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Lang Proposes Savannah State and Georgia Southern Armstrong Campus Voting Precincts

THE SAVANNAH TRIBUNE — Chatham County Board of Elections member Antwan T. Lang is trying to make voting easier for citizens, especially the younger generation. Lang says, “In an effort to increase voting among younger citizens and engage college students in the voting process in Chatham County, I will be proposing to the board to make Savannah State University and Georgia Southern Armstrong campus their own “voting precinct” with a poll on both campuses for students.” After researching both campuses Lang believes their may be some levels of disenfranchisement of young voters on campus.

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By The Savannah Tribune

Chatham County Board of Elections member Antwan T. Lang is trying to make voting easier for citizens, especially the younger generation. Lang says, “In an effort to increase voting among younger citizens and engage college students in the voting process in Chatham County, I will be proposing to the board to make Savannah State University and Georgia Southern Armstrong campus their own “voting precinct” with a poll on both campuses for students.” After researching both campuses Lang believes their may be some levels of disenfranchisement of young voters on campus.

Savannah State University currently shares two addresses that students can use to register to vote in Chatham County. Approximately 1,500 to 2,000 students are registered using

(3219 College St), while approximately 155 to 200 students are registered to (147 Tompkins Rd) which is considered the University Commons (a section of college apartments purchased by the Universities Foundation). Currently students registered to the “College St” address are assigned to vote in the 3-10 precinct and their polling location is Bible Baptist church across from the school. However, students registered with the “Tompkins” address are assigned to vote at the Seventh Day Adventist Church down the street on La Roche Ave. Further research showed that the University Commons sits within the City of Savannah while the rest of the campus is in unincorporated Chatham County. Lang argues that students should be able to vote at one central location eliminating confusion as to where to vote. There is also a concern for students without a car who may want to vote but are discouraged because of a lack of transportation off campus to their assigned poll. His response, “This will ultimately allow students who choose to use the schools address as their home of record to be able to vote in local elections in without leaving campus.”

The Board of Elections of Chatham County functions as the superintendent of elections and conducts primaries and elections in accordance with State law. The Board of Elections of Chatham County holds its regular monthly meeting on the second Monday of every month at 3:30pm.

These meetings are open to the public.

This article originally appeared in The Savannah Tribune.

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Activism

Tony Thurmond Starts Second Term as State Addresses Educational Inequity

“We’re offering scholarships for anyone who wants to become a teacher. $20,000,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Tony Thurmond told California Black Media. “I sponsored a bill, HB 520, that was focused on how we get more male educators of color. And that bill turned into funding in the state budget. That now means our residency programs can be used to help have male educators of color as part of the beneficiaries of that program.”

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State Supt. of Public Instruction speaks with a student after his swearing in on Jan. 7. Photo by Max Elramsisy, California Black Media.
State Supt. of Public Instruction speaks with a student after his swearing in on Jan. 7. Photo by Max Elramsisy, California Black Media.

By Max Elramsisy | California Black Media

State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Tony Thurmond took the oath of office to begin his second term on Jan. 7 at a ceremony conducted at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles.

Thurmond oversees the education of 6 million PreK-12 students in over 1,000 public school districts across California.

Although SPI is a non-partisan office, Thurmond drew support from many of the state’s top Democrats in his bid for re-election, including from Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and several members of the California Legislative Black Caucus. He was also endorsed by unions across the state, including the California Federation of Teachers and California Teachers Association.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona performed the ceremonial swearing in of Thurmond, who then reflected on his path to the office. The son of a Panamanian immigrant mother and Vietnam veteran father who did not return to his family after the war, Thurmond and his brother were raised by their cousin and relied on public assistance programs and public schools to make it out of poverty.

“I am standing on the shoulders of those relatives who struggle and sacrifice so that we could have a better life,” Thurmond said after he was sworn in. “It was the sacrifices of teachers and classified staff and childcare workers and school administrators who make it possible for me to stand here today as your public servant fighting for 6 million students in the great state of California.”

Thurmond’s first term coincided with one of the most tumultuous periods in California’s history — a time, he says, that brought with it many unforeseen challenges.

“We all watched it together. The lives lost and impacted and disrupted by the pandemic,” Thurmond said before naming other cultural, social and political developments the country endured as the COVID-19 crisis intensified.

“The killing of George Floyd, fighting hate against the Asian American Pacific Islander community, racism targeted directly to African American families, anti-Semitism, the mistreatment of Latino families, immigrant families, we have seen so much hate all in such a short period of time that we would move into a pandemic and find out that, in a state with all the wealth that we have in California, that a million students could be without a computer,” Thurmond added. “That is the most important thing that they needed to be connected to in those early days through remote learning.”

Thurmond says his administration stepped up to address challenges presented by the pandemic.

“We know that the impact this has had clearly affected student proficiency levels where they are now compared to where they were a few years before the pandemic and of course, a deep, deep impact on the mental health of our students and our families,” he said.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in depression and anxiety and hospitalizations for children and it has been difficult for them,” Thurmond continued. “But our children are more than the sum of their circumstances. They’ve demonstrated their resiliency, and they’re on the path to recovery, and we’re going to help them with that because we just secured enough money to recruit 10,000 counselors for our schools in the state of California.”

The addition of counselors is good news for teachers across the state seeking resources to help their students recover and develop in areas outside of academics where school also plays a crucial role for many students.

“I was very excited when Superintendent Thurman said that there would be 10,000 counselors coming to the school sites because we need that,” said Bridgette Donald-Blue, an elementary school math teacher and California Teacher of the Year award recipient. “The emotional health of our students, that is important, that is very important.”

The SPI does not have any legislative role. But Thurmond, who served in the California State Assembly for two terms, sponsored or endorsed several legislative initiatives that may have a profound effect on the future of education in California and the role that schools play to meet the social and emotional needs of students to provide a positive learning environment.

Thurmond says, beginning in the 2022–23 school year, the California Universal School Meal Program will help all students to reach their full academic potential by providing a nutritiously adequate breakfast and lunch at no charge for all children each school day regardless of individual eligibility.

Thurmond also has initiatives to combat inequities in the school system including universal preschool for 4-year-olds regardless of background, race, zip code, immigration status, or income level. He also launched the Black Student Achievement Taskforce to help quantify the impacts systemic and institutional racism have had on Black students in California.

Thurmond points out that he sponsored legislation to increase funding to the lowest-performing students, ban suspension and expulsions in preschools, and secured $90 million for suspensions and chronic absenteeism programming.

“I know the impacts of what happens when our students don’t learn to read by third grade. Sadly, they end up dropping out in many cases and in the criminal justice system, and we’re going to change the narrative and flip the script. We’re going to educate, not incarcerate our kids.” Thurmond repeated a pledge for today’s kindergarteners to be able to “read by third grade.”

Recently, some education advocates pointed out that there has been a reported wave of retirements and disincentives that have led to an unprecedented teacher shortage across the nation.

In response, Thurmond says he is creating new incentives to draw qualified people into the school system to help students, especially those who are of color.

“We’re offering scholarships for anyone who wants to become a teacher. $20,000,” Thurmond told California Black Media. “I sponsored a bill, HB 520, that was focused on how we get more male educators of color. And that bill turned into funding in the state budget. That now means our residency programs can be used to help have male educators of color as part of the beneficiaries of that program.”

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Bay Area

Among Less-Educated Young Workers, Women and Black Men Are Paid Far Less

According to Byeongdon Oh, a postdoctoral researcher in the campus’ Social Sciences D-Lab, the pay disparity between Asian and white men on one side and Black men on the other may actually be worse than the data suggest. A disproportionate number of young men who did not go to college are Black. A disproportionate number of young Black men have been incarcerated, he explained, and incarcerated men were not tracked in the survey data.

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A new study co-authored at UC Berkeley finds that women of all races, as well as Black men, who have not attended college are paid dramatically less than Asian American and white men at similar education levels. (Photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)
A new study co-authored at UC Berkeley finds that women of all races, as well as Black men, who have not attended college are paid dramatically less than Asian American and white men at similar education levels. (Photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

By Edward Lempinen | UC Berkeley News

Less-educated U.S. workers often face a lifetime of financial challenges, but some among them are more disadvantaged than others: Young Asian and white men without college education are paid more — sometimes far more — than both Black men and women of all racial groups, according to a new study co-authored at UC Berkeley.

The study led by Byeongdon Oh, a postdoctoral researcher in the campus’ Social Sciences D-Lab, found that young Black men with no college education earn barely half of what their Asian American and white counterparts make. Latinx, Asian and Black women lag even further.

“Earnings are an important factor to study because they’re related to other outcomes, like health, engagement with the criminal justice system and family development,” Oh said. “So, we focus on the non-college population at an early age. They are already disadvantaged economically — they have very low earnings. If there’s a sizable racial or ethnic earnings disparity in this population, there may be severe consequences.”

The study, “Inequality among the Disadvantaged? Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Earnings among Young Men and Women without a College Education,” was released Dec. 21, 2022, in the journal Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, published by the American Sociological Association. It provides the first detailed look at the earnings of young adults with no college experience as their working lives take shape.

In recent years, about one-third of young Americans have stopped their education after high school. That projects to roughly 1 million less-educated young people every year entering a job market that increasingly requires advanced education and training to earn even a middle-class salary. LatinX and Black people are over-represented in this group.

To understand their experience, Oh and colleagues Daniel Mackin Freeman and Dara Shifrer from Portland State University studied data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, tracing racial and ethnic earnings disparities among men and women who had never attended college. In 2016, they were in their early 20s.

“Striking” was the word the authors used to describe the earnings gaps revealed in the core data:

  • Young Asian American men with no college education earned an average of $24,837 in 2016, followed by white men at $22,056 and Latinx men at $17,984. Young Black men averaged just $12,573 — barely half the wages earned by Asian Americans and whites.
  • A similar, but less severe, disparity was evident among young women with no college experience. White women on average earned $14,766, followed by Latinx women at $12,465, Asian American women at $10,935 and Black women at $10,871.
  • The gap between these women and men was vast, with young Black women on average earning only 44 cents for every dollar earned by Asian American men with similar levels of education.

Exploring the impact of race and gender discrimination

How to explain these racial and gender gaps in earning?

Oh said the data did not allow the researchers to determine the causes. They did find, however, that a range of possible factors — from family background and home location to high school grades and criminal records — rarely account for the earnings gaps.

But, he explained, racial discrimination in the workforce cannot be ruled out as the cause.

Oh suggested that complex social and economic factors may sort people of color into lower-paying job sectors, but the estimated earnings gaps among groups of people in the same occupation are still dramatic. These earning disparities, he said, may reflect employer bias against women and Black men.

The findings “suggest that, like their more educated counterparts, young non-college-educated women may face pernicious earnings discrimination in the labor market, regardless of their race/ethnicity,” the authors wrote.

They added: “The results may indicate that employers devalue the work of young Black men without a college education to a greater degree than they do the work of white, Latinx, and Asian men without a college education.”

According to Oh, the pay disparity between Asian and white men on one side and Black men on the other may actually be worse than the data suggest. A disproportionate number of young men who did not go to college are Black. A disproportionate number of young Black men have been incarcerated, he explained, and incarcerated men were not tracked in the survey data.

“And so, our findings on the earnings gap are conservative — it may be larger,” he said.

The new study opens up a range of new questions for Oh and other researchers. Understanding the experience of the young workers would require more targeted surveys and in-person interviews. Those would allow the researchers to understand whether discrimination is to blame, and if so, how it works, Oh said.

“I hope the contribution of our research is to make people ask why we have these striking earnings gaps,” he said. “Then, rather than wasting time blaming workers’ choices or attitudes, we might get further by identifying discriminatory labor market processes.”

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Activism

New Progressive School Board Majority Halts School Closures

The schools that remain open are Brookfield Elementary, Carl B. Munck Elementary, Grass Valley Elementary, Horace Mann Elementary, and Korematsu Discovery Academy, and Hillcrest K-8, will maintain its middle school.

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Photo by Tony Daquipa, Oakland Voices.
Photo by Tony Daquipa, Oakland Voices.

By Ken Epstein

The newly elected progressive majority on the Oakland Board of Education voted this week to save five schools that a previous school board had approved for closure at the end of this school year.

The schools that remain open are Brookfield Elementary, Carl B. Munck Elementary, Grass Valley Elementary, Horace Mann Elementary, and Korematsu Discovery Academy, and Hillcrest K-8, will maintain its middle school.

Voting for the decision to rescind the closures were Board President Mike Hutchinson and VanCedric Williams, joined by new board members Valarie Bachelor and Jennifer Brouhard.

Boardmembers Sam Davis and Clifford Thompson voted no, while Nick Resnick abstained. Board President Hutchinson authored the resolution to halt the closures.

The previous board had voted last February to close or consolidate 11 schools over two years, including the five that were saved this week.

However, the closures were met with a community uprising that lasted for months, including protests, marches, walkouts, a hunger strike that received national attention and a one-teachers strike. Powered by that energy, two new progressive school board members won their elections, joining Boardmembers Williams and Hutchinson to create the anti-closure majority.

Uncertain at this point is how state overseers, which have long pressed the district to close schools, will respond to this board decision.

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