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Obama’s College Access Plans Will Only Work For Ambitious Students

The president is selling education and is on the lookout for low-income buyers.

Last month Obama put his administration squarely behind increasing college opportunity for low-income students. There are many product upgrades in his college showroom: better payment terms, lower costs, more help. He wants everyone to be able to walk away with something.

You’d think customers would be busting down the doors. But while many walk in to buy, many others stay outside. The first group is eager, but shocked by the sticker price. The second group doesn’t even care to kick the tires. No interest, at any price.

What separates the two is ambition.

Jaime Escalante, an immigrant from Bolivia and dedicated high-school teacher famous for helping Latino students pass their Advanced Placement mathematics exam, once told his students: “The only thing I ask from you is ganas. Desire. There will be no free rides, no excuses. You already have two strikes against you: your name and your complexion.”

Things have improved since Jaime’s time, as colleges now fight with each other to enroll as many diverse students as possible. The common trait of all those admitted is ganas.

What may be surprising is that there are so many people with ganas. The children of single moms of color crowd after school programs and chartered schools across the country. Immigrants who make up a growing percentage of low-income families do the same. Many under-served families are eager to send their children to college.

But these resource-strapped, ambition-rich families have lots of problems doing so. Their children may have good grades, but terrible SAT scores. Moving these scores up to an acceptable range often requires tutoring and money. KAPLAN, for example, charges between $300-$700 for its online prep courses and around $5,000 for 32 hours of one-on-one tutoring. Not exactly chump change.

Unfortunately, many of the ambitious will not earn a degree. All they will have to show is debt, loss of income, and the angst over lost dreams. Every year in the U.S., nearly 60 percent of first-year college students discover that, despite being fully eligible to attend college, they are not ready for post-secondary studies. And even if they are ready, they may not be able to pay for it.

The good news is we have it within our power to help every student with the desire to graduate from college. The president mentioned tools from family engagement to SAT prep — all good. Just as important, Obama is trying to jaw-bone colleges to lower tuition.

The bad news is that too many families with no interest in entering the college showroom are beyond our power to help. We don’t have the tools. Ambition stems primarily from the family. All of us know a story of someone who was inspired by their fifth grade teacher, but these stories are compelling because they are the exception.

Focusing our resources on families who want to participate in our educational system is the surest way to regain our lead in the educational race against rival countries. And it will eventually improve equality as millions of low-income students earn degrees. But until every family participates, it won’t, and can’t be equal.


Article source: http://cognoscenti.wbur.org/2014/02/20/low-income-college-students-bob-hildreth

New supe serves dinner, links funders and programs

Wealthy philanthropists, school principals and nonprofit leaders mingled Wednesday in an unusual session to “map resources” for East Palo Alto’s Ravenswood City School District.

Superintendent Gloria Hernandez served dinner and invited the district’s outside funders and service providers to brainstorm on strengths, weaknesses and gaps in programs on the district’s seven campuses, which serve 3,600 K-8 children, most of whom are English learners from low-income families.

Hernandez, who arrived last summer from a Sacramento-area school district to lead Ravenswood, said she was “impressed by how many community partners we have, not just this year, but who have invested for years.

“I want to deepen our collaboration and change how we deal with our partners,” Hernandez said, adding that she aims to reassess the district’s “delivery system and models.”

Only 61 percent of Ravenswood’s eighth-grade graduates ultimately earn a high-school diploma from the Sequoia Union High School District, compared to Sequoia’s district-wide graduation rate of 80 percent and a 93 percent graduation rate for the Menlo Park City School District students who come to Sequoia.

Only 11 percent of Ravenswood’s graduates ultimately complete a four-year college-prep curriculum in high school, compared to a Sequoia district-wide average of 40 percent and a rate of 76 percent for students coming from the Menlo Park City School District.

“We really need to be doing much, much better for our students,” Hernandez said. “We hand them off to Sequoia (for high school), but it’s like being a co-parent. We raise those students until the time they go there.”

Though principals have developed individual relationships with outside supporters, Hernandez said she hoped the resource-mapping session would offer a broader perspective and help the district ensure parity and develop a baseline of core services.

“The bottom line is, public schools are really where the action is in terms of preparing future citizens, civic engagement and nurturing creativity,” Hernandez said.

She divided the 90 guests into seven groups and asked them to confer with each principal about concerns on their campus.

Principals were stationed at charts, which identified specific outside funders for supplemental academic programs on their campuses.

At the K-8 Willow Oaks School, for example, Principal Cynthia Chin said the school serves 120 of its 703 students in an after-school program, run by the nonprofit Citizen Schools, with 100 children on the waiting list.

At the station for the Brentwood Elementary School, one funder remarked that the school did not seem to have much technology.

Principal Tami Espinosa said while Ravenswood has a district-wide technology plan, Brentwood “is not very technology-rich.

“We’re K-5, and the laptop give-away programs have mainly been to middle school students,” Espinosa said. “But we do now have a laptop cart,” she said, adding that with new state testing moving online, “just the basics of using a computer, and a mouse, dragging and clicking is something we’re trying to prepare kids for.”

Longtime Ravenswood supporters said they were impressed by the volume of information offered at the gathering.

“The transparency and the willingness to reach out and leverage resources is really impressive,” said Dave Higaki, executive director of East Palo Alto Tennis Tutoring (EPATT), which is in its 26th year of offering tennis lessons and academic tutoring to Ravenswood students.

EPATT board member Marcia Pade said she appreciated the opportunity to meet the principals.

“The initiative that the superintendent has taken, to be this inclusive, I think, is extraordinary,” Pade said.

Stacey Kertsman, director of Castilleja School’s Center for Awareness, Compassion and Engagement, said: “It’s so incredible to be in this room with so many people thinking about this school district.”

Terrence Riley, business manager of the San Francisco nonprofit Aim High, called the resource-mapping dinner, which was funded by the Grove Foundation, a one-of-a-kind event.

“I’ve never seen a district go upward and beyond to bring together so many partners to hopefully seek their input and hopefully use their input,” Riley said.

Hernandez said Wednesday’s session was limited to outside partners who provide academic programs and did not cover other outside-funded district projects in areas such as mental health, counseling and parent engagement.

“This is just a start,” Hernandez said. “We wanted you to see each other and have the programs linked up so you could have dialogues with the principals and get an idea of who else is working in the district.”

Article source: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2014/02/02/superintendent-serves-dinner-links-funders-and-programs

Oklahoma May Become Second State to Offer Education Savings Accounts

Oklahoma lawmakers have proposed legislation which would create education savings accounts for students in low-income families, with special needs, or in military families.

A Friedman Foundation study out Tuesday found that 56 percent of Oklahomans favor ESA’s.

Under House Bill 3398, parents who remove their children from the public school system could receive up to 90 percent of state funds dedicated to their public education. Funds could be put towards a variety of education services such as private school tuition, charter school tuition, special education assistance, homeschooling, tutoring, counseling, online education, or a combination of these and more. If money is left over after the school year, parents could either roll the funds over to the next school year or save it for their child’s future higher education.

The accounts are “potentially game-changing, a new concept,” said Brandon Dutcher, senior vice president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA). They present “another option on the menu for parents” for providing the best education possible.

Arizona’s ESA Legislation
Rep. Jason Nelson (R-Oklahoma City), one of the bill’s original sponsors, drew upon Arizona’s successful education savings account (ESA) program while drafting legislation.

Calling ESAs a “perfect fit” for Oklahoma, Nelson explained they “would provide a number of options for those parents to find some kind of an education set-up that works for, and fits their child.”

In 2011, Arizona became the first and only state to offer ESAs. Originally only available for students with special needs, it has since expanded to include low-income students in failing schools, students in military families, and children in the foster care system.

“Children should go wherever they need to go. Public schools don’t work for every child,” Nelson said.

Majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents supported ESAs in the Friedman/OCPA poll of 606 representative Oklahoma voters. Of the 164 parents surveyed who have school-age children. 63 percent favored ESAs.

“Oklahomans have choices in everything from cell phone providers to grocery stores,” Dutcher said. “It’s no surprise that they want choices in something as important as the education of their children.”

Oklahoma’s Recent School Choice Expansion
In the recent years, Oklahoma has introduced new programs to expand options for students. In 2010, the state began to provide vouchers to special-needs children. In 2011, a similar scholarship program was developed for low-income students, through tax credits for those who contribute. The poll found 63 percent of voters favor these tax-credit scholarships. Oklahoma also has two online charter schools.

ESAs differ in that they empower families to utilize a wide variety of educational options, customizing an education plan for each student.

The public education sector will likely be the most vocal opponent of the plan, as some in it worry about money moving from public schools, those interviewed for this article said. Others may assert the plan lacks accountability.

To ensure ESA recipients are receiving quality education, the legislation requires recipients to take a nationally norm-referenced test each year, and include their scores on their yearly renewal contract.

“We’ve got to show how these students are doing in the program, while at the same time not intruding on private schools and the delivery or mechanisms they are using,” explained Jonathan Butcher, education director at the Goldwater Institute. Goldwater helped pass the first ESA law.

Passage Potential
The Oklahoma legislature convenes on February 3. Republicans hold a supermajority in both state chambers and the governor’s seat.

But “it is still too early to tell” how much support he will receive from his party and the amount of pushback the legislation will face from the public school sector and others, Nelson said. Passing the state’s special-needs vouchers hinged on a few votes from across the aisle, he noted, saying he hopes this would be the case once again.


Learn more:
“Oklahoma K-12 and School Choice Survey,” Friedman Foundation and Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, January 2014: http://www.edchoice.org/Research/Reports/Oklahoma-K-12-and-School-Choice-Survey.aspx

image by Tulane Public Relations

Article source: http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2014/01/30/oklahoma-may-become-second-state-offer-education-savings-accounts

Arnold Schwarzenegger Pranks Gold’s Gym Members For The Best Cause Ever

Given their history together, we’re sure that world-famous bodybuilding haven Gold’s Gym in Venice, Calif., would let Arnold Schwarzenegger show up and prank members any time he wants.

But, in this video, the pranking is for a good cause. Schwarzenegger is raising awareness and money for the After-School All-Stars, a nationwide program that provides free mentorship, homework help, tutoring and fun activities to students from low-income families.

Donors who give at least $10 to the organization through omaze.com will be entered for a chance to win two tickets to Los Angeles, where they’ll ride with Schwarzenegger in his personal Sherman Tank while smoking cigars.

The lucky winners will also get to “crush things together” and work out on the tank. To sweeten the deal, Schwarzenegger will match every dollar donated.

Schwarzenegger has been passionate about after-school programs for decades. In 1992, he founded the After-School All-Stars and continues to serve as honorary chair of the board even today. Last October, he joined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to advocate for the continued funding of after-school programs.

Schwarzenegger debuted the video and fundraising campaign during a Reddit AMA (Asking Me Anything) session Tuesday. In addition to writing about the After-School All-Stars, he shared details about two near death experiences he had while filming, his favorite “cheat day” meal and a very unfortunate roadside incident he had while filming the 1987 film “Predator” in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Our favorite detail? It turns out that Schwarzenegger paints all of his Christmas cards. Here’s one he posted as an example:

7cd68 7F6Rbxy Arnold Schwarzenegger Pranks Golds Gym Members For The Best Cause Ever

He revealed the Christmas art after a Reddit user asked him to describe a more feminine side of himself.

Also on HuffPost:

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$230K Grant Allows Affordable After-School Care for Poor Families


Be Our Guest: Memo to new mayor: Save child care and after-school programs

To Our New Mayor: Do More for Our Children

We are writing to you, future mayor of New York City, on behalf of thousands of New York parents who are struggling to afford a better future for their children. They are looking to you for a solution.

The costs of child care and after-school programs in this city are oppressively high for middle class families. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau lists New York as one of just three states where the average annual cost of child care for two children is at $25,000 or above.

And for low-income families? It’s nearly impossible for these families to afford high-quality early education for their children, or a safe and educational place for them to be after school.

City funding for child care and after-school programs has been slashed year after year. Parents, providers, and City Council members must watch during each budget cycle as desperately needed funding for these essential programs is caught up in a macabre “budget dance” — millions of dollars in cuts are threatened, then must be restored largely through one-year City Council discretionary funds, at the eleventh hour.

This budget dance has real consequences, and it must end with you, future mayor. Program staff and parents are unable to plan for the future while the Mayor and Council negotiate. And even when the funds are restored, they are never restored in full, meaning the loss of thousands of slots for children each year. Case in point: in 2008 NYC had the largest and most comprehensive Out of School Time, (OST) afterschool system in the country, which served 87,256 children. In fiscal year 2014, it will serve 56,498. That’s 35% fewer children in after-school programs, and 35% fewer parents who have the after-school care that allows them to stay employed.

Let us be clear: early childhood education and after-school programs are simply too important to the future of our city to be placed on the budget chopping block each year. We know without a doubt that these programs work. Children who are enrolled in early education and after-school programs do better in school and are more likely to graduate; they experience less violence, drug-use and teen pregnancy in their lives. They form the foundation for meeting the new and rigorous Common Core Curriculum that the Department of Education aspires to achieve for every student.

At the highest level of our government, President Obama has called for greater investment in the early education programs that set children on a path to success. When our President preaches progress, why are we moving backwards? In New York City, where there are more children than in any other city in the country, and where one in three children lives in poverty, we need a mayor who will expand, not cut, child care and after-school programs.

Article source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/guest-memo-new-mayor-save-child-care-after-school-programs-article-1.1449313

Corcoran to offer after-school program at WPS

Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2013 6:26 pm

Corcoran to offer after-school program at WPS

Sara Spaulding

Williston Herald


After being denied state funding, Williston elementary students will have the opportunity to attend an exciting and enriching before and after-school program after all.

The thanks goes to a private educational institution.

Corcoran School reached an agreement with Williston Public School District No. 1 to provide a before and after-school program in district elementary schools Friday afternoon.

Corcoran School, an independent early education and after-school enrichment program, stepped up to the plate when the district was denied the 21st century grant by the state.

Corcoran School will operate out of the district’s facilities but the program will not be run at all by the district.

TJ Corcoran will implement an enrichment program that is technological, educational and fun. The program will offer an exciting and enriching opportunity to students.

Corcoran plans “to offer up to 25 scholarships for families in need” since the grant would have offered discounts to low-income families.

Rates will probably run around $75 per week.

“We’re excited to be part of the solution,” said Corcoran.

Visit enrichment.corcoranschool.com for more information and to pre-register.

© 2013 Williston Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Saturday, August 24, 2013 6:26 pm.

Article source: http://www.willistonherald.com/news/corcoran-to-offer-after-school-program-at-wps/article_920ed7b8-0d14-11e3-b9f0-001a4bcf887a.html

After-school grant denied

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 11:04 am

After-school grant denied

By Sara Spaulding

Williston Herald


Several Bakken area school districts will not run after-school programs this year after not receiving a state grant.

However, students in Williston District No. 1 will still likely have the opportunity to attend an after-school program. The district would like to offer the use of its buildings to the Corcoran School, an independent early education and after-school education institution.

The district and Corcoran School are discussing the possibility of the independent organization operating out of its facilities.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to work out an arrangement in the next few days so we can launch an after-school program in mid-September,” said T.J. Corcoran, owner of the Corcoran School.

Corcoran would implement an enrichment program that is technological, educational and fun. He plans “to offer up to 25 scholarships for families in need” since the grant would have offered discounts to low-income families.

Corcoran hopes to “defray the cost of labor and the cost associated with the program,” but said that rates will also have to be greater than they were in the past.

Rates will probably run around $75 per week.

“We’re excited to be part of the solution,” said Corcoran.

For information, visit enrichment.corcoranschool.com.

Other districts impacted by the denial of the 21st century grant to the Great Northwest Community After School Program include New District No. 8, Eight Mile District No. 6 in Trenton and Divide County District in Crosby. The Boys and Girls Club of the Three Affiliated Tribes in New Town was also denied the grant.

The two other entities who submitted applications were awarded the grant. They were the Regional After School Program in Dickinson and the Missouri River Educational Cooperative in Bismarck.

For information or questions, contact the Department of Public Instruction at 701-328-2260 or www.dpi.state.nd.us.

© 2013 Williston Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013 11:04 am.

Article source: http://www.willistonherald.com/news/after-school-grant-denied/article_4e2f8128-0a7b-11e3-8241-001a4bcf887a.html

new tactic for after-school program


The YMCA is appealing to the public for help and getting corporate support to keep its after-school program alive for indigent kids after the Albany school board eliminated $540,000 in funding.

CAP COM federal credit union donated $25,000 and the Galesi Group put up a $200,000 matching grant to support access to the program for 320 underprivileged students.

The YMCA has vowed to keep the program accessible by seeking donations from community and business groups after the school district acted to close its own $7 million budget gap.

The program costs about $1,700 per student.

Many of those children are from low-income families and depend on the program as a safe place to continue learning, and get exercise, after the final school bell.

Miles Lewis wants to stay in the YMCA program at North Albany Academy.

The 8-year-old likes help with his homework and wants to shoot baskets in the gym.

“You have a good time, and learn,” he said.

And he will get to do that this coming academic year due to the special fundraising, but after that his access to one of the main after-school programs serving city school children is uncertain.

With a $34 million budget, keeping the program free for low-income students will be a challenge.

Even if the entire amount can be raised, officials will have to raise hundreds of thousands of private dollars every year.

Raising money to pay for programs once considered essential for city children could become increasingly common.

Many area districts have already created nonprofit foundations to raise money for extracurricular, arts and sports programs, once a part of the annual budget but increasingly lost as districts struggle to close budget gaps. The Albany school district doesn’t expect to find extra funds in the next few years, when budgets will be tight, Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said. The slashing of items not viewed as essential to the core educational mission is likely to continue.

“It’s a new era in the way we’re going to have to do business,” she said.

After-school hours are a critical time for children.

Quality programs after a traditional school day can provide an essential time to boost learning, particularly for students who can use extra tutoring and more physical exercise. Such programs help improve attendance, behavior and coursework, studies show. The hours between 3 and 6 p.m. are also a peak time for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, cigarettes and sex. Giving students opportunities to stay off the streets helps keep them out of the justice system, Capital District YMCA President David Brown said.

“After-school programs are effective, they help save taxpayer money, they keep kids out of trouble,” he said.

Vanden Wyngaard said the district will continue to offer its own successful after-school program and still works with other community groups, including the Boys and Girls Club, to provide an alternative to the streets.

That is one of the best ways to close the achievement gap between white and minority students, she said.

“It extends the learning opportunities beyond the school day,” she said. “It extends the opportunities for our kids to interact with other kids, other adults, all of the things that create a well-rounded child.”




Article source: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/YMCA-takes-new-tactic-for-after-school-program-4733772.php

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