My Quest To Teach

April 15, 2013

Bright Futures for Students are Fading

Filed under: Uncategorized — William Jackson @ 5:29 pm

Bright Futures for Students are Fading

High school students and their parents experience
high stress and anxiety the closer a students’ senior
year comes. Graduations are a time for celebrations,
high expectations, looking towards future careers and
entering into higher education.
College and university entrance opens doors to
brighter futures for youth especially Black youth
seeking to better their lives.
A young person with a college degree will make a
million dollars more than a young person with just a
high school diploma. Even McDonalds, Burger King
and other establishments will or are requiring their
management people to have a minimum of two years
college education.

New standards would dim many students Bright
Future opportunities as the Bright Future Scholarships
goes under many changes and modifications. Florida
is known for its educational reform, but many parents
wonder if these reforms are designed to keep minority
students and students of color from obtaining a college
education. More students of color are attending some
type of higher educational institution and entering in
careers that they normally don’t show an interest. Even
in STEAM – Science Technology Engineering Arts
Mathematics there is a growing minority presence
because technology allows Black students better
opportunities for exposure and employment.
Are minorities being systematically being closed out
of earning a college degree to keep them from growing?
The Bright Futures program was designed to reward
high-achieving high school students with the cost
of college. Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Travis and
Denise-Marie Ordway have written that new state
rules may slash the number of Florida students
eligible for the state’s most popular type of Bright
Futures scholarship. One of the requirements students
will have to score higher on tests to be eligible for the
scholarship rewards. This will drastically impact
students and hurt many students particularly minority
first generation college students. The opportunities for
a quality college education are slowly diminishing for
youth and parents need to be prepared to provide more
financial support and look for alternative financial
resources.

The state of Florida has four Bright Futures
scholarships the most popular is Florida Medallion
scholarship. The Legislature in 2011 toughened
criteria so that students entering college in the fall
of 2014 will need higher ACT and SAT scores than
in the past to be eligible to qualify.
Students will have to score at least an 1170
on the SAT in 2014, up from 980 in 2012.
The best possible SAT score, when math
and critical-reading sections are combined,
is a 1600. The minimum required ACT score
rises to 26. The cutoff score last fall was 21,
the highest possible composite ACT score of 36.
That means students will really need to focus on
academics skill sets when taking these assessments.
As a parent I had my children take both the SAT
and ACT twice to obtain as high a score as
possible. I encouraged them when they entered
into high school to be a part of academic clubs and
organizations to build on their academic abilities
early, looking towards the future. Sports was secondary
academics was primary, but the involvement in extra-
curricular activities was important to because of the
exposure to new ideas, critical thinking skills and
higher order learning. During the summers we attended
events at the libraries, museums, etc.

Parents need to understand that even in high school
they need to stay in contact with their children’s
teachers, administrators and even guidance counselors.
On several occasions I had to meet with guidance
counselors because I felt that I was not taken seriously
and provided with enough and the proper information to
make good decisions about my children and their college
entrance.
That is the responsibility of a parent to stay engaged
and ask questions. There are no stupid questions when the
needs of your child are the priority. Don’t rely totally
on your child and expect them to know everything, they
are still children and concerned with academics,
assessments and other stresses. Parents should talk to
their children regularly.

A disservice is being done to Historically Black
Colleges and Universities. The changes will affect the
tuitions at these schools and the desire of students, not
just Blacks, but other races from attending. The fear is
that many freshmen entering HBCU’s would not qualify
for Bright Futures in 2014. My son attends #FAMU,
his major is Microbiology and he is an honors student.
These changes may not affect him, his sister will be
affected, she is a junior in high school and will graduate
in 2014, so it is vital for her to continue to be academically
successful and a strong test taker even if it means tutoring.
Major universities will see the affects in their Freshmen classes,
Many freshmen at the Universities of Central Florida,
Florida and Florida State University received
scholarships last school year. Their numbers will drop when
the new requirements are imposed.

The opinions from school administrators and parents is rising,
Michele Erickson, Principal at Orlando’s Edgewater High
School, “I’m definitely concerned that not as many students
will have the benefit of such a great opportunity.”
Conner Gilbert, Assistant Principal at Harmony High School
in Harmony, “such a jump makes the Florida Medallion almost
untouchable for the vast majority of our students.”
Parents talk to guidance counselors about scholarships, grants,
Internships and other financial options. Don’t wait until to late
as deadlines get closer. The competition will be fierce for what
little monies are available.

Resources:

Orlando Sentinel:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-florida-bright-futures-ucf-cuts-20130408,0,4847355.story

Video:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/videogallery/75297556/Video-Florida-could-see-drop-in-Bright-Futures-scholarships

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