Tag Archives: education

New FCC Chair Scrutinizing Lifeline Program

Trump appointed Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai is rolling back some of his predecessors actions. The new chairman has already begun to make changes to programs that help schools and low income families. Arguing that the the FCC’s Lifeline program is riddled by fraud, waste and abuse he has shut down a small expansion to the program. Lifeline discounts $9.25 per month off broadband or phone services for households near or beneath the poverty line. Pai claimed last year that the program loses around $476 million annually to waste. Others disagree with these numbers. But the statement highlights Pai’s concerns with the program.

Broadband service providers have to apply to the commission before offering these subsidies to customers. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler had extended the program to nine more providers. Pai  has decided to delay their approval until changes are made to the program. However there is no threat the Lifeline program is being eliminated. Currently there 900 companies participating in the Lifeline program. Most are offering subsidized phone or Internet services and some are offering both.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

According to Pai the system needs to be tweaked to prevent companies from enrolling people who are not eligible.

In addition to his rollback of the Lifeline program, the FCC has also withdrew a progress report on the expansion of E-rate. E-Rate is a program that subsidizes broadband and computer equipment for  low income school districts. Changes could be coming to this program as well. The commission has not commented on future plans to revisit the Lifeline and E-rate proceedings.

But the question remains whether Pai’s changes will legitimately fight abuse or will the FCC make it harder for legitimate low-income households and school districts to participate.

One of the major problems of the digital age is what has become known as the digital divide. This is the gap between those that can afford high speed acess to the Internet for things like education and those who cannot. This socio-economic group, made up of mostly minority households, maybe left behind in the age of information. Being left out out of the Internet revolution has some serious consequences. 

Schools and education suffer because of lack of high speed Internet access. According to a Pew Foundation study 56 percent of teachers in low income schools say that their student’s inadequate access to technology is a ‘major challenge’ for using technology as a teaching aid.  Only 18 percent said their students had adequate access at home. Urban teachers are more likely to say students have poor access to Internet at school, while rural teachers are more likely to report that students have poor access at home. This issue creates a class of students who are unabe to fully particiate in a technology based economy. 

Today’s workforce requires technology skills but the lack of these skills, practiced at school and home, creates a disadvantage in the search for jobs. The digital divide increases the difficulty of finding a job. This means it lowers not only the chance of finding a suitable job but also the ability to secure a decent income.

Most employers recieve job applications online. But this method creates inequality among job seekers by dividing them into two classes, those who are computer literate, and those who are not. These workers lack knowledge of Internet based information and communication tools. People caught on the wrong side of the digital divide with no access to the Internet lack the technology and digital skills that the modern workplace requires. All these factors create a class of people who are locked in poverty caused by low wages and inadequate education.

A good example is the city of Detroit, MI. This city is stricken by poverty among urban blacks who simply cannot afford computers and Internet access. According to the FCC Detroit has the worst rate of Internet access of any major American city. Four in 10 of its 689,000 residents lack broadband Internet access.

Detroit is not alone. Among the worst cities for Internet connectivity are Cleveand, OH, Memphis, TN, Birmingham, AL and Miami FL. These are the people that federal programs like E-rate and Lifeline is intended to help.

Now you know

 

App of the Week – mRelief

mReliefWhy, in the richest country on earth, are people still going hungry? According to Feeding America 25 – 40 percent of food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. will never be eaten. This food is often thrown out as leftovers or destroyed because it is simply not pretty enough for the grocery store.  That is why mRelief is the App of the Week.

First of all mRelief is not exactly an app. It is a new web and text messaging tool for low-income families. The service helps low income families to easily locate where and when they can receive free or discounted meals this summer for their children. According to mRelief 22 million children in the U.S. receive free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches during the school year. But during the summer, four out of five of those same children can no longer count on a meal every day. So mRelief helps families not only find where to get free or reduced price meals but also help them locate food banks and determine their eligibility for food and nutrition assistance programs even if you don’t have children.

According to USDA statistics $11 billion in food stamps went unclaimed simply because people who are eligible either didn’t know or didn’t have access to applications. mRelief provides low-income people with the help they need to figure out if they qualify for programs like food stamps and much-needed social services.

mRelief was launched in September 2014 and has helped 30,000 families locate the social services they qualify for. mRelief is looking to the future with plans to help people determine the documents they need as well as submitting those documents.

The mRelief website is fairly straight forward. All the user needs to do is enter their zip code and the type of assistance they need. But the user can also find help with a variety of other needs that include;

  • Cash
  • Child Wellness
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Veterans assistance

Those without access to the internet can text their zip code to 1-844-877-6111. mRelief is currently available in 42 states.

 

Black Girls Code Gets Next to Google

Black girlsBlack Girls Code a non-profit group that teaches young minority girls tech skills is getting next to Google. 

Black Girls Code and Google opened a new space inside Google’s building in Manhattan. Purchased by Google in 2010 the$2.8 million facility is a gift from Google to Black Girls Code. Google believes that providing the new space will allow Black Girls Code to introduce more students to more tech companies, and also attract volunteers and mentors.

Google, like many tech companies, struggles to diversify its work force with people of color. A recent report on Google’s efforts revealed that the company’s efforts are not having spectacular results. A blog post from Google’s Vice President of People Operations Nancy Lee  said; “We saw encouraging signs of progress in 2015, but we’re still far from where we need to be.”

William Floyd Google’s Head of External Affairs added, “We need a tech sector that looks like the society it serves, and groups like Black Girls CODE are ensuring that we can cultivate and access talent in communities of color.”

Founder of Black Girls CODE Kimberly Bryant, said Google has hosted many student workshops in its New York office. She believes that the partnership with Google will allow the nonprofit to build a permanent teaching space.

“They’re able to influence these girls that Google is a company they might want to come work for once they graduate,” Bryant said.

Black Girls Code was founded in 2011 with the lofty goal of educating one million girls with technology skill needed to compete in the technology job sector.

Research by Georgia Tech University found that in 23 states, less than 10 African-American students took the Advanced Placement computer science exam. According to the National Association for Women and Information Technology African-American women made up about 3 percent of the nation’s computing workforce.

“If you look specifically at students of color, and even more specifically at girls from African-American, Latina and Native American communities, it’s important to reach them before they get to high school,” Bryant said.

About 1,000 girls are served by Black Girls Code in the New York area. Thanks to Google Bryant hopes that it can double or triple that in the next few years.

App of the Week – Jasmine’s Playroom

Jasmine's PlayroomEducating your children is a parent’s prime responsibility after food and clothing. Our children are growing up in a smaller and more multi-cultural world. Speaking a second language can give black children a key advantage in school and eventually the job market. That is why Jasmine’s Playroom is the App of the Week.

Jasmine’s Playroom is a Spanish language learning app for children. Learning a second language can be fun and this app sparks your child’s interest by making it fun and easy. The app is designed to engage the child in a story that immerses them in the language.

The child is invited into the story by Jasmine and her mother, characters in the story. Your child sees how the mother and child interact before and after each lesson. Lesson’s include learning Spanish alphabet sounds, vocabulary, number and colors.

Too often learning apps are nothing more than advertising vehicles aimed at our children, not so with Jasmine’s Playroom. Parents can rest easy because the app is advertising free and there are no in app purchases.

rodrick warren shayla warren

Rodrick and Shayla Warren, Creators and Developers of Mi Hija Jasmine App Series

Special Note: The AACR  is proud to declare Jasmines’s Playroom as the App of the Week. The app was created and developed by Rodrick and  Shayla Warren, an African-American couple. There no greater service to a black child from a parent than an education. Using technology in the process is vital. We live in a technology age and black children need those skills to survive and thrive in the future workplace. Special thanks and shout out to Rodrick & Shayla Warren.

Jasmine’s Playroom is $2.99 and available for Google, Apple and on Amazon Apps.

 

 

Back to School and How to Pay For It

African-American College Students Prepare for Back to School

By AACR Intern Bria Richardson

Summer is over and you’ve done nothing but work and hang out with your friends for the past couple of months. You kept telling yourself that you’ll get your school things situated tomorrow, then that turned into this weekend, and that turned into next week. Now August is here and you’re on your laptop listening to your parents’ favorite line, “I told you so”.

Black students are going to college in greater number than ever before. According to CNNMoney black high school graduates are enrolling at rates even exceeding even white and Hispanic students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that of the 2014 high school graduates, 86.1 percent of Asians enrolled in college, compared to 70.9 percent of black graduates, 67.3 percent of white graduates and 65.2 percent of Hispanic graduates.

But as we all know college is not cheap. And the cost of college can be crushing blow to black students. Currently there are over 43 million people owing a whopping $1 trillion in student debt. Sadly black students are being crushed under this debt. But does it have to be this way? Absolutely not! It’s a tragic fact that many black and minority scholarships go unclaimed. Why? Black student simply fail to take advantage of the scholarships and grants available to them. Are we really turning down free money.

Luckily for all those future and returning college students staying up all night stressing about financial situations just got a tad bit less stressful! Below is a list of scholarships for minority college students. Remember a scholarship is worthless unless you apply for it!

Scholarship Databases:

blackstudents.blacknews.com/May/June 2015 Scholarships

www.fastweb.com/college-scholarship s/articles/the-2015-scholarships

http://blackstudents.blacknews.com/opportunities/Scholarships for Minorities: White House EditionLGBT ScholarshipsBuick Achievers Scholarships

Cultural Diversity Scholarships

50 LGBT Scholarships – 1 Application

50 Top Scholarships for 2014/2015

National Association of Black Journalists

7 Prestigious Undergrad Scholarships

The Jackie Robinson Foundation

500+ Scholarship List

4 Scholarships That Are Easy To Apply For

Do Something Campaigns

fastweb.com

cappex.com

http://www.uncf.org/

http://schoolsoup.com/

http://www.tuitionfundingsources.com/

http://hsf.net

https://www.collegeboard.org/

http://apiasf.org/

http://hispanicfund.org

www.maldef.org

www.supercollege.com

www.finaid.org

www.collegeispossible.org

www.mach25.com

http://chegg.com

www.HBCUmentor.org

Many scholarchips colleges require a written essay of some kind. Writing can be a serious challenge for some high school graduates. If you need help writing an essay for a scholarship here are some great links that are sure to help to make your essay stand out.

Scholarship Essay Tips:

12 Tips on Winning ScholarshipsSkip these 6 Scholarship Errors Students with Average Grades Can Win Scholarships!4 Ways To Make Your Scholarship Essay Stand Out

For those soon to graduate who are excited by your future but terrified of your student debt at the same time, here are a few links that can help with reducing at least one of your worries. Student loans can haunt you after college but if you start planning now maybe you can minimize those horrors.

Help With Student Loans:

How I Got Rid of 60k Student Loans in 3 years By Living in a Hotel10 Steps To Minimize LoansMinimize Student LoansKnow How Much Student Loans To Take Paying For College

Credit: @jesussbabymomma

Now you know

 

 

FCC Votes to Bridge Digital Divide

2000px-US-FCC-AltLogo.svgLast Thursday the Federal Communications Commission voted to consider permitting eligible Americans to purchase Internet access using government funds. The vote is a step toward bridging the growing digtal divide. The poor and minorities without Internet access are being left out of the expanding Internet economy

In a 3-2 vote, the agency began the process of expanding its Lifeline program. The Reagan era program provides $9.25 per month to Americans who meet income requirements or who already receive some form of federal assistance. The money was intended to buy telephone or cellphone service. Recipients could also apply the subsidy toward Internet access but only if it came bundled with telephone or cellphone service. The FCC vote could allow the money to be used for stand alone Internet plans that aren’t tied to telephone packages in the program.

Broadband Internet access is becoming more and more important. According to CNBC nearly 30 percent of Americans are without broadband access at home. That 30 percent is usually the lowest income demographic and predominately black and Hispanic exasperating the digital divide.

John Horrigan, senior researcher on Internet and technology at Pew Research Center pointed out the specifics of the digital divide. “We have 29 million households in the country with school-age children. Of that, 5 million do not have broadband at home,” said Horrigan. “And within that 5 million, African-American and Hispanic households are disproportionately represented.”

Thirty eight percent of African-American households with school age children earning less than $50,000 annually are without broadband access. That number drops to 13 percent above the $50,000 level. Among households earning below $25,000 per year nearly half, 46 percent, are without Internet access at home.

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel pointed out that Internet access has become an educational issue. Nearly seven in ten teachers assign homework that requires students to be online. “Students who lack regular broadband access are struggling to keep up,” said Rosenworcel, “Now is not a moment too soon, because this is about the future.” Most of these students, again, are black, hispanic and poor. Improved Internet access makes a difference beyond the classroom. Many employers are now only accepting job applications online. A lack of Internet access or skills deprives many minorities of access to available employment.

The world’s economy is becoming more and more reliant on the Internet. The current FCC board recognizes that ensuring equality of Internet access is an important priority. The board’s decison regarding net neurality and this action reflect its attitude toward a more open and accessible Internet.

“Today begins a proceeding to spend ratepayers’ money more wisely, to deliver 21st-century benefits to deserving recipients, and to get to the heart of the historic issues that have haunted this program’s efficiency,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Internet service providers that offer broadband under the Lifeline plan may have to offer a basic level of service and speed. The proposal also lifts the burden of verifying elegibility for the Lifeline benefit from ISPs.

The actual dollar value of the credit would not increase for the Lifeline service. Last year 12 million Americans were served by the Lifeline program.  Republican members of the board argued that the plan would be too costly.  “I am open to having a conversation about including broadband in the Lifeline program,” said FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai. “But any such change must go hand in hand with the reforms that are necessary to producing a fiscally responsible program.”

Lifeline critics believe that the program is wasteful and mismanaged with some Americans recieving the service who are not eligible and others applying for the program multiple times. Some Republicans have taken to calling the phones “Obamaphones.” Odd considering it was a program that came about during the Reagan Administration.

In response to the criticism the FCC has launched a campaign to clean up and eliminate Lifeline abuse. So far the FCC has removed more than a million duplicate entries from its rolls.  A series of reforms were adopted in 2012 to streamline the program. Thursday’s vote aims to expand those measures. For example, the burden of proving a customer’s eligibility for Lifeline is removed from telecom companies and handed over to a neutral third party that can handle the verification.

According to Wheeler over $1 billion in wasteful spending has been “weeded out” from Lifeline. Wheeler added that he was disappointed that mistakes by his predecessors were preventing his Republican colleagues from voting with him on the proposal.

“I am befuddled at how this Republican-developed program has suddenly become so partisan,” said Wheeler. “But I am proud to cast my vote with the majority to reform and revitalize the Lifeline program.”

Breaking It Down

A monopoly on information or information services is simply unacceptable. We cannot allow people in America, because of their income, to be left out of the information age. Keep in mind that one of the keys to economic advancement is education. Children of the poor must be able to participate in the modern education methods and technology. Access to the Internet must be as important as the telephone for these people. Why else would the Reagan administration agree to any program for the poor? Now the FCC has taken the next step and insured the right to information is met. Poor people will remain poor as long as we refuse to provide the economic opportunity that information can provide. The Internet is a tool. It is a tool of information and communication. To deny an economic tool to the poorest Americans is to deny they have a right to advance in society. They have the right to the knowledge needed to improve their condition. The FCC is doing the right thing. End the digital divide!

 

African-Americans and Net Neutrality

fcc-seal_rgb_emboss-largeIn a close three to two vote along party lines, the FCC announced new rules on Internet governance to support net neutrality and the open Internet, protecting freedom of innovation and access to web content.

The new rules from the FCC, changed the way ISPs operate. The Internet has been re-classified as a utility. This means that all people have a right to the Internet. The new rules reflect the FCC’s re-classification of broadband as a Title II telecommunications service under the 1934 Communications Act. 

ISPs are now subject to the privacy provisions of the Communications Act of 1934. This new rule requires your ISP to provide you with any information they collect and maintain on you, the customer, upon written request.

Net neutrality has also been extended to wireless devices such as smartphones. The decision prevents cell providers from throttling, or slowing down, the data stream to your mobile device. A common practice of many carriers when they believe you consume too much data.

The three key provisions of the Open Internet Order covers both fixed and mobile internet access;

  • No blocking. ISPs cannot block access to legal content, apps, services or non-harmful devices;
  • No throttling. ISPs are forbidden from impairing or otherwise degrading legal Internet traffic on the basis of such criteria as content, apps, services or non-harmful devices.
  • No paid priority. ISPs are not allowed to charge for favored access of legal Internet traffic over other kinds in exchange for money. They are banned from giving their own content and services, and that of their affiliates, priority.

Internet service providers (ISPs), the companies that own the wires and antennas that transmit data, were seeking the right to charge Internet websites, content providers, and users based on how much data they put out or consume through those wires and antennas.

Advocates of net neutrality feared the creation of a two-tier internet where data flows are controlled and regulated based on one’s ability to pay.

Jessica Rosenworcel

Jessica Rosenworcel

Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the commission said, “We cannot have a two-tiered Internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind. We cannot have gatekeepers who tell us what we can and cannot do and where we can and cannot go online. And we do not need blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization schemes that undermine the Internet as we know it.”

ISPs have a different view of the situation and the decision. These companies feel they have the right to profit from their investment they made in expanding the network and improving the speed of data transmission. They believe it is unfair for companies like Netflix, that consume huge amounts of network capacity, to use that capacity without paying more for it. They have a point. They also believe that the rules of the 1934 Communications Act are outdated and should not, and cannot, apply to today’s technology. These regulations, they believe, could cripple innovation by discouraging investment in networks. Some believe the rules could permit the government to impose new Internet taxes and tariffs increasing consumer bills and even give the government the power to force ISPs to share their networks with competitors. Sen. Ted Cruz has gone so far as to say the new rules are “Obamacare for the Internet.”

Republicans have accused the White House of skewing the independence of the FCC and called for an investigation into Obama’s role in shaping the rules. They conceded however they could not pass a veto proof net neutrality bill without support from Democrats. Major ISPs, cable and telecom companies have promised a court battle to reverse the ruling.

The FCC also voted to preempt state laws that prevented at least two cities from expanding their city owned broadband networks to neighboring communities especially rural areas.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

These communities have sought to over turn restrictive state laws prohibiting them from delivering high speed connectivity to rural neighbors. “There are a few irrefutable truths about broadband,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler ahead of the vote. “One is you can’t say you’re for broadband, and then turn around and endorse limits.”

Breaking It Down.

Many African-Americans may ask what is net neutrality and what does it mean to me? It means that black people will not be caught on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Black people and the economically disadvantage should not be left behind in the age of information. The ability to access knowledge, much like the public library, must be equal for all people.

In order for our schools to provide a quality education we need to have high speed Internet access. We cannot have politicians telling us they don’t have the money in the budget to pay for the needed connectivity.  The same way they tell us there is no money for music, athletics and other vitals of a good education. Connected schools for the rich alone? Don’t let that happen.

This decision is all about the digital divide. The gap between the have and the have nots. If we, as a nation, condone the restriction of access to the Internet based on who can pay then we take an terrifying step toward a dystopian society where education is for the rich alone. Don’t let that happen.

We have to realize that education is changing. Right now we are taking classes online and getting degrees. But soon the text book will be obsolete. It takes too much time and too many resources to update paper books. Books will be delivered over the Internet to a reader or tablet. Up to date and relevant content for the rich alone? Don’t let that happen.

We will have a society where education moves to the electronic classroom from pre-school to college and beyond. Classes tailored to the need and desires of the student. Lessons will be interactive and learning will be self-paced. Vastly improved quality of education for the rich alone? Don’t let that happen.

ISPs, in an effort to drive up profit margins, will eventually decide to categorize and price Internet access. That is the cablelization effect. We should not be forced to pick and choose what websites and services we can afford. Don’t let that happen.

Without net neutrality many people would find themselves limited to packages of Internet websites they can visit a month. Poor people will have to choose between researching information about their health or information about their government. They can’t afford both. Don’t let that happen.

This scenario will create an underclass of people who see the Internet and information as a luxury. As black people we understand very well how the denial of knowledge can impact people and equality. Denial of knowledge has been used throughout history to deny people equal rights.  Don’t let that happen.

The Internet must be considered a utility. Similar to essentials like water, electricity and the telephone, it is a matter of fairness and human dignity.

I understand perfectly what the ISPs are saying when it comes to their investment in the networks. But like the telephone companies learned long ago, once you become essential to the human condition you lose the right to decide who you can do business with and how much you can charge. Consider it an honor.

But restricting access to knowledge and information is the equivalent of charging admission to the public library. We can’t let that happen.

Black Women and Online Dating

canstockphoto10309990

Valentine’s Day is near and there are a lot of sistas left out in the cold on the day of love. Black women are the least coupled and least dated of all races and the problem is getting worse. Is online dating the answer? Black men have embraced interracial dating. Is it time for black women to do the same?

 

Why are black women single?

First, few single black women said they were looking for long-term relationships (LTRs). But single black men, almost 43 percent according to a 2013 National Public Radio poll, said they are looking for a long-term partner. A Yale University study found that 42 percent of African-American women in the United States were unmarried.

NPR surveyed African-American singles between 18 and 49 years who were divorced, widowed or never married on a wide variety of topics. These questions touched on communities, finance and dating. The question we are most interested in is, are you currently seeking a long-term romantic commitment?

Majorities of single black women and men said they weren't looking for long-term relationships.

The majority of African-American men and women, 57 percent, said they were not looking for a LTR. So the question must be asked, are single black people even interested in a LTR? It would appear not.

There is no shortages of theories about this phenomenon. Some black women blame interracial dating while others say a racist criminal justice system that imprisons black men in horrendous numbers is to blame. Still others blame drugs, disease, economic factors, gay black men being on the “down-low” and even black churches for keeping black women single.

Some black women believe that the skills learned to be a successful professional do not equate to being a successful mate. J.J. Smith a black woman and a dating and relationship expert says “Our credentials don’t attract men.” Smith published a potent list of reasons why black women are single on the BlackNewsOne.com website.

What is happening to black relationships?

Courtesy: Samuiblue

Courtesy: Samuiblue

Black men and women struggle to relate and communicate with one another. As a result black women are finding it hard to find a worthy mate. Why? The U.S. Census revealed that there are 1.8 million more black women than black men. Black women graduate high school and college at a greater rate than black men. Black women are also more likely to be employed in professional occupations than black men and are higher income earners.

And when they do meet a black man of interest they have to deal with his emotional or past challenges with another black woman and vice-versa. As a black man myself I have dated women whom I have had to deal with the damage and garbage the last brother left her with.

Black women on the other hand will say, “I’m not going to raise a grown man.” Black women will  become turned off when the man seems unable to “handle his business.”  A black woman shuts down quickly when she feels like she’s starting to settle or lower her standards in the relationship. For strong black women their guard goes up and they begin to move away, quickly if necessary. There is advice for black men dealing with strong black women .

Economic and educational differences between black men and women create problems managing power and expectations in a relationship. Does a black woman need to be submissive to her man? Is a black man’s pride threatened by a strong, educated, assertive black woman? The issues and questions are powerful and often answered only in individual situations.

 Is online dating the answer?

Black women have it tough even on the Internet. According to OKCupid.com men replied to e-mails sent by African-American women less often than notes sent by women of other races. Men, including black men, respond to African-American women at about a 20 percent lower rate than others.

Ama Yawson founder of LoveEssence.com said “I don’t think we should take these statistics too seriously. Black people who go to a main stream site like OKCupid.com aren’t necessarily black people who are interested in meeting other black people online.”

AKl-MiaTSome black women who venture into online dating for the first time admit they refrain from sending e-mails to men fearing they may not get a response. But that’s not to say that black women are being rejected across all dating sites. Other dating sites such as BlackPeopleMeet.com are where black women find themselves in greater demand. Men from all races join African-American dating sites to meet single black women.

But strangely some black women said they receive more messages from black men on interracial dating sites than they do from men of other races. Experts say that black women who are interested in meeting a mate need to cast a wider net. Don’t limit your search or profile to a single website when looking for love. Black women are also encouraged to not let the negative information about your chances at finding love online discourage you.

Ron Worthy, Executive Director of BlackPeopleMeet.com, said that the black singles dating market is fast growing and effective. “In an ever wired society, online dating has become recognized as one of the most effective ways for people to meet and black singles are one of the fastest growing populations in this segment. As the population migrates from urban centers to suburban settings, an online community acts as a common meeting ground, a place to gather and find each other. Compared to traditional methods of meeting other singles, online dating offers the greatest pool of potential relationship partners, and its certainly the most affordable option in today’s difficult economy.”

Should black women date interracially? 

Research indicates that this may not be a good option either.  Segregation thrives in online romance. Researchers at the UC Berkeley found that it is highly unlikely that whites initiate contact with black people.

The UC Berkeley study revealed that 80 percent of communication initiated by whites went to other whites with only 3 percent going to African-Americans. Black people were ten times more likely to contact whites.  And black men were more likely to contact white women than black but only slightly.

The study revealed black women were the least likely of all groups to be contacted. But the study also revealed  that although black women were more likely than white women to contact a man of another race their primary choice was black men. 

Is it even a choice?

Even though black men are dating interracially, black women seem to be forbidden the same choice. It seems that black people are not accepting of black women dating other races. Even fictional characters are not immune to criticism. Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, the central character in the television series ‘Scandal‘ is routinely attacked online for having a fictional affair with the show’s married, white president of the United States.

“People don’t understand. They think it’s no big deal, but it is,” said Christelyn Karazin, co-author with Janice Roshalle Littlejohn of the book “Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate Mixing Race, Culture and Creed.”

“Black men date or marry interracially at more than double the level women do,” she said. They are given a pass. They can date anyone they want to — black women, white women.”

But do black women want to date white men? What are the reasons black women don’t choose to date outside their race?

So what is a sister going to do? Damned if you do! Damned if you don’t! When it comes to romance, relationships, sex and life black women are in a nearly impossible position.

Black women understand beyond anything I can write here what is happening. And if you think they are going to just give up you would be wrong.

Now you know

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

App of the Week – Duolingo

 

 

Learning is a life-long endeavor. Keeping your mind healthy and active means it won’t abandon you later in life. So why not learn a second language?

Duolingo is the App of the Week because we all need to learn another language. We live in a increasingly multi-cultural world and the possibility that you will need a second language is almost a sure thing. Employers are looking for people with multi-language skills so having that on your resume is a nice addition.

Duolingo was named Apple’s App of the Year in 2013 and it was well deserved because after its release it reached 10 million downloads.

The app makes a healthy game of learning a new language.  Duolingo uses pictures, your smartphone’s microphone and video clips to help you learn the new language. You can recite them and write them out as well. Each lesson contains a mixture of multiple choice, speaking, translation and listening exercises. The user gets multiple tries that are counted by the hearts on the screen. Once you run out of hearts you have to begin again. The app keeps track of how often you study by using a streak tracker that tells you how many days in a row you have used the app.

You can learn the following languages;

  • Spanish
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Dutch
  • Italian
  • Danish
  • Swedish.

There is another fact that you need to consider about this app. Is your child bi-lingual? How many hours a day is your child sitting quietly in a corner of the house playing a video game? You and I both know that even though they are quiet and entertained they are also wasting valuable time and brain cells. This app can really help black children gain an edge in the classroom and possibly move them forward to a college education. The way the app is created it is as entertaining as it is educational. But even if your child is not college bound the job market is, and will continue to be, competitive. Speaking a second language out of high school is an excellent skill to have. And its free!

Recently the creators of the app released a version for schools. Teachers can use Duolingo for their classes and keep track of their students’ progress through a centralized dashboard. The dashboard can show the instructor detailed reports on the lessons their students completed. The Duolingo app has the potential to give students a more personalized learning experience. The app can more easily  determine a students strengths and weaknesses and alter the lessons to these factors. The company believes that its technology is especially useful in countries where finding an English teacher is difficult.

Duolingo is available on  Apple, Android and Windows platforms.

You Can Get a Free Online Education

canstockphoto17951964Do I need to tell you that college is expensive? I didn’t think so. Black people understand the difficulties that come with attending college. First and foremost, the cost. A university education is shamefully expensive but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you are a high school graduate, working mother or established professional you can always use more education. Its the key to advancement.  You can get a free online education.

Getting an education does not have to break you. There is plenty of free online education from some of Americas’s best schools. The strategy is get as much as you can and build your transcript.

One of the sites that has a listing of free online courses is Howtogeek.com. This is a powerful site that will show you how to enroll and take courses from some of America’s top universities. By top I mean MIT, UCBerkeley and Yale. You can enroll in Harvard University, free. If you don’t believe me just click on the link! And keep in mind that you just don’t take these courses. You can earn credits, certificates and even degrees. For FREE!

We need more black college graduates.  According to the 2010 census, 1.2 million black male college students make up 5.5 percent of all college students. As for black women,  in 2011  black women enrolling in college hit a record high. Analysis of the most recent census data showed that almost 1 in 10 of every African-American woman is enrolled in a college or university. This data suggests that the barriers to higher education hindering women and minorities may finally be crumbling.

According to a U.S. Department of Education report over 4 million African-American students enrolled in U.S. Title IV institutions making up 14.4 % of all students at these educational institutions. Title IV institutions are schools eligible to participate in federal student financial aid programs. The report also revealed that in the 2012-13 academic year, over 300,000 African-American students earned degrees at four-year Title IV schools. These students made up only 10.4% of all students who earned degrees at these institutions that year. We still lag behind other groups especially whites and Asian-Americans.

Trying to track down free courses is made easy by Onlinecourses.com. This site offers 500 free online classes that you can search. You will have go through a few steps to get to the classes but it is well worth it.

There is plenty of choices of free online schools and programs. OpenCulture.com offers 1,000 courses from good schools. In addition this site also offers textbooks, audio books, language lessons and over 100 free business courses.

EducationalPortal.com also lets you browse the courses and schools available for free. But don’t just settle for any school. Everyone knows that the quality of education varies and the name on your degree must carry some weight and accreditation behind it. It is extremely important to find a school that has the appropriate credentials. Especially for an online or free school. Recently the University of The People, a free online university, received its accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, a national accrediting group.

I want to make sure that black people get the most from the world of the Internet. But I also want to warn you that there are a lot of fake schools online. As you search for that free school to enhance you career or education you need to look out for diploma mills.  There are a million for profit schools online that are worthless and could hurt you in the long run and even get you blacklisted as having fake education credentials. Check Geteducated.com for ten ways to spot a fake online school. A quick tip off that the school is a phoney is the lack of accreditation. Or accreditation by a group that is not recognized by the  Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education. You can find a list of fake accreditation groups on Geteducated.com as well.

As black people we need to value education. And getting the most education is a valuable asset no matter what line of work you’re in or trying to get in. But you don’t have to go broke doing it. One of the great values of the Internet is that it has made knowledge free.

Now you know.

Other websites to find free online courses:

Online College and Classes

Forbes.com

U.S. News