Monday, May 29, 2017

Teacher under fire for awarding seventh-graders 'Most Likely To Blend In With White People'

This may have been intended as a jocular comment on the pupils' achievements in schoolwork

A second middle school student has spoken out about a crass school award she received, as it emerges that the teacher said to be responsible for the ceremony is a former cheerleader for the Houston Texas.

Sydney Caesar, 13, has revealed the cringe-worthy 'Most Likely To Blend In With White People' she said she received in a mock awards ceremony at Anthony Aguirre Junior High School in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday.

Her seventh-grade classmate Lizeth Villanueva, also 13, had previously spoken out about her own award, 'Most Likely To Become A Terrorist', bestowed the day after the horror bombing in Manchester Arena.

Meanwhile, the teacher responsible for the awards has been named as Stacy Lockett, who on social media and in prior news reports professes to be a former cheerleader for the Houston Texans.

She teachers in the middle school's AVID program, which is a college prep course. A page with her contact information on the school's website had been deactivated on Saturday.

Lockett has not spoken publicly about her reasoning for the awards and could not be reached for comment by

Channelview Independent School District official Mark Kramer told KPRC the award ceremony was a 'poor attempt to poke fun' and that the activity 'wasn't well thought out'.

The principal personally apologized to the family and the school announced on Thursday that the teachers involved had been disciplined.

The school district has also issued an apology, but Lizeth's mother says it doesn't excuse the action. 'We're really upset about it coming from a teacher,' Ena Hernandez said.

'That program is supposed to be for advanced kids. It is kind of hard to believe that she's doing that. Being a teacher, giving this to a 13-year-old. How is she going to feel when she grows up later on?'

'For that child to either be called a terrorist or she's not black enough, basically now the students are taking that and that's her label for the rest of the school year,' her mother Latonya Robinson told the local Fox affiliate.

In a statement, the school district said: 'The district does not condone the incident that occurred and we are taking this matter very seriously.'


Students and Faculty Protesters Demand Punishment of College Republicans Chapter

Student and faculty protesters rushed a college administration building Monday calling for the school to punish its College Republicans chapter.

Orange Coast College faculty and students protested the College Republicans chapter after the group published emails from OCC professor Jessica Alabi to Orange Coast College President Dennis Harkins. The emails revealed the professor said she would “stand up” to the group, if the president did not, according to Campus Reform.

The materials also showed that Alabi stopped members of the group from attending a campus event because, she said, they were perceived as a threat to the “safe space.”

The College Repuplicans want OCC to investigate the professor.

The protesters shouted, “No hate, no KKK, no fascist USA” and “Get that club out of our face.” Students held socialist flags and symbols or signs mocking the College Republicans.

“It makes no sense to me why the union and a vocal minority of students would protest against the OCC Republicans for simply asking for an investigation into the matter and protections for students from being discriminated against on the basis of their political affiliation,” said Joshua Recalde-Martinez, the OCC College Republicans’ former president.

OCC’s College Republicans chapter has come under increasing faculty scrutiny since December, when the group released a video depicting an OCC professor calling President Donald Trump’s election an “act of terrorism.” The student who recorded that incident was temporarily suspended, while the professor received a “Faculty Member of the Year” award.

“The OCC administration has done everything in its power to silence the College Republicans for standing up for what they believe in,” said Peter Van Voorhis, who has worked with the group and reported extensively on controversies surrounding it for Campus Reform. “It’s incredible that in 2017, colleges across America continue to marginalize conservative students to promote their own leftist agenda.”

“Intellectual diversity is a hallmark of higher education, and there is certainly none left at OCC after today’s incident.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation sought comment from the university, but received none by press time.


Trump to grant student loan servicing work to just one company

The Department of Education said it will hand over the work of servicing federal student loans to one company — from the current roster of nine — in what it says is a money-saving move, triggering concern and criticism from student loan advocates who fear customer service would get worse.

The department estimates the move will save about $130 million in the next five years. "Savings are expected to increase significantly over the life of the contract,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “Borrowers can expect to see a more user-friendly loan servicing interface, shorter email and call response times and an improved payment application method.”

Of about $1.4 trillion of student debt now owed by 44 million Americans, a vast majority of the total -- more than $1 trillion -- is issued by the Education Department. The government currently outsources the work of handling payment, collection, payment deferment and general customer service to nine private companies.

The average student loan debt in every state
By granting the business to one company, the government will create "a trillion dollar bank," said Natalia Abrams, executive director of Student Debt Crisis, an advocacy group. "The too-big-to-fail is what we saw with the banks in 2008," she said. "I see this already as an industry out of control, with high profit. And in creating one company...there would be no competition."

The nine loan service providers are: Navient, CornerStone, Granite State, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, HESC/Edfinancial, MOHELA, Nelnet, OSLA Servicing and FedLoan Servicing (also known as Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, or PHEAA).

Navient, which was spun off from Sallie Mae in 2014, is the largest U.S. federal student loan servicer. Shares of Navient rose nearly 2% on Friday. They were up 0.4% in Monday morning trading. The company declined to comment.

The process to streamline the federal student loan servicing contracts began under the Obama administration, which sought to narrow the list of qualifying vendors to four companies — Navient, Great Lakes, Nelnet and FedLoan Servicing. The companies from that narrowed list will submit their proposals to the Education Department to compete for the exclusive government contract. In anticipation of the change, Great Lakes and Nelnet have formed a joint venture, called GreatNet Solutions, to bid for the contract.

It remains unclear when the change will take place. The Education Department will seek the vendors' detailed plans and answer their questions until July 10. Once the contract is awarded, the winning company has 18 months to implement its service. The winner and its subcontractors will be required to sign "level-of-service" agreements, promising to comply with federal standards.


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