Education

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Former Youth Inmate Overcomes the Impossible to Run for California State Assembly

Prophet Walker

When he was a teenager growing up on the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles, Prophet Walker hardly seemed destined for success.

His mother was a heroin addict, and his neighborhood was filled with racial strife between blacks and Hispanics. But this is a story of hope and redemption, not despair, one that links the disparate worlds of Los Angeles’ ghetto neighborhoods with the glamour of Hollywood. It is the story of how Walker, with the help of movie producer Scott Budnick (“The Hangover”) and his own fierce determination, overcame his difficult circumstances and transformed his life into a success story. Continue Reading →

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Obama Administration Unveils School Discipline Guidelines

Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder announced new school climate and discipline guidance today at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore.

The Obama administration Wednesday unveiled sweeping national school discipline guidelines urging schools to remove students from classrooms for disciplinary reasons only as a last resort. “Unfortunately, a significant number of students are removed from class each year – even for minor infractions of school rules – due to exclusionary discipline practices, which disproportionately impact students of color and students with disabilities,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote in a letter to school stakeholders nationwide. For example, civil rights data from the 2011-12 school year show that African-American youths without disabilities were more than three times as likely as their white peers without disabilities to be suspended or expelled. Students receiving special education services, who represented 12 percent of all students in the country, comprised 19 percent of students suspended in school, 20 percent receiving out-of-school suspensions and 23 percent of students involved in a school-related arrest. And more than half of students involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement were Hispanic or African-American. Continue Reading →

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South Florida Squeezes School-to-Prison Pipeline

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South Florida’s Broward County School Board voted unanimously to sign new rules, written by many hands, which are meant to drive down arrests and their unintended consequences in the state’s second most populous school district. The Nov. 5 Memorandum of Understanding approved by the school board has its signatories promise “appropriate responses and use of resources when responding to school-based misbehavior.” Continue Reading →

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