- Feb 2View Source================================================================
Jennifer Gratz, others knock Black Student Union's demands at University of Michigan January 22, 2014 | freep.comJennifer Gratz, Chief Executive Officer of XIV Foundation, arrives at the Supreme Court in
Washington,Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013.
By Ann Zaniewski
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer
Jennifer Gratz, a well-known crusader against the use of affirmative action in college admissions, says a list of demands released this week by a group of black students at the University of Michigan is unconstitutional.
Gratz’s comments echoed even harsher criticisms unleashed on social media against the Black Student Union. The backlash came after the group demanded Monday that the university enroll more black students and make other changes at the Ann Arbor school.
The Black Student Union says the requests are aimed at making black students feel more empowered and welcome on campus.
But they’ve also sparked controversy.
“They want special treatment and separate treatment based on their race,” Gratz told the Free Press. “That’s something that the civil rights movement has fought against for decades.”
The students’ demands come as diversity at the school has been in the spotlight over the last several months. Enrollment of black students has been declining, and school officials recently announced steps to boost diversity and increase black enrollment.
Members of the BSU announced seven demands Monday outside a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at Hill Auditorium. They include an increased budget for the group, the renovation and relocation of a multicultural center and emergency scholarships for black students.
An online video of the event shows one student saying “physical actions” will be taken if the university does not respond within seven days.
“I don’t think the university should engage with groups that threaten and put superficial deadlines on activity and ask the university to take unconstitutional action,” Gratz said.
Geralyn Gaines, the secretary for the BSU, said Tuesday that any activism the students engage in will be non-violent. She said students are hoping to have discussions with university leaders in the coming days.
University officials do plan to meet with students, said Rick Fitzgerald, spokesman for the university. A meeting has not yet been scheduled.
Gaines, a junior, said alumni and other people have responded positively through e-mail. But the majority of feedback online has been negative, she said, with some critics using the terms “racists,” “terrorists” and “buffoons.”
“Our e-mail system has been blowing up all day with positivity,” she said. “But comments on the Internet (in response to news stories), probably 97% of them are negative, and they’re not from students of color. They’re mostly white students making comments. It’s disheartening. It’s disappointing. It’s sad.”
Gaines described the racial climate on campus as “just not good.” She pointed to an incident this past fall in which a mostly white fraternity at the school landed in hot water over party advertisements that used derogatory words for women and stereotyped blacks.
In November, students launched a Twitter campaign to raise concerns about race and diversity using the hashtag “BBUM,” which stands for Being Black at the University of Michigan.
The students’ requests will benefit the entire campus, Gaines said, citing an increase in black student enrollment as an example.
“To be educated on different cultures, it just makes you a better person,” she said.
More than a decade ago, Gratz successfully fought against the use of an affirmative action point system in the undergraduate admissions process at the school.
Gratz, who was denied admission to U-M as a high school senior, and others sued over the admissions policies. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the U-M Law School’s use of race as a consideration in admissions, as long as there were no quotas. However, it threw out the undergraduate admissions system that awarded extra points to African-American, Hispanic and American Indian students.
Gratz was also one of the organizers behind the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, otherwise known as Proposal 2, the 2006 voter-approved ban on the use of affirmative action in college admissions and state hiring.
The university has said black enrollment has declined since the change. Black students made up 4.6% of U-M’s freshman class in 2012, down from about 6.7% in 2008, not including international students. It was 4.1% in fall 2013.
Later this year, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether the voter-approved ban should stand.
This is What Mayoral Control Brings to our Youth and Families--
Padded 'calm-down' room at charter school drives kids to anxiety attacks=======================================================================
A tiny padded room at KIPP Star Washington Heights Elementary School was a
real-life nightmare for two young boys who were repeatedly detained in the tot
cells, the Daily News has learned.
The students, who were enrolled in kindergarten and first grade at the highly regarded charter school, were both removed by their parents in the past two weeks after they suffered anxiety attacks as a result of their confinement.
“He was crying hysterically,” said Teneka Hall, 28, a full-time Washington Heights mom whose son, Xavier, was rushed to the hospital after he panicked and wet himself while he was holed up in the padded room. “It’s no way to treat a child."
The school’s so-called “calm-down” room is small, about the size of a walk-in closet, said Hall, who visited it with her son at the start of the school year. It’s empty, but for a soft mat lining the floor and a single light on the ceiling.
The room’s only window is an approximately 2-foot by 3-foot panel in the single door. It’s partially covered so staffers can look inside, but children cannot. Students were placed in the room, alone, for 15 to 20 minutes at a stretch, their parents said.
State law requires that children placed in a time-out setting be in a space where they can be seen and heard “continuously,” but it does not require adults to be in the room where children are stashed.
James Keivom/New York Daily News
Xavier, who was enrolled at KIPP Star Washington
Heights Elementary School, with his mom Taneka
Hall, who says her son had to be taken to the hospital
for anxiety after being put into the padded 'calm-down' room.
When 5-year-old Xavier was confined to the room on Dec. 3, he suffered an anxiety attack so severe that staffers called for emergency workers to take him to the hospital.
“I was scared,” said Xavier, who was taken to New York Presbyterian and released to his mom, who pulled him from the charter and enrolled him in another school immediately.
First-grader Richard Betonces Jr. had a similar experience, minus the hospital trip, said his dad, Richard Betonces Sr., of Yonkers.
Richard, 7, was detained in the padded room dozens of times since September for acting out in class. Usually he was put there for about 15 minutes at a time.
It was enough to give the boy panic attacks, said his father.
“It was like being locked in jail,” said Betonces. “He was crying every day, scared he was going back. It’s made his mother depressed as well. It’s a terrible thing.”
A tiny padded room, like the one pictured here,
at KIPP Star Washington Heights Elementary
School was used to 'calm' students.
KIPP school officials said only three students have been placed in the padded chamber since it was created on the advice of child psychologists in 2012.
School officials said they only sent children to the room when their safety became an issue and they discussed using the tactic with the kids’ parents, who approved it.
“Like most schools we use time-outs as a way to make sure students remain safe,” said KIPP NYC Superintendent Josh Zoia. “The calm-down room is used only as part of a behavior plan which was both developed in collaboration with and approved by the parents.”
State education officials who authorized KIPP’s charter said that they would call the school’s management over the issue.
“This is the first we’ve heard of these allegations and our charter school office will be contacting the school,” said state Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman.
With Kerry Burke and Rocco Parascandola
Discrimination can make you sick
By 1 Against Racism (2) on 28/01/2014
There's a growing body of evidence that links the experience of racism with poor health and illness. Recent, ground-breaking research further confirms this.
Any type of stress can impact health, but none may be quite as toxic as the tension and anxiety people experience when they fear that they will be discriminated against, reveals a groundbreaking new study led by Margaret Hicken, PhD, a Robert Wood Johnson (RWJF) Health & Society Scholar (2010-2012).
Working with a team that included David R. Williams, PhD, a veteran disparities researcher and head of the RWJF Commission on Building a Healthier America, and RWJF Health & Society Scholars Hedwig Lee, PhD, and Sarah Burgard, PhD, Hicken worked across disciplines to uncover several of the many ways that racism gets under the skin. "This research grew out of conversations with other Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholars with backgrounds in sociology and epidemiology," explains Hicken, who focuses on social demography and public health.
"Sociologists have a different way of looking at how people respond to discrimination on a personal level and what it's like to live in a country where the media portrays your group in a certain way. Even policy-makers in the United States sometimes speak in code because ours is a racialized society," Hicken says.
Using survey results from the Chicago Adult Community Health Study, a population-representative sample of 3,105 people, the team conducted two studies that measured the possible health effects of remaining hypervigilant about encountering racism when engaging in simple, everyday activities.
Health and the stress response
The first study was "'Every Shut Eye, Ain't Sleep': The Role of Racism-Related Vigilance in Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Sleep Difficulty," published in the June 2013 issue of Race and Social Problems. The results suggested that Black, but not Hispanic, adults were most likely to maintain high levels of racism-related hypervigilance (also called anticipatory stress), and toss and turn during the night. The Black adults reported 15 percent more hypervigilance-related sleep problems than the White adults.
The second study revealed far more striking differences among racial groups. In the article, "Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Hypertension Prevalence: Reconsidering the Role of Chronic Stress," published online November 18 in the American Journal of Public Health, the team reported large differences in rates of hypervigilance and hypertension between Black and White study participants, and only a small difference among Hispanics.
Not only were the Blacks surveyed more likely to be hypervigilant about experiencing discrimination, that hypervigilance may have contributed to significantly higher levels of hypertension in them. At the lowest levels of hypervigilance, Black and White study participants had similar levels of hypertension. However, at the highest levels of hypervigilance, 55 percent of Black study participants had hypertension while 20 percent of the White study participants had hypertension.
The study findings may contribute greatly to the understanding of differences in health between racial groups, because disparities in hypertension are considered a significant contributor to health disparities in America.
The racism/hypertension link
"We think that the chronic activation of the biological stress response system that takes place when a person anticipates a negative event like encountering discrimination is what contributes to the higher rates of hypertension among the Blacks in our study," Hicken says.
After controlling for variables such as income, gender, age, and socioeconomic status, study respondents' feelings were measured through questions that included:
In your day-to-day life, how often do you do the following things: (a) try to prepare for possible insults from other people before leaving home; (b) feel that you always have to be very careful about your appearance to get good service or avoid being harassed; and (c) try to avoid certain social situations and places.
The researchers wrote, "the anticipatory nature of vigilance sets it apart from traditional notions of perceived racial discrimination. For decades, a large body of scientific and lay literature has provided evidence of the pervasive consequences of interpersonal and societal discrimination. In qualitative studies, social scientists often report on the way Blacks continually think about the potential for discrimination."
"Overall, the work shows that in cases where racism-related vigilance is low or absent, Blacks and Whites have similar levels of hypertension. But when people report chronic vigilance, the rates in Blacks rise significantly. They rise a little in Hispanics, but not at all in Whites," Hicken explains.
"For our next study," she adds, "we are going to expand the questionnaire to gather better data and explore how or if the impact of hypervigilance can be mitigated."
January 27, 2014- edweek.org
Cracks in the Common Core Wall...
NY state teachers union pulls Common Core support
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — New York's largest teachers union has withdrawn its support for the new Common Core learning standards until the state agrees to make what the union calls "major course corrections" to the way they were implemented.
The New York State United Teachers' board of directors also voted over the weekend to declare "no confidence" in the policies of Education Commissioner John King Jr. and called for his removal.
The union wants a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences resulting from Common Core-aligned statewide standardized tests, meaning no teachers should be fired nor students kept from graduating because of poor performance.
In a joint response, King and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch stand by the standards but say they'll make needed adjustments to implementation. Two state panels are studying what those adjustments might entail.
January 29, 2014 - edweek.org
Common Science Standards Slow to Catch On in States
Preoccupation with implementing the common core is an oft-cited obstacle
By Liana Heitin
All 26 states that teamed up to help develop the Next Generation Science Standards committed to seriously consider adopting them. But nine months after the K-12 standards were finalized, only eight of those "lead state partners" have formally signed on, including California, Kentucky, and Maryland. (The District of Columbia also has adopted them.)
The national pace of adoption contrasts with that for the Common Core State Standards, which were approved in rapid succession by most states in the months after they were finalized. Proponents of the new science standards, however, emphasize that the speed of adoption across the country is on par with what they'd expected.
Some states say they're tied up with implementation of the common-core standards for mathematics and English/language arts, and are hesitant to effect more instructional change anytime soon.
In other states, such as Minnesota and Arizona, legislative restrictions have slowed the adoption process.
How widespread the standards become remains to be seen. The hope of organizers from the outset was that most states would ultimately embrace the new science standards, which emphasize science concepts and processes and ask students to apply their knowledge through scientific experiments, investigations, and engineering design.
"I think it will take a couple of years—I always thought it would take two to three years—but I'm very optimistic the majority of states will adopt," said David L. Evans, the executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, which was a partner in developing the standards.
Just last week the state board of education in Illinois voted to approve the standards, though a legislative review is required before adoption is official.
However, some non-lead states are sending signals that adoption is unlikely. For example, in South Carolina, the legislature took formal steps last summer to block adoption outright.
'Sucking Up' the Oxygen
One reason that formal action on the science standards is happening more slowly than with the common core is the lack of federal incentives, said Stephen L. Pruitt, a senior vice president at Achieve, a Washington-based research and advocacy group that oversaw the science standards' development. The federal Race to the Top program favored states that had adopted the common core or other college- and career-ready standards. There are no similar financial incentives in place for the science standards.
"We knew going into this that it would be a much slower adoption than the common core," Mr. Pruitt said. "States have their hands full.We applaud states for taking their time and doing their due diligence."
Between writing curricula, providing professional development, and preparing for the impending assessments, states—and especially teachers—do have a lot on their plates.
Brian J. Reiser, a professor of learning sciences at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., said, "I'm hearing from a lot of states, 'We want to make sure we have the common core solid under our belts and that our teachers are more comfortable and further along and then we'll jump into science.' "
Paul Cottle, a physics professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee, put it more bluntly in an email: "Common core seems to be sucking up all of the educational oxygen."
Where States Stand
The Next Generation Science Standards were issued in April. Since then, eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted them.
Even those states that have adopted are moving slowly with implementation.
Matt D. Krehbiel, a science education consultant for the education department in Kansas, where the standards were approved in June, said the transition to the new standards will take three to four years, and even then will be an ongoing process.
"We're really encouraging districts to take their time," he said. Among other states that have adopted, he added, "If there's a general theme, it's that folks are really encouraging a slow approach."
Though not a lead state, Florida submitted comments on early drafts of the standards and was expected to seriously consider adoption. However, Cheryl Etters, a spokeswoman for the state education department, said in an email that "due to the review of the current English/language arts and mathematics standards, the review process for the science standards has been delayed."
The state has also undergone a leadership change: Tony Bennett resigned as education commissioner last summer after a school-grading controversy from his tenure in Indiana came to light. In addition, the state board of education's vice chairman, John Padget, said at a board meeting in June that he wants to strengthen Florida's standards, but would not recommend replacing them with the Next Generation Science Standards.
In Pennsylvania, another non-lead state, a spokesman for the state department of education said there were no plans to adopt the standards.
Kathy Hrabluk, an associate superintendent in the Arizona Department of Education, said schools and districts are "now very focused in Arizona on implementation of the college- and career-ready standards. ... We're very conscious about making sure we don't completely overwhelm educators."
For some states, specific legislative or regulatory processes are holding up action on the new standards.
In Tennessee, which was a lead state, the science standards are not up for revision for another year. North Carolina's current science standards have only been in place for one year, said Beverly Vance, the section chief for science and curriculum instruction at the state education department.
"We will not be adopting [the Next Generation Science Standards] in the near future—definitely not for the 2014-15 school year," she said.
Minnesota is in the unusual position of having a formal state statute that governs the standards adoption schedule. Based on that, the state cannot revise its standards again until the 2017-18 school year, a state official said.
Little Public Debate
Interestingly, there's been less public back-and-forth so far about the content of the science standards than has been the case with the common core, even given the hot-button political issues—including the teaching of climate change and evolution—embedded in the standards.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington-based think tank that is a staunch advocate of the common core, has been a leading critic of the science standards. But as the group's executive vice president, Michael J. Petrilli explains, its opposition is based mainly on a belief that the standards overemphasize behaviors and give short shrift to science content knowledge.
"There's not enough focus on content. ... The standards seem to go out of their way to downplay the knowledge," he said.
Last June, the group issued a report giving the science standards a C grade. The report concluded that the standards in 12 states and the District of Columbia are "clearly superior."
But Mr. Reiser of Northwestern refutes Fordham's characterization of the standards. The new science standards require "a greater attention to the content based on what decades of research says about the best way to help kids understand ideas," he said. "No one that understands the Next Generation Science Standards would say the point is to emphasize practice and not content."
Regarding the lack of resistance to the science standards, Mr. Petrilli said, "It's surprising how little noise there's been."
At the same time, Mr. Petrilli said that with the common core, "the backlash came much later. I wonder if with the science standards it's the same thing. The folks most likely to be opposed to these things haven't spoken up now, but perhaps they'll speak up a few years from now," when more states begin implementation.
But at least a few states have waylaid adoption because of concerns over the standards' content. The South Carolina General Assembly recently passed a proviso that expressly prohibits adoption of the Next Generation Science Stan
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