First of all, I am very excited about the new direction Chancellor Fingerhut and Governor Strickland are taking towards making higher education more affordable. As an adult educator, I am interested in what type of new incentive metrics OBOR (Ohio Board of Regents) is going to use to determine funding streams for universities. In my opinion, the focus for many institutions is too heavily directed towards traditional freshman enrollment and retention. Specific university resources and services tailored towards the unique needs of adult learners have been marginal at best. My question is how can the OBOR metrics for how universities are funded in Ohio be changed to recognize the enrollment and retention of non-traditional adult learners? I am interested in making sure that everyone who is interersted in pursuing higher education can not only afford it, but also have the resources and assistance to stay enrolled. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
“Education, the Key to Prosperity.”
When are, we, as a people, going to start working with our youth to eliminate the lies that are fed to them by the media that prevent them from achieving to their fullest potential? When are we, going to stand up and fight the idea, pervasive in our youth, that if you are excelling in school, in advanced classes and dominating (academically) you classmates, you are “acting white”. This idea is absurd! Throughout history, we have pushed education when it was forbidden upon pain of death! Even during Jim Crow, we created over 150 colleges to serves our children when the mainstream ones refused to let us in. When mainstream businesses refused our money, we became entrepreneurs and set up thriving districts such as Little Hayti in Durham, North Carolina and Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This all happened, because we educated ourselves, either formally or informally!!
Now, after our people fought to open doors to the mainstream of American intellectual life, a thief come in the night to steal the victory and perseverance from our kids; the idea that academic excellence is “acting white”, our ridicule of our brothers and sisters who strive for educational and professional excellence. As they go forward in their academic accomplishments, we have Black idiots taunting them with the label “acting white.” Do not confuse professionalism or academic excellence with “acting white.” One has nothing in the world to do with the other. In fact, those Black folks who do not encourage nor support their fellow Black students or Black businesses are actually the ones “acting white.” They also act white when they do not sound their objections or defend against other races that denigrate their Black brothers and sisters, or when they mistreat their own Black people with the same lies, injustice and incorrectness as white supremacist do. Those who are accusing other of “Acting white,” are simply being niggerish, or, put a better way “stupid”, themselves!
I issue a challenge to everyone! Check you state’s, your individual district’s, your child’s school’s status on proficiency tests. You will see a great gap in the performance of black and white students. Check the ACT, SAT, AP, and other tests. With affirmative action about to go off into history and the standards rising, we must reaffirm our intellectual tradition. Start reading (newspaper, books, magazines, etc., use the public library, etc.). As a special treat, give your kids gifts certificates for bookstores. Take your children to museums, galleries, parks, etc. We must challenge the idea promulgated through BET and throughout history that all we do is play sports and rap!!
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# Submitted by Kimberly (not verified) on Tue, 08/14/2007 – 10:40.
I agree with your comments and share your passion on this topic. As a product of public education in the CIty of Cleveland and Cleveland Heights in the 70’s and 80’s I was lucky to have had parents who were actively involved in my education and making sure that I succeeded and excelled. Many of my peers during that time experienced the same support. However, times have changed and social ills, such as poverty, crime, a lack of community cohesiveness in the black community, as well as other social problems, have contributed to black students lack of achivement. I am appalled at the fact that it has taken the govenor of the state of Ohio to shed light on this tragedy. Black parents, community leaders, educators and the church should have addressed this issue years ago – if they had, our black children would not be in the state it is in today. We need a mass community effort where at least 25% of the black residents in NE Ohio commit themselves to becoming volunteer teachers, counselors, mentors, and surrogate parents to black children on a full time basis. Whatever they don’t receive in school, the community will provide afterschool and on the weekends. We don’t need legislation or goverment approval to provide to our children what they lack. We don’t need grants and funding streams to provide this. We already have the resources – most of us are working, have homes or rent apartments, buy cars, clothes, food and spend money on entertainment, not to mention tithing 10% to the church. if we took even 1%-5% of what we normally spend on ourselves and spend it on a child, we would be able to overcome major hurdles.
We need a massive, long-term black movement in Ohio. It’s long overdue and it’s greatly needed. If it doesn’t happen now, the black race will be nearly obsolete by the end of this century.
I just returned from a week-long trip to California, where my friend Mike resides with his uncle in a beautiful home overlooking the Los Angeles Bay. We took a 3-day trip to San Fransisco, and spent most of our time being tourists. All details of my touristy adventures aside, Mike and I went out for drinks with my friend Justin and his wife Claudia, who recently relocated to SF from where-else but Cleveland. Justin (OB-GYN) and Claudia (Dermatology) are both graduates of Case’s Medical School, where they met and eventually got married. We met up in the Mission District, an area low on the socio-economic scale, but high on diverse nightlife options – reminded me of Tremont in many ways. We got our drinks and sat down at a table. The assault on Cleveland began:
Justin: “God, I am so glad to be out of Cleveland. Isn’t SF great?!”
Me: “Yeah, it’s a cool city. It’d be better if there wasn’t a beggar on every corner. Claudia, you’re from here aren’t you?”
Mike: “You’re from SF? Why the hell did you go to medical school in Cleveland?!”
Claudia: “I don’t know, it was a huge mistake. I graduated from Stanford and applied to schools all over the country. Case had a great reputation and when I visited, everyone there told me how great it was. It was the worst five years of my life.”
Me: “Hmm . . . what was so bad about it?”
Claudia: “Oh come on, you live there, you should know. The weather is terrible, there’s no sun for 7 months of the year. And the people! Could they be any more negative? SF isn’t perfect, but at least people love living here.”
Me: “Yeah, the weather does suck. I guess I never really bought into what people say though.”
Justin: “What do you mean? Everyone in Cleveland hates Cleveland. I met a few cool people that actually liked it there, but for the most part, everyone hates it.”
Me: “I don’t pay attention to everyone.”
Justin: “Well, good luck to you trying to change that place.”
Me: “Thanks. Let’s get another beer.”
Conversations like this always leave me feeling like some sort of martyr. While “everyone” seems to be running away from the fire, I look for the challenge of jumping right in the middle of it. For every closed down factory, I see an opportunity for a new industry. For every reactionary bureaucrat, I see a progressive visionary independent. For every dreary gray day in winter, I see the glorious days of a Cleveland summer. For every Browns loss, I see a Cavs win. My brand of idealism is ironic, given that most people who meet me think I’m cynical and pessimistic. But the truth is, I get frustrated by “everyone’s” inability to look past the misfortunes of Cleveland’s economic downturn and not focus their time and attention on its inevitable revitalization. I’m not a martyr – I’m a transplant who refuses to reject the unhealthy system.
For many years, our region has expressed its concern for a serious “Brain Drain” issue. How do we keep the tens of thousands of our regional university students here upon graduation? How do we formulate a new economy without a properly educated workforce? How do we create an attractive atmosphere where young people can live, work and play? The questions never seem to have clear answers, and the Brain Drain issue waxes and wanes in the light of other regional problems, but today’s article in the Plain Dealer sheds some light on a new way of thinking.
PD report Molly Kavanaugh writes: “Andy Winemiller walked into City Hall last month as a college intern earning $7.50 an hour in Mayor John Romoser’s office. This week, the 21-year-old political science major became the city’s $7,500-a-month service and safety director, a job that has him overseeing one of the region’s more troubled police departments as well as the plowing of city streets.”
Heads are spinning. How can a 21-year-old possibly take on this position? He has no previous city street plowing experience! All joking aside, Mayor Romoser has the right idea. Take a young, ambitious student and give him an opportunity he probably couldn’t find anywhere else.
While the newly-elected Mayor Tony Krasienko said that “having a young, inexperienced safety/service director is just one of many worries he has about his new job” and that he is “looking for someone with government or business experience to take the job in January” he seems to miss the point that given all the problems in this region, the track-record does not prove itself worthy of much consideration. How can we look to the past of NEO as a way of figuring out what to do with its future? Instead, he (and other regional leaders) should focus on acquainting Andy with the problems in his community and give him the chance to explore ways to fix them; surround him with knowledgeable experts that can help him make intelligent decisions. Pave the way for the new generation of leaders instead of shutting the door on a bright future.
Three big hurrahs to Mayor John Romoser! May more follow in your risky visionary footsteps.
Seems we place too much emphasis on leadership and expertise which has translated into has all the answers and makes all the right moves. While it would be nice to have it all in one person, the likelihood of that happening is near zilch. Leaders must rely on others because others are the resources. Also seems it’s a general trend that younger or inexperienced folks are not trusted with the mantel of responsibility. Young folks are expected to hit the ground running, be fully prepared and not need any hand holding (guidance) support. Even with the presidential selection we waste so much time trying to get an outsider who has inside information and inside experience. We want change but predictable change and we want carnal knowledge without sin.
Passing on your knowledge and experience is expected and required, having all the answers is not. Being able to look at old problems with fresh eyes and devising new solutions, priceless. Eventually even Mic Jagger will retire and rock-n-roll will change. Might as well prepare the next generation for what we are leaving them.
Just heard on the news that Cleveland is thinking about something called STEM. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This is supposed to be a statewide initiative to improve schools and insure kids are ready for college. The emphasis is on critical thinking and problem solving. It is funded by the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation. Sounds pretty encouraging. The web site is www.ohiostem.org/. This is a serious leg up for the community. What do you think?
In 2001, I left my home in St. Louis to embark on a journey to a foreign destination known as CleveLand. I came for the purpose of attending Case Western Reserve University, with no intention of achieving an engineering, law, medical or business degree. In 2005, I graduated Case with a B.A. in Psychology (much to the mockery of my over-zealous classmates), thinking I was taking a chance by studying something that actually interested me. I had no further intention of pursuing psychology, therein having no intention of formally counseling troubled patients or engage in the field in any professional way whatsoever. Instead, I made another “fatalistic” decision: I stayed in Cleveland.
Now, two years into the professional world, my friends and college companions (who have since hurriedly left Cleveland in pursuit of bigger dreams in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco) keep asking me, in condescending fashion: “Dude, why are you still in Cleveland?” to which I respond, “Dude, how much is your rent in New York?” Rent prices, cost of living and quality of life aside, the real answer is: entrepreneurship.
When I say entrepreneurship in Cleveland, OH I am still met with dumbfounded looks and sneering conversational tones. I mean, I must be one stupid psychology major to think that there is anything even remotely entrepreneurial about Northeast Ohio. But, at the end of my tenure at Case, I realized something – everyone around me wanted to leave. Being that my ultimate goal in life is to start a business, I felt that if I stayed in Northeast Ohio, I would have the chance to interact with professionals at the top of their games. With less peer competition and less levels of hierarchy and bureaucracy to wade through, I would be surrounded by business and civic leaders and new and veteran entrepreneurs.
As much as I wanted to sit in cubicles for 10 years before I got a promotion to a bigger cubicle, I felt it more suitable to apply myself in new exciting developments that, down the road, would pay off handsomely. And by pay off, I don’t mean financially – I mean the pay off of accomplishment. To look back and say, “I was a part of THAT and look where it’s come.” I look around and I see a lot of THAT going on.
Which brings me to my point of Brain Gain by Virtue of Entrepreneurship. I believe that I am not the only one who wants to look back and feel a sense of pride for having changed the world in some significant way. In fact, I believe there are a great many young students, many exiting the doors of the many regional universities, that feel the exact same way. They are full of energy, creativity, and skill and are eager to use the tools (you know, like that thing called the internet) and methods they learn in the classroom in real world applications. Their minds and spirits have yet to be crushed by the notion of impossibility, bureaucracy, and politics. They are fueled by diversity, growth, change, differentiation, and uniqueness. To whichever frustration or problem young people express, the elders will say, “Get used to it. That’s the real world.” And the young people will think to themselves, “Not if I have anything to do about it.” Call it naivety, arrogance, ignorance, privilege, whatever. We can spend time trying to understand their mentality, or we can spend time harnessing their potential and using it to fuel our economy. If Northeast Ohio wants to keep its young and talented, it will present more professional opportunities for them to make a difference and still be able to pay off their college loans. It will create an environment wherein they are working on bigger issue projects, working side-by-side with high ranking professionals. It will differentiate itself from the notion of the “corporate ladder,” and engage them in new businesses and non-profits. It will show them that unlike Chicago, New York, Boston or San Fransisco, NEO will surround them with the resources they need to make an immediate impact. Above all, it will nurture their “fatalistic” notion of hope. Otherwise, the $1500/mo 300 sq. ft. apartment in New York will still look mighty appealing.