Higher Education News
The Trump Administration Just Rescinded Obama-Era Guidance on Race-Conscious Admissions Policies. So What?
Grand Canyon U. Isn’t Just Becoming a Nonprofit. It’s Also Testing a Model That Could Change Higher Ed.
[Note: The U.S. Department of Education’s Youth Engagement Team was pleased to host students affected by homelessness and their peer leaders from SchoolHouse Connection for a listening session with Jason Botel, principal deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. He was recently appointed vice-chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. The session provided students an opportunity to discuss obstacles that homeless students encounter in pursuing their education, and the practices and policies that can help them succeed. The students present endured repeated moves between schools and unstable living situations; they also experienced hunger, deep poverty, and in many cases, parental abandonment and abuse. Despite these challenges, they are still pursuing their educations in college.
One of those students, Latte Harris, shares her experiences and highlights the challenges she and many others face while homeless.]
Have you wondered what being homeless is like? Being homeless is like driving a car with three wheels. You don’t have all the tools you need to succeed. While other cars zip past you, hope begins to dissipate with every passing mile. It is like living two different lives. At school, I was stressed about how to hide my homelessness and, when I wasn’t at school, I was stressed about how to satisfy at least my immediate needs.
Being homeless has taught me that nothing is handed to you. A person has to work hard for what he or she desires the most. In high school, my sisters and I had to wake up at the crack of dawn to leave our motel room in Oregon with all of our belongings, and take three buses and a mass transit train to make it to school in Washington State.
Every night we stayed in a different motel. The only thing I could control was my grades. The feeling of getting an A at the end of the term was all I needed to remind me that I would survive, in and out of school. I was confident only in my education and my resolve to succeed. I knew that the only way to break the cycle of poverty in my family’s life was to gain an education. The day I received my high school diploma from Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Washington, was surreal. And, I knew I wouldn’t stop there.
Today, I am a first-generation college student at Portland State University, and I hope to major in sociology. Through my studies, I’ve been empowered to initiate change in my family that will allow us to acquire economic and socio-emotional wealth.
Being homeless robbed my family and me of an understanding of how the world works. Receiving a college degree will ensure that I can obtain the cultural capital necessary to help support my family and others affected by homelessness. It is important for me to be able to ensure that others understand how to navigate social systems and achieve success, while still offering active support.
The Department of Education has a team of individuals dedicated to addressing the needs of students affected by homelessness. The Education for Homeless Children and Youths (EHCY) Program collaborates with a variety of federal partners to serve children, youths and families experiencing homelessness. Meeting with the Department of Education’s staff was important to me because it highlighted that homeless students have the ability to achieve more when they have the right supports and services.
I was pleased to hear about the various support programs and guidance that EHCY provides to local homeless education liaisons because my liaison was critical to me, and to students in similar situations. It was important to share my personal experience with Jason Botel, because his work will impact many students like me.
Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve made it this far, and that brings me an immense amount of relief and hope as I work to break the cycle of poverty in my family’s life through educational attainment.
Latte Harris graduated from Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Washington. She is majoring in sociology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.
Photographer: Joshua Hoover, ED Studio Team
The post Overcoming Homelessness and Poverty through Education appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
The art exhibit “Total Tolerance,” featuring 2018 YoungArts winners in design, photography, visual arts and writing, recently opened at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The first YoungArts exhibit at ED, it features a collection of work from 21 student artists and celebrates religious, cultural, gender and racial diversity. The works reflect the artists’ personal views on inequality and social justice and, in some cases, are directly rooted in their lived experiences.
YoungArts has been the sole nominating organization for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts since 1979. That year, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. Evan Plummer, senior director of education for the National YoungArts Foundation, remarked, “For 37 years, YoungArts has identified and nurtured the most promising artists in the United States across 10 arts disciplines. The winners come from all 50 states and with a passion for their artistic practice.” Two of the artists featured in the exhibit, Ameya Okamoto of Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon, and Aidan Forester of South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, were selected as 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars.
The arts give all students the opportunity to experience a well-rounded education and an outlet to express issues that are affecting them in their daily lives. Jason Botel, principal deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, opened the program by stating the importance of the arts in allowing for this type of dialogue. He said, “Through arts … we gain a better understanding of one another and positively influence human lives in ways that no other academic discipline can possibly duplicate.”
The audience enjoyed a performance from 2018 YoungArts winner in spoken word, TiKa Wallace. An 11th-grader at George Mason High School in Falls Church, Virginia, she shared her view of the world — a result of her experiencing different communities and schools, and finding her voice within them. Performing her award-winning piece, “Death Jokes,” she asked the audience to “consider what you say before you say it” as in “When someone says ‘I feel like I’m going to die,’ You take them seriously” because “You had no idea what it means to be so powerless until you are … Watching someone self-destruct.”
Wallace’s mother, Katherine Williams, sent her from five to 10 years of age to the Shakespeare in the Park camp where she acted in and directed plays. Williams said “TiKa’s art gives a voice to other teens. … it is good that adults, as well, are hearing what teens are saying, thinking and feeling about the world.” Wallace said that, after she graduates, she would like to study American Sign Language interpretation and explore a career in theatre.
Amal Haddad, a senior at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Maryland, took her first visual arts classes in high school. Her winning YoungArts piece, “United in Anger,” is an artwork series she created about the 1980s AIDS epidemic, inspired by the Gran Fury activist artist collective in New York City that was determined to use the power of art to resolve the AIDS crisis. Haddad explained that she wrote a paper on AIDS that had to be devoid of emotion. Since she didn’t have a way to express her feelings in the writing assignment, she decided to put her piece back in the printer and superimpose the slogan “United in Anger” on it. This became an award-winning piece of art. Haddad’s experience in YoungArts resulted in a phenomenal success for her: “The first time I submitted work to an arts competition,” she said, “it was accepted.” This fall, she will attend Swarthmore College to study English.
Prior to the ceremonial ribbon-cutting that formally opened the exhibit, Jacquelyn Zimmermann, director of ED’s Student Art Exhibit Program, invited the audience to speak to the artists during the viewing to help advance an understanding and tolerance of other viewpoints. She said, “The performing and the visual arts are honest, courageous revelations from various experiences and personal views of the artists on issues of inequality, social justice and intolerance. … these demonstrations of problem solving represent the value and power of the arts, and why every student should have the opportunity to learn them in school.”
The exhibit is on display until June 30, 2018. You are invited to view the work and join the conversation on “total tolerance.”
Click here for photos of this exhibit opening.
Chareese Ross is in the Department of Education’s Office of Communications and Outreach.
All photos are by ED photographer Leslie Williams.
ED’s Student Art Exhibit Program provides students and teachers with an opportunity to display creative work from the classroom in a highly public space that honors it as an effective path to learning and knowledge for all. To visit the exhibits or for information about exhibiting, contact Jackye Zimmermann at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.ed.gov/student-art-exhibit.