My Quest To Teach

April 25, 2013

Educational Promises Broken Again

Filed under: Uncategorized — William Jackson @ 2:12 pm

Educational Promises Broken Again

Millions of Florida students have a vision for
higher education. Inspired by family, friends and
educators, each year in Florida thousands graduate
from high schools across the Sunshine state eagerly
waiting to see what college or university they have
been selected to attend by letters of acceptance.

The requirements to graduate high school have been
toughened, standards year after year changed.
FCAT criteria modified by the legislature to measure
children’s learning and growth. High school students
are required to perform community service, involved
in Dual enrollment and virtual learning classes AP
classes, Honors classes and other educational programs.
Today’s students work harder to prepare for college while
still in high school.
There are students that will be “first generation”
college attendees. Their families having high expectations
of attending a college or university since the student
was in Day Care or Kindergarten. Alumni of HBCU’s
are excited their child or grandchild will attend Florida
A&M, Bethune Cookman University, South Carolina
State University or other Historical Black Colleges
and Universities (HBCU’s). These visions may
change with the revisions of Bright Futures Scholarships
in the state of Florida.

Florida proudly states its educational reforms lead the
nation, but with the changes by the state legislature of
2011 the state may have doomed or hampered thousands
of students from entering into higher educational institutions.

Florida’s Bright Futures program funded by the Florida
lottery was designed to keep students from leaving Florida
for college. Keeping the best, brightest and talented in the
state to contribute to growth in business, science, technology,
finance and other careers. The problems resulting from this
idea was that millions were cut from both the public school
and university systems. Students will need to post higher
scores on the SAT and ACT exams in order to qualify for
the lottery-funded scholarships. The legislature seems to
have forgotten they are supposed to support youth in
obtaining education not make it harder to reach even
by good students. If there is an agenda to keep certain
students from colleges across the state certainly all
students will be affected.

When a discussion starts on higher education it then
turns to how changes would affect Black, Hispanic
(largest growing minority in Florida), minority
and low and middle income white students. The rise
in minority girls seeking higher education has shown
girls are taking education seriously. Girls are encouraged
to seek degrees in STEAM Science Technology Engineering
Art Mathematics. Growing numbers of women physicians,
educators, scientist, engineers. Statewide organizations like
Journey Into Womanhood of Jacksonville, Florida work
with girls to inspire not just the girls involved, but
require their mothers to participate. Setting an example
of holistic learning for the family. This year’s graduating
class of JIW has five young ladies attending college in the fall.
Boys are encouraged to find and participate in organizations
that cater to young Black boys. Stated in the Miami Herald
(Miami Herald 04/22/2013) Universities correctly fear
that poor and minority students would be affected
disproportionately.
A recent analysis by a University of South Florida administrator
shows that Black and Hispanic students would be
disproportionately hurt by the changes to the Bright
Futures program. Scholarship recipients would drop by almost
64 percent! (Miami Herald 04/22/2013) Charlie Reed, former
state university Chancellor, said that Bright Futures was
“one of the dumbest public policies I know, to give rich people
financial aid to go to the state schools and to ignore the most
needy students.”

Educators for years have quietly and vocally cheered students
to focus on higher math, reading, science and other educational
classes to prepare students for the rigors of a college education.
Parents have been encouraged to put their children in tutoring
classes, academic clubs, community volunteering organizations
that have mentors and advisors in fields that embrace STEAM
Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics to
help with higher order thinking skills and critical thinking skill set.

Black parents need to be more involved to understand the
requirement for advancement from elementary school to
high school so their children will be successful. Too many parents
and students do not understand the difference between a
Certificate of Attendance and a High School diploma.

Minority students face the hardest road ahead, according to
J. Robert Spatig, Assistant Vice President for admissions at the
University of South Florida. The issue of test scores and finding
additional monies is always a challenge. He found that around the
state university system, the number of black freshmen who met
minimum criteria for Bright Futures for fall 2012 could drop by
more than 75 percent. HBCU’s would lose millions of dollars and
thousands of potential students. Hispanic freshmen who met existing
criteria could fall by more than 60 percent.

So the question arises how does Florida expect to compete in a
global economy if its citizens, even minority citizens cannot
obtain an education that will empower them to compete? Why
would a state legislature allow such stringent criteria and standards that would openly prevent thousands of future professionals from developing and contributing to the growth
of the state?
Mr. Spatig asks a bigger question that makes parents and educators
wonder, “what are we going to do with these 16,000 or so students
who clearly have positioned themselves to enter into postsecondary
education? Are we saying the state is not interested in investing
in these students?”

Student protests are stated such as: “They should be encouraging
kids to go to college,” said David Guirguis, junior at Steinbrenner
High School in Lutz. “A lot of kids, the only reason they’re not
going to college is financial. And they’re making it harder on us.”

Parents the responsibility rests with you to make sure your child is
prepared during and after their formative years of educational
advancement. You are the role model, the foundation and the
cornerstone to stability and giving value to education for your child
and children. Encourage your child to earn good grades, share with
your child as early as possible your high expectations for academic
success. Expose them to the public libraries, the museums, theatre
and other cultural resources. If you do not share your expectations
your child may think you are satisfied with failing grades and a
failing attitudes.

The Bright Futures Scholarship consists of:
The Florida Academic Scholars (FAS), The Florida Medallion
Scholars (FMS) and The Florida Gold Seal Vocational (GSV)
Florida Bright Futures Scholarship
http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/ssfad/bf/

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