Florida Conference of Black State Legislators 2nd Annual Education Symposium to be Hosted by FAMU

Florida A&M University’s College of Education hosted the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators 2nd Annual Education Symposium, the theme of this session included: Issues Affecting the Education of African Americans in Florida.

A discussion, presentation and panel took place in the FAMU School of Business & Industry.

Senator of Florida, Dwight Bullard, and Patricia Green-Powell, the Interim Dean of FAMU College of Education, attended the event.

The panelist included: Timothy Beard, President of Pasco-Hernando State College; Matthew Carter II, Esq. of the Florida Board of Governors; Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Dean of FAMU SBI; Hershel Lyons, Florida Department of Education K-12 Chancellor; and Lawrence Morehouse, President and CEO of the Florida Education Fund were panelists.

The moderators of the Education Symposium were Gary Paul, associate professor of Political Science at FAMU and Terrance McNeil, a doctoral candidate at FAMU’s College of Education.

The discussions addressed the research found by the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

The recent study and research was conducted by Janelle Jones and John Schmitt titled “A College Degree is No Guarantee”, the evidence found pointed to “labor-market experience of black recent college graduates during after the Great Recession.”

The study found that in 2013 55.9 percent of employed black recent college graduates were “underemployed.” Underemployed is defined as working in an occupation that typically does not require a four-year college degree.

Senator Bullard said job placement statistics are difficult, yet FAMU in particular has done a great job in assisting students with securing jobs. He stated the School of Business and Industry as an example of a school succeeding at job placement.

“We as black legislators spend a lot of time trying to figure out how we need to improve [things for students,” Senator Bullard said.

He further explained that many schools must stress the importance of counseling, orientation and update these processes to assist 21st century students.

Senator Bullard further explained that many schools must stress the importance of counseling, orientation and update these processes to assist 21st century students.

Attorney Matthew Carter stressed that higher education supporters must be aware of the shift of funding for universities. He said because of this shift, a dichotomy has been created. The dichotomy is problematic in his eyes since many colleges are being treated as if they are corporations instead of schools.

During the panel a question about the economic market was asked by the moderator, Shawnta Friday-Stroud responded by explaining that the “economic market used to be predictable.”

“We’ve become a service knowledge-based economy,” Friday-Stroud said. “The market is not going to correct itself.”

She further explained that students must think about their future families, saving money and needs versus wants as they move towards acquiring jobs upon graduation.

Candace Smith, a senior English student at FAMU, asked the panelists for advice about the accruement of debt that she will have to cope with as she continues her education to receive a Doctorate degree in Education.

Lawrence Morehouse responded by stating that many universities offer paid fellowships for graduate students which would assist not acquiring debt in graduate school.

Morehouse also said that many students with hopes of furthering their education after completing their undergraduate programs should “have a sense of what [they] want to conduct research on.”

“Your research area needs to be articulated well,” Morehouse said. “We cannot afford to waste money on graduate studies students.”

Terry Waters, a senior Accounting student at FAMU commented on FAMU professors and their lack of marketable curriculum and teaching methods that do not resonate with the current job placement market.

“Our professors come from an era that was based in memorization,” Waters said. “We don’t learn like that in the job market they are asking if we can access situations and know how to handle specific environments.”

Attorney Carter responded by stating that students should think of college as the place where they are learning “how to write effectively and how to speak effectively.” Carter explained that students should understand that understanding their talents and how they mesh with jobs required skillsets is essential in this current job market.

Friday-Stroud stated that despite what national statistics are showing, FAMU is currently making strides in keeping up the technological advances of the tech-industry and other emerging industries.