by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. The cheating revolved around educators changing children’s answers on tests prior to the tests being sent out for scoring, all with the aim of obtaining performance bonuses. According to reports, 178 educators were involved in the scandal, which spanned 44 Atlanta schools. Thirty five educators were indicted, with more than 21 garnering in plea deals. Of the twelve who went to trial, one was exonerated and 11 were convicted.

11 Atlanta Educators were convicted of cheating on school tests.  178 were initially charged, 35 were indicted, more than 21 took plea deals. One superintendent, died a month ago from breast cancer.

11 Atlanta Educators were convicted of cheating on school tests. 178 were initially charged, 35 were indicted, more than 21 took plea deals. One superintendent died a month ago from breast cancer.

Many of the convicted educators insisted that they were “pressured” to cheat by higher ups including former Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall, who said she was too sick to stand trial and died a month ago from breast cancer. In other states, New York being a main culprit, educators are often charged with sexually molesting children but due to onerous union protections they are kept on the city payroll while the cases wind through the court system. In Atlanta, there is no union protection.

It should be a source of enormous shame that despite different administrations at all levels of the nation’s educational system from the federal to the state and local levels, the public education system is fraught with such dysfunction, despair, lack of integrity and poor outcomes. Yet, cheating is never the answer. The only solution to improved outcomes for children is to emphasize strong school- family- community partnerships.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (center0 stands with NY State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the first African-American to hold the post, and announces historic education reforms and teacher evaluation.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (center) stands with NY State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the first African-American to hold the post, and announces historic education reforms and teacher evaluation.

Effort must be expended to actively collaborate with parents and guardians so that the message can resonate that educating a child is a collective effort. Parents need to supervise their children’s homework, ensure that they attend school daily, on time and comport themselves with dignity. It is unacceptable for parents to shrug off their responsibility to ensure that their children are receiving appropriate education at school and in the home. And it is an abomination for educators who are entrusted with the care and education of fragile minds to cheat, lie, deceive and sexually molest innocent children.

All children can learn but it takes the entire community to ensure that result: Parents, the schools, educators, church, mentors and extended family members. In the meantime, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo successfully tied stringent teacher evaluations to the latest state budget, much to the chagrin of the teachers’ union. “The union is interested in protecting their interests but I’m concerned with the children,” the Governor said as he touted broad-based reforms. His focus and vision for public education is spot on!–OnPointPress.net.

Panel discussion will tackle diversity in STEM careers, guide for parents

STEM

New York, February 19, 2015: On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, during a 9:00 a.m. reception and 10:00 a.m. panel  discussion, STEM careers will be the topic on the lips of guests at the Elebash Recital Hall at The Graduate Center, located at 365 Fifth Avenue, 34th Street and 5th Ave.

The panel discussion is being hosted by the New York Urban League to commemorate the release of the Parent’s Guide to STEM. The discussion with expert panelists will feature opportunities for the audience to join the conversation to discuss how the corporate and public sector can prepare students for careers in a new economy.

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The panel will be moderated by Ben Chapman, education reporter of the  New York Daily News. Panelists and speakers include Bill Holiber, president and CEO of the  Daily News and NYUL Board Chairman; Commissioner Bill Chong of the Department of Youth and Community Development’ Arva Rice, president and CEO of the New York Urban League; Jay Hershenson, senior vice president of CUNY; Jim Gordon, group VP of corporate brand and reputation for Time Warner Cable; Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO for Partnership for NYC and Kimberley Downer who is a parent of NYUL’s NEXT Academy students.

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The goal of the Parent’s Guide to STEM is to help dispel common myths, connects STEM to everyday life, and provide a pathway for exploration of these fields. The target audience for this guide is caregivers with middle or high school students, who are not yet familiar with the growing career fields influenced by STEM.

The guide was published by the New York Urban League in partnership with The Daily News, US News & World Report, The City University of New York, the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development. It was made possible with the support of Time Warner Cable, Henry Luce Foundation, Google/Tide Foundation, News Corp, L’Oreal USA and NYC Council Member Inez E. Dickens.

To confirm your attendance to the event, rsvp@nyul.org or call 212-926-8000.-OnPointPress.net.

 

 

Industry leaders organize day of service to promote financial literacy

operationhope3
Urban Financial Services Coalition (UFSC) and Operation Hope Future (BOOF) DC have joined forces to put on a Financial Literacy Day of Service in Washington, D.C. on September 24, 2014. Individuals attending the Congressional Black Caucus’ 44th Annual Legislative Conference, professionals and business owners in the Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland areas are invited to learn about how technology and money can empower a community, provide financial literacy for youth and enjoy an opportunity to network with power players.

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On Wednesday, September 24, the organizations will put on activities which include an 8: 00 a.m. breakfast  to discuss money and technology. The breakfast event is billed as a  “thought-provoking panel discussion at the Microsoft Retail Store, at The Fashion Centre, Pentagon City Mall.” The discussion will feature panelists from Microsoft, government agencies and community organizations, who will talk about how technology and money can work together to make communities more financially savvy. The breakfast will be followed by a financial workshop for youth at Kenmore Middle School at 11:00 a.m.

operationhope2
“Nothing is more exciting than providing financial literacy for over 300 school students at Kenmore Middle school, located at 200 South Carlin Springs Road, Arlington, Virginia 22204,” said the event’s organizers. “We need 18 volunteers, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm that are passionate about depositing the seeds of financial literacy in the minds of middle school students that will grow into financially savvy minority professionals. Banking on Our Future (BOOF) – DC will provide training and financial literacy curriculum to all volunteers.”

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The day will conclude with a Green Carpet networking reception at 5:30 p.m. at Washington DC’s newest financial institution, Premara Bank. Premara Bank Office is . located at 1299 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Branch, Washington, DC 20004.

The Economic Evolution of Our Future Selves

Operation HOPE’S Banking on Our Future (BOOF) program educates youth ages 9 to 18 at no cost to school districts and community-based organizations, with a focus on urban, underserved communities. The Urban Financial Services Coalition (UFSC), formerly known as the National Association of Urban Bankers (NAUB), is an organization of minority professionals in the financial services industry and related fields. Affiliation with UFSC offers a unique opportunity to influence the shape of the banking and financial services industries

For more information or questions, please email president@ufscnet.org or contact Ditu Kasuyi at 804-651-7739-OnPointPress.net.

Jamaica hosted poets, educators, on International Literacy Day

min brown

The Hon. Arnaldo Brown, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, addresses the gathering in the lobby of the ministry during the International Literacy Day event.-Photos courtesy of Emma Lewis.

Jamaica’s State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Hon. Arnaldo Brown addressed a gathering at the ministry on International Literacy Day, Monday, September 8. An excerpt of his speech appears below:

“I am pleased to address this gathering on this very important occasion, the celebration of International Literacy Day 2014. It was in 1965, 49 years ago, that, September 8th was declared by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as International Literacy Day.

Prof Eddie Baugh

Professor Edward Baugh delighted with his wry sense of humor as he read poems from his published collection, “Black Sand.”

” The day was first celebrated in 1996, with the aim of highlighting the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. Today, the world at large uses the opportunity to recognize the issue of literacy in human development and to give impetus to the drive to achieve the six (6) United Nations Education for All goals, which are:
• 1: Expand early childhood care and education
• 2: Provide free and compulsory primary education for all
• 3: Promote learning and life skills for young people and adults
• 4: Increase adult literacy
• 5: Achieve gender parity
• 6: Improve the quality of education

jean

Jean Gouldbourne, 2010 JCDC Adult Short Story Gold Awardee and Iowa International Fellow, reads from her work, while Ann-Margaret Lim, poet and Head of the Public Relations and Media Unit at the Ministry, holds the microphone.

“Studies have shown that there is a direct and positive correlation between the lives of mothers and their children: if the mother is literate, then there’s a higher likelihood that the child will be too. This increase in literacy is positively correlated to increases in individual, national and global sustainable development. In light of this, the UNESCO has chosen to celebrate International Literacy Day under the theme of Literacy and Sustainable Development. It is envisioned that increased emphasis will be put on the importance of girls’ and women’s literacy and education for sustainable development, contributing to the new international development goals that will come into effect in 2015.

meryvn

Poet Laureate and Professor Emeritus Mervyn Morris reads from his latest book, “Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaica Culture.” He also read audience favorites such as “The Pond.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, literacy is a basic human right and an absolute condition for reaching all of the internationally agreed development goals. However, the recent reports are sobering. Today, the world over, there are a reported 781 Million illiterate adults, two-thirds of which are women. There are over 250 million children unable to read, despite half of them spending at least four years in school and one in four adolescents —175 million— are unable to read a single sentence.

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UNESCO announced that Sustainable Development is the focus for this year’s International Literacy Day.

“In the Jamaican context, according to World Bank statistics the adult literacy rate in 2011, was 87.4%, which is higher than the world average of 84.1%. This correlates to an average of 91.7% for adult women and 82.06% for adult men.
Jamaica has managed to eliminate gender disparity in education at the primary level. However, at the secondary level girls outnumber boys and this is even more evident at the tertiary level.

unesco

UNESCO chart shows the disparity in various sectors of development due to literacy issues.

“I speak with pride given the achievements of our women and girls, but there is still much work to be done for them and for our men and boys. So let’s redouble our efforts to increase literacy, as this is positively correlated to sustainable development.
There needs to be “All hands on deck” in this global war against illiteracy, and this is why we are very grateful to Poet Laureate and Professor Emeritus Mervyn Morris, Professor Emeritus Edward Baugh and multiple genre writer, academic and journalist Ms. Jean Goulbourne, who volunteered their time to contribute to the celebrations of this Ministry on this auspicious occasion. Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you.”

Special guests at the event included Charge d’Affaires in the Republic of South Africa Philip Riley, Dr. Michael Bucknor who presides over the Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr. Velma Pollard, Dr. Jean Small, Adziko Simba and the Foreign Service staff.-OnPointPress.net.

International Literacy Day focuses on “Sustainable Development”

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By Carmen Glover

On Monday, September 8, literacy will be at the forefront of conversation and promotion across the globe as International Literacy Day is celebrated and solutions are sought to the plight of citizens who struggle with attaining this basic human right.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is promoting the day under the theme “Sustainable Development.” On its website, UNESCO indicated that “Literacy is one of the key elements needed to promote sustainable development, as it empowers people so that they can make the right decisions in the areas of economic growth, social development and environmental integration. Literacy is a basis for lifelong learning and plays a crucial foundational role in the creation of sustainable, prosperous and peaceful societies.”

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UNESCO is celebrating International Literacy Da under the theme “Sustainable Development.”

UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon stated “Literacy provides tools for men and women to better understand the world and shape it to meet their aspirations.” While his predecessor, Kofi Annan said: “Literacy is a key lever of change and a practical tool of empowerment on each of the three main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection.”

Children who lack the resources to promote literacy from the formative years grow into adulthood unprepared to reason or articulate their thoughts effectively. International Literacy Day is designed to put the spotlight squarely on this issue so that governments will set aside a day, early in the academic school year, to collectively explore creative methods that will make a difference in alleviating illiteracy and promoting efforts to level the playing field.–OnPointPress.net.