22
September , 2017
Friday

By Chinta Strausberg   Recently appearing on WVON’s Cliff Kelley show Kevin Hicks, managing partner of Atlanta-based ...
New web site, BlackBusiness.org, showcases free information about all the African American business publications, organizations, ...
Collaboration seeks to reduce racial disparities and improve access to care     Washington DC - The National ...
  SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) issued a statewide call for ...
By Benjamin Todd Jealous President/CEO of the NAACP Fifty years after the NAACP field secretary was assassinated ...
The Rev. Harold E. Bailey, president of Probation Challenge and The PCC Network, will travel ...
(From whitehouse.gov) President Obama has made clear that the United States will continue to support ...
Holds 47th birthday bash, too   By Chinta Strausberg   CHICAGO, IL – Just two-days before Valentine’s Day, Pastor ...
From: U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy MAJOR UPDATE: Majority Leader Mitch ...
Attorney General Lynch and Solicitor General Verrilli Statements on the Passing of Supreme Court Justice ...

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

National Urban League Statement on Justice Department Intent to Undo Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Posted by Admin On August - 10 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 

WASHINGTON, DC – National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement in response to reports that the U.S. Department of Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, intends to challenge the application of affirmative action in college admissions:

“Once again, we in the civil rights community find our progress under attack by the Sessions-led Justice Department and the current administration.  News reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions intends to challenge the 2016 Supreme Court ruling upholding the consideration of race in the college admissions process, coupled with all the other assaults waged on civil rights that he was sworn to protect just six months ago, crystallizes Sessions’ disdain for the advancement of communities of color.  We fully condemn any effort by the current Department of Justice to undermine affirmative action in college admissions, taking us back to a period when African Americans did not have equal and fair access to higher education.  The National Urban League will do all it can to support our legal defense partners to ensure that our progress and civil rights are and continue to be protected.”

Attorney General Madigan Urges Education Secretary Devos to Stop Delaying Student Loan Forgiveness

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she is leading a coalition of attorneys general and other state officials demanding that the U.S. Department of Education stop delaying its program to cancel federal student loans for thousands of Illinois students victimized by predatory for-profit colleges.

 

Across the country, thousands of former students of Corinthian Colleges Inc., who are eligible for loan forgiveness by the U.S. Department of Education, have yet to see their loans forgiven and are continuing to make payments on these loans. Some students are nearing the end of 12-month forbearances or collections bans on their loans and face restarting monthly payments on debts that should be canceled. All of these students attended campuses and programs where the Department of Education found fraud.

 

In a letter sent today to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Madigan urges the Department of Education to review the mounting applications and work to forgive loans already approved to be canceled.

 

“Education Secretary DeVos must immediately forgive student loans the Department of Education has already determined were solicited by fraudulent for-profit schools,” Madigan said. “Yet, inexplicably, the government is still collecting on these fraudulently induced loans from schools the Department never should have allowed to operate.”

 

The letter presses DeVos to provide information on what the department is doing to rectify the growing backlog of applications and to provide a timeframe for forgiving the student loan debt. In addition, since the Department of Education has already determined that these students are eligible for loan forgiveness, the letter urges DeVos to abandon the application process and automatically discharge all eligible loans.

 

“Relieving these hard-working Americans of their fraud-induced student debt will free them to participate more fully in their local economies, or even continue their educations with reputable schools,” the letter states.

 

After intense scrutiny by various government entities, for-profit Corinthian Colleges abruptly ceased operations in 2015. Corinthian owned and operated seven Everest College campuses in Illinois. Madigan’s investigation into Everest College revealed widespread misrepresentations made to prospective students, supporting the Department of Education’s own findings of fraud that Corinthian made systemic misrepresentations between 2010 and 2014 about post-graduation employment rates for certain programs at its campuses.

 

Former Corinthian students in Illinois were notified as part of a bipartisan effort by Madigan and 46 other attorneys general across the country to inform more than 100,000 former Corinthian students that they are eligible for streamlined loan cancelation and provide information on how to apply for loan forgiveness.

 

Attorney General Madigan is a national leader in investigating and enforcing consumer protection violations in the higher education field. She has investigated for-profit schools for fraud and repeatedly called on the U.S. Department of Education to immediately forgive federal loans of students who attended fraudulent for-profit schools.

 

In addition to her investigation of Corinthian, Madigan reached a $15 million settlement with Westwood College in 2015 that forgave private debt owed by students of Westwood’s criminal justice program. After resolving Madigan’s lawsuit, the college announced its closure. More than 3,600 former Westwood College students in Illinois received an average of more than $4,200 in relief under the settlement, in addition to the potential federal loan relief called for by Madigan.

 

Madigan also reached a settlement with Education Management Corporation (EDMC), which operates five Illinois Institute of Art and Argosy University campuses in Illinois. The settlement requires EDMC to provide disclosure to students about the true cost of the school and expectations for job placement after graduation.

 

Earlier this year, Madigan filed a lawsuit against Navient and Sallie Mae for faulty and abusive student loan practices. Madigan also testified before Congress and urged the U.S. Department of Education to crack down on the many abuses and scams facing student borrowers.

 

Madigan’s office runs a free Student Loan Helpline to provide student borrowers with free resources about repayment options, avoiding default or to file a complaint about loan servicing at (800) 455-2456 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013). More information can also be found on her website.

 

Joining Madigan in sending today’s letter are attorneys general from: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia, as well as Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

 

Chicago Schools are Expelling 3-Year-Olds. It Needs to Stop

Posted by Admin On May - 31 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
OP-ED: By State Rep. Juliana Stratton

Three-year olds are getting expelled from preschool. Let that thought sink in for a minute.

Research suggests that the expulsion of toddlers and preschoolers from early care and education settings is occurring at alarmingly high rates. While it may seem counterintuitive, a nationwide study in 2005 indicated that Illinois preschoolers were kicked out of their programs at a rate nearly three times that of their grade school and high school peers. More recent data from the Office for Civil Rights show that boys of color are subjected to higher rates of disciplinary action, and increasingly African-American girls are experiencing similar problems.

Why is this such an issue for young children, their families, and our communities? School expulsion is associated with negative educational, health, and developmental outcomes for all children, and expulsion in the earliest years leads to higher expulsion and suspension rates in later grades.

Illinois must end the practice of expelling preschoolers from their early childhood programs. This is why I’ve sponsored HB2663, a bill aimed at ensuring that children will remain in the most beneficial setting for their development by providing protections against preventable expulsion for those kids enrolled in Illinois State Board of Education-funded early childhood programs and licensed child care settings. In addition, the legislation identifies the trainings and topics needed to address the problem and asks state agencies to make this information available to programs. HB2663 also strengthens data collection and dissemination to guide future policymaking and practice-planning.

There are many reasons why preschool expulsion rates are high, and it’s important to recognize there is no one culprit to blame. It is often an amalgam of a child’s behavior, the programs’ interpretation of and response to that behavior, a family’s situation, and the state’s provision of guidance and resources to programs and families. But we know it’s happening too often, and the gender and racial disparities mean that we are leaving behind specific groups of children, which is unacceptable.

Our children have so much talent, but the preschool-to-prison pipeline makes it harder for them to realize all of that talent. Illinois must solve this problem. HB2663 is an important first step.

 

 

 

Student Loan Scam Gets an “F” From the FTC

Posted by Admin On May - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The costs of student loans and fees can be overwhelming. You might see online ads that promise to help lower your payments or get your loans forgiven. But be wary of companies that make those promises, and never pay an upfront fee. Today, the FTC announced it had filed charges against Strategic Student Solutions, Student Relief Center, and related companies for lying to consumers about providing student loan debt relief and charging illegal upfront fees.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Strategic Student Solutions promised consumers loan forgiveness or payment reduction and credit repair services, but they didn’t deliver. They told consumers that their monthly fees would be put toward their student loans. They also charged consumers illegal upfront fees of up to $1,200.

Consumers found out later that they had not been enrolled in forgiveness or repayment programs, that none of their payments had been put towards their student loans, and their credit had not been repaired. In fact, consumers often ended up farther behind on their payments than when they first signed up for the companies’ services.

If you have paid money to Strategic Student Solutions or Student Relief Center, contact your loan servicer immediately. Depending on the type of loans you have, you may want to discuss a repayment plan or other options for your situation.

Remember, you do not have to pay for help with your student loans. Never pay an upfront fee for the promise of debt relief. Learn how to spot a debt relief scheme.

To report a student loan debt relief scam, file a complaint with:

·       the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint

·       the CFPB at consumerfinance.gov/complaint

·       your state’s Attorney General’s office.

Does the DeVos Education Budget Promote “Choice” or Segregation?

Posted by Admin On May - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
An Op-ed from the Poverty & Race Research Action Council on the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Education Budget
 
By Kimberly Hall and Michael Hilton
 

Washington, DC, May 24, 2017 – The American public education system should provide an equal opportunity for all students to receive a quality rigorous education – regardless of class, race or ethnicity. In direct opposition to this goal, the Fiscal Year 2018 education budget recommendations from the Trump Administration show an effort to limit opportunities, support, and civil rights protections for students throughout the country.

The proposed Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS), a new Title I program, is a thinly veiled attempt to open the door for the voucherization of all federal, state and local public schools funds. This push to funnel public money to private schools to “improve student academic performance,” fails to learn from the lessons of the past.

Districts throughout the country have attempted voucherization resulting in overwhelmingly negative academic outcomes and the promotion of segregation. The District of Columbia and Louisiana implemented district wide voucher programs to help save poor performing school districts. Evaluations of student performance in both cities showed a negative impact on student achievement. Students who participated in the Louisiana voucher program exhibited steep declines in math performance compared to students who remained in traditional public schools, performing 13% lower on average after two years in the voucher schools.

Why would we voluntarily expand a program that has proven to have the opposite effect of what we would like to achieve?

The Poverty & Race Research Action Council, like other members of the National Coalition on School Diversity, is not opposed to expanding the range of opportunities available to students and their families. In fact, our research advocacy efforts are centered around the thoughtful, responsible expansion of public school choice approaches that help to bring children together in racial and economically integrated schools.

The Magnet School Assistance Program, for instance, builds off of decades of research which shows the magnet school approach conveys significant benefits to all
students. The integration effort in Louisville, KY, provides a real world example of how school choice programs centered around integration can have positive impacts on student outcomes.

If enacted, a pseudo-voucher program such as FOCUS would all but guarantee a less equitable school funding framework, paving the way for the continued defunding of the low performing schools and intensifying racial and economic segregation in those same schools. According to research from The Century Foundation, private school vouchers present a threat to integrated schools, in some cases opening the door for white and middle-class flight, in an echo of the segregation academies of the 60s and 70s.

If we are serious about improving academic achievement for all students, we need to support and fund the programs and policies that have proven to work. The research on the benefits of integrated schools clearly shows that in addition to helping to close the achievement gap, all students in integrated schools are more likely to be prepared for a global economy, have improved civic attitudes towards democratic participation, increased participation in community activities and show enhanced critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Yet, as we seek to prepare our students to compete on a global stage, the Trump Administration proposes to divert support from programs that have proven to benefit students’ life outcomes to fund programs that have shown to cause academic harm. But it does not stop there.

The already short staffed Office of Civil Rights is on the line for considerable cuts in funding and staff positions. At a time when the complaint levels are near historic highs with a record number of complaints year after year, this budget will cripple the already understaffed office charged with protecting the civil rights of all students.

Providing all of our nation’s children with a high-quality education should always be a top priority. We have not yet achieved that goal, however, it is a struggle we must win. We can never stop working to make sure that all children have an opportunity to learn and pursue their American Dream.

This proposed budget will close the doors of opportunity to hundreds of thousands of young minds around the country. We urge Congress to reject this attack on equal access to a quality public education, students’ civil rights, and ultimately our country’s long-term ability to continue as a global leader.

The Poverty & Race Research Council (PRRAC) is a civil rights policy organization convened by major civil rights, civil liberties and anti-poverty groups in 1989-90. PRRAC’s primary mission is to help connect advocates with social scientist working on race and poverty issues, and to promote a research-based advocacy strategy on structural inequality issues.

Communications & Partnerships Manager Kimberly Hall, manages PRRAC’s communications and media relations efforts. Before coming to PRRAC she worked in communications, messaging & strategy for non-profits and on political campaigns, most notably President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Kimberly is a graduate of the University of North Florida (B.S. Communications) and the University of Florida Political Campaigning Program (M.A. Political Science).
 
Michael Hilton is Policy Counsel – Education, supporting PRRAC’s education policy work. He is a 2012 Graduate of Columbia Law School, and the author of “Poverty, Literacy, and Brain Development: Toward a New, Place-Based Educational Intervention,” 17 Rich J.L. & Pub. Int. 623 (2014), and “Residential Segregation and Brain Development: Implications for Equitable Educational Opportunities in School Integration Matters” (Frankenberg, Garces, and Hopkins, Eds.) (2016) (Member of the New York State Bar.)
Photo Caption: Kimberly Hall and Michael Hilton

Teachers at Chicago’s Passages Elementary to Strike May 25 – First Charter Strike in U.S. History

Posted by Admin On May - 22 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 

Management won’t budge on opposition to financial transparency, insistence on bottom-of-the-barrel spending on immigrant and refugee students and frontline staff.

 

CHICAGO, IL – Union educators at Passages Charter School announced that they will formally strike — and hit the picket lines — on May 25 if they are unable to reach a fair contract agreement with charter management by midnight, May 24. Teachrers voted unanimously to strike on May 4, but held off from setting a date in the hopes that management would move from a hardline stance that includes rock-bottom wages, elimination of maternity and paternity leave, opposition to greater financial transparency, and insufficient resources to support classrooms.

 

Passages was one of the first charter schools created in Chicago, and today serves just under 500 students — including a large population of immigrant and refugee students of Asian and African heritage. Passages 47 union educators — teachers, teachers assistants and paraprofessionals — were certified last April as members of ChiACTS Local 4343, which represents 32 charter schools in Chicago. The school’s educators have been negotiating for a new contract since May of 2016.

The Passages strike would be the first of a charter school network in the nation.

“We really believe in the mission of this school and the students we serve, and it’s time for management to provide the resources we need to carry out that mission,” said third grade teacher Gina Mengarelli, a member of Passages’ ChiACTS bargaining team. “None of us wants to strike – we want to be in our classrooms with our students. And our bargaining team is committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith with AHS in hopes of reaching a fair contract. But if it takes a strike to force AHS to make changes that improve the education of Passages’ students, then we will be on the picket line until we achieve those improvements.”

Passages’ refugee and immigrant students look to the school as an environment to support the hopes and dreams they bring to their new country. But management is failing those aspirations, say educators, by spending too much money on top brass and overhead compared to other single-site charters, and too little on staff and students. Many teachers with BAs and even master’s degrees earn salaries in the $30,000 – $40,000 range for work weeks that can top 60 hours. Spending on students’ education at Passages is also at rock bottom among comparable publicly funded charter schools in Chicago.

“One of the core reasons educators formed a union at Passages was to have more voice in decisions that affect their students,” said ChiACTS president Chris Baehrend. “We’ve been bargaining for a year for a contract that gives us that voice, and guarantees fair working conditions for teachers and staff and fair learning conditions for our students. Yet AHS to date has refused to make us an offer that provides for these most basic of demands. If it takes a strike to convince management that it’s time to put students and the teachers who are the backbone of their education first, then we have no choce but to strike.”

Management has not skimped on salaries for itself. For the most recent year for which figures are available, AHS — Asian Human Services, the agency that runs Passages — paid $540,000 in total to two people, their current and former CEOs — that’s over $1,000 per student in compensation for those two positions alone, compared to CPS CEO Forrest Claypool’s compensation of less than $2 per student. The current and former CEOs of AHS together earned more than double that of Claypool, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, who earns $250,000 per year to run a system of just under 400,000 students. By way of comparison, the combined current salaries for Passages’ 47 bargaining unit members is $1.7 million, with teachers’ compensation averaging over 20% lower than that at comparable Chicago charter schools..

Despite repeated requests and FOIA filings, management has refused to make detailed financial information available to the bargaining team. That lack of financial transparency is now the subject of a pending claim with the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau. Teachers are calling for greater fiscal oversight at the school — including improvements in the percentage of dollars that management spends on students instead of on its own compensation.

AHS spends a greater percentage of the Passages school budget on management costs and a lower percentage on direct student and personnel costs than every other single- site charter in the city except one. The average single-site charter spends a quarter on management and overhead for every dollar they spend on school staff and students, whereas Passages spends fifty cents for every dollar. Passages is also an outlier when it comes to teacher salaries, with teachers earning 20% less than teachers at other Chicago charters. That low spending level for the school’s dedicated teachers and staff lands Passages far below the average in budget comparisons across charters.

Union members charge that the disparity in salaries for Passages educators and those at other charters is driven by AHS mismanagement of funds and the fact that AHS simply does not contribute enough to the school’s budget from its own funds. Chicago’s other single-site charters typically provide 5-10% of their financial resources from private fundraising revenue — a practice touted in the early days of the CPS push for charters as a way to harness private dollars to support publicly funded education. Passages raises zero dollars from private fundraising revenue.

Passages’ union educators returned to the bargaining table on Friday just after announcing their strike date.

 

Attorney General Madigan Student Loan Bill of Rights Passes Senate

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 

AG Madigan & Sen. Daniel Biss Applaud Passage of Senate Bill 1351 to Better Illinois Student Loan Borrowers

 

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the Illinois Senate passed legislation to reform the student loan servicing industry to help student loan borrowers repay their loans. The bill addresses widespread abuses and failures in the student loan industry that were revealed by Madigan’s investigation and lawsuit against one of the country’s largest student loan servicing companies, Navient.

 

Senate Bill 1351, drafted by Madigan’s office and Sen. Daniel Biss, would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights to better protect borrowers from abuses in the student loan industry. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 34 to 15 with one member voting present, and will now be considered in the House, where it will be sponsored by Rep. Will Guzzardi.

 

“This bill is critically important now that the U.S. Department of Education has abandoned student loan borrowers by revoking reforms to prevent the abuses uncovered in my investigation,” Madigan said. “These commonsense measures will improve the financial futures of student loan borrowers, their families and our economy.”

 

“The U.S. Department of Education’s decision to roll back protections for student loan borrowers is extremely disappointing, particularly when investigations into the industry – such as those conducted by Attorney General Madigan – have revealed misleading and self-serving practices,” Sen. Biss said. “I encourage my colleagues in the House to support these commonsense reforms.”

 

Over the past decade, student loan debt has doubled to become the largest form of unsecured consumer debt in the country with more than 40 million borrowers owing over $1.4 trillion. Nearly 70 percent of graduates leave college with an average debt burden of $30,000, and one-in-four borrowers are behind on their payments or in default.

 

Students who attended for-profit colleges are particularly hard hit, making up the vast majority of borrowers in default. While federal income-based repayment options are available, the U.S. Treasury has reported that only 20 percent of eligible borrowers are enrolled in these options, which can lower payments based on income to as low as $0 a month.

 

Madigan said Illinois borrowers frequently experience problems with their student loan servicers. Specifically, borrowers in Illinois have complained to her office that their loan servicers failed to inform them of affordable repayment options, follow borrower payment instructions and answer questions consistently.

 

Because it is so difficult to get legitimate help from loan servicers, student loan borrowers are increasingly turning elsewhere for help. Scam artists have rushed in to exploit desperate borrowers, much like they did during the mortgage crisis, with false promises to help in exchange for large, illegal upfront fees. Madigan has led the country in shutting down illegal student loan debt relief operations preying on borrowers.

 

Senate Bill 1351 would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights to protect student loan borrowers by prohibiting student loan servicers from misleading borrowers and requiring that they:

 

  • Properly process payments;
  • Require specialists to provide and explain to struggling borrowers all of their repayment options, starting with income-driven plans; and
  • Inform borrowers who may be eligible to have their loans forgiven due to a disability or a problem with the school they attended.

 

The bill would also create a Student Loan Ombudsman in the Attorney General’s office and require student loan servicers to obtain a license to operate in Illinois.

 

Attorney General Madigan is a national leader in investigating and enforcing consumer protection violations in the higher education field. In addition to her lawsuit against Navient and Sallie Mae, Madigan has investigated for-profit schools for fraud and repeatedly called on the U.S. Department of Education to immediately forgive federal loans of students who attended fraudulent for-profit schools. Madigan has also testified before Congress and urged the U.S. Department of Education to crack down on the many abuses and scams facing student borrowers.

 

Madigan also instituted a free Student Loan Helpline to provide student borrowers with resources about repayment options, avoiding default or how to file a complaint about loan servicing at (800) 455-2456 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013). More information can also be found on her website.

 

Proposed New Charter School in Elgin Awarded $950,000 in Federal Start-up Grants From Charter Schools Program

Posted by Admin On May - 10 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Charter school will offer families an innovative approach to learning

 

ELGIN, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced a federally funded $950,000 award to the Elgin Charter School Initiative. The two-part grant will support the opening of the Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School within School District U-46. The proposed school will focus on closing opportunity and achievement gaps in the Elgin community through the hands-on and explorative Expeditionary Learning (EL) model.

The grant is part of the federally funded Charter Schools Program, through which ISBE can award $42 million total in federal funds to expand the number of high-quality and educationally diverse charter schools in Illinois and evaluate the effects of charter schools on student academic achievement, staff, and parents.

“Congratulations to the Elgin Charter School Initiative and the Elgin community,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “High-quality school options allow families to find the best learning environment for their children’s unique interests and needs. I encourage high-performing charter school operators across the state to consider applying for the next round of Charter Schools Program funds to expand opportunities for more families. I encourage school district leaders to take advantage of the opportunity to bring additional federal funding and high-quality school choices to their communities.”

The Elgin Charter School Initiative will use the $150,000 in Program Design funds and the $800,000 in Initial Implementation funds to provide staff and teachers with intensive supports and training in the EL education model, which encourages students to learn by doing. Educators at the Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School will shepherd students to be leaders of their own learning and achieve bold goals.

“Our team at the Elgin Charter School Initiative is grateful for the Charter Schools Program funding and for ISBE’s vote of confidence in our proposed Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School,” said Kerin Kelly, president of the Elgin Charter School Initiative. “We are excited to bring a unique math and science charter school based on the EL education model to School District U-46. As an all-volunteer team, the CSP grant will allow us to have a great start and to make important hires prior to our school opening in 2018.” 

ISBE plans to release the next Charter Schools Program Request for Proposals in July.

UNCF Response to HBCU Capital Financing Program Reference in President Trump’s Budget Signing Statement

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC— UNCF issued the following statement on President Trump’s signing statement of the FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which included a reference that the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Capital Financing Program may be reviewed for its compliance with the Constitution:

Following the public release of President Trump’s signing statement, UNCF sought clarification from the White House and received informal assurance from White House officials that the paragraph is not intended to indicate any policy change toward HBCUs and that the Administration intends to implement the HBCU Capital Financing Program. Nonetheless, UNCF urges the White House to issue an official clarification of its policy to the HBCU community, as the HBCU Capital Financing program has provided tremendous value to HBCUs and the students they serve over the past 25 years.

The HBCU Capital Financing Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, provides low-interest loans to HBCUs to finance infrastructure improvements on their campuses. Specifically, the program has enabled more than 40 public and private HBCUs to repair, renovate, and construct classrooms, libraries, science laboratories, and dormitories, helping to ensure that HBCU students can learn in modern facilities with modern equipment and up-to-date technology that is essential in today’s economy. For example, using HBCU Capital Financing loans, Bethune-Cookman University in Florida renovated a student center and provided new student housing; Johnson C. Smith University in North Carolina built a new science and technology facility; and several HBCUs in Louisiana and Mississippi were able to rebuild their campuses after severe damage caused by major hurricanes. This federal loan program has become even more essential to HBCUs, considering recent research evidence that HBCUs pay more to secure capital financing in the private bond markets than non-HBCUs.

The HBCU Capital Financing Program is authorized under Title III, Part D of the Higher Education Act (HEA), which also authorizes federal grants to HBCUs for operating assistance and endowments under Title III, Parts B and C. The designation of institutions that are eligible for Title III federal assistance has been settled for over 50 years, since the enactment of the HEA in 1965. Eligible institutions must meet statutory criteria, not based on race, but rather on mission, accreditation status and year the institution was established. Today, 101 HBCUs qualify for this assistance, many of which have a racially diverse student enrollment, faculty and staff. For instance, Bluefield State College in West Virginia is designated as an HBCU, but according to NCES data, Bluefield enrolls a population that is 85 percent white and only nine percent African American.

The provision in President Trump’s signing statement regarding this critical HBCU program may simply be lawyers at the Office of Management and Budget being overly cautious and perhaps not fully understanding the legal basis for federal HBCU programs. However, these programs have been thoroughly vetted by the Congress and prior Administrations, and the new Administration must eliminate any doubt as to their Constitutionality.

UNCF looks forward to working with the White House and the U.S. Department of Education to continue to communicate the importance of this program and others that positively impact HBCUs and the students they have served for more than 150 years.

About UNCF: UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF annually awards $100 million in scholarships and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter, @UNCF.

University of Chicago Student Library Employees File Petition to Unionize

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – A coalition of University of Chicago student library workers filed a petition to become one of the nation’s first primarily undergraduate student unions at a private university. The group of student employees, calling themselves the Student Library Employees Union, worked with Teamsters Local 743, a local labor union, to file the petition with the National Labor Relations Board this past Sunday.

 

The petition calls for an election to determine whether student library employees will unionize and gain the legal right to negotiate with the University on issues such as employee wages, hours, and third-party legal representation in cases of Title IX, ADA and labor violations. Only as unionized workers will students be able to protect their rights as well as fully engage in the academic mission of the University of Chicago.

 

“Student workers do a large amount of the work that makes UChicago Library—and by extension, UChicago—function, and we need to have a legitimate say in the issues that affect us, affect our work environments, and affect our abilities to balance our jobs and education,” said fourth-year Daphne Xi, a student worker at the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library.

 

Students say that wages are too low and hours too irregular for part-time student library workers in need of a secure source of income, with some taking on second jobs outside of the university system to cover expenses necessary to receive an education. They say that the library bureaucracy is opaque such that it is difficult to push for changes when employers will not give them a fair deal.

 

“As a student worker with mental illnesses, unionization is an extremely important goal for me. I am not only a student worker, but an organizer, and a musician – in short, I don’t have much free time, and too often I’ve been put in a situation where I need to put work over my responsibilities as a student and even my well being as a person just so that I can have enough money to continue attending this school,” said third-year Alex Peltz, a student worker in the Regenstein Library.

 

He said, “Creating a union will provide me with the ability to bargain for a higher wage so that I can actually be a student at my own school, as well as offering me legal representation and defense against ADA violations, allowing me to feel safe and supported in the workplace.”

 

As unionized workers, students will be able to negotiate with the University for a better recourse on workplace violations. Student library employees with legal recognition as a body of workers will have the ability to participate in mandatory contract negotiations with the University administration. This ability is especially necessary for student employees, as the administration has habitually failed to meet with students in a timely or productive manner.

 

Furthermore, students will push for legal third-party representation in workplace grievance procedures regarding cases of harassment, Title IX violations, and ADA violations. The federal government has previously criticized and intervened in the University’s implementation of Title IX and ADA. With external arbitration, unionized student workers will be able to ensure the University acts on its commitments to student safety and health.

 

“I think that unionizing is crucial in order to get the accountability and security we need from the University,” said second-year Katie McPolin, a student worker at the Eckhart Library.  “I have long felt like I do not have a voice in the way that this university operates, as they continually fail to prioritize the things I care about—ADA compliance, for example, is something they have notoriously neglected—and instead pour funds into what’s most profitable. This is a huge step toward a democratic university, where my needs matter to administrators as much as the money in my pockets.”

 

The University’s Graduate Students United, a coalition of graduate student workers, will also file a petition to unionize today. Graduate and undergraduate student employees recognize the need for the University to implement better working conditions in order to both receive and provide an education.

 

For more information, visit the Student Library Employees Union Facebook page or contact Michael Weinrib, (704-421-8070, miweinrib@gmail.com) or Anjali Dhillon (912-272-2891, anjalitdhillon@gmail.com)

 

Recent Comments

Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

Recent Posts