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Making Strides for Preschool

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary - Funding preschoolNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ran on a campaign to fund full-day public preschool for all New York City children through a modest increased income tax on residents making more than $500,000 a year. Although Mayor de Blasio's tax proposal was not approved by the state legislature or supported by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the legislature did approve statewide funding for pre-K that included a $300 million increase for New York City's preschool program.

This means that for the first time fully funded full-day quality preschool will be available for all four-year-olds in the city. New York City is moving forward for children – and it isn't the only major city or and school district making such progress.

The Boston Public Schools system (BPS) offers a full day of prekindergarten to any four-year-old in the district regardless of income, although funding limitations prevent the district from serving all eligible children. BPS ensures the quality of its prekindergarten program through high-quality teachers, professional development delivered through individualized coaching sessions, and evidence-based curricula for early language and literacy and mathematics. Prekindergarten teachers have the same requirements as K-12 teachers in BPS and are paid accordingly. And it's working. A study conducted by researchers at Harvard's Graduate School of Education examined the impact of one year of attendance in the BPS preschool program on children's school readiness and found substantial positive effects on children's literacy, language, mathematics, emotional development, and executive functioning.

Tulsa is another city making great strides. Oklahoma has offered universal preschool to four-year-olds since 1998. In the 2011-2012 school year, three-quarters of all four-year-olds in the state were enrolled in the preschool program. High-quality year-round programs are also available to some at-risk Tulsa children from birth through age three through the Community Action Project (CAP) of Tulsa County, which combines public and private funds to provide comprehensive services for the youngest and most vulnerable children.

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Black Events Still Have a Place

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Black events still have a placeI keep a picture of the two teams who played in the 1924 Black Baseball League World Series. The teams were the Kansas City Monarchs and the Hilldale Giants. The Black Baseball leagues are one of the many results of race segregation in America. The leagues history extends back to just after the American Civil War when Black baseball players could not play in the so-called traditional White leagues, so they would form their own leagues.

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The Myth of Sisyphus

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - civil rights and myth of SisyphusAs I watched the national college basketball championship game between Kentucky and University of Connecticut, I was struck by a couple of facts. First, here we were watching Kentucky, a state in the heart of the historical Confederacy that was determined to maintain slavery. They were so determined because of what they considered inherent inferiority of Blacks to Whites that they fought and died to maintain the slave industry. And second, here we were watching a team of, primarily Blacks, fighting for the national championship for Kentucky. The third thing I was struck by was the fact that a Black man was coaching the team that won the brawl. The result was that the University of Connecticut won. The Confederacy lost, again.

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Paycheck to Paycheck

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - On Paycheck to Paycheck documentaryThanks to the economic times we live in, there are millions of families living paycheck to paycheck. One person expresses it this way when she says, "The economic burden of one flat tire could cause them to have to become poverty stricken and homeless." Former California first lady, Maria Shriver took a look at this economic phenomena in a documentary made for an HBO television special entitled, Paycheck to Paycheck. A preview was presented on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Television Network.

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Business Ideas Still Flowing

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - New business ideasI am always fascinated by new business ideas and new ways to run them. I like to watch a small business grow from a sales cart to a brick and mortar store or office. Last year, I came across an old Black Enterprise magazine about a young lady who took her dancing skills to the Detroit community by gutting a bus and starting a dance studio to teach dancing.

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