Al Sharpton’s NAN Tackles Education, the ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Day’ - Higher Education

Higher Education News and Jobs

Al Sharpton’s NAN Tackles Education, the ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Day’

Email




by Jamal Watson

Al Sharpton speaks at the 16th annual National Action Network (NAN) national convention, which addressed issues like education, health and wellness and gun control reform.

Al Sharpton speaks at the 16th annual National Action Network (NAN) national convention, which addressed issues like education, health and wellness and gun control reform.

NEW YORK— Helping students of color acquire the necessary skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) was a focal point of the education panel at the National Action Network’s annual convention in New York City.

Dr. Marcus Bright, executive director of Education for a Better America (EBA), moderated the panel that included educators from across the country, including television personality Dr. Steve Perry and Dr. Lisa Staino-Coico, president of The City College of New York.

Staino-Coico said that more work has to be done to get minority students interested in STEM fields at an early age so that they can major in the disciplines in college and go on to the competitive job market.

“Students are already tracked out of STEM before they even get to us because they haven’t had the math expertise; they haven’t been given the self-confidence,” said Staino-Coico, who has been president of the Harlem-based college since 2010. “They also don’t come with built-in networks.”

NAN, the civil rights organization founded in 1991 by the Rev. Al Sharpton, has made access to education one of its major issues, with Sharpton dubbing it the “civil rights issue of our day.”

In a speech on Wednesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed President Obama’s efforts to reduce racial disparities in the classroom and the administration’s new initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” which aspires to create pathways to success for men and boys of color.

Related:  University Medical Schools Test Cell Phones for Health Care Tasks

The initiative, announced several months ago, will focus on using results and evidence to evaluate what works—and stop what doesn’t—to improve opportunities for at-risk youths, all within existing federal resources, said Duncan, who also highlighted the department’s recently released Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which addresses the disparities in educational opportunities among African-Americans and other students of color.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), faulted administrators for spending too much time focused on standardized testing and not enough time on teaching content material.

“Why is it that testing is elevated over teaching?” asked Weingarten, a former high school teacher who said that more should be done to help poor students. “Why is it that America’s epidemic of childhood poverty is ignored?”

A forceful critic of unions, Perry, who is principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Conn., said that protecting ineffective teachers and “schools that are not working for our community” have left many minority students without the necessary skills to advance in college.

In addition, minority students are “being starved by lack of access to AP courses,” said Dr. Ivory A. Toldson, deputy director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and an associate professor of counseling psychology at Howard University. According to Toldson, since many minority students are steered away from rigorous courses in math and sciences before they get to college, they often lack the skills and the desire to enroll in such programs once they arrive on campus.

“What we really need is to check the attitude of the teachers who discourage them before they even get started,” said Toldson.

Related:  As Judicial Nominee, Law Professor Goodwin Liu Lingers in Limbo

President Obama is scheduled to address the convention delegates Friday.

Jamal Watson can be reached at [email protected] You can follow him @jamalericwatson

RELATED ARTICLES >>
Golden Gate University Ranked No.1 for Adult Learners Golden Gate University is ranked No. 1 for adult learners in the latest edition of Washington Monthly’s annual best college rankings issue. The magazine decided for the first time to include best institutions for adult learners — that is, students...
Would Guns be Allowed in Texas Classrooms if They Were More like Stadiums? Back-to-school now includes guns, thanks to the new campus carry law that took effect in the state of Texas. Most private colleges in Texas (like Rice and Southern Methodist) have the right to opt out of the law. Public schools, however, are subje...
Binghamton University Responds to Criticism over #StopWhitePeople2K16 A public university in New York says the #StopWhitePeople2K16 used as the title of a recent training session was chosen for its irony and the session ― about diversity ― wasn’t anti-White. A Binghamton University administrator issued an explanatio...
Fraternity Suspends Texas A&M Chapter after Student’s Death COLLEGE STATION, Texas ― The Sigma Nu fraternity has suspended all activities of its Kappa Sigma chapter at Texas A&M University following the death by drug overdose of a member last weekend. A statement Thursday from the Lexington, Virginia-b...
Semantic Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *