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     Access at the Crossroads Blog

    These blog entires identify best practices to increase success for historically-underrepresented college students including excerpts from my book, Access at the CrossroadsClick here to subscribe to this blog. Previously, I posted the new podcast episodes to this blog. I have now moved them to their own blog. Click on "my podcasts" tab above.

    Entries in Culture (25)


    Paul Harvey - Freedom to Chains

    In this podcast episode, we feature Mr. Harvey and one of his signature radio programs, News and Commentary. The name of this famous 1965 commentary is “Freedom to Chains”. In this 12-minute commentary, Harvey argues that citizens have too often traded their freedom for so-called security that weaves a chain of high taxes on the people by the national government. He traced the history of the devastation of high taxes for the ancient civilizations in China and the Roman Empire. Harvey warns that the same fate face Americas if it continues to rely on the national government to provide for them rather than individual citizens using personal freedom to create their own security and opportunity for a better life for them and their family. News and Commentary was a radio program hosted by Paul Harvey beginning during the Second World War on the ABC Radio Networks for many decades. Mr. Harvey mixed together reports of the day’s news along with his commentary of national and world events.

    Dr. Rev. Billy Graham - "He is Risen"

    In this podcast episode, we feature Reverend Billy Graham sharing a five-minute, low-key talk about importance of the Easter Story that he recorded in 1960 while on location in Jerusalem. There is a video of the same speech available through YouTube (click this link to watch it). Dr. Graham has retired from active preaching and lives in an assisted medical care facility. His wife passed a few years ago. I attended one of his revival meetings in a crowded Royals baseball stadium in Kansas City many years ago. It was an experience that I still remember today. Here is just a little bit of information about him. He was an active preacher and author for six decades. Dr. Graham sought to relate the Bible to contemporary social issues. He preached jointly with Dr. Martin Luther King at some crusades in the 1950s. Graham provided some of the bail money to release Dr. King when he was arrested after a civil rights demonstration. It is estimated the total audience at revival meetings, listeners on radio, and viewers on television of Dr. Graham’s messages exceeds two billion people. Click this link for a PDF from Wikipedia on the life of Dr. Graham.

    Paul Harvey - So God Made a Farmer

    In this episode, we feature a public speech by Paul Harvey. In 1976, Mr. Harvey delivered a four-minute speech named, “So God Made a Farmer” at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) annual convention in Kansas City. This is among his most remembered speeches. It is a wonderful example of Mr. Harvey’s Midwestern roots, Christian values, love of agri-business, and deep respect for the farmers that feed the nation. You may also remember a version of this speech was used for a Dodge Ram truck commercial that played during the Super Bowl a few years ago.

    Paul Harvey - The Easter Story 

    In this podcast episode, we feature Mr. Paul Harvey and his annual Easter Story. It is the story about a boy and a birdcage, and the preacher who wanted to buy it. He shared this story annually through his radio show for decades. As he liked to say, it is the shortest Easter story that you will ever hear.

    Recommended History Podcasts

    Click on this link to read a handout I prepared on podcasts related to history that I have subscribed for free through the iTunes Podcast service. I do not claim to listen to all the episodes obviously. However, I go through and select episodes of particular interest. I do make sure to download all episodes and went into the settings for my podcasts so that past episodes that are played do not automatically become deleted. Apple does that by default so that your hard drive is not becoming overloaded with media that you may not ever play again.  While this is not a big issue with most audio podcasts, some video podcasts have enormous file sizes simply because it takes more room to provide them. Several of my personal favorites are the video podcasts from NASA. If you subscribe to the HD quality video podcasts, individual episodes can exceed 200 MB. Fortunately, most recent personal computers are increasingly providing standard hard drives of a terabyte or more.  As a history teacher, I like to keep all the episodes for future reference. I think of them as my personal library like some people like to collect movie DVDs.

    In 2013, Apple reported that a billion people world-wide have subscribed to a quarter-million podcasts in 100 languages, and that more than eight million episodes have been published in the iTunes Store thus far. Searching for podcasts through the iTunes Store can be a challenge. The following list is merely a sample of the history podcasts. They were enough of an interest to me to subscribe.

    Many of the podcast shows can be subscribed to through iTunes, Google Play Store, and other mediasubscription services. Since I am most familiar with the Apple media ecosystem, the following podcasts are available through the Apple iTunes store.  These are identified by the iTunes name appearing in the title line for the podcast. Formal subscription to the podcasts are not required for some of the series. With these podcasts, go to the podcast web site and click on the show to immediately listen to it. A few of the podcasts are available through the iTunesU in the Apple iTunes store.  Those podcasts are identified below with iTunesU. These will not appear in the search window if you look in the Apple iTunes Podcast page. You need to select the iTunesU library instead.

    Using iTunes makes subscribing process easier for the podcast series. If the iTunes name appears in the podcast title line, go to the iTunes web site after you have downloaded the software to your computer (available for free from Type the name of the podcast into the search window within iTunes and a window will open with information about the podcast. Simply click on the “subscribe” button within this window and the podcast series is automatically downloaded to your iTunes library account. New ones are automatically posted in the future. If you use another subscription service other than iTunes, or if the podcast show is not listed in the iTunes directory, you may need to enter the “subscription link” address by copying this link URL into your podcasting software (like iTunes, Juice, iPodder, or other RSS radio podcast client). This link is different than the URL for the web page.

    Click on this link to download the my directory of favorite history podcasts you can subscribe for free through Apple iTunes. These should also be available through the Google Play Store as well.


    (S01-E02) Historic Voices Podcast: Paul Harvey - "So God Made a Farmer"

    In this episode we feature a short speech by Paul Harvey, the famous radio personality. Mr. Harvey delivered this four-minute speech, “So God Made a Farmer” at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) annual convention in Kansas City during 1976. It is a wonderful example of Mr. Harvey’s Midwestern roots, love for agri-business, and deep respect for the farmers that feed the nation. Read more at podcast blog page by clicking on this link.

    Study finds key criteria that determine college success for low-income youth

    <Click on this link to download this report.>

    A five-year study by UC researchers that included a survey of California youth and interviews with more than 300 young adults about their interactions with educational institutions has identified the five key issues that matter most for understanding and improving college success for low-income students.  The $7.5 million study, “Pathways to Postsecondary Success: Maximizing Opportunities for Youth in Poverty,” spotlights the importance of student voices, an understanding of student diversity, asset-based approaches to education, strong connections between K–12 and higher education, and institutional support for students.  The study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was issued by the University of California’s All Campus Consortium on Research For Diversity (UC/ACCORD) at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSE&IS).

    “Our study began in 2008, at the onset of a critical economic downturn—the Great Recession—which impacted education and the labor market in considerably complex ways,” said UC/ACCORD director Daniel Solórzano, co-principal investigator on the study and a professor of social sciences and comparative education at GSE&IS. “It was clear the recession had an effect on both colleges and students. Budget cuts slashed enrollments at campuses and decreased the resources for those already enrolled. Many low-income students faced even greater financial instability from the scarcity of work or sudden unemployment of family members.  Therefore, at a time when students’ required additional support to stay on the path through college, the supports and conditions that are vital to their success were disappearing or overburdened on campuses.”

    While “Pathways” reports on national data, the study focused on California, which has the largest number of community colleges (112). The vast majority of low-income students in California who pursue post-secondary education begin at community colleges.

    Principal findings from the study include:

    • Student voices matter: Education is a powerful force in the lives of low-income youth, and hearing what students say about their experiences is essential to understanding their educational pathways and outcomes. Financial difficulties, lack of available classes, transportation problems and a lack of availability of child care are obstacles to many low-income students’ success. Yet students reported that when they experienced caring educators and high-quality instruction in high school or college, this made a difference in their engagement and success in college.
    • Diversity matters: Low-income youth are a diverse group, and understanding the similarities and differences in this student population enables administrators to better plan college success initiatives. In California, students of color make up the majority of community college enrollment, and many are the first in their family to attend college. Almost half (46 percent) of community college students are older, 54 percent work full-time and 16 percent are parents. “Common understandings of traditional college students may be less relevant as we plan for the growing number of community college students who are working full-time, raising families and have many responsibilities outside of school,” said Amanda L. Datnow, co-principal investigator on the study and a professor of education at UC San Diego. “These students are quickly becoming the majority, and we need to orient around their needs.”
    • Assets matter: Report findings indicate that an asset-based approach helps education administrators tap into and foster students’ strengths in order to support college success. Low-income students enroll and often persist in college, although not always in traditionally defined ways. They arrive with high aspirations to do well and either finish their certificate program or transfer to a four-year college. Successful programs at the colleges affirm and tap into these assets.
    • Connections between K–12 and higher education matter: High-quality K–12 schooling, combined with college preparatory resources, helps ensure college-going success for students. Nationally, 78 percent of low-income youth do not complete a college-preparatory curriculum in high school. In California, 85 percent of community college students require remediation in math and English to complete coursework they should have been taught in high school. Therefore, to ensure college readiness, better articulation between high schools and colleges needs to occur, and students need accurate information about enrollment practices and assessment procedures.
    • Institutional supports and conditions matter: While funding cuts have resulted in reductions in mentoring programs and supports for students, financial difficulties, transportation problems and a lack of child care also frustrate many low-income students’ attempts to fulfill their goals. Low-income students are particularly dependent on financial aid to attend college, and information about resources—including academic and other services—must be integrated and streamlined to make the existing process less complicated and easier to access.

    The multi-method study included the development of a monitoring tool to track educational opportunities for low-income youth. It also identified a set of indicators at the organizational level of community college campuses that support student success.