In faith-based communities, college completion may be uniquely emphasized

Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, in the 1960s and 70s, Odell Cleveland leveraged his basketball skills to land a college scholarship. The 6-foot-3 Cleveland would go on to earn a place in the University of South Carolina Upstates Athletics Hall of Fame.

Im one of those individuals who came from just a poor, poor background, and because at the time I was able to play sports in America, I was able to go to college, get an education. I saw that education itself helped turn my life around, said Cleveland, now chief administrative officer at the 4,000-member Mount Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina.

In addition to his church role, Cleveland chairs the advisory board for the college completion initiative Degrees Matter!, which receives funding from the Lumina Foundation, an Indiana-based nonprofit that tries to get more students enrolled in college.

Hes not the only one who thinks that houses of worship can partner with local postsecondary schools to preach the importance of higher education.

Those partnerships are a reoccuring theme in several of the nearly 60 cities including Greensboro, North Carolina, which for the last four years have been competing for a $1 million prize for most significantly boosting their college completion rates, said Noel Harmon, the national director of Talent Dividend, the name of the competition.

The program is a project of the national nonprofit CEOs for Cities, whose mission focuses on the bottom up change happening in cities as federal and state governments languish in hyper-partisan and dysfunctional behavior.

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“Surfing the Middle East” Author to Speak Oct. 22

Journalist, filmmaker, author and surfer Jesse Aizenstat will deliver the Mosten Lecture on Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of Jesse Aizenstat

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Jesse Aizenstat, author of “Surfing the Middle East: Deviant Journalism from the Lost Generation,” will present the Forrest S. Mosten Lecture in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies at UC Riverside on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 1 p.m. in Humanities 411.

His lecture, “Surfing the Middle East: Finding Your Life’s Work After Graduation,” is free and open to the public. Parking permits may be purchased at the kiosk on West Campus Drive near University Avenue.

Aizenstat is a journalist, filmmaker, award-winning author, and avid surfer. When he graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2009 with no job prospects, he decided to cover surfing in the Middle East as a freelance journalist.

The book that resulted from that experience “is both educational about the politics of the Middle East and adventurous in how it reads,” said UCR theater professor Erith Jaffe-Berg. “‘Surfing the Middle East’ is a page-turner which brings together the unlikely subjects of surfing and politics. Jesse explores what i

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Tags: Oct , Oct 22

Audiovisual heritage: media archives and how best to use them, By Theo Kuechel

I was delighted to read, via an email from Terry, (our editor), that UNESCO has announced a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage to be held on the 27th of October this year. This timely initiative seeks to draw attention to the urgent need to preserve the worlds audiovisual heritage of film, television and sound recordings. Why this so important is graphically illustrated in this short video.*

An example of a film in the British Council archive

Once rescued by digitisation and made accessible online, media archives offer teachers unlimited opportunities to work with primary sources. They are a window to our past; enabling students to experience an authentic connection with history. Many schools will be participating in the current WW1 commemorations, and for them, the recent increase in digitisation has been a godsend with many sites offering a rich choice of images and videos relating to this period in our history. A good example is this contemporaneous film shows the outbreak of WW1 from a German perspective.

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Buckling Down (Not Under): Thoughtfully Embracing the Common Core

Over the past few years, the Common Core standards have been hailed and reviled. But do these standards merit such passion? For great schools—with rigorous curricula, collaborative educators, and supportive administrators—state standards make little difference. For schools that need to improve with the help of cash from , the Common Core standards offer some useful guidance—but it takes far more than standards to provide a sound education.

What really matters is how the standards are interpreted and implemented. Amidst the cacophony of voices weighing in, I found three level-headed pieces this week.

One courtesy of Shutterstock.

Let’s start with what just might be the Common Core’s biggest bugaboo: close reading. It’s the perfect example of a pedagogical strategy that can be useful if used occasionally to focus students’ attention, and harmful if taken to extremes. Daniel Willingham of the University of Virginia (and Core Knowledge’s board) weighed in to remind us that reading without drawing on prior knowledge is not possible—nor is comprehension without sufficient knowledge:

Writers count on their audience to bring knowledge to bear on the text. Things get [tricky]

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Denver schools wait for study of contractor diversity, plan for quotas

Preparing for the results of a study looking at the diversity of Denver Public Schools’ contractors , the district is drafting a plan to implement diversity quotas for every project if the study shows a biased disparity.

If the study shows the program needs to be implemented, DPS could be the only school district in North Carolina, and only among a handful in the country that sets diversity participation requirements.

“We try to ensure that when we’re contracting, it kind of mirrors our community,” said Trena Deane, executive director of facility management for DPS. “We would also like to give back to the community to the degree possible because it is taxpayer money.”

On Monday, staff presented an update to the district board of education about the changes, and what will happen when the full report from consultant MGT of America, Inc. is ready.

Initial raw data should be available by the end of the month. By late October, the full report should include conclusions that explain what’s working well, or what barriers are causing a disparity if there is one. Read more…

Tags: Quotas