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Showing posts from February, 2009

Conference on the Lack of Access to College

We held a one-day conference on The Lack of Access to Higher Education last year, October 4th, 2007, at Baruch College School of Public Affairs. It was an inspiring event to discuss not just the structural, racial and financial problems about access to college but also innovative solutions that some states and universities have implemented to help students get into college. We began with Martha Lampkin from the Lumina Foundation that deserves so much credit for recognizing this problem and providing funding to colleges and universities that create programs to solve this issue. And then we heard from Kati Haycock from the Education Trust, a place that conducts research and analysis about the issues around access. They were both excellent speakers and we were encouraged that perhaps there is something to be done about the fact that millions of young people do not know who to apply, are discouraged from applying, and cannot afford to attend college. We then had a panel of folks who ran…

Sometimes the Good Guys Win

Red Hook is a neighborhood in Brooklyn right on the water with an incredibly active port on the East River of New York City. Red Hook has a rich maritime tradition - the movie, “On the Waterfront,” was filmed there, and the docks still bustle with container cargo from dozens of large ships. One of the few industrial zones left in the City, many Brooklynites are fighting against high-end real estate developers who see luxury housing rather than shipping docks in Red Hook. Why waste their beautiful views with jobs? The Red Hook port is owned by the Port Authority, not by the City of New York. The city has tried to acquire the waterfront in Red Hook. City officials would like to see high-end real estate developed on the waterfront in Red Hook; in their minds, container shipping simpy doesn’t provide enough jobs. City officials may lose out to saner heads, particularly Congressman Jerry Nadler. Congressman Nadler would like to see the city’s economic base far more diversified than it is…

Denying Welfare Mothers the Right to a College Education

The U.S. Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRW) and the accompanying block grant, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which became the most dramatic restructuring of federal aid to mothers and children since its beginnings in the Great Depression of 1929 (Personal Responsibility Law 1996). These laws limited welfare to a total of five years over an individual’s lifetime. TANF effectively allowed only one year of post secondary education, and only vocational education was accepted under the statute. Although TANF did not specifically prohibit welfare recipients from attending any other type of higher education program, the statute put states under such enormous pressure to fulfill work requirement quotas so that it became a practical impossibility for states to offer four years of higher education to their welfare recipients. The states were mandated to have 50% of welfare recipients wor…

Higher Education and Black Men

The American Council on Education has issued its annual report on minorities in higher education. In their latest report (2007), ACE announced that although more black students enrolled in college than previously, blacks continued to “trail whites in the % of 18- to 24-year-old high school graduates enrolled in college. 42.8% of all white 18 to 24 year olds enrolled in higher education while only 32.7% of blacks and 24.8% of Hispanics enrolled. In addition, there is a dramatic difference between black men and women. Only 28% of black men 18 to 24 were enrolled in college while 37.1% of black women were enrolled. A similar trend exists for Hispanics – 20.7% of men and 29.5% of women. The report concluded that there are contributing factors that lead to young black and Hispanic men failing to enroll in college. These factors include poverty conditions within which young black and Hispanic men live, preference for immigrants over black males in considering hiring, lack of jobs where mo…