Hovering and Smothering: ‘How helicopter parents are ruining college students’

Attention, parents of college students.

Say your kid has a problem with a roommate. Maybe one “borrowed” his favorite t-shirt. Maybe your daughter’s roommate leaves old, stinky Chinese take out in the mini-fridge. Perhaps your child is so upset about this he texts you five times a day to complain.

Here’s the thing: Don’t call the college president to ask him to handle the situation. (Yes, that happens.)

Jonathan Gibralter, president of Frostburg State University, has had parents call him at his office to talk about a squabble their child is having with a roommate. “Don’t you trust your child to deal with this on his own?” he asks. “Rather than telling a son or daughter to talk to a [resident assistant] or [resident director], parents will immediately call my office. And that I consider to be a little over the top.”Helicopter-Parent

A little over the top, yes. But also the way things are now for many people. The kids who have been raised by parents who watched their every move, checked their grades online hourly, advocated for them endlessly and kept them busy from event to activity to play date are tucked away in college. But that doesn’t mean their parents have let go. They make make themselves known to schools, professors, counselors and advisors. And yes, college presidents.

But those parents are forgetting some very important lessons in Parenting 101, and that is how to help a child learn how to really thrive.

“When I was going to college in 1975… my mother helped me unload into the dorm room, put a note on the door saying this is the way we wash our clothes,” Gibralter said. “I didn’t find out until years later that she cried all the way home because she realized I was going to be independent.”

Oh, it is more than difficult to let go. But saying goodbyes at the dorm and then giving that little bird a push is what will help him or her succeed. That doesn’t mean letting go or not being involved anymore. But hovering and intervening too often doesn’t do students any favors.

A study published recently in the journal Education + Training found that there is an important line to draw between parental involvement and over-parenting. “While parental involvement might be the extra boost that students need to build their own confidence and abilities, over-parenting appears to do the converse in creating a sense that one cannot accomplish things socially or in general on one’s own,” wrote the authors, two professors from California State University Fresno. The authors of “Helicopter parents: An Examination of the Correlates of Over-parenting of College Students,” Jill C. Bradley-Geist and Julie B. Olson-Buchanan, go on to detail how over-parenting can actually ruin a child’s abilities to deal with the workplace.

Bradley-Geist and Olson-Buchanan, both management professors, surveyed more than 450 undergraduate students who were asked to “rate their level of self-efficacy, the frequency of parental involvement, how involved parents were in their daily lives and their response to certain workplace scenarios.”

The study showed that those college students with “helicopter parents” had a hard time believing in their own ability to accomplish goals. They were more dependent on others, had poor coping strategies and didn’t have soft skills, like responsibility and conscientiousness throughout college, the authors found.

“I had a mom ask to sit in on a disciplinary meeting” when a student was failing, said Marla Vannucci, an associate professor at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, who was that students’ academic advisor. Her team let the mom sit in, but in the end it doesn’t help. “It really breeds helplessness.”

 helicopter-parenting-sm250Vannucci also had a college-aged client whose parents did her homework for her. The client’s mother explained that she didn’t want her daughter to struggle the same way she had. The daughter, however, “has grown up to be an adult who has anxiety attacks anytime someone asks her to do something challenging” because she never learned how to handle anything on her own.

These may be extreme cases, but parental over-involvement has been bleeding into college culture for some time now. “I think they need to know that they are actually diminishing their child’s ability to understand how to navigate the world by trying to do it for them,” Gibralter said.

So what to do? Gibralter has a formula: Parents and children need to sit down and have honest conversations. “‘How do you want this to go, and when do you want me to be involved, and … how can I support you.’ That, to me, is an incredibly important conversation for parents and children to have as they head off to be freshmen in college.”

Abbey Barrow, a senior at Drake University majoring in journalism and English, said when she went off to school, they all knew they wanted to maintain the closeness they had, but also realized it was time for her to grow more as her own person. “I remember my mom telling me that they would not set the boundaries on communication, that it would be up to me when I would call and stay in touch,” she said. “That was a good turning point where I knew I’d be in charge and in control.” Their usual schedule includes two telephone calls during the week and Skype on weekends. “It allowed me to have some independence and not be constricted,” she said.

Barrow knows classmates who call after every test, or whose parents text or Facebook asking how particular questions helicopmomwent. “Those kids are still very reliant on their parents making decisions and doing their everyday life,” she said. “It’s a tough way to head into life if you are reliant on other people to help with decisions.”

Her parents admit it wasn’t so easy, letting her go and letting so many other things go. “It was very tough for us,” said Mimi Barrow. “We just tried to make sure she was well prepared for it.”

“It was harder for us than for her,” echoed John. “We started very early with her in terms of just teaching her that she had control and power … We did the time out chair, but it wasn’t done as punishment. It was ‘This is your time to think about what you can do differently.’ I think it was really just reinforcing her autonomy.”

Said Mimi: “I think we wanted to raise a strong, independent woman. We wanted her to make good choices as she grows and becomes an adult. We always try to model good decision making for her.”

Even when she was little, her parents encouraged her to do the ordering at restaurants. She chose the gifts for birthday parties. She had to, in other words, live. “We always tried to get her to make well-informed independent decisions. Because when you grow up, you need those skills.”

HeliParThe Barrows both work in education, where Mimi is an elementary school teacher and John is an educational pyschologist. “We’ve seen the harm helicopter parents can do and we see the need for children to grow and build their self confidence,” Mimi said. “When you hover, you take away that sense of self esteem.”


Credit: Amy Joyce


Leave a comment

Filed under College, Education

Reform and Restorative Justice: Race equity in school discipline

In a month dominated by news reports of racial tension, a significant milepost in American race relations garnered less attention: For the first time in this country’s history, white students will this year no longer comprise a majority of the nation’s schoolchildren.

In recent days, several writers have argued that the unrest in Ferguson can be connected to issues of inequality in local schools. The shift in the composition of the nation’s student body should be considered part of the ongoing conversation about the changing landscape of race and disciplinary consequences. Those new majority students — particularly black and Latino students —  are suspended, expelled and arrested at far greater rates than their white peers, according to numerous academic and government studies.

Many activists — and some policymakers, including the president — argue these disciplinary trends among schoolchildren mark these students for continued troubles into adulthood, contributing to the nation’s disproportionate incarceration rates among black and Hispanic men and women.

Now, a growing number of school districts across the country are discarding policies that experts say target minority students unfairly, and increase their odds of more serious encounters with the justice system as they age out of school.

Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco have all recently implemented new discipline codes that steer students who commit non-threatening offenses to counseling, community service and other assistance in lieu of suspensions — or worse. Maryland has adopted a similar policy statewide, while a bill passed by California’s Legislature would bar schools from expelling students for defying school officials’ orders.

And more districts appear likely to follow. The Obama administration in January urged school systems to re-examine their discipline policies so that a smaller share of minorities wind up with punishments forcing them to miss school.

The School Discipline Problem in Numbers

In the penal system and in the nation’s schools, an outsize share of minority males and females are punished.

One in 15 black males is imprisoned, while the same is true for one in every 105 white males, the ACLU in 2011 reported. Among Hispanic males, one in every 36 is incarcerated.

Compare those rates to school discipline statistics. A consortium of 26 researchers spent four years crunching data on suspensions and expulsions, finding that one in five black male students was suspended in 2010 — more than three times the national average. Latinos and students with disabilities were also overrepresented in the discipline data. As California news outlet EdSource Today noted, the racial disparity data do not suggest black males or Latinos commit more severe offenses. More often than not, suspensions are issued for behavior that’s not a threat to student safety.

Even the earliest learners are caught up in discipline actions that are racially disproportionate: Forty-two percent of preschool students who have been suspended at least once are black, even though they represent less than a fifth of all preschoolers in the country, according to federal data.

And more research is pointing to the existence of a school-to-prison pipeline. A 2006 study found that a first-time arrest doubles the risk of a student dropping out of high school and quadruples that hazard if the case leads to a court appearance. The ACLU calculates that up to 80 percent of these juvenile offenders enter the justice system without a lawyer, often committing minor infractions that violate their parole and worsen their punishments because they didn’t receive sound legal counsel.

Another study that looked at more than 200 schools in Virginia found that a school’s dropout rate rises the more it suspends or expels students. In many cases, quitting school before high school graduation also increases the risk of incarceration.  In Texas, more than 80 percent of its prisoners are high school dropouts.

Finally, a landmark 2011 study researched the student files of nearly one million Texas students and found higher rates of grade repetition, dropouts, and incarceration for students who were suspended or expelled — a larger share of whom were black or Latino.

School Discipline Reform

Against this backdrop of evidence that minorities are disciplined more harshly, and as a result, are more likely to face jail time, districts and states are taking action. In the past year several major school districts have adopted policies that aim to reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions, along with the number of punishments that involve police officers.

Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the nation, announced last week that it’s adopting a series of disciplinary reforms that will refer more students with minor offenses to counselors and community organizations.

“We want students to be with us, not pushed out and sent to jail,” Superintendent John Deasy was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. “We have been disproportionately incarcerating, disproportionately citing, and disproportionately suspending youth of color, and it’s wrong.”

Coupled with last year’s school board vote that banned suspensions for “willful defiance” — a catch-all offense for not following the orders of school officials that accounted for 47 percent of the district’s suspensions in 2011-12 — the new policies are seen as a response to community leaders who called for practices that pared the number punishments resulting in students missing school.

[A 2012 investigative series by Center for Public Integrity and KPCC shed light on the city's discipline policies. EWA judges awarded the series first-prize honors two years ago.]

San Francisco’s school district eliminated willful defiance as a reason for suspension or expulsion in February of this year. Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third-largest school district, in June passed revisions to its code of conduct that stressedmore remediation and fewer referrals to the police. In 2013 the district suspended 13 percent of its student population, according to a report by local news outlet WBEZ.

Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, already a leader in discipline that eschews suspensions, formalized its policies last week by creating a rubric that recommends mentoring, counseling, and community service for most offenses. The district’s earlier efforts to mete out softer punishments led to a 37 percent drop in the number of suspensions and expulsions in the last year.

State bodies are reconsidering their states’ school discipline measures, too. Maryland in January passed a new set of regulations that establishes rehabilitative measures that sidestep suspensions and provide educational services when student punishments cause them to miss school. California may be next. Lawmakers of the nation’s most populous state passed a bill barring schools from expelling students for willful defiance. If signed by the governor, the law would also ban willful defiance suspensions issued to students in third grade and below.

Additional Challenges

Some of these policy changes require additional school resources. EWA interviewed a journalist from the San Antonio Express-News who documented one middle school’s implementation of “restorative justice” — a disciplinary scheme that places students who violated school rules in group settings to talk out their frustrations. The sessions occur on school grounds and require additional personnel and considerable buy-in from teachers who may be used to more heavy-handed tactics like suspensions.

But even with this new shift toward softer punishment, racial disparities continue. In Los Angeles, for example, police fines and citations dropped from nearly 11,700 to 3,500 between 2009 and last year after a series of reforms. But as the Los Angeles Times notes, “African Americans are still disproportionately arrested, making up 31% of 1,100 arrests by L.A. school police in 2013, even though they make up less than 10% of the student population.”

And previous efforts to adopt a more lenient disciplinary code still leave much room for out-of-school punishment. In 2012 New York City schools reduced the maximum suspension period from 10 to five days for mid-level offenses like pushing and graffiti. The policy switch applied to students in kindergarten through third grade.

Nor does it appear that all school officials support softer punishments. A July survey of superintendents found that 72 percent of district leaders expect teachers to oppose curbing out-of-school suspensions. The superintendents felt the same way about their principals 57 percent of the time.

With the share of white students falling and Latino students rising, school suspension and expulsion figures in the United States risk hitting new highs, unless more districts tackle their discipline policies head on. After decades of believing tough punishment holds students in line, can schools right the ship to keep more of their students academically afloat?




Leave a comment

Filed under Education

Stop Blaming Black Parents: Will, Way and Deficit Thinking (a perspective)

Mayors, teachers unions, and news commentators have boiled down the academic achievement gap between white and black students to one root cause: parents. Even black leaders and barbershop chatter target “lazy parents” for academic failure in their communities, dismissing the complex web of obstacles that assault urban students daily. In 2011, then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg exemplified this thinking by saying, “Unfortunately, there are some parents who…never had a formal education and they don’t understand the value of an education.” Earlier this year,Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman diagnosed that city’s public schools’ chief problem: the lack of “active, radical involvement of every parent.” And even President Obama rued last week that in some black communities, gaining education is viewed as “acting white.”

Clearly, there is widespread belief that black parents don’t value education. The default opinion has become “it’s the parents” — not the governance, the curriculum, the instruction, the policy, nor the lack of resources — that create problems in urban schools. That’s wrong. Everyday actions continuously contradict the idea that low-income black families don’t care about their children’s schooling, with parents battling against limited resources to access better educations than their circumstances would otherwise afford their children.dadson

In New Orleans this month, hundreds of families waited in the heat for hours in hopes of getting their children into their favorite schools. New Orleans’ unique decentralized education system is comprised largely of charter schools and assigns students through a computerized matching system. Parents unhappy with their child’s assignment must request a different school in person at an enrollment center, with requests granted on a first-come, first-served basis. This year, changes were made to the timing and location for parents to request changes. A long line began forming at the center at 6 a.m. By 9:45 a.m., it stretched around the block. By 12:45 p.m., officials stopped giving out numbers because they didn’t have enough staff to meet with every parent.

Research backs up the anecdotal evidence. Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research recently found that African Americans are most likely to value a post-secondary education in becoming successful, at 90 percent, followed by Asians and Latinos. Whites, at 64 percent, were least likely to believe higher education is necessary for success.

When judging black families’ commitment to education, many are confusing will with way. These parents have the will to provide quality schooling for their children, but often, they lack the way: the social capital, the money and the access to elite institutions. There is a difference between valuing an education and having the resources to tap that value.

A study released this month found 26 percent of ACT-tested students were college-ready in all four subject areas. Among low-income students, college-readiness dropped to just 11 percent. The study determined that it was poverty, not motivation or attitudes, that contributed to the lower performance. “Nearly all ACT-tested students from low-income families in the United States aspire to go to college — at an even higher rate than students overall — but many lack the academic preparation to reach this goal,” the ACT noted.

sciencekidsPrivileged parents hold onto the false notion that their children’s progress comes from thrift, dedication and hard work — not from the money their parents made. Our assumption that “poverty doesn’t matter” and insistence on blaming black families’ perceived disinterest in education for their children’s underachievement simply reflects our negative attitudes towards poor, brown people and deflects our responsibility to address the real root problems of the achievement gap. Our negative attitudes about poor people keep us from providing the best services and schools to low-income families.

This thinking hurts not only children, but entire communities. Low expectations extend beyond the classroom into homes and neighborhoods. The greatest tragedy of the New Orleans school enrollment fiasco isn’t just that parents had to wait in long lines. It’s that the school district assumed parents wouldn’t show up. Officials assumed grandma wouldn’t be there before dawn. They assumed Ma wouldn’t take off work with child in tow. This is a sign of deficit thinking — the practice of making decisions based on negative assumptions about particular socioeconomic, racial and ethnic groups. The enrollment center was understaffed because officials assumed applying for school wouldn’t demand a larger venue, like the Mercedes Benz Superdome. An aside: The Superdome hosts the Urban League of Greater New Orleans’ annual Schools Expo.

When it comes to providing a better education for black children from low-income families, I worry less about poor folks’ abilities to wait in long lines and more about the school policies, the city halls, the newspaper columns and the barbershops that are plagued with deficit thinking.empty class

By Andre M. Perry

Dr. Andre Perry is the founding dean of urban education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich. He is the author of The Garden Path: The Miseducation of a City.

*original article

Leave a comment

Filed under economics, Education, financing education, Perspective

New PLUS Loan Credit Standards (Just in time for school!)

On August 7th, the U.S. Department of Education proposed new regulations to implement new PLUS Loan credit standards.

The draft regulations include provisions similar to those recommended by the negotiated rulemaking committee, which included Dr. David Swinton, president of Benedict College and Dr. George T. French Jr., president of Miles College.  UNCF believes that the proposed changes student debtcould result in approximately 15,000 HBCU students previously denied PLUS Loans now becoming eligible upon their initial application.  The key provisions of the proposed rules are below:

  • A parent or graduate student with up to $2,085 in debt that is delinquent for 90 days or more would NOT be considered to have an “adverse credit history” in the initial PLUS Loan eligibility determination. Under the current regulation, as little as $1 in delinquent debt could result in loan denial.
  •  A parent or graduate student with delinquent debt exceeding $2,085 during the two years preceding the date of their credit check would be considered to have an adverse credit history and would be denied a PLUS Loan. Currently, the Education Department reviews delinquent debt for the prior five years.
  • The Secretary would have authority to adjust the $2,085 exemption over time to account for inflation, on a basis determined by the Secretary.
  • A parent or graduate student with other types of negative credit events, e.g. defaults, foreclosures, bankruptcy, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment or write-off of a Title IV debt, during the five years preceding the date of their credit check would be considered to have an adverse credit history, resulting in loan denial. This is the same as the current regulation; however, these negative credit events are a small proportion of all denials.
  •  Similar to the current regulation, the Secretary would retain the authority to reconsider parents and graduate students who have been denied PLUS Loans, based on the determination that extenuating circumstances exist.  The regulatory proposal also provides that the parent or student considered for PLUS Loan approval under extenuating circumstances must complete loan counseling offered by the Secretary.

In the NPRM, the Department reveals several future actions, apart from the rulemaking process, that it is planning regarding PLUS Loans. The Department indicates that it will offer voluntary entrance counseling to all parent PLUS Loan applicants to provide information on required monthly payments and expand current online financial tools to include a PLUS-specific loan calculator.  In addition, the Department intends to collect and publish information about PLUS Loans, including default rate information based on the credit history characteristics of PLUS loan applicants and individual institutional default rates.

The Department plans to publish the final PLUS Loan rules by November 1, 2014, which would allow parents to take out a PLUS Loan under the new criteria for the 2015-16 school year. However, in response to UNCF’s appeals that the new rules become effective sooner, the Department is willing to consider quicker implementation before the 2015-16 school year begins.

There is a 30-day public comment period on the proposed rules, ending on September 6, 2014, during which interested persons and stakeholders can weigh in with their comments.  The Department of Education will then consider these comments in developing the final PLUS Loan regulations.


Leave a comment

Filed under College, Department of Education, Dr. Sa, Dr. SaFiya D. Hoskins, economics, Education, financing education, Paying for college, PLUS Loan, President David Swinton, President George French, student debt, Student Loans, UNCF

African Leaders Summit: 5 Reasons it is Important

By any measure it’s historic: The vast majority of Africa’s leaders flying to Washington at the invite of the President, whose father was born on the continent, to mark what the White House hopes is a new era of cooperation.

While plans for the first African Leaders Summit this week in the nation’s capital are ambitious, the reality is the United States still has strides to make on the kind of political and economic relationships in Africa that can benefit both sides.

Other nations, namely China, have turned their focus to the continent as a trade partner. Terrorist networks have expanded their reach in some countries, most notably in Nigeria, where hundreds of schoolgirls remain at large after being kidnapped earlier this year. And while U.S.-backed efforts have helped slow the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, countries there rate among the lowest in life expectancy and infant mortality.

“The importance of this for America needs to be understood,” President Barack Obama said on Friday about the summit.

He added later that Africa “happens to be one of the continents where America is most popular and people feel a real affinity for our way of life.”Obama at Summit

Here are five reasons that the U.S.-Africa Leader’s Summit, which kicked off on Monday, is important:

1. Health scare: The health problems in Africa were underscored this week when an Ebola outbreak prompted leaders of two nations to cancel their trips to Washington.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Ernest Bai Koroma, the leader of Sierra Leone, both said they would remain in their countries.

Ebola has killed more than 700 people in three nations: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra.

Summit leaders, and even Obama, have stressed there is no risk to Washingtonians from those arriving from Africa this week.

Obama said anyone who might have been exposed to the virus would be screened both in their home countries and upon arrival in the United States.

But worry over the worsening outbreak only highlighted challenges Africa faces in combating disease and poverty, despite the billions in U.S. aid over the years.

“This is an uphill challenge for them,” said Gayle Smith, Obama’s senior director for development and Democracy, noting both Liberia and Sierra Leone had recently emerged from periods of civil war.

Obama hopes to move past the traditional elements of humanitarian aid to Africa, focusing instead on potential trade.

But promoting commercial ties with countries engulfed in Ebola outbreaks could prove to be difficult. The State Department warned against non-essential travel to Sierra Leone and Libera last week, and some schools and businesses have closed.

“The timing is very unfortunate, and no one would have wished for this,” said Howard French, an associate professor of international affairs at Columbia University. “Having high-level discussions between the U.S. and Africa on business and investment are infrequent. So to the extent that this distracts from that I think will be regretted all around.”

2. Security challenges: Another potential barrier to U.S. investment in Africa: Growing extremism on the continent, which has overwhelmed certain governments.

The most flagrant example came earlier this summer, when the group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 school girls in Nigeria. The incident prompted international outrage and so far, a U.S.-backed team has not located them.

Nigeria-based Boko Haram opposes western-style education, and there are fears the group’s influence could be crossing borders.

Last month, armed gunman suspected to be Boko Haram militants abducted the wife of Cameroon’s deputy prime minister.

Intra-country sniping has followed. Nigeria has expressed frustration with Cameroon for not doing enough to fight Boko Haram on its side of the border, a charge Cameroon has denied.

The unrest has inflicted damage on African economies, including Nigeria’s, the largest on the continent. Other African nations combating violent extremism, like Mali, Kenya and Somalia, are also tough sells for U.S. investment.

Many of those nations want more U.S. assistance to counter militants, sentiments likely to be expressed at this week’s summit.

“We are concerned about efforts by terrorist groups to gain a foothold in Africa,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

He pointed to U.S. counterterror efforts that aim to partner with nations in stemming unrest.

“We’re looking at how do we get at the broader issue of countering violent extremism in Africa so that these groups, like Boko Haram, like al-Shabaab, like al-Qaeda, are not able to prey on young people with disinformation and intimidation,” he said.

3. Countering China: The United States has some catching up to do in Africa when it comes to trade and investment.

China’s imports of African oil and natural minerals have skyrocketed over the past two decades. Alongside have come massive Chinese investments in African infrastructure and construction projects, manned by waves of Chinese workers who ended up remaining in Africa. More than a million Chinese citizens now live there.

“Africa is in a very particular moment, economically speaking,” said French during an interview with CNNI from Nairobi. “The continent has been growing very fast. Demographically, there’s a bulge in terms of it’s youth population. And Africa needs partnerships.”

Obama wants to make sure the United States is one of those partners, and a more attractive one than China.

“My advice to African leaders is to make sure that if, in fact, China is putting in roads and bridges, number one, that they’re hiring African workers; number two, that the roads don’t just lead from the mine to the port to Shanghai, but that there’s an ability for the African governments to shape how this infrastructure is going to benefit them in the long term,” Obama told The Economist last week.

4. Cementing legacy: Obama’s two predecessors both secured legacy achievements in Africa — Bill Clinton through his African Growth and Opportunity Act, and George W. Bush through his program combating HIV/AIDS.

Obama similarly hopes for a way to leave his mark on the continent after he leaves office, though his status as the first president of African descent has already made history.

That fact led some Africans to regard Obama with outsized expectations when he took office in 2009, leading to some disappointment that he hasn’t focused more on shoring up U.S.-Africa ties.

During his time in office, Obama has focused on terrorism, uprisings in the Arab world, Russian provocations, and the much-awaited pivot to Asia.

Obama made his first presidential trip to sub-Saharan Africa in 2009 when he visited Ghana. He didn’t return again until 2013 with tour of Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa.

He’s embarked upon an initiative that aims to bring electricity to more Africans, and a program supporting young leaders working toward Democratic governments.

Both are elements to a legacy designed to shore up conditions for individuals on the continent.

And the summit itself, while not expected to produce any large-scale trade agreements, is meant to signal a shift from purely humanitarian assistance to a two-way partnership.

“We believe it can be a game-changer in the U.S.-Africa relationship,” Rhodes said of the summit.

5. Not invited: While the bulk of Africa’s leaders will be in Washington, the continent’s most reviled leaders won’t be attending. They include Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir.

They weren’t invited because of their alleged human rights abuses.

Other controversial leaders — like Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, accused of crimes at the International Criminal Court — will attend.

Like any major diplomatic gathering, the Africa Leaders Summit has been an exercise in protocol and careful planning.

Instead of meeting with leaders separately, Obama has been scheduled for larger group discussions, to the disappointment of some who wanted to talk to him one-on-one.

“We just wouldn’t be able to do bilats with everybody, and so the simplest thing is for the President to devote his time to engaging broadly with all the leaders. That way we’re not singling out individuals at the expense of the other leaders,” Rhodes said.

He noted Obama would speak with each leader individually during a dinner at the White House on Tuesday.

That event has taken on state dinner-type proportions, with a large tent constructed on the South Lawn. Organizers have the added stress of accommodating leaders of 50 nations, all with varied religious and cultural sensitivities that must be respected.

For example, servers must know who drinks alcohol and who abstains for religious reasons.

It’s a reflection of just how diverse Africa is, and how high the stakes are for Obama as he forges new relationships there.

By Kevin Liptak, CNN White House producer


Leave a comment

Filed under Africa, America, Culture, Dr. Sa, Dr. SaFiya D. Hoskins, economics, Education, Health, International, President Obama, United States

Things Successful People Don’t Do!

There are zillions of articles on the must-dos of successful people. But there are also things that they don’t do, and they can be just as important on your path to success.

They don’t:

  • Spend precious time feeling sorry for themselves. They take responsibility and don’t complain. After a setback, you’ll hear ‘em say, “Oh well.” And then they move on.
  • Cringe at change. They in fact embrace change and consider it a challenge. To them, an environment filled with the possibilities of change is the best to work in because it has energy and can bring out the best in people.
  • Acquiesce their power. They understand that their strength revolves around their skills at managing how they respond. Power means keeping control of your emotions and actions, and that is not something you want to put in anyone else’s hands.
  • Spend time or energy on stuff that is out of their hands. A successful person will probably not whine about long lines, traffic or others. These are things they can’t control, and to spend precious time and energy on them is fruitless.
  • Fear risks. It’s not that they will jump into something… they will take a calculated risk. They will weigh the benefits against the risks before they go all in or step away.
  • Worry about that others think. That’s not to say they won’t speak up or defend their position. They just tend to be fair and even kind as they navigate their way through a situation where someone could get upset. It’s called finesse.
  • Make the same mistake. A successful person learns from a failure or loss and doesn’t let it happen again. They won’t try to get different results from the same actions.
  • Live for glory days. They don’t dwell on things that happened long ago and far away. They make their biggest investment in creating a fantastic present and amazing future!
  • Give up! Ever! They consider failure as a chance to improve, not give up. Failure is a learning experience to them that will provide the knowledge to eventually reach their goal.
  • Envy other people. That’s a big no-no. Successful people do not resent other people’s success. They show genuine happiness and use the success of another to fuel their own quest.
  • Avoid time alone. Actually, they enjoy some alone time to reflect and plan ahead. While a successful person does enjoy the company of others, he/she can also be content to sit alone and read or rest.
  • Expect quick success. They are in it to win it, and that could take years. Patience is indeed a virtue! They don’t expect immediate results, whether it’s with a weight loss program or a business venture.
  • Think they are owed something. Just because they have a college degree or already achieved a certain level of success, they don’t expect that the rest of the world owes them a big salary, amazing benefits or free lunch. They are always ready to work for what they want and desire.

 From Farrah Gray



Farrah Gray

Leave a comment

Filed under Beauty Brains & the Bottom Line, Dr. Sa, Dr. SaFiya D. Hoskins, Education, From Poverty to Prosperity, Perspective, Positive Thinking, Power of the mind

8 College Degrees That Will Earn Your Money Back

Is College Still Worth the Money? Maybe.

As the cost of education continues to skyrocket and job prospects remain less than robust in a tough economy, the answer to the question, “What are you majoring in?” seems more important than ever.

There’s no getting around it. Education is expensive. A four-year degree at a public university costs, on average, $37,343, while an education at a private school will set you back $121,930. While statistics show that a college degree will undoubtedly open doors and increase your earning potential, you need to choose your degree carefully to ensure you’re making a wise investment.goodroi_intro

Last week, we highlighted 8 college degrees with a poor return on investment. This week, we’ll head to the other end of the spectrum and show you 8 college degrees with great ROI (in no particular order), as well as some examples of jobs within each industry.


Calculate ROI for a specific degree, we first determined the overall cost of the degree. We allowed the degree holder four years to graduate. Using data from a recent College Board study, we assigned a figure of $37,343 as an average cost of a four-year public liberal arts degree, and a figure of $121,930 for degrees earned at four-year private colleges. The total cost included tuition, room and board, and books, and did not factor in scholarships or grants. We then determined the median cash compensation over the course of 30 years of typical jobs requiring that degree using Salary.com data. We used current Salary.com figures, but added 4.3% per year to account for inflation and cost of living increases. To determine ROI, we subtracted the cost of the degree from the gains over 30 years, then divided that figure by cost.

8. Math

If you love crunching numbers and solving complex problems, there are lots of career options for math majors with a great ROI. But of course you don’t need me to do the math! Here are three jobs commonly held by math majors (click on job title and/or salary for more information):

Median Salary: $70,029
30-Year Earnings: $4,130,308
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 110%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 33%

Median Salary: $146,456
30-Year Earnings: $8,637,969
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 230%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 70%

Median Salary: $76,241
30-Year Earnings: $4,496,691
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 119%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 36%

7. Information Technology

While the rest of us are happy when we find the computer’s “on” switch, IT majors actually know what’s going on inside. Here are three jobs commonly held by Information Technology majors:

Median Salary: $80,584
30-Year Earnings: $4,752,841
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 126%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 38%

Median Salary: $109,604
30-Year Earnings: $6,464,440
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 172%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 52%

Median Salary: $107,578
30-Year Earnings: $6,344,946
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 169%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 51%

6. Human Resources

Human resources majors serve as the gatekeepers to organizations, reviewing resumes, managing the hiring and firing processes, and developing policies that ensure employees are happy, healthy, and productive. Here are three jobs commonly held by human resources majors:

Median Salary: $94,978
30-Year Earnings: $5,601,799
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 149%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 45%

Median Salary: $88,916
30-Year Earnings: $5,244,262
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 139%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 42%

Median Salary: $87,184
30-Year Earnings: $5,142,109
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 137%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 41%

5. Economics

If you’re interested in how things are produced, distributed, and consumed, consider a major in economics. Three jobs held by economics majors include:

Median Salary: $115,671
30-Year Earnings: $6,822,271
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 182%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 55%

Median Salary: $108,732
30-Year Earnings: $6,413,009
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 171%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 52%

Median Salary: $142,921
30-Year Earnings: $8,429,475
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 225%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 68%

4. Biology

If you’re fascinated with the natural world, you can use that passion to make a good living by choosing to study biology. Three jobs held by biology majors include:

Median Salary: $85,292
30-Year Earnings: $5,030,519
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 134%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 40%

Median Salary: $72,812
30-Year Earnings: $4,294,449
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 114%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 34%

Median Salary: $71,758
30-Year Earnings: $4,232,284
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 114%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 34%

3. Engineering

Were you the kid who drove your parents crazy taking the toasters apart and putting them back together? Engineering majors have excellent problem solving skills and a knack for developing products, devices, and systems. Three jobs held by engineering majors include:

Median Salary: $75,225
30-Year Earnings: $4,436,768
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 118%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 35%

Median Salary: $71,715
30-Year Earnings: $4,229,748
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 112%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 34%

Median Salary: $91,997
30-Year Earnings: $5,425,980
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 144%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 44%

2. Marketing

If you’re interested in why people make the decisions they do, have excellent leadership qualities and the ability to persuade, and could sell ice to Eskimos, then consider majoring in marketing. Three jobs held by marketing majors include:

Median Salary: $86,591
30-Year Earnings: $5,107,134
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 136%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 41%

Median Salary: $92,216
30-Year Earnings: $5,438, 896
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 145%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 44%

Median Salary: $86,127
30-Year Earnings: $5,079,767
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 135%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 41%

1. English

What could be better? For four years you do lots of writing and reading, you talk about writing and reading, then follow up with more writing and reading. Then, the sky’s the limit. Common jobs held by English majors include:

Median Salary: $78,011
30-Year Earnings: $4,601,086
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 122%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 37%

Median Salary: $88,498
30-Year Earnings: $5,219,609
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 139%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 42%

Median Salary: $79,674
30-Year Earnings: $4,699,170
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Public College: 125%
ROI of Degree Earner Attending Private College: 38%

Make Your Money Count, But Do What You Love

When all is said and done, the best way to get the biggest bang for your education buck is to truly love what you do. But while few things contribute to your ultimate earning power like passion and excelling at what you do, it doesn’t hurt to know you’ll be able to pay off those college loans a little sooner!

Original article by Dawn Dugan: http://www.salary.com/8-college-degrees-that-will-earn-your-money-back/


Leave a comment

Filed under economics, Education, Information, United States