How the Farm Bill can help to end the shortchanging of HBCUs

$544 million.

That’s the amount that Tennessee State University — the only public HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in Tennessee — is owed by the state, according to a recent legislative study. For decades, the state has failed to meet its obligations to match dollar-for-dollar federal land-grant funds to TSU, resulting in a massive shortfall. Yet while TSU was starved for funds for 50+ years, its predominantly white land-grant counterpart, the University of Tennessee, received its full state match and more.

Unfortunately, Tennessee is not alone. The nation’s 19 HBCU land-grant institutions have been shortchanged by billions of dollars in state and federal dollars that they were owed due to rampant, persistent racial discrimination. Congress has an opportunity to rectify these inequities this year through the renewal of the Farm Bill, which was last reauthorized in 2018.

The Farm Bill is the main vehicle by which the federal government supports the teaching and research of the nation’s 111 land-grant colleges and universities, a system that was first established by the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862. Black Americans were excluded from these institutions , however, which led to the passage of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1890, which created land-grant institutions for Black students. Yet while federal land and funds were set aside for the 1890 land grant institutions, allowing these schools to raise funds to grow their endowments and expand their campuses, no guaranteed land or funding was provided to them — discrimination that has persisted.

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Your tax dollars for their private school? More states are saying yes

If you’re attuned to the culture wars, you know that parental rights and anti-wokeness in education are now powerful political messages. The supposed presence of critical race theory in middle school, allowing trans kids to use bathrooms that match their gender identity, books that “groom” kids for any number of scary causes — these topics are frightening parents and bedeviling school boards and classrooms across the country .

In a blue state like California, the debates may seem too localized or too distant to matter. But the appeal of parental education rights shouldn’t be underestimated. Even level-headed voters can persuade that public schools, and their pluralistic, secular values, aren’t about education but indoctrination.

Iowa, my home, is a case in point. And it could be a bellwether for a national movement that has schools and educators in its sights.

A town hall gathering in Des Moines early this month was billed as a down-home event about “Giving Parents A Voice” and cheering Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signing of a “school choice” law on Jan. 24. The universal voucher plan, which Iowa was the third state to institutionalize (behind Arizona and West Virginia), will by year three allow any K-12 student in the state to switch from public school to private school with up to $7,600 a year in taxpayer funds to help pay the bill, regardless of family income. (Utah’s governor signed a similar law a week later; nearly a dozen other states are considering more voucher

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Blueprint supporters rallied to tell Maryland lawmakers to ‘fully fund’ the education reform plan

Community activists joined dozens of other students, parents, educators and advocates to push state lawmakers to keep the promise to “fully fund the Blueprint,” the state’s multi-billion-dollar education plan.

This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

Attendees pose for a picture at a “Blueprint Day” celebration and rally Feb. 13 at Lawyers’ Mall in Annapolis. The Maryland General Assembly approved the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education plan in 2021, less than a year after former Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed it in 2020. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Among the many duties Ma’ryah Baynard has as a community activist, curriculum developer and peer mediator, one of her top goals is mental health support at her high school in Baltimore City.

The 18-year-old senior at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women wants Maryland’s top brass – Gov. Wes Moore (D), House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) and Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) – to support and fund mental health services for her peers as part of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform plan.

“If we take this into consideration, I believe that a full continuation of this blueprint is beneficial because these different opportunities such as mental health resources will be implemented into many schools so that students will receive a better education in a better environment,” Baynard said Monday outside Lawyers’ Mall in Annapolis.

Baynard joined dozens of other students, parents, educators and advocates

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2 New Orleans charter schools will merge next year | Education

The operators of Mildred Osborne Charter School and Akili Academy in New Orleans relinquished their charters this week and plan to form a new school at Mildred Osborne’s Kenilworth campus next school year.

Crescent City Schools, which runs Akili and several other schools in the city, and Arise Schools, which runs Mildred Osborne, will merge to form a school under the Crescent City Schools umbrella. The school will retain the Osborne name.

The Orleans Parish School Board approved relinquishing the charters on Thursday. This is the latest school consolidation as the district has encouraged schools to voluntarily merge or close as it deals with dropping student enrollment.

NOLA Public Schools Superintendent Avis Williams has not yet formally approved the newly merged school into the Mildred Osborne facility, but is expected to do so.

District deals with fewer students

The new school will be formed under one of Crescent City Schools already approved turnaround charter contracts. The school will have students in pre-K to 8th grade.

On Thursday Williams told the School Board that the move was an opportunity to strengthen the school networks as enrollment has continued to decline, though she noted that the timing was “not ideal” as the first round of the district’s enrollment process has closed. All Akili and Osborne students are guaranteed a spot at the new school. School leaders will try to find spots for all teachers and staff at the merged school.

“We are in the process of really taking a closer look at

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Muscogee County GaTAPP succeeds at alternative teacher prep

Paige Garrett was laid off in 2016 from her job as contact center director at TSYS, where she worked for more than 20 years. She was managing the Synovus call center in Columbus when she heard a different kind of calling in 2019.


She wondered, “What is your purpose in life? What is your true why as to what you should be here for and doing?”


Garrett reflected on what she enjoys most about working, and she realized her servant leadership heart could make a different and perhaps more significant impact on people’s lives.


“I want to really influence students and the future youth that we have in our community,” she thought.


Then she recalled hearing over the years a few teachers mention GaTAPP. That’s the Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy, an alternative pathway for folks who have a bachelor’s degree in another field to earn teaching certification faster and cheaper than going back to college while working full-time as a teacher under a provisional certificate.


Garrett, 51, started college to pursue an education degree in the 1990s, but when she moved to Germany, those courses weren’t offered at the University of Maryland in Heidelberg, where her husband at the time was stationed in the U.S. Army. She instead earned a bachelor’s degree in management studies.


So when she renewed her interest in teaching, Garrett researched GaTAPP online and thought “it looked overwhelming, the requirements, but truly knowing what’s expected for education,

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