Betsy DeVos – Will What Happened in Michigan Happen in New York?

Money Matters

Betsy DeVos has been U.S. Education Secretary for little more than a week, yet concerns about her leadership haven’t abated. One reason? The poor performance of charter schools in DeVos’s home state of Michigan, where charter accountability is weak—and students are underperforming.

A week ago I spoke with Christina Brown, principal of the New Heights Academy Charter School near Harlem. DeVos may be an avid promoter of charter schools, but Brown is concerned about Michigan’s lack of oversight, and fears that DeVos could weaken charter accountability across the nation.

“Removing oversight allows for anyone to do whatever they want to do with people’s children,” Brown says. “We want to make sure she supports those states that provide proper oversight of charter schools and extend that accountability to states that don’t.”

New Heights Academy

Brown welcomes the fact that New York provides oversight, and says it helps to keep schools honest.

Brown submits an annual report that shows how New Heights is progressing against its stated charter goals. There are also annual visits and an annual accountability comprehensive review that is submitted to the New York City Department of Education.

Representatives from the department “go to schools and evaluate what you’re doing,” Brown says. “They may change your charter terms if you’re not making progress.” Charter schools can also be closed.

Little Accountability but Lots of Money

Because charter schools are allowed a lot of latitude—to allow for creative approaches that benefit children—there is opportunity for fraud, Brown says.

“You can select your own curriculum or develop your own positions,” she says. But if you hire a friend and there’s no objective evaluation of your friend’s effect on student learning, that can be problematic.

“Money is being funneled into those schools [in Michigan] without any real evidence that students are making progress.”

Can DeVos Succeed?

In spite of her concerns, Brown suggested a way that DeVos could be effective.

“They say that great leaders surround themselves with experts. They then facilitate idea generation and execution. If DeVos develops a brain trust, then she may do a good job. She has to find real practitioners—those in private schools, public schools, and charter schools, and they need to educate her about our work and then support her as she makes decisions that impact our country’s school-age children.

“The only way she can determine policy is to be involved with educators—in urban, suburban, rural areas.”

And Brown appreciates DeVos’s position, recognizing that the education secretary wields tremendous power that could affect every school in the nation by imposing federal mandates that would supersede state law.

“Title 1 money, money for English language learners or special ed students—all that money comes from the federal government,” Brown says. “Schools must comply with federal mandates in order to get those federal dollars.”

Betsy DeVos – Will What Happened in Michigan Happen in New York?

Money Matters

Betsy DeVos has been U.S. Education Secretary for little more than a week, yet concerns about her leadership haven’t abated. One reason? The poor performance of charter schools in DeVos’s home state of Michigan, where charter accountability is weak—and students are underperforming.

A week ago I spoke with Christina Brown, principal of the New Heights Academy Charter School near Harlem. DeVos may be an avid promoter of charter schools, but Brown is concerned about Michigan’s lack of oversight, and fears that DeVos could weaken charter accountability across the nation.

“Removing oversight allows for anyone to do whatever they want to do with people’s children,” Brown says. “We want to make sure she supports those states that provide proper oversight of charter schools and extend that accountability to states that don’t.”

New Heights Academy

Brown welcomes the fact that New York provides oversight, and says it helps to keep schools honest.

Brown submits an annual report that shows how New Heights is progressing against its stated charter goals. There are also annual visits and an annual accountability comprehensive review that is submitted to the New York City Department of Education.

Representatives from the department “go to schools and evaluate what you’re doing,” Brown says. “They may change your charter terms if you’re not making progress.” Charter schools can also be closed.

Little Accountability but Lots of Money

Because charter schools are allowed a lot of latitude—to allow for creative approaches that benefit children—there is opportunity for fraud, Brown says.

“You can select your own curriculum or develop your own positions,” she says. But if you hire a friend and there’s no objective evaluation of your friend’s effect on student learning, that can be problematic.

“Money is being funneled into those schools [in Michigan] without any real evidence that students are making progress.”

Can DeVos Succeed?

In spite of her concerns, Brown suggested a way that DeVos could be effective.

“They say that great leaders surround themselves with experts. They then facilitate idea generation and execution. If DeVos develops a brain trust, then she may do a good job. She has to find real practitioners—those in private schools, public schools, and charter schools, and they need to educate her about our work and then support her as she makes decisions that impact our country’s school-age children.

“The only way she can determine policy is to be involved with educators—in urban, suburban, rural areas.”

And Brown appreciates DeVos’s position, recognizing that the education secretary wields tremendous power that could affect every school in the nation by imposing federal mandates that would supersede state law.

“Title 1 money, money for English language learners or special ed students—all that money comes from the federal government,” Brown says. “Schools must comply with federal mandates in order to get those federal dollars.”

Exclusive: Why I Am Running For Mayor Of Detroit While Still In College

Detroit

img_2357 (Image: Latoya Colts)

 

It is no secret that President Donald Trump’s Administration, much like many leadership positions in the United States workforce, does not represent our nation’s diversity. As organizations and individuals start to dedicate more resources and training to empowering underrepresented groups to go into policy and government, I am taking my own stand.

I, too, believe that diverse constituents need diverse representation. That’s one of many reasons why I’m running for mayor of Detroit. If elected, I’ll be the first woman (African American or otherwise) to hold the position.

I’ve loved Detroit my entire life. I was born and raised in this city, coming up through the public school system and graduating from Lewis Cass Technical High School, where I first got involved with the volunteer organization BuildON. I became passionate about social action and non-political civic engagement outside of school too, volunteering for community service and neighborhood cleanups, and working with organizations like the Greening of Detroit, Gleaners Community Food Bank, the Boys and Girls Club, and many others.

But even though I was doing all this activism work, I never felt that interested in actual politics – especially given the terrible corruption that’s become synonymous with Detroit’s system. It wasn’t until I became a student at Michigan State University, where I’m now in my final year, that I realized how naive I’d been to think I could simply ignore politics. The political agenda is not isolated to the government sector; I became all too aware of the role they play in almost every important decision-making aspects of our lives, whether it’s applying to college, running for a leadership position of a student organization, or pursuing an internship or job. That’s when I decided that if I couldn’t circumvent the system, I’d join it—and work to change it from the inside.

In May, I’ll graduate from MSU with a bachelor’s in management and minors in Arabic and African American and African studies. Throughout my time here , I’ve held several elected leadership positions, including president of the Black Student Alliance (BSA). As a representative for the Black student community, I worked with allies of our program to advocate for cultural sensitivity and diversity training for faculty, staff, and police, helped secure in-state tuition for undocumented Michigan high school students, led marches and community discussions championing social justice, and pushed for the use of body cameras by MSUPD. These experiences gave me avenues to pursue social action and helped mold me into a productive citizen.

 

(Image: Latoya Colts)
(Image: Latoya Colts)

 

This past summer, I interned in the U.S. House of Representatives via the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence. There, I witnessed House Democrats — led by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia — occupy the House floor in a sit-in to draw attention to the continuous acts of gun violence across our country. Watching from the House Gallery, I was reminded of the hard roads paved by my ancestors, using similar nonviolent demonstrations, and I was inspired to promote greater unity among my generation.

The Hill, at its core, is run by millennials. The Representatives are the public faces, but we millennials are behind the scenes writing and researching policies, drafting letters to constituents, providing speaking points, and generally keep things running smoothly. I saw that I could have a real impact, especially as a Black woman given the alarming lack of diversity in Congress and many other government jobs — a reality I’m determined to correct.

After my summer on the Hill, I returned to Michigan reinvigorated and intent on bringing about real progress in Detroit. If we really want to effect change in our community, we need more diverse representation in our political system. There’s where I come in. If elected, I pledge to embolden women, millennials, and people of color through my candidacy.

To date, I’ve received encouragement, support, and words of wisdom around my decision to run for office. My eyes and ears are open for constructive criticism as I continue navigating the campaign trail. Here’s a rundown of what I stand for, what I hope to inspire, and what I am focused on.

 

Why I am running:

 

First Lady Michelle Obama’s goals concerning education really resonate with me. And I agree with her that we need to change the conversation about what it means to be a success in our country.

I’m also inspired by other young Black girls. I want to show them that creating change is possible. And that they can do so through elected office, be it as a mayor, a U.S. representative or senator, governor, or even by becoming the President of the United States.

It is my duty to speak up for what I believe in. It is not enough for me to know what beliefs I am willing to leverage to win a campaign. I also need to identify the tenets I hold so dearly that I’d rather lose than compromise them.

 

What issues I will prioritize:

 

There are many areas that I want to address. Gentrification in the Downtown/Midtown area of Detroit has displaced native residents and small businesses. It’s shameful. We need to think deeply about the development of Detroit without expatriating the people that keep the community thriving. While economic growth and diversity are important, the current strategy is unjust. Inclusivity should be the goal.

Detroit Police Department (DPD) reform is also crucial. Too often, communities witness police officers abusing their authority by harassing our youth and innocent citizens. This is not what Detroit is about. Community policing strategies need to be implemented, as well as diversity and inclusion training for all officers. If you do not know the people you have pledged to serve and protect, how can you effectively help them? A mutual understanding should be a goal of our DPD. Only then, will we be able to ensure the safety of our communities.

Our youth have also been left behind; there are far too few outlets for them to release energy and express their creativity. It’s time to make those resources a priority. We need more youth-focused leisure activities – more recreational centers, parks, after-school programs, art programs, and sports. These are the opportunities that will help disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Additionally, we must provide better resources for mental health care and raise awareness of such diseases in our schools. This means more technology, counseling, and programming for those suffering from mental illness.

myyaarticle

 

 

What I want to share with others who want to become more politically active but don’t know where to start:

Go out and get involved! It doesn’t matter if it’s volunteering for a local campaign, interning in a government office, or attending community meetings; these are all components of political activism. Let your preferences and skills direct your path and allow you to pinpoint your areas of interest. There is something to learn at every stop in your journey.

We can no longer sit back and wait for things to change or allow other people to tell us that we’re too young or inexperienced to make it happen ourselves.

No more fearing the unknown. It is imperative that we are a part of the process. This country belongs to us.

I love this quote from Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

This article originally appeared on The WellJopwell’s editorial hub. It is by TKTK. 


Jopwell helps America’s leading companies connect with and recruit Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American professionals and students at scale. Sign up to find your dream job.

Exclusive: Why I Am Running For Mayor Of Detroit While Still In College

Detroit

img_2357 (Image: Latoya Colts)

 

It is no secret that President Donald Trump’s Administration, much like many leadership positions in the United States workforce, does not represent our nation’s diversity. As organizations and individuals start to dedicate more resources and training to empowering underrepresented groups to go into policy and government, I am taking my own stand.

I, too, believe that diverse constituents need diverse representation. That’s one of many reasons why I’m running for mayor of Detroit. If elected, I’ll be the first woman (African American or otherwise) to hold the position.

I’ve loved Detroit my entire life. I was born and raised in this city, coming up through the public school system and graduating from Lewis Cass Technical High School, where I first got involved with the volunteer organization BuildON. I became passionate about social action and non-political civic engagement outside of school too, volunteering for community service and neighborhood cleanups, and working with organizations like the Greening of Detroit, Gleaners Community Food Bank, the Boys and Girls Club, and many others.

But even though I was doing all this activism work, I never felt that interested in actual politics – especially given the terrible corruption that’s become synonymous with Detroit’s system. It wasn’t until I became a student at Michigan State University, where I’m now in my final year, that I realized how naive I’d been to think I could simply ignore politics. The political agenda is not isolated to the government sector; I became all too aware of the role they play in almost every important decision-making aspects of our lives, whether it’s applying to college, running for a leadership position of a student organization, or pursuing an internship or job. That’s when I decided that if I couldn’t circumvent the system, I’d join it—and work to change it from the inside.

In May, I’ll graduate from MSU with a bachelor’s in management and minors in Arabic and African American and African studies. Throughout my time here , I’ve held several elected leadership positions, including president of the Black Student Alliance (BSA). As a representative for the Black student community, I worked with allies of our program to advocate for cultural sensitivity and diversity training for faculty, staff, and police, helped secure in-state tuition for undocumented Michigan high school students, led marches and community discussions championing social justice, and pushed for the use of body cameras by MSUPD. These experiences gave me avenues to pursue social action and helped mold me into a productive citizen.

 

(Image: Latoya Colts)
(Image: Latoya Colts)

 

This past summer, I interned in the U.S. House of Representatives via the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence. There, I witnessed House Democrats — led by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia — occupy the House floor in a sit-in to draw attention to the continuous acts of gun violence across our country. Watching from the House Gallery, I was reminded of the hard roads paved by my ancestors, using similar nonviolent demonstrations, and I was inspired to promote greater unity among my generation.

The Hill, at its core, is run by millennials. The Representatives are the public faces, but we millennials are behind the scenes writing and researching policies, drafting letters to constituents, providing speaking points, and generally keep things running smoothly. I saw that I could have a real impact, especially as a Black woman given the alarming lack of diversity in Congress and many other government jobs — a reality I’m determined to correct.

After my summer on the Hill, I returned to Michigan reinvigorated and intent on bringing about real progress in Detroit. If we really want to effect change in our community, we need more diverse representation in our political system. There’s where I come in. If elected, I pledge to embolden women, millennials, and people of color through my candidacy.

To date, I’ve received encouragement, support, and words of wisdom around my decision to run for office. My eyes and ears are open for constructive criticism as I continue navigating the campaign trail. Here’s a rundown of what I stand for, what I hope to inspire, and what I am focused on.

 

Why I am running:

 

First Lady Michelle Obama’s goals concerning education really resonate with me. And I agree with her that we need to change the conversation about what it means to be a success in our country.

I’m also inspired by other young Black girls. I want to show them that creating change is possible. And that they can do so through elected office, be it as a mayor, a U.S. representative or senator, governor, or even by becoming the President of the United States.

It is my duty to speak up for what I believe in. It is not enough for me to know what beliefs I am willing to leverage to win a campaign. I also need to identify the tenets I hold so dearly that I’d rather lose than compromise them.

 

What issues I will prioritize:

 

There are many areas that I want to address. Gentrification in the Downtown/Midtown area of Detroit has displaced native residents and small businesses. It’s shameful. We need to think deeply about the development of Detroit without expatriating the people that keep the community thriving. While economic growth and diversity are important, the current strategy is unjust. Inclusivity should be the goal.

Detroit Police Department (DPD) reform is also crucial. Too often, communities witness police officers abusing their authority by harassing our youth and innocent citizens. This is not what Detroit is about. Community policing strategies need to be implemented, as well as diversity and inclusion training for all officers. If you do not know the people you have pledged to serve and protect, how can you effectively help them? A mutual understanding should be a goal of our DPD. Only then, will we be able to ensure the safety of our communities.

Our youth have also been left behind; there are far too few outlets for them to release energy and express their creativity. It’s time to make those resources a priority. We need more youth-focused leisure activities – more recreational centers, parks, after-school programs, art programs, and sports. These are the opportunities that will help disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Additionally, we must provide better resources for mental health care and raise awareness of such diseases in our schools. This means more technology, counseling, and programming for those suffering from mental illness.

myyaarticle

 

 

What I want to share with others who want to become more politically active but don’t know where to start:

Go out and get involved! It doesn’t matter if it’s volunteering for a local campaign, interning in a government office, or attending community meetings; these are all components of political activism. Let your preferences and skills direct your path and allow you to pinpoint your areas of interest. There is something to learn at every stop in your journey.

We can no longer sit back and wait for things to change or allow other people to tell us that we’re too young or inexperienced to make it happen ourselves.

No more fearing the unknown. It is imperative that we are a part of the process. This country belongs to us.

I love this quote from Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

This article originally appeared on The WellJopwell’s editorial hub. It is by TKTK. 


Jopwell helps America’s leading companies connect with and recruit Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American professionals and students at scale. Sign up to find your dream job.

Flint Residents Not Convinced By New Report That Says Water is Safer

Flint

A new report indicates that the water system in Flint, Michigan, no longer contains excess levels of lead that surpass federal limits. However, Flint’s residents, who have been affected by lead poisoning in their drinking water, say the man-made water crisis is nowhere near resolved.

The deadly water fiasco began in 2014 after an official appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder switched the community’s water supply source to the Flint River. As a result, lead-contaminated water was streamed into the homes of thousands of Flint residents for months. The water also corroded Flint’s pipes. Following the public health crisis, a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak linked to the water killed a dozen people.

On Tuesday, state government officials released a letter stating that the elevated level of lead has been contained.

Per The Associated Press:

The 90th percentile of lead concentrations in Flint was 12 parts per billion from July through December, below the “action level” of 15 ppb, according to a letter from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to Flint’s mayor. It was 20 ppb in the prior six-month period.

Based on the sample of 368 residential sites, Flint’s lead levels are again comparable to other similarly sized U.S. cities with older infrastructure, state officials said.

“This is good news and the result of many partners on the local, county, state and federal levels working together to restore the water quality in the City of Flint,” said the department’s director, Heidi Grether, in a statement. “The Flint water system is one of the most monitored systems in the country for lead and copper, and that commitment will remain to ensure residents continue to have access to clean water.”

Gov. Snyder also released a statement praising the report.

“The remarkable improvement in water quality over the past year is a testament to all levels of government working together and the resilient people of Flint helping us help them through participation in the flushing programs,” it reads.

Despite the “good news,” community residents say it’s way too early to celebrate, especially since officials are advising residents to only consume filtered or bottled water until new water pipes are replaced in the city.

Melissa Mays, a community advocate with Flint Rising, told The AP that the new report “means nothing. There’s still lead in the system.”

She went on to argue that, “Numbers always fluctuate and the department only tested one percent of homes in one period of time in Flint. These reports are premature and it gives residents and everyone else a false sense of security that things are getting better when they are not,” she told NBC News.

Other residents, like 49-year-old disabled veteran Arthur Woodson, say the water is “still not safe.”

Likewise, resident and mother Tonya Blooming questioned the government’s progress. “If it’s been years and I still can’t drink or use the water, then what progress is that?” she asked. “Lead numbers change week to week, and I have a feeling there will be another report later on that will negate this one. It’s happened to me before.”

“Reports like this butter people up so it looks like things are all great, but is really just laying the groundwork to exit without actually doing anything,” added Flint resident Donald Harbin.

On Wednesday, Detroit rapper Big Sean announced on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah that his foundation raised almost $100,000 to help victims in Flint. He also expressed his own personal views on the public health crisis and revealed that his mother was affected by the lead poisoning.

“It’s not even close to being over,” he said. “That situation wasn’t a natural disaster. It’s something that should’ve been prevented and could’ve been prevented, so it’s just disgusting to think about the damages that these families and even kids have to go through with the lead poisoning.”

 

 


Selena HillSelena Hill is the Associate Digital Editor at Black Enterprise and the founder of Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio. You can hear her and her team talk millennial politics and social issues every Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.

Learn more about the water crisis by listening to her 2016 radio interview with Flint activist Nayyirah Shariff, Coordinator with the Flint Democracy Defense League, below.

 



Flint Sees Record-Breaking Voter Turnout, Polls to Run Out of Ballots

(Image: Wikipedia.org)

On Tuesday night, Flint residents came out in droves to cast their votes for the Michigan primary.

By 4 p.m., NBC 25 reported that at least three Flint precincts had run out of ballots and were forced to either turn voters away, or have them wait until more ballots could be retrieved.

[Related: Ryan Coogler and Jesse Williams Talk Using Star Power to Bring #JusticeForFlint]

City of Flint Clerk, Inez Brown, told MLive.com that she had never seen such high turnout in her 20 years as a city clerk.

“It’s an unprecedented high turnout for a closed primary presidential election for the city of Flint,” Brown said.

City officials pointed to the city’s ongoing water crisis as cause for the drastic uptick in ballots cast.

County Clerk, Justin Gleason, had expected long lines at the ballot. “The city of Flint has been in the national news for five months. People want to be heard. They are tired, and the city’s water crisis is one reason they are showing up to vote,” Gleason said.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver had a similar message. “Our voices were not heard, and now people are becoming more involved. I’m glad people are feeling empowered and encouraged to come out [and] vote.”

Young, Gifted and Black: High IQ 6-Year-Old Suspended Twice

Six-year-old Isaiah of Waterford, Michigan, taught himself to read before he was 2 years old.

At 6, he reads books for fifth and sixth graders and does math on a fourth grade level. But not unlike many accelerated learners, Isaiah is having a tough time in school.

“He is my first child,” says Asha Kasoga, his mother. “I didn’t know anything about child development. It wasn’t until he went to daycare at 21 months and his teacher mentioned to me that he might be gifted that I learned he wasn’t like other kids.”

[Related: Supporting Your Gifted Child With or Without the ‘Gifted’ Label]

As a toddler, little Isaiah was captivated by the power of language and would spend hours playing with letters and words. He would point them out wherever he went, and could sound out and read big words like elephant and rhinoceros. His daycare teacher, who was white, thought he might be gifted and suggested testing to Kasoga. His IQ falls within the gifted range.

As Kasoga began reading up about giftedness, she learned that accelerated learning is about more than just being ‘smart.’ Gifted children can be hypersensitive and intense. Many develop asynchronously.

For example, Isaiah will watch science programs on TV for hours—and write pages of copious notes. “But he will also throw a temper tantrum like a 2-year-old,” Kasoga says.

Donna Y. Ford, an expert on accelerated learners of color, is familiar with children like Isaiah. “Asynchrony is the term used to describe the mismatch between cognitive, emotional, and physical development of gifted individuals. Asynchronous development is viewed as a major hallmark of giftedness. The more extreme the intellectual advancement, the more extreme the asynchrony.”

Although Kasoga understands her son’s needs, the charter school he attends is unenlightened. His kindergarten teacher worked with him individually to give him the challenging work he needed; however, his first-grade teacher is taking a disastrous approach.

“She said she wanted to focus on his social and emotional development, and since he was already ahead we didn’t have to worry about his academic work.”

Predictably, his behavior has deteriorated—“because he’s bored,” his mother says—and the school wants to have him labeled emotionally impaired.

Kasoga says the school has sent home fourth grade worksheets as a way of providing “enrichment”—without any explanation. “Of course he doesn’t know what the rising and falling action of a story is—because no one has taught him.”

The school has also sent Isaiah home—the 6-year-old has been suspended twice.

Too few teachers are trained in gifted education, says Ford, a professor of education and human development at Vanderbilt University. Unfortunately, Michigan doesn’t fund gifted education. To truly obtain such services, Kasoga would have to send her son to private school.

She is planning to apply for a scholarship to one near her home.

For more about being young, gifted and black, see the other posts in the series on the BE Smart website.

In the News: Flint, Michigan

There has been a lot of recent news surrounding the Flint Water Crisis in Detroit, Michigan. Early last year, the Environmental Protection Agency was made aware of the toxic levels of lead that had leaked into the water after Flint made the Flint River its primary source of water due to a financial state of emergency, but they made no effort to make the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality treat the water.

This led to poisoning, sickness, and the possibility of long-term neurological damage in children. African Americans make up a whopping 56.6% of the city’s population. The crisis is now being referred to by many people as both genocide and environmental racism, and several communities and leaders are calling on Governor Rick Snyder to be arrested.

Here are three recent updates on Flint:

1. Hillary Clinton has made Environmental Racism a Campaign Issue
At the Democratic presidential debate on Jan. 17, Hillary Clinton responded, “the Flint Water Crisis” when asked what issue the candidates felt had been neglected during the debate. The following day, on Martin Luther King. Jr. Day, she continued to voice her anger. At an event in South Carolina, Clinton stated, “We would be outraged if this happened to white kids, and we should be outraged that it’s happening right now to black kids.” While the media have debated whether or not Clinton is trying to capitalize on a political moment or rather to help the community to fight their battle and raise awareness to the issue, her outrage has sparked much-needed attention on Flint.

[Related: 5 Ways You Can Help the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan]

2. Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman Urges House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Chairman to Have Governor Rick Snyder Testify During Upcoming Hearing.
On Jan. 28, CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield sent a letter to the oversight and government reform chairman, urging him to call upon Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder, to testify during the latest court hearing. The letter held, “The harm experienced by the residents of Flint is irreversible and multi-generational. The governor has admitted harm, numerous missteps, and seemingly has a blatant disregard for the care of the citizens of Flint. Governor Snyder has been a central figure in the decision-making process that led to the water crisis and, to that end, should be invited to testify before the Committee.” Earlier in January, the CBC also sent President Obama a letter, asking for a thorough investigation of all entities that had oversight in the Flint water crisis, in addition to urging for immediate funding to assist the city in its recovery.

3. National Society of Black Engineers urges officials to make things right in Flint.
Neville Green, the national chair of the National Society of Black Engineers, holds that cultural responsibility is extremely important, and that the elected officials in Flint, Mich., have failed the community, as well as threatening their safety. Who did this impact the most? Its youth. the NSBE is actively engaging in donations, educating the community on water safety, and coming up with new solutions with engineers. The NSBE is challenging all civil leaders, black organizations, and student movements to join in the support of the movement, removing the dangerous substances and restoring the community’s basic right of access to clean water.

President Obama Gives $80 Million to Flint Water Crisis

BE_President Obama

(Image: File)

Amid the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where residents are exposed to water with toxic levels of lead, President Obama said Thursday that he and his administration are giving $80 million to Michigan to help repair the city’s water infrastructure.

Speaking to a room full of mayors at the White House, Obama called the water contamination in Flint an “inexcusable” situation.

“Our children should not have to be worried about the water that they’re drinking in American cities,” he said. “That’s not something that we should accept.”

[RELATED: 5 Ways You Can Help the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan]

A White House official said the $80 million will be made available to Michigan immediately. However, it will be up to the state to decide how much of the money will be used towards Flint.

In addition to $80 million from the federal government, the state of Michigan is giving $28 million for bottled waters and filters, as well as health, educational and nutritional services for children with lead in their bloodstreams.

“I want to thank President Obama for quickly responding to our request for federal assistance,” The Detroit News reports U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing)  saying in a statement.

“This is the type of leadership and action my community deserves,” added Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint.

With $80 million in federal funding, Michigan has to submit a plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 office with details on how it intends to use the money.