New York University Study Shows Diversity in Schools Has Positive Impact on Student Achievement

(image via steinhardt.nyu.edu)

via jbhe.com

A new report by the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at New York University finds that there is an academic advantage for students who go to diverse schools. Researchers compared demographic information on the student bodies at New York City public schools with results on achievement tests and graduation rates.

The researchers found that there was a modest benefit for students attending the most diverse schools – those that were between 50 and 75 percent Black and Hispanic. (Least diverse schools were those that were more than 75 percent Black or Hispanic or those that were more than 50 percent White). Third and eighth grade students at the most diverse schools outperformed students attending the city’s least diverse schools on standardized tests in mathematics and English. Students at the most diverse high schools had slightly higher graduation rates than students at the least diverse high schools.

The results also showed that the benefits of diversity are smaller for younger children than is the case for older students. This, the authors conclude, provides evidence of the long-term benefits of greater school diversity.

David E. Kirkland, the lead author of the report, said that “the academic achievement and high school graduation evidence that we analyzed suggests that increasing diversity can increase equity in New York City schools and significantly decrease gaps in some student outcomes such as high school graduation. Thus, plans to stimulate diversity in New York City schools can pay off for the City’s most vulnerable students.”

The full report, Separate But Unequal: A Comparison of Unequal Outcomes in New York City’s Most and Least Diverse Schools, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Morehouse Student Julien Turner Goes Viral With “XY Cell Life,” Extra Credit Rap Video for Biology Class (VIDEO)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

(image via YouTube screenshot)

Enterprising Morehouse College student and filmmaker Julien Turner went viral this week when he posted his extra credit assignment for biology class on Twitter and YouTube. “XY Cell Life” is a rap video explaining the different phases cells go through, what they are comprised up and how they operate. For those (like me) who grew up on Schoolhouse Rock or for those who love hip hop – or both – watch the above because you most definitely will enjoy.

On YouTube, Julien credits Dreadhead Films, LLC, a film production company he co-owns with 15-yr. old teenage brother Justen Turner, and their mission is to “entertain, inspire, and uplift” with their original content. You can check out other projects of the Turner Brothers at www.dreadheadfilms.com, or Vimeo at Dreadhead Films. Twitter: JuicyJu11 Instagram: K1ngJu

Not sure what his professor gave him, but on the internet? A+! Go Julien!

 

Chance The Rapper Partners with Lyft to Raise Funds to Support Chicago Public Schools

Chance the Rapper (photo via chicagotribune.com)

by Tracy Swartz via chicagotribune.com

The ride-share service Lyft announced Tuesday that passengers can now round up their fare to the next dollar and donate the difference to Chance the Rapper’s fund to support Chicago Public Schools. The New Chance Arts and Literature Fund, devoted to creating and expanding Chicago arts education programs, is the first local organization Lyft is supporting through the “round up and donate” feature.

Lyft will automatically round up each fare for passengers who opt in via the “settings” tab on the Lyft app and choose their charity. The American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity are among the national organizations that have similar partnerships with Lyft, which is headquartered in San Francisco.

Chance the Rapper, born Chancelor Bennett and raised on the South Side of Chicago, announced the creation of the arts and literature fund in March. He said last month that his organization SocialWorks raised $2.2 million to help 20 Chicago public schools. And though his partnership with Lyft is new, the Grammy winner raps about ride-sharing in his song “All Night,” off last year’s “Coloring Book” project: “You should use your phone, call a Uber/ You a goofy if you think I don’t know you need a Lyft.”

Source: Lyft announces partnership with Chance the Rapper to support CPS – Chicago Tribune

Five Xavier University Students Rush to Save Crash Victim as Live Wire Sparked a Few Feet Away

Xavier University local heroes (photo via fox8live.com)

by Brian Naquin via fox8live.com

A bloodstained shoe served as a reminder of just how dangerous the rescue near Xavier University‘s campus was Monday night. “Without us, he probably would have bled out and stayed in the car until the police got there,” Markevion Kennebrew said. Just before 10 p.m., Kennebrew, Moses Michael, Ronald  Haroon, Demetrious Brown and another Xavier student selflessly sprung into action after a man smashed his sedan into a utility pole then crashed upside on the embankment of the drainage canal along Washington Avenue in New Orleans.

“I told my friend I think someone is there. We just got to help then I saw these two guys,” Michael said as he pointed at Brown and Haroon. “[The driver] was like ‘please help’ and I don’t know how you can turn you back away from that,” Haroon said. “We actually made a chain and one person was holding onto the wall because it’s really steep. Dom, that’s the guy who is not here right now, he gave me his jacket and we had to pull the door open and we helped [the driver] up.”

The rescue was not only daring because of the steep embankment and mangled car below them but also because a live-electric wire that sparked in the water just feet away. “The car could have slid down in the water. He could have gotten shocked,” Brown said. “But I feel like it’s our public duty to help people in need. We weren’t thinking (about the wire). We were just thinking to get him out and get him on the street and make sure whoever’s in the car is alright.”

“I know my mom is going to be like you could have been shocked as well,” Kennebrew said. “My mom will probably be mad that I went down there but she’s still going to be happy that I helped people out just being there.”The crash knocked out power to much of the area. Emergency crews rushed the driver to the hospital. The students said he was bleeding from his head and had a large gash on his arm but was able to speak.

Before the rescue, Kennebrew and Michael did not know Brown nor Haroon and vice versa.  But after Monday, their bond formed along a dark canal is something that will never be swept away.”Once we heard someone was in there, I just think all four of us realized what we had to do,” Haroon said.

To see video of these young heroes, go to: Five Xavier students rush to save crash victim as a live wire sp – FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Colin Kaepernick Pledges $25K Toward Efforts to Keep DACA

Pro Football QB and Activist Colin Kaepernick (photo via theundefeated.com)

via eurweb.com

Colin Kaepernick has pledged $25,000 toward aid for immigrant youth and efforts to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in place. The news comes in the wake of Donald Trump’s announced end of DACA, leaving the fate of some 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children up to Congress.

Kaepernick, who remains a free agent for the NFL, has been at the center of political controversy since his decision to take a knee last year during the National Anthem in protest of racism and police brutality. Additionally the former quarterback had pledged to donate $1 million toward efforts to help communities affected by systemic racism, social injustice and police brutality.

Kaepernick announced that a quarter of the $100,000 he donates to that end each month (for 10 months) will go toward children of immigrant backgrounds who are being affected by Trump’s planned repeal of DACA. In partnership with United We Dream – the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the U.S. – he will contribute a percentage of the amount to the following areas:

• Addressing the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth. Over 100,000 members. Current focus: Organize and work for immigrant children to keep DACA in force.

• $10,000 for upcoming travel. Air, hotel, lodging, and ground transportation. United We Dream recently held event in Washington DC and sent 300 dreamers to lobby to keep DACA. This budget will pay for 75-100 attendees for a similar rally upcoming.

• $10,000 for series of upcoming local gatherings in NY, CT, TX, FL, NM. Facilities rent and security, transportation, food, technology

• $5,000 for text service for the network of over 100,000 members.

Source: Colin Kaepernick Pledges $25K Toward Efforts to Keep DACA | EURweb

Philando Castile Fund Aims to Feed Children in Need, Wipe Out School Lunch Debt and Keep His Legacy Alive 

Philando Castile (photo via blavity.com)

via blavity.com

Over and over again, it has been proven that Philando Castile was a kind hearted and loving man. One thing that he often did as the cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori in St. Paul, MN was paid for the lunch of students who were unable to do so. “No child goes hungry so we ensure that every student has breakfast and also lunch whether they can pay or not,” Stacy Koppen, Nutritional Services Director for St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) told WCCO.

Some students are eligible for free school lunch, but many aren’t. When students can’t pay for their lunch, they will run a debt. “Lunches just for one elementary student are about $400 a year,” Koppen said. “When a student couldn’t pay for their lunch, a lot of times (Castile) actually paid for their lunch out of his own pocket,” she said. Castile’s kind gesture moved the heart of one college professor to keep the ball rolling despite Castile’s untimely death.

Inver Hills Community College professor Pam Fergus typically assigns her students in her Diversity and Ethics class a service project, but this time created her own. “His death changed who I am,” Fergus said. Her project is called Philando Feeds the Children. The project started with a $5,000 goal that was then doubled and so far has raised over $13,800 with 90 days left to donate. Castile’s mother Valerie also told WCCO and Fergus she plans to match the final total with her own donation. “She said the only thing I want for my son is for people to remember him with honor and dignity,” said Fergus.

St. Paul Schools have also started their own campaign, Food For Thought, which allows people to make a donation to clear lunch debts.“That campaign helped us raise almost $40,000 (last year) and it helped almost 2,000 students who couldn’t pay for their meals,” said Koppen. “This year we have almost 900 students who currently appear that they need our help as well.”

To read more, go to: New Philando Castile Fund Aims To Wipe Out School Lunch Debt And Keep His Legacy Alive | BLAVITY

All Star Code Founder Christina Lewis Halpern Exposes Boys of Color to STEM Opportunities

All Star Code founder Christina Lewis Halpern with All Star students (photo via allstarcode.org)

via blavity.com

“We all want and need a seat at the table, and then we want to run the table and then we want to have our own table. Coding is the ticket to that,” says Christina Lewis Halpern, the founder of All Star Code, a six-week initiative for high school boys of color to discover innovative career opportunities through a computer science based curriculum.

According to Atlanta Black Star, the New York activist is the daughter of the late Reginald F. Lewis, a Wall Street attorney who became the first African-American to build a billion-dollar company. Her father, a Harvard graduate before dying of brain cancer in 1993, operated TLC Beatrice International, a grocery, beverage and household products distributor.

The month before he passed, Lewis named Halpern, who was only 12-years-old at the time, to the board of his foundation. “My family foundation is committed to social justice and believes in the power of entrepreneurship and investing in our community,” Halpern said. Two decades into the future and Halpern, a professional business journalist, created the All Star Code program “to help the next generation of youth catch the next wave of opportunity.”

So how did she do it? “We seeded this initiative and provided an anchor grant. About 20 percent of the money invested in All Star Code last year was from the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, or Lewis family personal funds,” Halpern explained. Other donors included Bond Collective, Cisco, Comcast, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Chase, MLB Advanced Media and Yahoo!. These corporations in addition to operational support gave $350,000 in funding.

Because of the lack of opportunities in STEM for men and women of color, Halpern’s All Star Code is designed to change that. The nonprofit raised more than $740,000 in 2016 at the annual All Star Code fundraiser in the Hamptons. Due to the generous contributions of the donors, the organization, which started in New York City and has stretched to Pittsburgh, has expanded and continues to grow rapidly.

The number of boys that participated in the Summer initiative skyrocketed from only 20 in 2014 to 160 this year. Halpern says that their goal is to have at least 1,000 high schoolers in 2020.

To read full article, go to: Daughter Of The First African-American To Build A Billion-Dollar Company Exposes Boys Of Color To STEM Opportunities | BLAVITY