Wednesday, December 29, 2010

HE:ED Highlight : Can education end poverty?

For those of you that replied "Maybe" or "Amongst other things, yes", your response may have included some thoughts on quality education leading to better jobs, better jobs leading to higher income, and higher income leading to a non-poverty (level) socio-economic status. But, you may also want to factor in the fact that not all jobs are created equal. It's probably because of that same income inequality that Megan Cottrell, at, says maybe/maybe not.

Some people would agree that those who are not educated (and/or trained) are not skilled enough to attain the high skills jobs that will support their families. And because of this lack of education they may be forced to seek government assistance to make ends meet. These same people might agree that there is currently a strain on under/unemployment resources. Well, that means that creating programs that provide education and job training would alleviate the strain on under/unemployment resources, right?

But, why aren't the under employed and unemployed educated?

In an interview with HE:ED Joe Champion mentions, the right to quality education. And any educational options organization will site quality education as the basis upon which the current state of (especially minority) American communities will be augmented. But, citing Illinois as an example, Cottrell says "the sectors of the economy that are on the rise, the places that are hiring, are hiring people for wages where many workers still qualify, and need, food stamps."And to expand on Cottrell's statement, these workers qualifying for food stamps means they are still living in poverty. Moreover, if the head of household qualifies for food stamps (and the family is living in poverty) what are the odds that the children are attending quality schools?

So, what does that mean?

If the majority of vacant jobs (in an economy like Illinois') offer substandard pay, does education stand a chance of ending poverty?

Does that mean we should not focus of the value of education with American youth?

Should current high school students in Illinois just stop trying?


Cottrell goes on to say that even though some people will not want to change income inequality we will need to both educate people and look at the reason why the "Great Divergence" exists.

Now, Cottrell focused mainly on retraining adults so that they may find jobs that allow them to function without government assistance. But HE:ED would broaden the scope of the education vs. poverty focus to not only retraining for adults but, widespread quality k-12 education.

What do you think?

HE:ED is now on Twitter!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

HE:ED Interview (Joe Champion) : STEM education and black youth

HE:ED is trying something a little different...letting you have the spotlight. This is the first of a series of interviews which will feature various takes on youth, education and health-care in America. This post is an interview with Joe Champion, author of the blog The Power of Pao. Joe is a technology professional, blogger and speaker that we thought would be an excellent "firestarter" for this interview series. Below are our questions and Joe's responses.

What role does STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) play in the education of black youth today?

I'm not an educator so I can't accurately judge the role of STEM in the education of black youth today. It is my opinion that given the globalization of the world’s economies, driven by corporations' constant desire for lower costs and higher profits, STEM education is a necessity for personal, group and national competitiveness, If our youth can't compete academically, particularly in the STEM fields, with the youth from other nations, we all face a future of lower standards of living, higher incarceration rates, and less and less control over our personal and national destiny.

What role did STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) play in your education?

My education in technology played the primary role in determining my career direction and in enabling me to progress from childhood poverty to a comfortable economic status.

What led you to your career in information technology?

Actually, it wasn't something I consciously chose. After a couple of years of college, I still wasn't sure what direction I wanted to focus on. I dropped out and was working some entry-level jobs, not making much money, and was forced to live with my parents because I couldn't afford my own place. My childhood best friend had joined the Air Force after high school and he was telling me what a great time he was having, traveling the world and meeting all kinds of great, interesting people. That

sounded a whole lot better than working for minimum wage and living with your parents, so I went to the recruiting office and signed up. I took the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test and it identified my primary strengths in the Verbal field, and next in Mechanical, which I found surprising since I never was a hands-on kind of person, The recruiter advised me to go into the electronics field in the Air Force, even though my higher verbal scores pointed towards the administrative field, because he said it would be easier to get a job in technology once I got out. I took his advice and the rest is history.

Why do you think (racial) education disparities exist in America? (Ex. the difference in math and reading scores of white male youth vs. black male youth)

I think the answer to that is pretty simple: Economics. Children who grow up with more money have more opportunities. They eat better, they have better schools, they have more extracurricular choices, and they feel safer, more self-confident, more optimistic, and more loved. It is not all about money, but it is the major factor that determines opportunities.

Despite the fact that minority, and particularly black youth, are disproportionately at economic disadvantage compared to white youths, this shouldn't excuse them and their parents from competing. Countless cases throughout history show people who grew up poor, in bad areas with bad schools, with little or no parental guidance, and who became successful financially and productive members of society, demonstrating that environment can be overcome. Is it easier to make it when you have all the advantages that money brings in our world? Absolutely. But the evidence is there that it's not money that determines success. It's the adults in a community deciding that the care and nurturing of the youth is the most important factor in ensuring the viability and survival of that community.

What input do you have regarding the argument that blacks are "where they are" because they are lazy?

It's always been a strategy of victimizers and exploiters to diminish, demean, dehumanize and blame the victims of their exploitation. Whether it is been religious establishments justifying imperialism by labeling targets of imperialism as 'Infidels' or 'Savages ', regimes such as the Nazis or Rwandan Hutus portraying Jews or Tutsis as nonhuman devils to justify genocide ,or the modern Republican / Tea Party blaming the economic collapse on "sub-prime" borrowers (i.e., the blacks and illegal aliens), blaming the least powerful to excuse discrimination, exploitation and violence is as old as humankind. If blacks are portrayed as mostly "lazy and shiftless'; it justifies discrimination in the mind of an employer or bank against a qualified black job or loan applicant. 'Hey, you know if you hired one they would always be late, or if you gave them a loan they wouldn't pay it back, right?'.

Blacks are no lazier than any other group of people, and most people know this. We are still coping with the effects of hundreds of years of slavery, terrorism, apartheid, discrimination and media assaults on our collective psyches and economic resources. Just because we have not progressed as a group as far and fast as we would have liked, or others tell us we should have, we should never accept others or ourselves characterizing us as 'lazy' and therefore less deserving of the good things in life.

What do you think we should do?

I read an article last year in a magazine called YES!, called 'Why is Costa Rica Smiling?', which describes a study by the New Economics Foundation, called the Happy Planet Index, which ranks countries ''based on their environmental impact and the health and happiness of their citizens ". Costa Rica ranked No. 1. The United States was No. 114. Costa Ricans live longer than Americans and "there is little difference in life expectancy across income levels, unlike in the United States". The article points out that the reasons that Costa Ricans are much happier and content than Americans is because they receive free or very inexpensive ($200 a year for college tuition!) education and health care, they spend a lot of time with family, friends and community, and, since Costa Rica abolished its military in 1948, it has more to spend on health and education.

What does this mean for the challenges facing blacks in the United States regarding education and achievement? It points out the importance of priorities. To paraphrase Malcolm X," We've been bamboozled, we've been hoodwinked, we've been led astray". When we embraced the so-called American dream that was pushed to us by corporations through the media, the dream that told us that things are more valuable than people, that the individual is more important than the group, that he who dies with the most toys wins, that we deserve more than others because we are America and God blesses America more 'cause we’re God's favorite, we did not realize that chasing that dream was just a trap to impoverish the majority of us and imprison, physically and psychically, the rest of us (See the current economic depression as proof that short-term thinking and shallowness always leads to ruin).

What should we do? To quote brother Malcolm again," Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today". Look at our priorities. A college education should be a right. All education should be a right. Health care should be a right. Having enough to eat should be a right. This is all easily attainable. Guns or Butter? Profits or People. Fear or Courage. We just have to look at our priorities.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

HE:ED Highlight : Define Health Disparities

A fifth-grader recently asked her mother what health disparities were after hearing the words uttered (from someone closer to the register) while in line at the mall. The mother's reply was a little different than the definition given on wikipedia. The girl's mother said "that means poor people can't afford rich people's doctors".

Really?? Is that what it means?

After hearing something like that, any curious person is forced to bring the subject up with any available group to seek feedback....wouldn't you?

Holiday gatherings provide a captive audience's what the captives thought.

An eleven (11) year old girl said she thought it meant " when people from different racial or economic backgrounds receive a different level of health-care then others" An eight year old said "I don't know what it is exactly but, I know it's not fair".
A mother said "it's something I don't want my children to have to think about". A college student said "it means there's still work to be done to live up to the words and ideas of those who came before us".

Pictured above and to the left is Augustus A. White III, Harvard educated Stanford graduate and surgeon. His own thoughts and feelings about health disparities led him to write a book entitled "Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care"

Although the definition of health disparities will continue to vary, hopefully the discussion, literary works and advocacy amongst those that wish to close the gap will become more and more streamlined. There will be those that will acknowledge that the disparities exist and do nothing but, let's hope there are more individuals that act (by comparison).

More info on health disparities:
Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HE:ED Share: Self-testing for STDs may soon be possible?

Ok, basically health officials in the UK are saying that STIs will soon be able to be diagnosed by plugging a computer chip containing a sample of urine or saliva) into your phone. Post transmission/receipt and processing, health officials also say the results would be available in minutes.

Why are they doing this? It's an attempt to control herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea infection rates.

What implications does this have for American mhealth?
Will this lead to pre-hook up testing?
How accurate will the results be?

HE:ED Share : Does the recession effect teens' sexual choices?

The associated press reported that the U.S. teen birth rate in 2009 fell to its lowest point in almost 70 years of record-keeping. "Experts" are reported to believe the decline in teen birth statistics is partly due to the recession. (To read their article click here)

They sight the painstaking sights of neighbors loosing their houses make kids and their families feel stress...not sure about you but...don't think so. If in 2009 34% of currently sexually active high school students did not use a condom during last the time they had sexual intercourse it doesn't seem like recession related stress is helping kids make the right decisions. Plus, the article fails to tackle pertinent data including the amount of sex occurring amongst the highlighted group, whether their use of contraception changed, or whether they were having more abortions.

This create curiosity about the rate of teen birth in countries around the world, that are not experiencing a recession...anyway, if teen birth rates are in fact down (for whatever reason) that is a good thing. Hopefully, it has more to do with events like sex:tech 2010 and advocacy groups like, It's Your Sex Life, Go Ask Alice and others...

Monday, December 20, 2010

HE:ED Highlight : Is Potential School Superintendent Corruption More Important than the Students?

The media (and many other groups within American society) are so focused on who gave contracts to whom or made the call on which dirty deal that the actual issue is being ignored. That would be educating the children who will inherit the country. If people put half the energy they spend on writing about dirt (on possibly corrupt superintendents) into education reform; maybe Black and Hispanic students would not be so far behind White and Asian students (who incidentally are still behind students around the globe).

Maybe the nauseating focus should be on creating, implementing, revamping and auditing worthwhile programs that will turn our youth into the physicists, engineers, developers and surgeons of tomorrow, instead of the unemployed and incarcerated of next year.

Basically, if you're bummed because you didn't get the superintendent's position, that's cool but, the kids that SUCK at math and reading in the nearest public school could really use your attention. Try writing about that. Moreover, the parents in your community that weren't educated themselves and have no idea what education reform is (let alone which Charter schools they may be able to send their children to) may benefit from your two sense as well.

So, if you've written an article about any of the following in the past quarter, understand that the whiff of corruption is not the only issue within that district/school system.

Melody Johnson Fort Worth, Texas
Arlene Ackerman Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Michael J. Ritacco Tom's River, New Jersey
Nicholas Perrapato Garfield, New Jersey
Ramon C. Cortines Los Angeles, California
Carlos A. Garcia San Francisco, California
James Notter Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Saturday, December 18, 2010

HE:ED Highlight : Hey, ever heard of CES? Which one?

Well, as it turns out, there's CES and there's CES ...after speaking with a parent who was confused after being directed to "CES" as an ed-options resource it seemed logical to look into to this "organization that had two different websites". Upon further investigation it turns out there are actually to seperate entities.

The Coalition of Essential Schools' is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating intellectually challenging schools, based in Portland, ME. Their offices are located at 482 Congress Street.

At the Coalition of Essential Schools' website - - the organization's vision is described by saying

"We envision an educational system that equips all students with the intellectual, emotional, and social habits and skills to become powerful and informed citizens who contribute actively toward a democratic and equitable society."

The Center for Effective Schools is an organization that offers consultations, trainings and workshops to prevent the escalation of anti-social behaviour. The Center for Effective Schools is based in King of Prussia, PA. Their offices are located at 2012 Renaissance Boulevard.

At the Center for Effective Schools website - - the following is listed

"The mission of the CENTER FOR EFFECTIVE SCHOOLS, a part of Devereux's larger Institute of Clinical Training and Research, is to build capacity in schools for serving children with, or at-risk for developing, emotional and behavioral disorders. This mission is accomplished through training, consultation, new model program development, and applied research"

So, looks like both organizations are possible resources for parents, depending on the parents situation and needs…(as a parent) are you looking to work with an organization that creates schools or drives innovation within them?

Monday, December 6, 2010

HE:ED Highlight: Sexual Health and Awareness

Many groups are doing something about the sobering STI rates amongst youth around the world. It’s hard to discuss education disparities without discussing health disparities and more specifically the lack of informed sexual health action amongst youth/young adults. With World AIDS Day not too far in the rearview it seems pertinent to mention the infection statistics for youth, LGBTQ and women of color. The following sources were used for the statistics and organization links below: ; ; ; ; ;

2009 America[1][2]:

46% of high school students had ever had sexual intercourse

14% of high school students had had four or more sex partners during their life

34% of currently sexually active high school students did not use a condom during last sexual intercourse.

Approximately 19 million new STD infections each year (almost half of them are among youth aged 15 to 24.)


Estimated 2 million people under 15 living with HIV in 2007,[3]

AIDS is the second most common cause of death among 20-24 year olds (globally).[4]


Groups questioning why sexual health awareness amongst young adults is lacking and actually speaking to youth and driving awareness around STI prevention (in general or just HIV/AIDS) have been highlighted below.


Established in 1980 as the Center for Population Options, Advocates for Youth (AFY) champions efforts to help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. Advocates (AFY) believes it can best serve the field by boldly advocating for a more positive and realistic approach to adolescent sexual health.

Sex::Tech, hosted by ISIS, is the premiere event for health and technology professionals, parents and youth, and community leaders to share insights and strategies for youth sexual health education and disease prevention.

Centers for Disease Control STD Hotline
Provides facts and information on STDs.

The hotline is 1-800-227-8922 (English)

1-800-344 7432 (Spanish)

1-800-243-7889 (TTY).

Go Ask Alice

Produced by Columbia University's Health Education Program, this site has questions and answers on relationships, sexuality, and sexual health issues.

Health Initiatives for Youth (HIFY)

Works to improve the health and well-being of all young people. HIFY gives information about health in a non-judgmental, straightforward kind of way, so that young people can make their own decisions about what affects them.

It's Your Sex Life

Sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation, this site offers information on STDs, birth control, abstinence, and how to talk with your partner or your parents about sexual health issues.

I Wanna Know

A project of the American Social Health Association, this site provides information on STDs, body basics, and advice on how to deal with peer pressure.

National HIV Testing Resources

This Web site contains many resources on HIV testing including a national database of HIV testing sites and answers to many questions about HIV/AIDS and testing.

Not Me Not Now

A site for teens who are choosing to wait, with articles, quizzes and a safe space where you can chat with other teens like yourself.

Planned Parenthood

Believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual's income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence. Planned Parenthood clinics offer medical services, STI, HIV and pregnancy testing, and counseling. To find a clinic in your area, please go here. Teen Wire
This site from Planned Parenthood gives great information on body basics, how not to have sex if you don't want it, safer sex, and dealing with breaking up. It also provides referrals to local clinics.

A resource for sex information for teens as well as a supplement to in-home and school-based sex education to allow teens to make their own choices, and develop their own systems of ethics and values from themselves and their families.

Scenarios USA

This site allows you to watch films—written by and for teens—that address important topics such as relationships, communication, sexual identity, teen pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS.

Sex Etc.

Written by teens, this Web site offers information on sexual health issues for young people.

Teen Pregnancy

Created by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, this site has information for young people and adults who want to prevent teen pregnancy.


4 Girls Health

Developed by the Office on Women’s Health in the Department of Health and Human Services gives girls between the ages of 10 and 16 reliable, current health information.

Black Women’s Health

An online forum for African American women that provides information and strategies targeted at improving health and wellness.

Center for Young Women's Health

The mission of their website,, is to help teen girls, their parents, teachers, and health care providers improve their understanding of normal health and development, as well as of specific diseases and conditions. They want to empower teen girls and young women around the world to take an active role in their own health care.

Feminist’s Women’s Health Center

Providing women of all ages with information so they can freely make their own decisions about their bodies and sexuality.

National Women’s Health Information Center: Minority Women’s Health
A Web site to help you learn about the most common health risks and concerns of minority women

Native Shop

A project of the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center, to address pertinent issues of health, education, land and water rights, and economic development of Native American people


This Web site provides information about emergency contraception, to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.

Pro-Choice Public Education Project
The Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP) puts choice on young women's radar screens, educates them about threats to their reproductive rights, and helps young women identify with pro-choice ideas. PEP is energizing a new generation of pro-choice leaders.

FYI (America)

The Ford Foundation awarded grants totaling $4.1 million to six organizations to design and undertake innovative research on youth sexuality in the United States.

Ford Foundation Grant recipients:

The Public Health Institute (Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development)

The University of Arizona/Gay-Straight Alliance Network/YWCA Tucson

The University of Illinois

The University of Michigan

San Francisco State University's Health Equity Institute

The Face Value Project

[1] CDC. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2009. [pdf 3.5M] MMWR 2010;59(SS-5):1–142.

[2] Weinstock H, Berman S, Cates W. Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: Incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2004;36(1):6-10.

[3] UNAIDS (2009), '2009 AIDS epidemic update'.

[4] Patton G et al (2009, 12th September), 'Global patterns of mortality in young people: a systematic analysis of population health data' The Lancet 374(9693).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

HE:ED Share : iPads as textbooks (in some cases)
Pike Peaks Prep, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Marymount School , New York City, NY
Independence Middle School, Pittsburgh, PA
4 School Districts, California
Friendship Tech Prep Academy, Washington D.C.

Above are multiple links (and the names of the corresponding schools) looking to implement iPads as educational tools. Sounds great!
But, a few questions that come to mind...

  • How will these iPads be implemented safely?
  • What plans will be put into place to maintain a focus on educational use?
  • Will the staff be routinely trained on new capabilities and best practices from across the country?
  • Will the iPads stay at the school?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

HE:ED Highlight : So why aren’t there more Acoustical Engineers?

There are various programs and organizations that exist to drive awareness around (and address) America’s lack of educational achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). But when asked, the student themselves don’t always know what STEM-related educational options and career possibilities there are. And when students are aware of them, STEM derivative careers don’t seem interesting to them.

Let’s take Acoustical Engineering for example, the word acoustical tells us that acoustical engineering has some to do with sound. In fact acoustics are the science of sound and vibration and acoustical engineering is the application of acoustics in technology. Since acoustical engineers are usually tasked with the control and/or manipulation of sound it stands to reason that they would need to understand and design sound absorbers, buffers, silencers and barriers in indoor and outdoor environments. These include working with medical personnel as it relates to ultrasound technology and/or architects on concert halls.

Since STEM has been mentioned it seems a given that one would have to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics to become an acoustical engineer. Start to finish that probably means attending middle and high schools that focus on achievement in science and mathematics, completing an engineering (and possibly physics) curriculum in undergrad and topping it all of with a masters or PhD in acoustics.

This is part where many parents (and students) would say, “Easier said than done.” One barrier to the education needed to create more acoustical engineers is public education in the U.S. The programs and organizations that exist to drive awareness around (and address) America’s lack of educational achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics have worked to bolster STEM programs in the current education system, recruit teachers, support students, encourage federal involvement and support local community partnerships. But the STEM stats are still lackluster. (This years STEM stats by state can be found at

Many education reform advocates also agree that generating interest in STEM has to start at home. Moreover, parents need to be aware of options to get their children into schools with curricula focused on science, and mathematics and stress the importance of genuine academic achievement.

HE:ED Highlight : ED TV (Philadelphia)


When asked the question “Why are so many countries ahead of the US in Math and Science?” Americans’ answers will vary. In fact they did[1] vary. This question was posted on a discussion page at, one blogger posited, “…currently in America, we've got kids who aren't concerned with education…this generation has so many things going for it in terms of technology and communications that it SHOULD make getting a quality education easier than ever, but instead we see something else: distraction.”(Johnny)

To be clear, technology-based distraction probably is not the sole cause for the state of the education system in America today, especially since achievement in the American school system has remained stagnant for years (with or without current technological advances). That being said, technological distractions are a reality and some media organizations not only acknowledge this reality but; are also doing something about it.

Three organizations in particular are taking steps to reach American youth with worthwhile material. In fact, more and more often, responsible members of the media community have changed their format and/or production practice to include shorter programs and programming created by the community.

Exploring key attributes like programming format, community involvement, and educational applications at MiND, WHYY and Current TV will allow us to highlight key differences and similarities in the ways broadcast media is being used in the Philadelphia area to reach and maintain awareness in American youth.


MiND is the brainchild of Independence Media, the non-profit owner/operator of WYBE (channel 35 for those of you that watch local television in the greater Philadelphia area). If your familiar with WYBE you know it has changed in the last five years.

More specifically during the last five years the leadership at channel 35 or MiND changed the line-up from a traditional half an hour and/or one hour format to include a broadcast block where every showing is five minutes long. Although the content it’s self has not changed, the manner in which the content is produced has changed. The diverse cultural insights shown on MiND are no longer only produced by the channel employees but now also include productions created by the community. Plus, not only is the MiND team making sure diverse compositions make it on air; they are also offering the community a chance to learn to create their own works from start to finished product.

MiND also has a multi-faceted media offering. Its components include, three channels - MiND, Global MiND, and MiND Worldview - these channels offer 5 minute programming, half-hour / one-hour programming and online replay.

MiND coordinates monthly screening and discussion events invite the community to gather, investigate, and celebrate a specific topic. These events connect enthusiasts and advocates of meaningful issues through community produced screenings based on the focus of that month, recent topics have included violence awareness, mentoring & volunteerism, going green, outdoor activities and voices of veterans. These topics/events bring people from all over the region together and create lasting communities of practice. Event info can be found on MiNDs website: .

If you’re at all familiar with public programming in the Philadelphia area and online, this may sound a lot like another media organization called WHYY.


Originally called the Metropolitan Philadelphia Educational Radio and Television Corporation, WHYY has its roots in a community partnership lead by Dr. W. Laurence LePage, former president of The Franklin Institute. WHYY’s 1950s goal to culturally enrich and educate the greater Philadelphia area came to fruition after Westinghouse Radio Stations Inc. donated FM station WHYY 91FM in 1954 and the studios at 1622 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia were leased (and renovated) in 1957. Although WHYY was originally known as Channel 35 when it became the country’s 23rd public television station, it’s currently in most cable line-ups as channel 12 (the change over from channel 35 to channel 12 occurred in 1963).

WHYY also has a multi-faceted media offering. It’s components include, half-hour / one-hour programming, online replay, podcasts and radio.

WHYY has also recently added another extremely useful tool to its offering, Hamilton Public Media Commons. Previously referred to as the Learning Lab at WHYY, the Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons is located at 150 N. 6th Street, in Philadelphia, PA. Hamilton Public Media Commons is a regional digital technologies learning lab where people and organizations can learn, explore and create utilizing tools they may not otherwise have access to. The Hamilton Public Media Commons caters to learners of all types, including but not limited to students, career-seekers, recreational enthusiasts, those seeking public information, and WHYY members. Examples of this inventive facility’s uses include digital town meetings, digital art expos and technology-based field trips for k-12 learners. More information on the Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons can be found at

Current TV

Created in 2005, Current TV has become a multiplatform company - based on viewer created media - purposed to explore and investigate aspects of life, globally. Current TV also has a multi-faceted media offering. Its fully integrated web and TV platform includes, short segments, half-hour / one-hour programming, online replay, community-style production (studio), and podcasts.

Both MiND and Current TV offer short programs (less than minutes long), and WHYY, MiND and Current TV offer the opportunity to watch programs both on television and online. But, unlike MiND and WHYY, Current TV is a for profit company with a myriad of resources and a powerhouse leadership team including former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt.

And although it’s not a local media organization; Current TV has highlighted issues on its discussion boards and amongst its broadcasted topics that focus on Philadelphians (or are written by them). Various examples including, Philadelphia native, Rosie Mashale’s Baphumelele Children's Home in Cape Town, South Africa (an orphanage that is home to about 120 children affected by HIV/AIDS) can be found online at

Current can also be used to highlight positive national/international developments in the use of social media/social broadcasting to promote student achievement. Examples being Anna Rodrigues’ Global Student Journalists project (a social media network connecting student journalists worldwide) and “Math, Science, And The Future Of Our Nation: A Global Online Town Hall Meeting” which was held on November 17, 2010. Local teachers using social media within in their curricula often use topics like “Why are so many countries ahead of the US in Math and Science?”(a question derived from the Global town hall meeting) to create awareness and head-off technological distraction.

[1] johnny, music. "untitled." Why are so many countries ahead of the US in Math and Science?. Current Tv, 11/18/10. Web. 25 Nov 2010. <>.

HE:ED Highlight: STEM

HE:ED Highlights – STEM

Even though former vice president Al Gore has just recently focused on American youth’s lack of interest in STEM, it’s been an issue for a while. In fact organizations like ASTRA and STEM Education Coalition ( have been posting STEM data for years. (By the way, this years STEM stats by state can be found at

So, American kids aren’t opting (or prepared) to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics…Al Gore didn’t propose a solution during his global, online town hall meeting.
So…what do these groups propose we do?

Lets look at the STEM Education Coalition’s Core Objectives: (found at
1. Strengthen effective STEM education programs at all levels – K-12, undergraduate, graduate, continuing ed, vocational, informal – at the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and other federal agencies with STEM related programs.

2. Encourage national elected officials and key opinion leaders to recognize and bring attention to the critical role that STEM education plays in U.S. competitiveness and our future economic prosperity.

3. Support new and innovative initiatives that will help improve the content knowledge skills and professional development of the K-12 STEM teacher workforce and informal educators and improve the resources available in STEM classrooms and other learning environments.

4. Support new and innovative initiatives to recruit and retain highly-skilled STEM teachers.

5. Support new and innovative initiatives to encourage more of our best and brightest students, especially those from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, to study in STEM fields.

6. Support increased federal investment in educational research to determine effective STEM teaching and learning methods.

7. Encourage better coordination of efforts among federal agencies that provide STEM education programs.

8. Support new and innovative initiatives that encourage partnerships between state and local educators, colleges, universities, museums, science centers and the business, science, and technology communities that will improve STEM education.

...and those seem great but, where is the evidence that these “new and innovative initiatives” exist in the urban (and rural) school districts where many argue they are needed? And if they exist how are the parents - that  manage the earliest parts of education - being made aware?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

HE:ED Highlights: November 2010 NAEP Report

NAEP Table (math scores up, gap remains)

NOTE: Accommodations were not permitted for the NAEP reading assessment in 1992.

So, although twelfth-grade public and private school students' mathematics scores were up across the board in 2009 versus 2005, reading scores were not up across the board. 

Quoted directly from NAEP report:

"Racial/ethnic and gender achievement gaps did not change significantly in either reading or mathematics."

"In comparison to 1992, reading scores were lower in 2009 overall and for both male and female students. There were no significant changes in the reading scores for any of the racial/ethnic groups with samples large enough to report results in both years, and no significant changes in the racial/ethnic or gender achievement gaps compared to 1992."

Click here to go to November 2010 NAEP data.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

HE:ED highlight: Teachers say "it's the parents"...but, is it?

After seeing Whitney Tilson's presentation 'A Right Denied' or Davis Guggenheim's documentary 'Waiting for Superman' its easy to become angry and/or depressed about the state of public education in America.

In fact, it seems to be that no matter how you look at public education in america, it's a fail. American students are not competitive internationally (and while other countries show growth american acheivement is stagnant).

Many students are still learning to read when should they should be reading to learn in or after the 4th grade. And these same students don't catch up to "where they should be" by graduation.

Now, teachers will say that it's not the schools that are the problem, "it's the parents". And since parents play a large part in a successful education, that may be partly true.

But, just a thought, if we ask ourselves what American children are actually learning in public school systems, can we say that active, involved parents would make all the difference? Are public school curricula addressing all the needs of american children in large cities?

And for argument's sake, if "it's the parents" than why isn't our President (an active, informed parent himself) sending his children to public school?

HE:ED Share : Ed-Reform food for thought...Whitney Tilson's Presentation

A Right Denied – The Critical Need for Genuine School Reform

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Snippet: EHR speeds up chlamydia treatment time...if you get tested.

Recently read this...

So, it seems there is evidence that EHR speeds up treatment of patients with chlamydia...Great, so all folks have to do is get tested!

Unfortunately, there still aren't as many teens and young adults getting tested as there should be.

What's so tough about being tested?
What are the non-testers afraid of?
Not to intentionally quote G.I.Joe but...knowing is half the battle!

Links for those of you reading this and saying "What's EHR?"

HE:ED Links on ed-options/ed-reform

Just in case you need more info on ed-options/ed-reform in your state.

American Federation for children :
The Alliance for School Choice :
The Center for Education Reform :
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) :
The America's Promise Alliance :

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Snippet: Does higher education equal better health?

It's been said before and it continues to be said that there is a correlation between good health and higher education.
So it's interesting that some school districts seem to have to choose between the two!

LINKS to past and not so past articles related to the HE:ED correlation:

Not sure I agree Das...

I recently read an article at by Devkainya Samadrita Das. Das posits that cell phones are "A Health Hazard for the Youth".  The fact that Das uses terms like "fiddle with", "the cellphone" and "the youth" through this literary work, leads me to believe that this article was not written by "the youth". But, before I get onto my generation next soapbox, we must take a look at this picture of "destructive dependence" Das paints with phrases about young people "saying that they would rather go without food for a day than without their cellphones". You'd think that if someone was going to write an article about a "destructive dependence" they would have some proof of the destructive part. But, not Das. Instead Das disproves the articles title by stating "So far, there has been no conclusive evidence that electromagnetic radiations caused by cellphones cause cancer, tumors and other deadly diseases of the kind".  Das does go on to say that "there have been enough studies and researches that have been conducted to raise eyebrows" and that "prolonged usage has been shown by studies to cause extreme fatigue, high blood pressure, increase of heartbeats and warming of the brain cells" Sans the brain cell warming, sex has the same effects on some people...and sex ain't destructive.

Monday, November 15, 2010

HE:ED intro

Whats HE:ED?

HE:ED will convey a mere mortal's views on health and education. More specifically, health tech, health disparities and the state of education in the U.S. You may not always agree and that's cool. The goal is to ignite the intellect of anyone that has two minutes to read a post and add feedback...