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The HBCU As a Campaign Tool

Neither Bernie or Hillary has much of a depth of understanding about HBCUs. On the good side, HBCUs graduate a outsized number of black students in the STEM Fields. The bad news, is the bulk of those graduates actually only come from 3 schools. The worse news is that in all but the elite 3 HBCUs, the graduation rate is equal to or worse than that of even modest non-HBCU Schools.

If they really cared…or understood – what I think should be done is to finance the top 10 producing schools in terms of graduation rate. Give them the funding, grants, student of merchant loans to develop or expand curricula in the fields the country needs, and some mandates to reach certain goals such as graduation rate, acceptance to post-grad studies rates, and numbers enrolled in specific programs such as the STEM fields.

Governor Terry McAliffe of my state recently tried to attract high tech into the Norfolk area of the state by offering state incentives o Va Tech, Christopher Newport University, and UVa blindingly missing the fact that Norfolk is 53% minority, of which 42% is black, and one of the better HBCU’s with programs in the STEM Fields, Hampton University is located a stones throw away from the proposed new headquarters. And Hampton’s Engineering and Technology Department making Hampton is the first and only HBCU to have 100% control of a NASA Mission.

Would like to see something besides the usual smoke-and-mirrors here.

Misusing HBCUs as a Carrot for Black Voters

In a Democratic primary contest that hinges in part on black voters, the funding of historically black colleges and universities has become a major campaign issue. But, while both campaigns are talking about HBCUs, one is using them as a line of attack. Surrogates for Hillary Clinton have suggested that her higher-education plan is better for black students and HBCUs than that of her opponent Bernie Sanders. Not only are those surrogates wrong in their misuse of the schools, but they’re also wrong about the facts.

“By focusing exclusively on making public college free, Sanders’s plan wouldn’t spend a dime on private HBCUs and threatens roughly 50 percent of HBCUs that are not public,” said Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, in a statement issued by Clinton’s campaign weeks ago. Richmond continued in his criticism that Sanders’s higher-education plan leaves HBCUs “out in the cold.”

“As Senator Sanders promotes his HBCU tour, he owes it to the students to explain why half the HBCUs in the country aren’t worth any investment,” Richmond said.

James Clyburn, a Democratic Representative from South Carolina and a Clinton backer, doubled down on Richmond’s comments days before the South Carolina primary. “If you say that you’re going to have college—free two-year college—among public institutions, why would a student go to an HBCU? And most of which are private institutions,” Clyburn told NewsOne Now. “What will happen is these HBCUs will all close down all across America because they would not be able to afford to stay open.”

With both statements, Clyburn and Richmond leverage just how sacred HBCUs are to black voters while obscuring important context. HBCUs are indeed critical to the education of black students. Despite enrolling just 8 percent of black undergraduates, they award 15 percent of the bachelor’s degrees earned by black Americans. And as the congressmen suggest, HBCUs are grossly underfunded, operating on about an eighth of the average endowment of other institutions. The arguments made by the Clinton surrogates break down, however, with a close look at the composition of HBCUs and where they fit in the black education landscape.

There are an estimated 2,872,000 black students enrolled nationally at degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Of them, only 8 percent are enrolled at historically black colleges and universities. And of all the black students at HBCUs, only about a quarter are enrolled at private HBCUs. In all, a little more than 2 percent of all black college students are enrolled at private HBCUs. It is this small percentage of students that the Clinton surrogates have made the focus of their attacks on Sanders.

Then there are the details of both higher-education plans. Both Clinton and Sanders pledge to lower student-loan interest rates and allow those with existing debt to refinance their loans. That’s where the similarities end. The Sanders plan is marked by its proposal to make public colleges and universities free. In addition to that, Sanders proposes a dramatic increase to student aid, and the candidate recently stated his backing for a dedicated $30 billion fund to support private HBCUs and other “minority-serving institutions.”

The Clinton plan also has its distinctions. It proposes extending a popular higher-education tax credit, limiting student-loan repayment to just 10 percent of monthly income and increasing federal and state investment in public schools that serve low- and middle-income students. In addition, Clinton’s higher-education plan proposes that Pell grants be expanded to cover student living expenses. It also explicitly calls for a dedicated $25 billion fund to provide support to private nonprofit schools that serve low- and middle-income students.

While the Clinton plan creates and increases funding for which black students and HBCUs are eligible, it falls short of the kind of targeted investment the candidate’s surrogates suggest it has in their criticism of Sanders. And although the Sanders plan does not include institutional support for private HBCUs, it arguably does as much as Clinton’s to support their students while also proposing tuition-free education for the vast majority of black students—at public HBCUs (73 percent) and predominately white institutions (66 percent). To be sure, the private HBCU blind spot in Sanders’s higher-education plan is frustrating. Still, for black voters questioning the candidate’s commitment to black schools and higher education for black students more broadly, it’s worth considering the potential impact.

HBCUs have proven vital in educating black students and deserve the nation’s investment. They also warrant careful discussion. Painting HBCUs with broad strokes may make for an effective line of attack, but doing so obfuscates the multiple ways black students access education and the variety of support they require.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2016 in Democrat Primary

 

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Anonymous Donor Pays to Remove Confederate Statues

More dead Rebs memorabilia to be removed in New Orleans.

Now…About Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va?

The statue of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard has been spray painted with ‘Black Lives Matter’ on both sides.

Anonymous donor to pay for removal of Confederate statues

An anonymous donor has agreed to foot the bill for the removal of four Confederate-related statues, the city announced in a letter this week to the New Orleans City Council.

It will cost an estimated $126,000 to take down the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis, as well as a monument to the Battle of Liberty Place. The donor agreed to pay the entire cost.

“These four statues stand in direct contradiction to the ideal of freedom enshrined in our Constitution and their presence in our city was meant to perpetuate a false history that literally puts the Confederacy on a pedestal,” Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin said in the Sept. 14 letter. “True remembrance is required, not blind reverence.”

Police Chief Michael Harrison backed the removal of the Confederate symbols, saying in his own letter to the council that the statues have been “flashpoints for criminal activity and civil unrest” and that he can’t afford to “dedicate manpower to protecting inanimate statues.”

He labeled as “particularly shameful” the Liberty Place monument that was “originally commissioned explicitly to celebrate an uprising that that resulted in the deaths of 13 police officers.

One of those killed was Superintendent Algernon Sidney Badger who led the newly integrated Metropolitan Police Department, the first police force dedicated to protecting black residents as well as whites.

“It is a disservice to Superintendent Badger’s memory and those of his fellow officers to allow a monument to the perpetrators of this attack to remain standing,” Harrison wrote.…More…

A Monument to murdering Cops. The “Battle of Liberty Place” was an attempted insurrection by the Crescent City White League against the legal Reconstruction state government on September 14, 1874 in New Orleans, where it was then based.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, The Post-Racial Life

 

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More Questions About Wyclef’s Yele Haiti Charity

Met Wyclef a few months ago, and was quite impressed with his planning knowledge around his charity. This was a stand around over some coffee informal chat – so to be honest it certainly wasn’t some sort of in-depth talk like an investigative reporter might do. He’s a bit on the shy side, and I was rather shocked when he walked up to me and introduced himself. I had seen him in the airport lounge a half dozen times, but he was always surrounded by security. I don’t approach celebrities when I see them, because I feel that is a violation of their privacy.

I see all the stuff Yele is doing in Haiti with local people while travelling from place to place. One of their ongoing campaigns is to keep the drains along the streets clear so that runoff doesn’t pool and form potential locations for cholera to fester. They also hire crews of locals to sweep the streets, collecting some of the millions of bottles and water containers which seem to cover Port au Prince. Their bright yellow shirts are likely to appear anywhere, but I don’t know enough about all they are working on to say whether there is any overall strategy to it – or what other things they may be working on.

I suspect that when they are down to picking on Wyclef’s charity, there is a bit of cover up on how badly some of the International and US Governmental AID organizations have effed up. Almost everywhere you turn, little of the money promised has come through. Even money supposedly committed winds up being diverted, sometimes for nefarious reasons. Worse, there continues to be a massive level of confusion as to how to prioritize projects – despite the needs being pretty straightforward. Lastly, there is apparent collusion between some of those very same “Aid” and “US Governmental” organizations and the criminal drug cartels. If the Cartels are big enough to buy whole governments – they certainly can buy their own AID agency to promote and assist with moving their merchandise.

There was supposed to be $12 billion in International and US AID money… How that never got spent could well make the boys at Enron blush with envy. They are picking on Wyclef’s $16 million… But what about the $3.2 billion donated to the Clinton/Bush fund? As far as I know, none of the Clinton/Bush money has been “disappeared”, but there certainly are other fruitful areas to audit.

Wyclef Jean Defends Yele Charity, Again

The Washington Post is reporting that musician and activist Wyclef Jean is responding to a recent report by the New York Post questioning the spending of Jean’s charitable organization, the Yele Haiti Foundation, again. The New York Post reported that the foundation collected $16 million in 2010, but less than a third of that went to emergency efforts. The Post also says that $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t appear to exist.

Jean says that he is proud of what the foundation has accomplished after the earthquake almost two years ago. He says his Yele Haiti Foundation rebuilt an orphanage and set up a system of outdoor toilet and shower facilities in one of the largest shanties in the Haitian capital.

The star told the Miami Herald:

“The Post [New York Post] conveniently fails to acknowledge that the decisions that Yele made were a response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters in modern history and required an immediate humanitarian response,” Jean said in a written statement. “We made decisions that enabled us to provide emergency assistance in the midst of chaos and we stand by those decisions.”

We find it interesting that media outlets are so focused on following Jean’s paper trail while ignoring others. What about countries that pledged to send aid to Haiti and still have yet to do so — including the United States, because of congressional shenanigans? The lesson here should be that people should actually donate money to organizations that are in the business of rebuilding after disaster relief, not just famous faces that are known for being musical geniuses. The two don’t translate, much like the numbers.

Read more at the Washington Post.

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Haiti

 

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More Trouble for the “Sperminator” – Herman Cain

"Cornbread" is Cain's Self Appointed Nickname

Right on the tail of the Cain sexual harassment story, comes the Cain…

Campaign Finance debacle.

Moving money between a charity and a political campaign is definitely illegal, a big no-no – and should result in prosecution.

But the thing that caught my eye was near the bottom of the article – where it is reported that Cain paid $100,000 to speak to a black conservative organization. In the strange world of black conservative front organizations – “Cornbread“, didn’t get paid to speak as you would normally expect…. Cornbread had to pay a black conservative group $100,000 to listen to him!

Herman Cain campaign’s financial ties to Wisconsin charity questioned

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain, whose candidacy is under siege followingsexual harassment allegations, also faces new questions about financial ties between his fledgling campaign and a private charity launched by two of his top aides.

Citing interviews and internal financial documents, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reportsthat a Wisconsin tax-exempt charity called Prosperity USA footed the bill for about $40,000 worth of iPads, chartered jet services and other expenses as Cain’s campaign got off the ground this year.

Expenses totaling $37,372 are listed in the group’s financial records as “due from FOH,” or Friends of Herman Cain, the name of his campaign committee. It is not clear whether Cain repaid the alleged debts, which are not listed in his personal or campaign disclosures.

Such payments are forbidden under federal tax and election laws, because nonprofit charities are not allowed to participate or donate money or services to political campaigns, according to election-law experts.

“It looks like a law school exam on potential campaign-finance violations,” said Lawrence H. Norton of Womble Carlyle, former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission. “Many of these payments would be prohibited contributions under federal election law.”

Prosperity USA was founded by Mark Block, Cain’s chief of staff, and Linda Hansen, deputy chief of staff. Block launched Prosperity USA and a related group after he had headed the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a tea party-aligned organization based in Washington.

Looks Like the Cornbread is Getting Burnt

Block said Monday that the campaign has requested an independent investigation of the allegations. He did not provide further details.

“As with any suggestions of this type, we have asked outside counsel to investigate the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s suggestions and may comment, if appropriate, when that review is completed,” Block wrote in an e-mail…

Cain began taking donations for his then-quixotic presidential campaign in January. Bank records cited by the Journal Sentinel show Prosperity USA paid for $15,000 for a trip to Atlanta, $17,000 for chartered flights and $5,000 for travel and meeting costs in Iowa, Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas and Louisiana. The newspaper also said the Cain campaign was billed $3,700 for iPads purchased Jan. 4.

Records obtained by the Milwaukee newspaper also appeared to show a $100,000 payment to the Congress on Racial Equality, a conservative black group, shortly before Cain served as the keynote speaker at the group’s annual dinner, the newspaper said. The expense was apparently covered by $150,000 worth of loans to Prosperity USA by unidentified supporters, the report said…

"You welcome to stop by anytime, Cornbread. Just bring more money!" (Herman Cain and Niger Innis)

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Black Conservatives, Stupid Republican Tricks

 

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New Pell Grants Legislation

Under the heading of – “What have you done to improve things, Democrats?”

Congress alters student lending, hikes Pell Grants

Congress has sent President Barack Obama a vast rewrite of federal college aid programs.

The legislation will give more needy students access to bigger college Pell Grants and make it easier for many future borrowers to repay their government-backed loans.

The House passed the measure 220-207 as part of an expedited bill that also fixes provisions in the new health care law. Earlier Thursday, the Senate passed the measure 56-43.

The bill, an Obama domestic priority, strips banks of their role as middlemen in federal student loans and puts the government in charge.

With the savings, the government would increase Pell Grants to needy students. It would also increase money to historically black colleges and community colleges.

And what do these changes mean?

Thousands of schools that had relied on private lenders to issue federally guaranteed student loans must switch by July 1 to direct lending from the U.S. Education Department. Many are already doing that. Interest rates will be unaffected. Proponents of guaranteed student loans say private lenders have provided students with better service than the government. But many financial aid administrators and government officials disagree.

— More than half of the estimated $61 billion in savings over 10 years reaped from the lending overhaul would be channeled into student aid: $36 billion for Pell Grants for needy students. The maximum Pell award would rise from $5,550 in the next school year to a projected $5,975 by 2017, with the grants linked for the first time to the consumer price index in 2013.

— Recent college graduates who qualify for loan repayment relief would get more help. Currently, the income-based repayment program allows borrowers to cap monthly federal student loan payments at 15 percent of discretionary income and forgives the remaining balance after 25 years. The bill would lower that cap to 10 percent for new borrowers after 2014 and forgive remaining debt after 20 years, costing the government $1.5 billion.

— The bill would also provide $2.55 billion to support historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions; $2 billion for community colleges; and $750 million for a college access and completion program for students.

This Bill was packaged as part of the Health Care Reform “fixes”, and as such it isn’t entirely fair to point out every single Republican in the Senate voted against it…

That $61 billion in “savings” is the part that was being raked off by banks acting as intermediaries.

The $2.55 Billion to HBCU’s is a welcome change in view of conservative efforts to re-segregate non HCBU schools through legal blackmail and end diversity efforts. However, the Minority Community, as well as legislators should not let up the pressure on those HBCUs whose graduation rates are under-performing. Those schools need to step up their game, step up the quality of their programs, and devote significant effort into making sure that the kids who attend their schools have the tools necessary to complete their education.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2010 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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