Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Destructive Pressures Undermine Educational Aspirations of Minority Males

The College Board
Press Release

College Board Report Explores the Challenges Facing Minority Males in School and Identifies Promising Programs to Accelerate Achievement

NEW YORK — Minority male students continue to face overwhelming barriers in educational attainment, notes a report released today by the College Board at a Capitol Hill briefing held in collaboration with the Asian Pacific American, Black and Hispanic Congressional Caucuses. The report highlights some of the undeniable challenges among minority students, including a lack of role models, search for respect outside of education, loss of cultural memory, poverty challenges, language barriers, community pressures and a sense of a failing education system.
In The Educational Crisis Facing Young Men of Color, the College Board gathered the insights and firsthand experiences of more than 60 scholars, practitioners and activists from the African American, Latino, Asian American/Pacific Islanders and Native American communities, based on a series of four one-day seminars called Dialogue Days, in which scholars, advocates and representatives from each community participated in a meaningful discussion to address the education needs of minority males.
“The United States is facing an educational challenge of great significance, with the crisis most acute for minority male students,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “The report offers a step in the direction of raising the visibility of a pressing problem in American society. If the United States is to achieve President Barack Obama’s goals, then we will have to do a much more effective job in educating those populations with which we have traditionally failed.”
Based on the report’s findings, a number of recommendations are made to erase the disparities in educational attainment and to demonstrate new ways of reaching the increasingly diverse U.S. student population. The report calls on policymakers at the federal, state and local levels, as well as foundation and community leaders, to heighten public awareness and explore policy options to improve the plight of young minority men.
Congressman Michael Honda (D-CA) said, “An educator for over 30 years, I know the vital role a high school and college degree serves in impacting the socioeconomic future of a young student. We must remember that education is not only essential for surviving a tough economic climate where unemployment correlates directly with a lack of education, but it is also essential for empowering and mainstreaming minority groups who continue to struggle to break free from decades of marginalization. As chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am deeply troubled by the fact that many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — over half of all Cambodian, Laotian and Hmong, for example — lack even a high school degree. This is inexcusable, especially for a country like ours that prides itself on providing opportunity for all. We must fix this, which is why the College Board’s efforts to raise awareness on the educational crisis facing young men of color are so necessary and timely.”
Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) said, “In response to the growing educational disparities facing minority males, the College Board, in collaboration with the Tri-Caucus, has conducted a probing and unflinching examination of the underlying issues and has developed a solid and practical response to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, those disparities. This report could not be timelier or more relevant to the future of our educational system.”
Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) said, “Minorities are disproportionately represented in schools with high dropout rates, and we must work to turn those schools around. All middle school and high school students should have the support they need to graduate, and they should be prepared for college regardless of their circumstances. Any policy that fails students in these respects is a policy that fails the country.”
The report identifies the need for a more coordinated effort of K–12 schools, colleges and universities, and state higher education bodies to forge partnerships to help males of color get ready, get in and get through college. A number of “model” education programs, for replication and expansion, were also identified. These successful programs have multiple commonalities, including more empowered student voices, partnerships at all levels from parent to community action, mentoring programs, male role models and wraparound services.
One program particularly noteworthy in the area of wraparound services is the Harlem Children’s Zone, This school program offers an innovative community-based approach to learning including education, social services, and community-building services to children and families. It wraps a comprehensive array of child and family services around schools in an entire neighborhood — parenting classes, job training, health clinics, charter schools — convinced that schools reflect what is going on in the communities around them. Students in these school programs show impressive achievement gains.
“We need to be resolved as a nation that the educational crisis facing minority males is not going away any time soon,” said Roy Jones, project director of Call Me MISTER program, Clemson University. “We created the Call Me MISTER initiative about 10 years ago in South Carolina, in collaboration with three historically black colleges, to address the abysmal shortage of primarily African American male elementary teachers. We firmly believe that placing fully certified male teachers of color will not only address a significant shortage but also positively change the very school climate and culture in many of our underserved communities.”
The report, released in conjunction with a Capitol Hill briefing today, will convene educators, policymakers and advocates to discuss the report’s findings and call on leaders and communities to address this national crisis. Distinguished speakers will include:• Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Congressional Black Caucus• Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Congressional Hispanic Caucus• Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus• Gaston Caperton, College Board President• Sidney Ribeau, President, Howard University• Lee Bitsoi, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University• Roy Jones, Project Director, Call Me MISTER Program, Clemson University• Luis Ponjuan, Assistant Professor, University of Florida• Tom Rudin, Senior Vice President, Advocacy, Government Relations and Development, The College Board• Hal Smith, Vice President Education & Youth, National Urban League• Lillian Sparks, Executive Director, National Indian Education Association• Robert Teranishi, Associate Professor, New York University• Ronald Williams, Vice President, The College Board
The College BoardThe College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board is composed of more than 5,700 schools, colleges, universities and other educational organizations. Each year, the College Board serves seven million students and their parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,800 colleges through major programs and services in college readiness, college admission, guidance, assessment, financial aid and enrollment. Among its widely recognized programs are the SAT®, the PSAT/NMSQT®, the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®), SpringBoard® and ACCUPLACER®. The College Board is committed to the principles of excellence and equity, and that commitment is embodied in all of its programs, services, activities and concerns.
For further information, visit
Additional resources:To learn more about College Board advocacy, please visit or contact Stephanie Coggin at the College Board, or 212-713-8052.

For a copy of the College Board report, click here:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

College Gender Gap Appears to be Stabilizing with One Notable Exception, American Council on Education Analysis Finds

American Council on Education
News Release
Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, 12:01 a.m. EST
Contact: Kellee Edmonds (202) 939-9368

Washington, DC (Jan. 26, 2010)—It appears the gender gap in higher education has reached a plateau for most groups except Hispanics, where the gap between men and women is on the rise, according to a new analysis by the American Council on Education (ACE).
Gender Equity in Higher Education: 2010 is a follow-up to ACE’s original 2000 study and 2006 update. For the first time, several indicators suggest that the size of the gender gap in higher education may have stabilized. The distribution of enrollment and undergraduate degrees by gender has remained consistent since about 2000, with men representing 43 percent of enrollment and earning 43 percent of bachelor’s degrees.
The only group in which the size of the female majority does not yet appear to have stabilized is Hispanics: The percentage of Hispanic undergraduates aged 24 or younger who are male has declined from 45 percent in 1999–2000 to 42 percent in 2007–08. Hispanic young men also have the lowest bachelor’s degree attainment level of any group studied, at only 10 percent. Hispanic women appear to have pulled away from their male peers since the late 1980s, increasing their bachelor's degree attainment rate while the male rate has remained flat.
The study’s author cites immigration as a key factor in the low educational performance among Hispanics, with significant differences in educational attainment rates between Hispanics born outside the United States compared with their U.S.-born peers. For example, only 51 percent of Hispanic young adults born outside the United States have completed high school, compared with 81 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics. Male immigrants, who represent one out of every three Hispanic young adults, are at a particular disadvantage. Less than half of these young men have completed high school, and only 6 percent have earned a bachelor’s degree. In contrast, Hispanic women born in the U.S. now attain a bachelor’s degree at the same rate as African-American women (18 percent).
“Raising the attainment rate of Hispanic men—and women—looms as one of the most significant challenges facing American education,” said Jacqueline E. King, assistant vice president of ACE’s Center for Policy Analysis and author of the study. “In order for the attainment rate of Hispanic young men to rise, degree production will have to outpace population growth or immigration will have to slow.”
Gender Equity in Higher Education: 2010 analyzes data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education.
Other Enrollment Findings:
Men aged 25 or older represent just 14 percent of all undergraduates and are outnumbered two to one by women in the same age group.
African Americans still have the largest gender gap in enrollment; 63 percent of all African American undergraduates are women.
Among African Americans and American Indians, female undergraduates aged 25 or older outnumber women aged 24 or younger.
Among traditional-age students who are financially dependent on their parents, multiple years of data consistently show that for each racial/ethnic group, the gender gap in enrollment disappears as family income rises.
Women’s share of graduate enrollment continues to increase, now reaching 60 percent overall, with tremendous variation by race/ethnicity, degree program and field of study.
Bachelor’s Degrees
Despite progress by African Americans of both genders and Hispanic women, the gaps in bachelor’s degree attainment rates between these groups and whites are larger today than they were in the 1960s and 70s.
After a spike in the mid-1970s that reflected the surge in male enrollment during the Vietnam War, the share of young white men with a bachelor’s degree declined and remained flat until the early 1990s. Today, 32 percent of white men aged 25 to 29 hold a bachelor’s degree, compared with 40 percent of white women. For both white and Hispanic young men, increases in the number of degrees earned have been outpaced by population growth, resulting in flat attainment rates.
Graduate Degrees
Women now earn as many professional and doctoral degrees as men. Women also earn the majority of master’s degrees due to their predominance in popular fields such as education and nursing. Men continue to earn the majority of master’s degrees in engineering and business administration.
“While the gender gap is important and should be addressed by educators and policy makers, these findings suggest the current female majority may be higher education’s new normal,” King added.
Gender Equity in Higher Education: 2010 (Item #312188) is available for purchase as a PDF for $20.00 via the ACE web site at
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Memphis Goodwill Agrees to Pay $105,000 to Settle EEOC Race Bias and Retaliation Lawsuit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Former Employee Fired for Complaining About Alleged Race Discrimination, Agency Charges

MEMPHIS – Memphis Goodwill Industries, Inc., a non-profit agency, will pay $105,000 to settle a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged in its suit (No. 2:08-cv-02621-BBD-cgc, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee) that Memphis Goodwill fired a transportation director in retaliation for reporting alleged race discrimination and because of her race, black.
In addition, the EEOC’s suit alleged that the vice president of operations chastised a group of African Americans by stating, “This is not the ghetto.” When the former transportation director complained to the vice president of operations, she received her first written reprimand from him within days and after receiving a second write-up less than 30 days later she was fired. After her termination, the EEOC said, a white male was hired as manager of transportation.
Under the terms of the two-year settlement agreement resolving the suit, signed by U.S. District Judge Bernice Bouie Donald, in addition to the monetary award, Memphis Goodwill agreed to provide employment discrimination training to management personnel at its Memphis facility and to report complaints of discrimination to the EEOC. The company will also purge the former employee's personnel file of negative disciplinary actions and provide her with a reference agreed to by the parties.
Faye A. Williams, EEOC regional attorney in Memphis, said, "It is a serious violation of federal law to discharge an employee based on race. Further, it is simply illegal to fire someone for reporting unlawful discrimination. Employees must be able to complain about practices which they believe violate the law without fear of retribution. We are pleased the parties were able to resolve the case prior to trial.”
Memphis Goodwill trains and employs workers. In the Memphis Area, Memphis Goodwill has over 200 employees.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

UMass Medical to invite freshmen

The Boston Globe
By Tracy Jan
Globe Staff / January 25, 2010
Diversity the goal of unusual program

WORCESTER - The University of Massachusetts Medical School, seeking to bolster the number of minority physicians in Massachusetts, plans to offer high school seniors the rare opportunity to gain admission to college and medical school at the same time.
Under an initiative set to be finalized today, the state’s only public medical school will partner with UMass campuses in Boston, Amherst, Lowell, and Dartmouth to create a joint baccalaureate-MD program that would ensure admission for aspiring doctors from underrepresented ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
UMass officials say they hope the Medical Scholars Program - among a few of its kind in the country - will begin enrolling students in fall 2011. It is expected to boost the prestige of the state university system, providing an incentive for high-achieving students to attend a state university instead of a more prestigious private college.
“This helps other UMass campuses to attract more highly qualified students and helps us to entice those very talented individuals to stay in the state and practice medicine here,’’ said Dr. Terence Flotte, dean of UMass Medical School.
The medical school will set aside 12 slots in its 125-student, first-year class for qualified students from groups underrepresented among Massachusetts doctors. Those groups include African-Americans, Hispanics, certain Southeast Asians, and Cape Verdeans, Brazilians, and other Portuguese speakers.
Students of any ethnic background from low-income families or those among the first in their families to attend college would also qualify.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reflections on Affirmative Action

Chicago Now

Hermene Hartman

on 01.23.10 at 12:56 PM

Affirmative Action in Construction can be purchased from Amazon. On Wednesday, January 27 from 4 to 6 at Roosevelt University he will lecture on the subject and host a book signing. This is a lecture that all business people and students should attend.
King's book captures a wonderful history of affirmative action as it existed. He was an advocate and trailblazer for affirmative action legislation in this country. His leadership expanded beyond the construction industry and extended into all phases of black enterprise.Paul's book captures history. But what we should consider is affirmative action today. What does the minority business person of today do to secure a fair opportunity in the business community? What do we do about affirmative action with a Black President? Do we still need afifrmative action, or has the business world become fair and post racial?

Purchase Reflections on Affirmative Action in Construction from the AAAA Bookstore:

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Higher Education Leaders Urged To Recognize U.S. Disparities, Their Impact on the Academy

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Ronald Roach and Arelis Hernandez , January 22, 2010

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama’s presidential election may have convinced some Americans that they’re living in a post-racial society, but societal disparities persist between racial groups and are accentuated in American higher education, said Dr. Ramon Gutierrez, a University of Chicago historian and expert on race, during a keynote address at the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges and Universities.
Gutierrez’s address, “Talking About Race and Ethnicity in a Post-Racial America,” emphasizing the turbulent history of race relations between the U.S. Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896 and the Kerner Commission Report of 1968, helped set the tone for the three-day meeting, which has attracted more than 1,800 attendees. With this year’s theme, “The Wit, the Will, and the Wallet,” a number of conference sessions delved into how U.S. higher education confronts social inequities. The Washington-based American Association of Colleges and Universities champions the cause of undergraduate liberal education.
Other keynote speakers on Thursday included Dr. Martha Kanter, undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Education; Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation; and Dr. Ronald Crutcher, president of Wheaton College, who spoke about the Obama administration’s ambitious goals for college completion. The conference ends Saturday morning.

Saks Fifth Avenue Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
New Orleans Store Fired Employee Because of Ulcerative Colitis, Federal Agency Says

HOUSTON — Saks Fifth Avenue, the high-end retailer based in New York City, has agreed to pay $170,000 to settle a disability discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The settlement resolves the charge of a former Saks makeup artist, Marlene Babin, who claimed that Saks fired her from its New Orleans store because of her disability, ulcerative colitis.
According to the EEOC’s suit (No. 08-4464 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana), Babin began working for Saks in 2000. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, in 1999. From February of 2004 through December of 2004, Babin underwent five major surgeries in connection with her colitis. During this time, she spent a total of three months in the hospital and had to take four extended medical leaves of absence from work.
In January of 2005, while Babin was recovering from her fifth surgery, Saks informed her that she had to return to work in February or be fired, claiming that she had exhausted her available leave. In fact, Babin had more than 900 hours of available paid leave balances, the EEOC said. Although Babin had been scheduled by her surgeon to return to work in March, she obtained a release to return earlier, to avoid being fired.
Just before her return, however, she fell and broke her wrist. On the next work day, Saks told Babin that she was terminated, effective immediately, because she had allegedly exhausted her available leave, and because she could not be accommodated to work with her broken wrist, even though Babin had been working with the broken wrist for six days. However, two other employees in the New Orleans store had in recent years worked with a broken wrist or hand, and were not fired. Saks told Babin to reapply once her wrist had healed.
On the day after her cast was removed, Babin applied for an open makeup artist position at the store’s La Mer counter. Six weeks later, Babin interviewed for the La Mer position. That same day, Saks sent Babin a letter stating that it did not have any positions appropriate for her background, even though Babin had more than 20 years of experience as a makeup artist, the EEOC said. Saks left the position vacant for about two months, later hiring a non-disabled person with no full-time experience as a makeup artist.
Saks later admitted that Babin had in fact been “very qualified” for the La Mer position. The EEOC contended that Saks fired Babin because of her colitis, and that the issue of her broken wrist was merely a cover for its discriminatory motives.
Disability discrimination violates the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. Babin was also represented by private attorney Jeffrey T. Greenberg.
After extensive sworn deposition testimony was taken from witnesses in the case, Saks filed a motion with the court, asking that the suit be dismissed for lack of evidence. Federal Judge Martin L.C. Feldman, presiding for U.S. District Court in New Orleans, issued a 30-page decision in which he denied Saks’s motion to dismiss the case and set forth reasons why a jury could find in Babin’s favor. The decision set the stage for a jury trial, which will not be necessary now because of the settlement.
Besides the monetary award, the company agreed to a number of measures, such as imple­menting a written policy on disability discrimination and having supervisory and human resources staff undergo training on disability discrimination on an annual basis during the two-year period of the consent decree.
Babin commented on the settlement, “I was devastated when Saks fired me and then refused to hire me back. I loved my job and took a lot of pride and joy from working with people. The court’s decision in refusing to throw my case out means a great deal to me. I am grateful that I had the oppor­tunity to have my story heard. I feel that by this settlement, justice was served.”
Jim Sacher, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Houston, who is in charge of all EEOC litigation in Louisiana, said, “This is a strong and appropriate settlement. The allegations here were very serious and were supported by a wealth of solid evidence. Ms. Babin was an excellent employee who did not deserve to be fired because of her disability. We are pleased that Saks has agreed to compen­sate Ms. Babin and to take additional steps which will benefit employees and applicants in the future. The EEOC will continue to scrutinize situations like this very closely, and to file suit where necessary to enforce the ADA.”
According to company information, Saks has 53 stores nationwide and employs approximately 15,000 people. In 2009, Saks reported a net worth of more than $900 million.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at

Should the Census Be Asking People if They Are Negro?

By Barbara Kiviat Friday, Jan. 22, 2010

Use of the word Negro to describe a black person has largely fallen out of polite conversation — except on the U.S. Census questionnaire. There, under "What is this person's race?" is an option that reads, "Black, African Am., or Negro." That has raised the ire of certain black activists and politicians as the Census Bureau gears up to mail out its once-a-decade questionnaires. The controversy has been cast by many as an instance of a tone-deaf agency not keeping up with the times. In actuality, the flash point represents a much larger theme: the often contentious way the Census both reflects and forges our evolving understanding of race.
The immediate reason the word Negro is on the Census is simple enough: in the 2000 Census, more than 56,000 people wrote in Negro to describe their identity — even though it was already on the form. Some people, it seems, still strongly identify with the term, which used to be a perfectly polite designation. To blindly delete it is to risk incorrectly counting the unknown number of (presumably older) black Americans who checked the "black" box precisely because Negro was included.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

France to push women into the boardroom

January 21, 2010

The French version of the glass ceiling has just been cracked open by parliamentary vote. With the backing of President Sarkozy's administration, the National Assembly last night passed a bill that aims to force big companies to appoint women to 40 percent of their seats on the board.
The quota is likely to reach the statue books, with amendments, later this year, making France the biggest state so far to use the law to break the boys only culture of the boardroom. Norway introduced a 40 percent rule in 2002 when women accounted for only 6 per cent of board seats there. Spain has also just passed a similar law.
The measure will mean an upheaval because the boards of France's top companies remain male bastions, along with those of southern Europe (see chart below). Women occupy just 10.5 percent of board seats in the 650 publicly quoted companies to which the new law will apply. Corporations will have six years to reach the 40 percent mark. After that, all board appointments will be voided if they do not maintain at least a 60-40 share between men and women.

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Robben W. Fleming, University President in Turbulent Times, Dies at 93

The New York Times

Published: January 21, 2010

Robben W. Fleming, who as president of the University of Michigan in the late 1960s and ’70s steered it through a turbulent era of student protests, using his labor negotiator’s skills to help defuse crises before they could turn violent, died Jan. 11 in Ann Arbor, Mich. He was 93.
His son, James, confirmed the death. His father’s health had been failing for some time, he said.
Mr. Fleming, who led Michigan from 1968 to 1978, was often described as patient and unflappable. Those qualities proved useful in March 1969, when members of the left-wing protest group Students for a Democratic Society, demonstrating against the presence of military personnel on campus, barricaded a Navy recruiter in a room.
Mr. Fleming, an opponent of the Vietnam War, refused to summon police, and the threat passed. But he stood firm against protesters in defending the right of the armed services to recruit at the school.
“The university must always be a world of ideas, often in conflict,” Mr. Fleming said. “It ceases to be a university, however, when a group which is willing to use totalitarian tactics can impose on the rest of us its views.”
In 1970, an activist group called the Black Action Movement, supported by many white students and the S.D.S., which threatened violent protests, demanded that the university increase black enrollment to 10 percent from 3 percent and called a student strike, which lasted 12 days.
Mr. Fleming, who supported affirmative action, negotiated an agreement with student leaders calling for an increase in financing for recruiting qualified black applicants and setting a 10 percent enrollment goal without committing to it as a quota.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Unequal Opportunity and Whitewashed Resumes

The Defenders Online
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Posted By The Editors January 20th, 2010
By Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Wise words repeated countless times to young people at home and in school every single day. But what should we say to them if one day their hard work meets empty promises, if their dreams are deferred, or their first paycheck of material reward is marked insufficient funds.
What advice should be given now, for example, in this moment of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression? Nearly double the percentage of black people is unemployed today as compared to white job seekers, 16 percent vs. 9 percent, according to the December Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The nearly two-fold employment gap is as troubling and persistent today as it was in the 1930s.
How can yet another generation of ambitious young people—continuing the path of their elders— be encouraged to remain hopeful and optimistic in a time of tremendous economic misery and uncertainty, especially when racial discrimination continues to deny them equal opportunities?
A recent New York Times analysis of current unemployment data shows undeniable evidence that the largest gap between black male jobseekers and white ones is not among underachievers or high school dropouts. The recently widening racial gap is among hardworking, ghetto-defying, college-educated men—the pride and joy of their families and communities. Black men with college degrees have nearly twice the unemployment rate, 8.4 percent vs. 4.4 percent, of their white male counterparts.

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Poor, Minority Pupils Are Now a Majority in South

Education Week
Published Online: January 19, 2010
Published in Print: January 20, 2010, as Public Schools in South Said First With Both Poor, Minority Majority

The region's demographic shift foreshadows a national trend, report says.
By Debra Viadero

The South hit a demographic turning point over the past couple of years, becoming the first U.S. region in which both low-income and minority students constitute a majority of public school enrollment, an Atlanta-based advocacy group says.
In a report released this month, the Southern Education Foundation says the demographic shift was fueled by a combination of factors: an influx of Latinos and members of other ethnic groups, a return of many African-American families to the South, and higher birthrates among both blacks and Latinos than among whites.
Children from families poor enough to qualify for the federally subsidized school meals program have made up a majority of public school enrollment since 2007, according to the foundation. ("South’s Schools Pass Milestone on Poverty," Nov. 7, 2007.)
But the shift in the proportion of minority schoolchildren is more recent. Depending on how multiracial children are counted, children from traditional minority groups became the majority enrollment in either 2008 or 2009, according to Steve Suitts, the report’s main author.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Civil Rights Pioneer: Post-Racial World Doesn’t Exist

AFL-CIO Now Blog
by James Parks, Jan 18, 2010

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is a good time to assess that post-racial world we’re supposed to be living in now. So, how’s it working out?
Not very well, according to Franklin McCain. He’s one of the four trailblazing students whose sit-in 50 years ago at a lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., ignited a nationwide effort that resulted in passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Says McCain:
I don’t know where I was when racism disappeared from these United States of ours. This new right and the Tea Partiers have taken the position that anybody who talks about racial discrimination or affirmative action is a whiner or a civil rights pimp. We have to get off the sidelines and attack [that kind of language]….They are taking parts of our gains and using it against us. And it’s ridiculous.

McCain, 67, and three of his fellow students at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical College sat down at the whites-only lunch counter in the Woolworth’s in downtown Greensboro on Feb. 1, 1960, and refused to leave until they were served. Their bold action inspired protests in more than 50 cities across the South against segregated public facilities.
Picture: From left, David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair and Joseph McNeil, the four North Carolina A&T students who staged the 1960 sit-in, are shown leaving Woolworth’s.

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Time Crunch for Female Scientists: They Do More Housework Than Men

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 19, 2010

When the biologist Carol W. Greider received a call from Stockholm last fall telling her she had won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, she wasn't working in her lab at the Johns Hopkins University. The professor of molecular biology and genetics was at home, folding laundry.
Ms. Greider does many of the household chores, but she isn't alone. A number of her female colleagues also do more around the house than their male partners.
"It is not just housework. For women with kids, it is all the other stuff: scheduling sports and play dates, play dates, remembering all of the calendar events for the whole family," said Ms. Greider, who has two school-age children.
A new study from the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender and Research at Stanford University has found that female scientists do 54 percent of their core household tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry—about twice as much as their male counterparts. (Paid help and children made up some of the difference.) The results reinforce the findings of other studies. Most important, they indicate that women often have more obligations at home and lower retention rates in their fields.
The study, "Housework Is an Academic Issue," found that women's academic rank had little impact on their household-chore percentage; senior and junior faculty members put in similar hours. Women also worked at their paying jobs about 56 hours a week, almost the same number of hours as men do.

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Presidential Proclamation on Martin Luther King Day

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 15, 2010
Presidential Proclamation--Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., challenged our Nation to recognize that our individual liberty relies upon our common equality. In communities marred by division and injustice, the movement he built from the ground up forced open doors to negotiation. The strength of his leadership was matched only by the power of his words, which still call on us to perfect those sacred ideals enshrined in our founding documents.
"We have an opportunity to make America a better Nation," Dr. King said on the eve of his death. "I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land." Though we have made great strides since the turbulent era of Dr. King's movement, his work and our journey remain unfinished. Only when our children are free to pursue their full measure of success -- unhindered by the color of their skin, their gender, the faith in their heart, the people they love, or the fortune of their birth -- will we have reached our destination.
Today, we are closer to fulfilling America's promise of economic and social justice because we stand on the shoulders of giants like Dr. King, yet our future progress will depend on how we prepare our next generation of leaders. We must fortify their ladders of opportunity by correcting social injustice, breaking the cycle of poverty in struggling communities, and reinvesting in our schools. Education can unlock a child's potential and remains our strongest weapon against injustice and inequality.
Recognizing that our Nation has yet to reach Dr. King's promised land is not an admission of defeat, but a call to action. In these challenging times, too many Americans face limited opportunities, but our capacity to support each other remains limitless. Today, let us ask ourselves what Dr. King believed to be life's most urgent and persistent question: "What are you doing for others?" Visit to find Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service projects across our country.
Dr. King devoted his life to serving others, and his message transcends national borders. The devastating earthquake in Haiti, and the urgent need for humanitarian support, reminds us that our service and generosity of spirit must also extend beyond our immediate communities. As our Government continues to bring our resources to bear on the international emergency in Haiti, I ask all Americans who want to contribute to this effort to visit
By lifting up our brothers and sisters through dedication and service -- both at home and around the world -- we honor Dr. King's memory and reaffirm our common humanity.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 18, 2010, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service programs in honor of Dr. King's life and lasting legacy.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

Monday, January 18, 2010

NBC/WSJ poll: Attitudes on race
Posted: Monday, January 18, 2010 12:00 PM
Filed Under: ,
From NBC's Mark Murray

A year into the presidency of the nation's first African-American president, a majority of Americans (63%) say that race relations in this country have stayed the same, according to a new NBC/MSNBC/WSJ poll. Only 20% believe they've gotten better, and 15% believe they've gotten worse.
That's a change from our Jan. 2009 NBC/WSJ poll, when a plurality (45%) said Barack Obama's election improved race relations, when 39% said it didn't change things, and when 13% said it made race relations worse.
"Everything is back to where it was -- if you're white or African American or Hispanic," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. "The euphoria has disappeared."
The full NBC/WSJ poll will be released tomorrow night beginning at 6:30 pm ET. But these numbers on race are being unveiled now, pegged to today's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, as well as tonight's MSNBC special program "Obama's America -- 2010 and beyond," hosted by MSNBC's Chris Matthews. ..

On affirmative action, 49% believe that it is needed to counteract past discrimination against minorities, versus 43% who think affirmative action programs have gone too far. ...

Full story:

Leadership Conference Lists Groups of Haiti Aid Organizations

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights,, of which AAAA is a member, has posted a list of member organizations that are providing relief to victims of the Haiti earthquake. See more information below:

Join Our Coalition Members in Providing Relief for Haiti Earthquake Victims

More than 3 million Haitians are injured or homeless after a major earthquake devastated the island. Member organizations of The Leadership Conference and/or affiliates have Haiti relief efforts. Please take a moment and support their efforts to help the people of Haiti rebuild.
Catholic Relief ServicesDonate via phone: 1-877-HELP-CRS or text RELIEF to 30644Donate online: Write a check: Catholic Relief ServicesP.O. Box 17090Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7090Memo portion of check: Haiti Earthquake
Hip Hop CaucusPlease make a donation today to Yele Haiti, Wyclef's organization, to support immediate relief to the people of Haiti. Text "Yele" to 501501, which will automatically donate $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund (it will be charged to your cell phone bill). Or you can visit and click on DONATE.
National Congress of Black Women, IncDr. E. Faye Williams, Esq., National Chair, 1251 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024, 202/678-6788,E-mail:,Website:
Jewish Council for Public AffairsAmerican Jewish Joint Distribution Committee JDC (Attn: Haiti Crisis) P.O Box 530132 East 43rd Street,New York, NY 10017 Donations are also being accepted online
Union for Reform Judaism
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism2027 Massachusetts Ave, NWWashington, DC 20036Phone: (202) 387-2800Fax: (202)
General Board of Church & SocietyUnited Methodist Committee on
The United Methodist ChurchWayne RhodesDirector of Communications100 Maryland Avenue, NEWashington, D.C. 20002(202) 488-5630 /
United Church of Christ/Global MinistriesChecks payable to: Wider Church Ministries (Note in memo portion "OGHS – Haitian Relief")700 Prospect AvenueCleveland, OH 44115Make a secure online donation to the OGHS International Disaster Relief fund.
AARP FoundationAARP Foundation has established a disaster relief fund. It will match dollar for dollar up to $500,000 all contributions made to the AARP Foundation Haiti Relief Fund.
Other Places to Donate
Text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.
Global Giving
Direct Relief International
Church World Service
American Red Cross
World Vision
Doctors Without Borders
Partners in Health
Red Cross International Response Fund
RN Response Network
Solidarity Center Education Fund
United Way Worldwide Disaster Fund

First Lady Calls for Work-Life Balance in Labor Department Speech

The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release
January 14, 2010
Remarks by The First Lady During Visit to the Department of Labor
U.S. Department of LaborWashington, D.C.
11:09 A.M. EST
MRS. OBAMA: Thanks, everybody. (Applause.) Now, remember, you weren't supposed to get out of your seats -- (laughter) -- until the program was over. And you all agreed. I heard it. (Laughter.) But that's okay. (Laughter.)
Good morning, everyone. I am as thrilled to be here as you all seem to be. (Laughter.) But before we begin, I do want to take a moment just to express my profound heartbreak and our nation's deepest support for the people of Haiti in the wake of this just devastating disaster that they have suffered.
The destruction and the suffering that we see, the images that are coming out of that country are just overwhelming, and it is important for the people of Haiti to know that we are keeping the victims of this tragedy and their loved ones in our thoughts and our prayers. And that also includes prayers going out to all of the Haitian Americans who have families and friends there, and they're worried about them back home. It's difficult to get word. People don't know where folks are. This is a tough time for Haitian American citizens here, as well. And we also want to send our thoughts and prayers out to the American citizens who are working and living in Haiti, as well.
Right now my husband and the administration are focused on moving as many resources as possible into Haiti as quickly as possible so that we can save as many lives as we can. And later today I'll be taping a public service announcement for the Red Cross, which is providing on-the-ground support -- food, water, medicine -- that's desperately needed right now, particularly in this short period of 48, 72 hours after the disaster.
So for those Americans who are watching this, who are listening, who want to help -- and everyone's help and resources and energy at this time are critically important -- you can go to the White House Web site at to see what you can do to support our friends in Haiti in this time of urgent need.
And as you know, it's not just in the weeks and months ahead. This is going to be something that we're going to have to put our attention to for many years to come. So again, our thoughts and prayers go out to the country of Haiti.
But I'd like to start by first thanking your wonderful Secretary, Secretary Solis, not just for that very kind introduction but for all of her work that she's doing in this department. She is doing a fabulous job in so many areas. And all of you know -- (applause) -- and she's not just working here, but she has taken the time to travel with me on my special projects. We've spent a wonderful day in Denver, participating in a mentorship and leadership program there for young girls. And Secretary Solis was right there, the first one to sign up to go, as a busy Secretary, still never too busy to give back to an amazing group of girls -- and I will be grateful to her for a very long time for her outstanding work and willingness to step up and outside of her role. So we are grateful to you.
I also want to thank all of you here today and all your colleagues here in Washington who may not be in this room or across the country for all of your work. As you all know, I have spent a lot of time in the first year -- yes, it's been a year -- (laughter) -- since we've arrived in Washington, visiting agencies. And it's been wonderful for me to use these visits -- it's a way to learn more about the work that you do, to listen, to observe, to hear your concerns, and then to bring that information back to the White House so that my husband is getting even more feedback on how things are going.
So these visits have been so very important to me getting to better understand how this place works, and getting to know all of you.
And I know that some of you have been working in these departments for a very long time, for decades. And we have some of those long-term workers standing behind me. We have some of the longest-serving employees here at the department right behind me.
But something that the Secretary chose to do uniquely is to also recognize the many folks here who are just beginning their careers. And we can't forget those -- a lot of young people who are stepping into new roles and a lot of not-so-young people stepping into roles. (Laughter.) So also on the stage with us today are some of the very newest employees here at the Department, as well.
But I know that whether you all have worked here for decades or for days, you've been working very hard for the American people, and one of my primary reasons for being here is to express on behalf of not just myself and my family and the President, but the entire nation, our gratitude for the service that you have put in. We often forget about the work that you do to make things happen for this nation. And it's important that we shed this light on each and every one of you over the course of this year.
I am also looking forward to visiting some little people here. (Laughter.) After I speak here I'm going to go down to the childcare center, and as you know, I'm a sucker for kids. (Laughter.) I told the Secretary if I can come to the childcare center, I'll be here every week. (Laughter and applause.)
But I'm going to get to read one of my favorite books, "Green Eggs and Ham" -- (laughter) -- Dr. Seuss. And I'm also going to get to meet -- although I see some of you here -- some of the culinary students, young people who are working in the training program. (Applause.)
And I've heard that you have prepared a delicious and, hopefully, healthy snack for our children. (Laughter.) But we're grateful for you, and I'm looking forward to meeting you all.
I was pleased to hear that there was a childcare center here at the Department of Labor that not just serves the employees of the department, but working families throughout the area. And, as a parent, I know centers like this one create a great deal of peace of mind, so that people know that their kids are being taken care of. And that means that you can focus on your work and not worry about whether your kids are doing okay.
And that's actually what I'd like to just spend a few brief moments talking about today, an issue that I've talked a lot about, and that's the issue of work-life balance. You know it: the constant struggle to meet our responsibilities both as employees, but also as breadwinners, and mothers and fathers. It's one of those issues that we, as a society, still haven't quite figured out yet. We're still working on it. And as the mother of two young girls -- who are doing just fine, by the way -- (laughter) -- it's an issue that is particularly near and dear to my heart, as I have spoken about.
In my current life as the First Lady of the United States, I am incredibly blessed and I know that, because I have more support than I could have ever asked for and ever imagined, including my mother, who has moved here to help us sort through all the challenges.
But I didn't always live in the White House, as you know. For many years -- just a few years ago, we came to Washington, I was a part of that work-family struggle to balance that full-time job, plus being an around-the-clock role -- that role you play as mom, particularly when you have a spouse who is traveling a lot.
And I've said this before, but probably like many of you, I consider myself one of those 120-percenters, which essentially means that if you are not doing everything at 120 percent, you think you're failing. I suffer from that malady. So when I was at work during these times, I always felt like I was shortchanging my girls. But then when I was at home, I was worried that I was letting people at work down. And with that kind of anxiety, comes a lot of additional stress and a whole lot of guilt. So I know all of us are walking around with a whole lot of guilt, just carrying it around. (Laughter.)
And I was lucky even back then, because I had understanding bosses, people like Secretary Solis, who shared my same values for the importance of doing a good job but also raising a good family. And I was also fortunate to work in jobs that were reasonably accommodating, with people who understood that if you left a little early for -- to get in the car line, that that wasn't some huge definition of your dedication to your job.
And while there's certainly plenty of employers out there who recognize the value of good work-life policies, many people in this country just aren't as fortunate to work with those employers. And with the job market the way it is right now, many folks can't afford to be picky. You just can't. When you have a job, you keep it; and you settle for the terms that you have because you know you're blessed to even have a job. And many don't have access, as a result, to good family leave policies or any kind of flexibility in the workplace at all. It's just not possible. So they struggle to find affordable childcare and emergency childcare when their usual arrangements fall through, which they always do -- right?
And believe it or not, today roughly 40 percent of private-sector employees work at companies that don't offer a single day of paid sick leave. Not a single day. And I think that reflects a larger problem, that for too long we as a society have viewed policies that help people balance work and family as somehow a special benefit maybe to women who shoulder that, rather than an essential part of a workplace that can benefit everyone in the workplace.
To this day there's still the perception that workers who need time off to care for a sick parent, or who want a more flexible schedule so they can go to the potluck or the play or the parent-teacher conference, are somehow less committed or less desirable. There's this idea that workplaces that accommodate these needs are destined to be less profitable, less productive somehow.
But we now know that that's just simply not the case. There's a lot of evidence out there from companies who've implemented really innovative processes to help families. We now know that these kind of policies can actually make employees more productive. We all know this, right? Because instead of spending all day at work worrying about what's happening at home, they have the support that they need to concentrate on their jobs. And it makes a huge difference in terms of productivity. Just mental health comfort and stability helps workers be better. We know that.
And that's why we need to change the way we look at these issues so that our workplaces can catch up to the realities of our lives. It's time we viewed family-friendly policies as not just niceties for women but as necessities for every single working American -- men and women -- because more and more men are shouldering that same kind of burden. And that's good, but that's new. (Laughter and applause.)
Staying home to care for a sick child or taking an elderly parent to a doctor's appointment shouldn't mean risking one's job. That shouldn't be the tradeoff. People shouldn't have to choose between taking the time they need after giving birth, for example, or adopting a child, and keeping that job that they need to support the child they just had. That shouldn't be the choice.
Things like paid family leave and sick days and affordable childcare should be the norm, not the exception. That's why we think it's important to highlight companies that are embracing these policies, ones that are experimenting with things like flex time and telecommuting and focusing on performance and output rather than face time. That's why the President and Secretary Solis have spoken out in favor of the Healthy Families Act, which would let millions more working Americans earn up to seven days a year of paid sick time to care for themselves and their families. That would be innovative and new. But we are happy that we have a President and a Secretary of the Department of Labor who had the vision and the foresight to see that this now needs to happen. (Applause.)
But the administration also knows that we essentially have to put our money where our mouths are, so the administration is working to practice what we preach and make the federal government a model of what we're asking others to do. From expanding telework options to providing emergency childcare and affordable day care, we need to be implementing all of those ideas throughout the federal government. I was particularly pleased to learn that the childcare center here at the Department of Labor actually provides financial aid to help employees afford excellent care regardless of the size of their paychecks, and those are the kind of things that we need to be doing all across the government. (Applause.)
So these are just a few examples of the kind of concrete steps that we can take to restore some semblance of balance and sanity into the lives of people that you all know, because it's probably you. (Laughter.) And this is just the beginning. And there's a lot of work to do -- as we all know, as the President has said. He said it before he took the oath of office -- change is important, change is hard, and change takes time. I remember him saying that. (Laughter.) So we all know that we have a long way to go, again, and it won't be easy. But as one of Secretary Solis's predecessors, President Roosevelt's Labor Secretary Frances Perkins once pointed out that most of our problems -- and this is a quote -- "have been met and solved either partially or as a whole by experiment based on common sense and carried out with courage."
That's what we need today as well. We need all of you to take the lead -- or continue to take the lead in this effort. And all of us, in both government and the private sector, will need to come up with new ideas, try out new approaches, and rely on our courage and our common sense to guide us along the way.
But as I say in all my visits, we're going to need all of you maintaining some level of energy and optimism through the tough days, because we know you all are working hard -- many people staying late, putting in overtime, going the extra mile to make sure that the Department of Labor is strong and it continues to be a source of pride, not just for the administration but for the entire country. And we are grateful to all of you for that, and oftentimes you don't hear it, but we are grateful. We are a grateful First Family, and we are a grateful nation for the work that you do. We couldn't do it without you.
So hang in there. If we have all of you continuing to work as you do, I am confident that we will meet these challenges. So thank you all so much. And with that, I'm going to shake some hands and then read "Green Eggs and Ham." (Applause.)
END11:28 A.M. EST

OFCCP Continues its Listening Sessions

On January 20, 2010, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will host another online listening session, this time for construction contractors. The information follows:

Wed, Jan 20, 2010 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST - Construction Contractor Affirmative Action Requirements. OFCCP regulations at 41 CFR Part 60-4, require Federal and federally assisted construction contractors to provide equal opportunity in all construction trades. Projected Publication date for Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM): 1/2011
For the audio portion of this listening session, please call 800-369-1722, (outside United States call 517-308-9423). This passcode will be required to join the call: 6341500. (Restrictions may exist when using a mobile telephone.) To submit comments, suggestions, or feedback please email:

Editorial: King's light still illuminates

MetroWest Daily News
Posted Jan 18, 2010 @ 08:23 AM
Today's holiday is no stale memorial to a historical figure. Martin Luther King Jr. remains near the center of our national conversation, even 41 years after his death.
Opponents of affirmative action in any sphere quote King's most famous speech, declaring that applicants to the University of Michigan be judged "not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Defenders of such policies also call Dr. King as a witness. King was a supporter of affirmative action, arguing that a runner whose legs have been shackled by slavery cannot be expected to compete fairly in the race of life. Affirmative action gives minorities the head start they need and deserve, he said.
The inauguration of the first African-American president a year ago puts a new light on that discussion, causing us to think again of the proper balance between the values of color-blindness versus giving a fair shake to those who have been disadvantaged by circumstance or prejudice.

Full Editorial:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day - A Day of Reflection

AAAA acknowledges and celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the occasion of his birth. For those who would like to recall his momentous speech given at the March on Washington in 1963, click on the video on the lower right side of this blog. As we witness the most tragic effects of the earthquake in Haiti today, we must wonder what Dr. King would say and do in the midst of this crisis.

Opponents of affirmative action frequently defend their efforts to eliminate such programs by calling for a “color-blind society” and citing Dr. King’s impassioned plea for his children to be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” These claims are a blatant distortion of his words. King understood that the mere enforcement of antidiscrimination guarantees was not enough to end past and continuing discrimination. In Why We Can’t Wait, Dr. King wrote:

Among the many vital jobs to be done, the nation must not only radically
readjust its attitude toward the Negro in the compelling present, but must
incorporate in its planning some compensatory consideration for the
handicaps he has inherited in the past.[1]

It is impossible to create a formula for the
future, which does not take into account that our society has been doing
something special against the Negro for hundreds of years. How then can he
be absorbed into the mainstream of American life if we do not do something
special for him now, in order to balance the equation and equip him to compete
on a just and equal basis?[2]

Whenever this issue of compensatory or
preferential treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in
horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree; but he should
ask nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable but it is not
realistic. For it is obvious that if a man is entered at the starting line
of a race three hundred years after another man, the first would have to perform
some impossible feat in order to catch up with his fellow runner.[3]

In a discussion with Dr. King about the compensatory measures taken by the Indian government to assist the Untouchables, Prime Minister Nehru explained,

“If two applicants compete for entrance into a college or university, one of the
applicants being an untouchable and the other of high caste, the school is
required to accept the untouchable.” When asked whether this was
discrimination, Nehru responded, “Well it may be. But this is our way of
for the centuries of injustices we have inflicted upon
these people.”[4]
Dr. King then wrote, “America must seek its own ways
of atoning for the injustices she has inflicted upon her Negro citizens.”

[1] Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can’t Wait, Mentor Press (Penguin Putnam, Inc.), 1963, at 134.
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.

See other speeches commemorating Dr. King's birthday celebration on the website of Democracy Now:
Purchase "Why We Can't Wait" from the AAAA Bookstore:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lowery tells Auburn audience King's achievements shouldn't be 'sanitized'
By Bob Lowry
January 15, 2010, 9:19PM
AUBURN -- The Rev. Joseph Lowery, a Huntsville native and icon in the 1960s civil rights movement, urged an Auburn University audience Friday night not to "sanitize" Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s achievements.
Speaking at an event to mark King's birthday, Lowery said some have hijacked King's dream and used it and ensuing advancements in civil rights to, for example, try and derail affirmative action.
"I'm serious about the need to recapture the spirit of affirmative action," he said. "Affirmative action, in my mind, is not preferential treatment. It is intentional. It is being as intentional about closing the gap as we were about creating the gap."
And he said people today should not honor King as a missionary and ignore his mission. "We must not let them put Martin on this rotunda of sentimental irrelevancy and declare him a gloried social worker," he said. "I have nothing against social workers, but he was a militant, but nonviolent revolutionary."

Full Story:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sandra Day O'Connor Revisits and Revives Affirmative-Action Controversy

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 14, 2010

By Peter Schmidt
Having held in a landmark 2003 Supreme Court ruling that diverse college enrollments have proven educational benefits but that colleges should not need race-conscious admissions policies 25 years down the road, a retired associate justice — Sandra Day O'Connor — is now singing what some hear as a different tune.
In an essay written with Stewart J. Schwab, who had served as one of her Supreme Court clerks and is now dean of the Cornell Law School, Justice O'Connor argues that the majority opinion she wrote in the 2003 affirmative-action case should not be seen as imposing a deadline on the use of race-conscious policies or as relieving the need for more research showing such policies have educational benefits.
"When the time comes to reassess the constitutionality of considering race in higher-education admissions," the essay says, "we will need social scientists to clearly demonstrate the educational benefits of diverse student bodies, and to better understand the links between role models in one generation and aspirations and achievements of succeeding generations."
The essay, contained in the new book The Next 25 Years: Affirmative Action in Higher Education in the United States and South Africa, has struck a raw nerve among critics of affirmative action who were frustrated by the pivotal role Justice O'Connor played in preserving race-conscious admissions policies in the Supreme Court's 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision, involving the University of Michigan Law School. Seen as the court's swing vote on the affirmative-action issue, she ended up siding with its liberal wing in a 5-to-4 ruling holding that race-conscious admissions policies are constitutional because they serve the compelling state interest of promoting diversity and its associated educational benefits.

Full Story: (Subscription may be required)

MIT faculty study finds diversity is lacking

The Boston Globe
By Tracy Jan
Globe Staff / January 15, 2010

MIT must do a better job recruiting and retaining black and Hispanic faculty, who have a harder time getting promoted than their white and Asian colleagues, if the university expects to remain competitive, according to a strikingly candid internal study released yesterday by the university.
In some departments - such as chemistry, mathematics, and nuclear science and engineering - no black and Hispanic professors have been hired in the last two decades, according to the report, which was more than two years in the making.
MIT’s first comprehensive study of its faculty’s racial diversity and the experience of underrepresented minority professors highlights a national problem across academia: the need to improve the pipeline of black and Hispanic scholars, especially in the fields of science and engineering.
The report urges the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to become more self-reflective and to better appreciate the challenges facing minority faculty, who feel that their qualification to be at the institute is sometimes questioned and who are more likely to leave MIT in their first three to five years.
“There is a tension between the ideas of maintaining high excellence and including a broader range of groups,’’ said Paula Hammond, an African-American chemical engineering professor, who chaired MIT’s Initiative on Faculty Race and Diversity. “But we believe that inclusiveness can lead to excellence, rather than impede it.’’
Blacks and Hispanics make up only 6 percent of MIT’s 1,013-member faculty, an increase from 4.5 percent since 2000 but far below the university’s goal of achieving parity with the nation, where underrepresented minorities constitute 30 percent of the population. MIT’s rate is comparable to research universities such as Harvard and Stanford.
The report indicates that the university needs to provide more mentoring and expand professional opportunities to make the climate at MIT more welcoming to underrepresented groups, which include blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans.
Asian faculty, which make up nearly 13 percent of MIT professors, are not underrepresented, but share some of the same concerns about MIT’s racial climate.

Full Story:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Historic Victory: Court Rules FDNY Hiring Practices Intentionally Discriminated on the Basis of Race for Decades

Center for Constitutional Rights

January 13, 2010, New York, NY – Today, United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit charging the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) with intentionally racially discriminatory hiring practices. The case, which proved the FDNY examination was in violation of civil rights laws, was filed on behalf of the Vulcan Society, the fraternal organization of Black firefighters in the FDNY by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel from Levy Ratner, P.C. and Scott + Scott, LLP. An earlier win in the case on July 22, 2009, ruled that the impact of the test was racially discriminatory, but today’s summary ruling of intentional discrimination is far more rare.In today’s ruling, Judge Garaufis found the City of New York had excluded Blacks and Hispanics from the Fire Department for decades, since the 1960’s, and called it “a persistent stain on the Fire Department’s record.” Said Richard Levy of Levy Ratner, P.C., CCR cooperating attorney and lead counsel in the case, “This decision represents a major victory for all minority citizens of New York City who have been denied employment because of their race, color or national origin. But it is a particular vindication for the Vulcan Society, the Black organization of firefighters that has been waging this struggle for equality for more than forty years. The City has kept blinders tightly in place to avoid recognizing and dealing with a problem of discrimination that has been shockingly clear to all citizens of New York. The Fire Department has been a virtually all White club since its inception many decades ago and no one in City government has seen fit to address the issue. Now it must.” Said CCR Attorney Anjana Samant, “This is an historic victory that will force the City to be accountable for decades of unchecked intentional discrimination in the FDNY. While people have been clamoring for firehouses to be more representative of their communities for years, this ruling demands that the City clean up its mess and fashion programs and remedies to correct the past effects of its discriminatory hiring process.” Said Paul Washington, past president of the Vulcan Society, “We’re glad to see the justice system verify what we’ve known for the longest time, that the Fire Department is hostile to hiring blacks. We hope this means 145 years of racism in the New York City Fire Dept will now come to an end.” As of October 2007, black and Hispanic firefighters comprised only 3.4 and 6.7 percent of the FDNY, respectively. The combined black and Hispanic population of New York City comprises over half its total population. New York City has the least diverse fire department of any major city in America; 57 percent of Los Angeles, 51 percent of Philadelphia and 40 percent of Boston firefighters are people of color. At the same time, the New York City Police Department has recruited a force that is roughly fifty percent (50%) minority and fully represents the demographics of the City. In April 2009, plaintiffs asked Judge Garaufis to grant summary judgment in favor of the Vulcan Society, the fraternal organization of Black firefighters in the FDNY, and three individual candidates in light of the overwhelming evidence supporting their claims, thus eliminating the need for a trial. CCR, Levy Ratner, and Scott + Scott formally filed to intervene on behalf of the Vulcan Society in the Department of Justice's lawsuit against the City of New York for discriminatory hiring practices in July 2007. The lawsuit grew out of two Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filings by CCR on behalf of the Vulcan Society in 2002 and 2005. The intervention allowed the Vulcan Society to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff. To read the ruling or for more information on the case, see CCR's Vulcan Society case page. Levy Ratner, P.C. has advocated for unions and workers for more than 35 years in the areas of union-side labor law, employee benefits, bankruptcy, campaign finance, election law and plaintiffs’ employment law.
Watch CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren and Vulcan Society's Paul Washington on NY1's segment on this landmark ruling (this link will end your session at
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

In Victory for Black Firefighters, FDNY Hiring Practices Ruled Racially Discriminatory

Center for Constitutional Rights
Press Release
Judge Rules Test Was Not Fair and In Violation of Title VII

July 22, 2009, New York, NY – Today, United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit charging the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) with racially discriminatory hiring practices. The case, which proved the FDNY examination was in violation of civil rights laws, was filed on behalf of the Vulcan Society, the fraternal organization of Black firefighters in the FDNY by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel from Levy Ratner, P.C. and Scott + Scott, LLP.“From 1999 to 2007, the New York City Fire Department used written examinations with discriminatory effects and little relationship to the job of a firefighter… [that] unfairly excluded hundreds of qualified people of color from the opportunity to serve as New York City firefighters,” said Judge Garaufis in the Memorandum and Order. “Today, the court holds that New York City’s reliance on these examinations constitutes employment discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”“The court found that the city closed the door on over a thousand qualified candidates of color,” said CCR attorney Darius Charney. “This is a tremendous victory that we’ve been fighting towards for over seven years and we applaud the court for recognizing that the FDNY written examination has no bearing on whether or not a firefighter is qualified.”As of October 2007, black and Hispanic firefighters comprised only 3.4 and 6.7 percent of the FDNY, respectively. The combined black and Hispanic population of New York City comprises over half its total population. New York City has the least diverse fire department of any major city in America; 57 percent of Los Angeles, 51 percent of Philadelphia and 40 percent of Boston firefighters are people of color.“Racial discrimination is still alive and well in our city’s institutions,” said Paul Washington, past president of the Vulcan Society. “We celebrate today’s decision for recognizing that unfair firefighter exams and other employment schemes that only serve to block qualified candidates have no place in public service.”In April of this year, CCR and its co-counsel asked Judge Garaufis to grant summary judgment in favor of the Vulcan Society, the fraternal organization of Black firefighters in the FDNY, and three individual candidates in light of the overwhelming evidence supporting their claims, thus eliminating the need for a trial. CCR, Levy Ratner, and Scott + Scott formally filed to intervene on behalf of the Vulcan Society in the Department of Justice's lawsuit against the City of New York for discriminatory hiring practices in July 2007. The lawsuit grew out of two Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filings by CCR on behalf of the Vulcan Society in 2002 and 2005. The intervention allowed the Vulcan Society to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff.To read the ruling or for more information on the case, see CCR's Vulcan Society case page.
To listen to to CCR attorney Darius Charney, John Coombs, president of Vulcan Society and Paul Washington, past president of Vulcan Society on WBAI and press the "play" button below.

Attached Files
09.07.22_Garaufis Vulcans Opinion.pdf
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

New U.Va. president shaped by affirmative action

The Washington Examiner
By: Leah Fabel Examiner Staff Writer
January 14, 2010

Teresa Sullivan will leave a $366,000 salary at Michigan for $680,000, including benefits, at the University of Virginia. (AP)
Battles over affirmative action have shaped the career of the University of Virginia's incoming president, who has fought for more minorities on campus.
As provost at the Universities of Texas and Michigan, Teresa Sullivan managed the effect of two major legal decisions stopping student admissions weighted by race and gender. She intensified the universities' recruitment of more diverse student bodies even as the law required admissions to be colorblind.
At Michigan, Sullivan co-chaired a diversity task force after the state's 2006 decision banning affirmative action. She told the Detroit Free Press that the school would leverage existing programs to reach students in underrepresented schools and neighborhoods.Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Flagships Increase Aid for the Poorest Students, but Not Enough, Report Says

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 14, 2010
By Beckie Supiano

Public flagship universities are failing to enroll enough low-income or underrepresented-minority students while directing much of their financial aid toward wealthier students, according to a report released Wednesday by the Education Trust.
The report, "Opportunity Adrift: Our Flagship Universities Are Straying From Their Public Mission," is a follow-up to "Engines of Inequality: Diminishing Equity in the Nation's Premier Public Universities," which the research and advocacy group released in 2006.
The new report looks at the distribution of financial aid to full-time, dependent undergraduates at public research-extensive universities, a category that includes but is not limited to the public flagships. Among students who received grants from their colleges, students in the bottom income quintile (in 2007, that would include families making $30,200 or less) were given an average of $4,910 in 2007, compared with $3,982 in 2003 ( measured in 2007 dollars), an increase of 23 percent. Students in the top income group received $4,158 compared with $4,342 in 2003, a decrease of 4 percent.
Despite making gains in institutional aid, the poorest students had an average of $10,445 in unmet need after all college, state, and federal grants were taken into account. The students would have to come up with that money through the Federal Work Study program, other work, and loans. The wealthiest group of students did not, on average, need any grant aid to cover the cost of college at these universities, but still received average grants of $2,025 from all sources.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Harry Reid's comments were crudely put, yet true

The Washington Post
January 12, 2010
By Eugene Robinson
Tuesday, January 12, 2010; A17

Skin color among African Americans is not to be discussed in polite company, so Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's newly disclosed remark about President Obama -- that voters are more comfortable with him because he's light-skinned -- offended decorum. But it was surely true.
Color bias has always existed in this country. We don't talk about it because we think of color as subordinate to racial identification. There are African Americans with skin so light-hued that only contextual clues speak to the question of race. I remember once looking up some distant cousins on my father's side. They were so fair of hair and ruddy of cheek that I thought I'd gone to the wrong house, until one of them greeted me in what I guess Reid would call "Negro dialect."
Forgive me if I am neither shocked nor outraged. A few years ago I wrote a book about color and race called "Coal to Cream," and the issue no longer has third-rail status for me. What I would find stunning is evidence that Reid's assessment -- made during the 2008 campaign and reported in a new book by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin -- was anything but accurate.
Advertising is a reliable window into the American psyche, so look at the images we're presented on television and in glossy magazines. The black models tend to be caramel-skinned or lighter, with hair that's not really kinky -- which is how I'd describe mine -- but wavy, even flowing. A few models whose skin is chocolate-hued or darker have reached superstar status, such as Alek Wek and Tyson Beckford, but they are rare exceptions.
Skin color could hardly be a more conspicuous attribute, but we don't talk about it in this country. That's been a good thing.

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Still Earning Less

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 13, 2010

By Mary Ann Mason
Consider a few facts: Women are now half of all workers on U.S. payrolls; there is no longer a clear timeline for marriage and childbirth; and a record 40 percent of children born in 2007 had unmarried mothers. Those figures are from a recently published study, led by Maria Shriver, called "The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything."
The study also found that nearly two-thirds of women are either the main breadwinners or co-breadwinners in their families. Nonetheless, they still earn less than men, while handling more than their fair share of caregiving responsibilities at home.
My contribution to "The Shriver Report" focused on higher education. Does it prepare women to become breadwinners? The good news is that women today receive 62 percent of associate degrees, 57 percent of bachelor's degrees, 60 percent of master's degrees, half of all professional degrees (including law and medicine), and just under half of all Ph.D.'s
Now for the bad news: Our economy is increasingly dependent on workers skilled in advanced technology, but at each education level, from K-12 onward, structural barriers discourage women from entering into the challenging, and much higher-paid, fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Recruiters’ Use of Criminal and Credit Checks Colliding With Legislative Constraints

Workforce Management
October 2009
Even employers that limit the types of screening results that will lead to adverse hiring decisions may violate federal law.
By Fay Hansen

Explosive growth in the background screening industry during the past decade has generated near-universal adoption of criminal checks and a steady rise in credit checks for all U.S. job candidates.
In some industries, recruiters are using criminal and credit screening as a quick and easy method for culling the ever-larger pile of applications. But this growing reliance on screening is on a collision course with new legislative restrictions, legal challenges and mounting evidence that such results are poor predictors of behavior and performance.
Even employers that limit the types of screening results that will lead to adverse hiring decisions may violate federal law. On October 1, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a discrimination lawsuit against Freeman Cos., a nationwide convention and corporate events marketing company.
Since at least 2001, Freeman has rejected job applicants based on their credit history and if they have had various types of criminal charges or convictions, the suit claims. The EEOC says these exclusionary practices are not job-related or justified by business necessity.
In March, the EEOC settled a lawsuit against Franke Foodservice Systems, which refused to hire a black applicant who disclosed a felony conviction on his application even though the company hired a white applicant a year earlier who made a similar disclosure. A spate of EEOC and private lawsuits are pending against other companies for unlawfully denying employment to people with criminal records or bad credit histories.

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