tnews: Public Universities Recast Affirmative Action

By Malena Amusa Jan 26, 2007

Rants School Choice Push President George W. Bush proposed revisions to his signature No Child Left Behind legislation that would allow school officials to impose school vouchers, replace fledging public schools with charter schools, and break teachers’ contracts where schools are failing to meet standards, reported the New York Times Jan. 25. If passed, the revisions, which appear well meaning, are likely to skew focus off federal commitments to public schools by targeting teachers. Currently, 1,800 schools have not met state reading and math standards for the past five years. Slap in the face A group of white students at Tarleton State Univeristy in Stephenville, Texas, hosted an off-campus hate party on MLK day where students wore fake gold and silver teeth, an Aunt Jemimi costume, and Afro wigs, reported, Jan. 26. One student came with a gun; some mocked black greek step dancing. “Too often they want to white wash it and say no harm was intended, but there is harm,” said Texas NAACP President Gary Bledsoe. “These students will become leaders. They will be managers, directors and CEOs. They will manage black and brown people. I shutter to think what they will do to them.” Unemployment sparks racial tension Everyday, more than a 100 Latino men hoping to get a day-labor job line up at a Home Depot parking lot in a Washington, D.C. neighborhood. Black residents have complained about the littering and public urination the day-laborers bring, the Washington Post reported Jan. 26. The growing tensions sheds light on the lack employment assistance for immigrants. “Work is really bad,” one of the workers told the Post. “97 percent of the people don’t get it.” In 2006, there were more than 44,000 Latin American immigrants in D.C., who combined, sent $154 million to their native countries. Black men behind Black men in Maryland universities are more likely to drop out of college during their first year and less likely to graduate within six years than any other demographic, according to a report released by a state task force, reported the Although the number of black men in college has increased in the state, the group reported the worse attendance and grade record. Raves Life after Michigan Even as conservatives target affirmative action programs across the nation, many public universities are developing innovative ways of increasing black and Latino student attendance, reported the New York Times Jan. 26. Some schools are considering hiring more minority recruiters to go into communities of color. Ohio State University, while arguing that race-conscious programs yield the greatest success, have started an alternative program to help students in poor and low-performing middle and elementary schools begin college planning. Protest for peace Anti-war groups across the nation are planning to storm the National Mall Saturday in protest of the war in Iraq, the Boston Globe reported Jan. 26. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, director of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, will speak at the Mall. Celebrities Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda, and Tim Robbins are also expected to show. "… this will be one of the largest demonstrations since the war began," Leslie Cagan, national coordinator for United for Peace and Justice said. Roughly 300 busloads of people will travel from more than 30 states. Coordinated lobbying groups on Monday will put pressure on lawmakers supporting the additional deployment of troops to Iraq. Dems stand by minimum wage U.S. Democrats blocked an amendment that would have raised minimum wage and fines for employers who hire illegal immigrants, the United Press International reported, Jan. 26. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. hoped the amendment would force immigrants to leave thereby opening more jobs for low-income people. “Democratic leaders kept the amendment off the floor, saying Republicans have continually attempted to add amendments to the bill that are unrelated to the minimum wage issue,” the article reported.