Category Archives: Education

Curry Reestablishes Howard’s Golf Program

Stephen Curry made a million dollar donation to restart Howard University's golf program.

NBA star Stephen Curry made a million dollar donation to restart Howard University’s golf program.

By Free Radical

Further dipping his toes in the realm of philanthropy, NBA superstar Stephen Curry made a significant donation to Howard University which will revamp its golf program. Though an exact amount was not revealed, the Washington Post reveals the contribution is at least $1 million over the next six years.

Under Armour, who Curry has a sponsorship deal with, will provide clothing for the golf teams. Golf merchandise company Callaway will provide equipment. It is believed that after this period Howard will be able to develop an endowment fund that will pay for the program.

The decision to fund the program stemmed from another outreach effort taken on by Curry. This year he executive produced Emanuel, a documentary on the 2015 massacre of parishioners at Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel AME Church in 2015. At a screening of the film at Howard’s Washington D.C. campus, Otis Ferguson, a college junior and golf enthusiast engaged Curry about their shared love for the sport. Ferguson told Curry about his failed attempts to start a golf team at the school.

“To hear somebody as passionate about the game as I was, all the while still pursuing their education at Howard … impacted me,” Curry said.

That chance conversation eventually resulted in Curry’s donation which by the 2020-2021 school year will pay for a coach and three scholarship athletes, two women and one man. Competing in the Division I, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Howard will be one of the few HBCUs, almost 30 out of about 100, that have golf programs. Such programs are traditionally expensive to run. HBCUS, often times with limited resources, focus on sports better positioned to generate revenue such as football and basketball.

The lack of golfing programs not only males a university’s athletic programs less diverse, but it also disadvantages students who can leverage their golf skills in the professional world. “It’s a big opportunity for us to expose students to a game that oftentimes is played as business deals are decided and a game that generations of families can play together,” Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick said.

Curry also intends to make his program an instrument to enhance diversity in the world of golf. “I just think about how many kids, especially from underserved communities, have the talent to play but just don’t have the funds or the resources,” Curry said.

This lesson of giving back will be impressed upon the student athletes who participate in Howard’s golf program. All will be required to volunteer for Curry and his wife Ayesha’s “Eat.Learn.Play.” program which promotes the healthy development of children.

“It’s significant. That’s the argument I’ve been trying to make since I assumed the presidency,” said Frederick. “This is one of America’s best investments. HBCUs, the return on the investment has been incredible for the country.”

Wash U. Goes to $15 Minimum Wage

By Free Radical

Washington University will have a $15 minimum wage by 2020.

Washington University will raise its minimum wage to $15 by 2020.

Starting in July 2021, all Washington University employees will be making at least $15 per hour. Last week, Chancellor Andrew Martin announced that it would gradually raise the school’s minimum wage “because it is the right thing to do.”

As of July 1, 2019 the wage floor for regular employees and basic service contractors will be set at $12.65 and $12.25 respectively. The following year, starting on July 1, 2020, both regular employees and contractors will make $13.80 per hour. Both groups of workers will make $15 per hour in July 2020. The announcement, however, does not apply to graduate students.

The increase marks years of local grassroots agitation that has pushed for a $15 per hour minimum wage. A plank for region wide pay increases was also in the 2015 Forward through Ferguson report created in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown. The Service Employees International Union Local 1 also pushed for the measure.

The increase is poised to help nearly 1200 employees. In his announcement, Martin noted that the hike is not without precedent. He expressed that that the university’s “current minimum wage is well above the regional average, as well as federal and state mandates.”

Nonetheless, some observers say that even the $15 minimum wage is not enough for most local families. Many of the impacted employees are likely not full time workers and thus not only miss out on more hours, but also crucial benefits. According to a report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Missouri employee who works 40 hours every week of the year would need to make $11.14 per hour to support herself. However, if an adult has just one child, she would need a living wage of $23.44 per hour. Adults who have three children would need $34.02 per hour.

First Cohort of Wash U Prison Program Graduates

By Free Radical

Endocrinologist and Howard professor Stanley Andrisse was selected as the guest speaker at the Prison Education Project graduation.

Endocrinologist and Howard professor Stanley Andrisse was selected as the guest speaker at the Prison Education Project graduation. The native of Florrisant also spent time in prison before earning his Ph.D.

On Wednesday, the first ten members of Washington University’s Prison Education Project program graduated with associates degrees. The ceremony, held at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in the town of Pacific, was attended by friends, family, prison staff, and university representatives.

The Prison Education Program began in 2014 and offers for credit college courses to inmates and prison staff. This feature is done to foster mutual understanding from both groups’ participation in an academic community.

Each semester students take two to four classes in areas such as ethnography, calculus, and religion.

“It awakened something in me that needed to be awakened,” graduate Kareem Martin said.

The program is one of nearly 200 in the country that attempt to reduce recidivism by making incarceration a truly rehabilative experience. This is done in spite of consistent threats to prison funding by state legislatures.  Wash. U’s program is funded by the university.

St. Louis University has a similar program in Bonne Terre and since its inception in 2008, none of its graduates returned to prison.

This year’s speaker was the endocrinologist and Howard University Assistant Professor Stanley Andrisse. Andrisse was relatable as he is from Ferguson, Missouri, has three felony convictions, and spent ten years in prison.

“You have a piece of paper that will open doors that you never imagined would be opened,” Andrisse told the graduates. “Education is transformative. Use it to rewrite your story.”

Kamala Harris Unveils Education Policy

Kamala Harris has centered teacher compensation as crucial in her education policy.

Senator Kamala Harris has centered teacher pay as crucial in her education policy.

By Free Radical

Gearing for the height of the election season, Senator Kamala Harris released her education policy last week. The ambitious plan promises to raise teacher annual salaries on average by $13,500.

The proposal would create incentives for local school districts to receive federal funding. It would be paid for by strengthening the estate tax which was was lowered by the Trump administration. If elected, Harris would reverse the change and then close additional loopholes.

“You can judge a society by the way it treats its children,” Harris said at a campaign rally in Houston. “And one of the greatest expressions of love that a society can give its children is educating those children with the resources they need.”

Harris’s plan promises to specifically target communities of color by providing additional targeted investments to raise the salaries of teachers who work at schools that have large populations of students and faculties of color.

The proposal will also make specific allocations to HBCUs which are recommended to receive half the money earmarked for collegiate education programs that include teacher and administrator residencies, mentoring partnerships, and career ladder models.

Harris, an alum of Howard University in Washington D.C., recently cosponsored a bipartisan bill that would allocate money to HBCUs to preserve historic buildings on their campuses.

She has also championed raising the federal Pell Grant and enhancing the research capacity at HBCUs in such emerging fields as artificial intelligence.