Category Archives: Trust in God

Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday at age 95, fully deserved the legendary stature he enjoyed around the world for the last quarter-century of his life.

He was one of the most extraordinary liberation leaders Africa, or any other continent, ever produced. Not only did he lead his people to triumph over the deeply entrenched system of apartheid that enforced racial segregation in every area of South African life; he achieved this victory without the blood bath so many had predicted and feared.

And, as South Africa’s first president elected by the full democratic franchise of all its people, he presided over a landmark Truth and Reconciliation process that finally allowed apartheid’s victims a measure of official recognition and acknowledgment of their suffering.

Mr. Mandela’s enormous strength of character steeled him for his long struggle and ultimate victory over apartheid. Even deeper resources of political wisdom and courage steered him toward the course of constructive reconciliation over destructive vengeance.

Mr. Mandela did not, of course, achieve all of this on his own. The movement he led, the African National Congress, was sustained by lesser-known activists and martyrs, many of whom did not live to see the day of victory they had dreamed of for so long. And the country’s peaceful transition owes a huge debt to the apartheid era’s last white president, F. W. de Klerk, who in 1990 ordered an end to Mr. Mandela’s 27-year imprisonment and negotiated with him and others the terms of the political transition. Three years later, Mr. Mandela and Mr. de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize. >>>Read More New York Times

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OPINION

The world has lost a moral example of selfless leadership, a man of courage, principle and honour.  Humanity is poorer without Nelson Mandela.

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12 Ways to spot Ineffective Leader.

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It’s important to realize that just because someone is in a leadership position, doesn’t necessarily mean they should be. Let us put another way, not all leaders are created equal. The problem many organizations are suffering from is a recognition problem – they can’t seem to recognize good leaders from bad ones. In the text that follows, we will address how to spot ineffective leaders pointing out a few things that should be obvious, but apparently aren’t:

  1. Poor Character: A leader who lacks character or integrity will not endure the test of time. It doesn’t matter how intelligent, affable, persuasive, or savvy a person is, if they are prone to rationalizing unethical behavior based upon current or future needs they will eventually fall prey to their own undoing…
  2. Lack of Performance: Nobody is perfect, but leaders who consistently fail are not leaders, no matter how much you wish they were. While past performance is not always a certain indicator of future events, a long-term track record of success should not be taken lightly. Someone who has consistently experienced success in leadership roles has a much better chance of success than someone who has not. It’s important to remember unproven leaders come with a high risk premium.
  3. Poor Communication Skills: Show me a leader with poor communication skills and I’ll show you someone who will be short-lived in their position. Great leaders can communicate effectively across mediums, constituencies, and environments. They are active listeners, fluid thinkers, and know when to dial it up, down, or off.
  4. Self-Serving Nature: If a leader doesn’t understand the concept of “service above self” they will not engender the trust, confidence, and loyalty of those they lead. Any leader is only as good as his or her team’s desire to be led by them. An over abundance of ego, pride, and arrogance are not positive leadership traits. Long story short; if a leader receives a vote of non-confidence from their subordinates…game over.
  5. One Size Fits All Leadership Style: Great leaders are fluid and flexible in their approach. They understand the power of, and necessity for contextual leadership. “My way or the highway” leadership styles don’t play well in today’s world, will result in a fractured culture, and ultimately a non-productive organization. Only those leaders who can quickly recognize and adapt their methods to the situation at hand will be successful over the long haul.
  6. Lack of Focus and Follow-Through: Those leaders who lack the focus and attention to detail needed to apply leverage and resources in an aggressive and committed fashion will perish. Leaders who do not possess a bias toward action, or who cannot deliver on their obligations will not be successful. Leadership is about performance…Intentions must be aligned with results for leaders to be effective.
  7. Not Forward Looking: No vision equals no leadership. Leaders satisfied with the status quo, or who tend to be more concerned about survival than growth won’t do well over the long-run. The best leaders are focused on leading change and innovation to keep their organizations fresh, dynamic and growing. Bottom line – leaders who build a static business doom themselves to failure.
  8. Disconnected from the Market: Leaders not attuned to the needs of the market will fail. As the old saying goes, if you’re not taking care of your customers, someone else will be more than happy to. Successful leaders focus on customer satisfaction and loyalty. They find ways to consistently engage them and incorporate them into their innovation and planning initiatives. If you ignore, mistreat, or otherwise don’t value your customer base, your days as a leader are most certainly numbered.
  9. Not Invested: Leaders are fully committed to investing in those they lead. They support their team, build into their team, mentor and coach their team, and they truly care for their team. A leader not fully invested in their team won’t have a team – at least not an effective one.
  10. Not Accountable: Real leaders are accountable. They don’t blame others, don’t claim credit for the success of their team, but always accept responsibility for failures that occur on their watch. Most of all, leaders are accountable to their team. we have always said that leaders not accountable to their people will eventually be held accountable by their people.
  11. Not Focused: Leaders who are not intentional and are not focused, will fail themselves and their team. Leaders who lack discipline will model the wrong behaviors and will inevitably spread themselves too thin. Organizations are at the greatest risk when leaders lose their focus.
  12. Lacking Vision: Poor vision, tunnel vision, vision that is fickle, or a non-existent vision will cause leaders to fail. A leader’s job is to align the organization around a clear and achievable vision. This cannot occur when the blind lead the blind.

The moral of this story is leaders need to be honest, have a demonstrated track record of success, be excellent communicators, place an emphasis on serving those they lead, be fluid in approach, have laser focus, and a bias toward action. If these traits are not possessed by your current leadership team, or your up and coming leaders, you will be in for a rocky road ahead…

Which of these traits stand out to you? Do you have any other signs of ineffective leaders worthy of mention? Leave a comment and share your insights with others…

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Roadmap-Forbes

Pr. George’s school leaders…

…need to keep faith with parents

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Pr. George’s school leaders

By Keith Harriston, Friday, September 20, 11:29 AM

Here’s some unsolicited advice for the Prince George’s public schools chief executive, Kevin Maxwell: Let those who work for you in central administration know that misleading parents is bad policy.These days, parents with children at Judith Hoyer Montessori think that deception is school policy. (For transparency: I have a child at the school.) Why?

In late 2011 and early 2012, the school district held public meetings to discuss new school boundaries. The plan included moving Judith Hoyer to the former Oakcrest Elementary building about four miles away. Such a move to a larger facility, officials told Judith Hoyer parents, would allow the school to expand to include grades seven and eight. That would leave families in central Prince George’s with a full kindergarten-through-eighth grade Montessori program and put them on equal footing with public school Montessori programs that serve families in northern and southern Prince George’s. >>> Read More Washington Post

ANALYSIS

Traditional liberal concepts of democracy and citizenship rely on an informed citizenry to hold governments accountable. If they do not contribute fully because of their disappointment with government failings, and as a result withdraw from the political and democratic processes, some Politians might like it. When citizens withdraw, it is not the politicians that suffer but rather the people and their fellow citizens that do. While politicians might play the political game merely to win an election, this does great harm to their communities and nations all over the world. In this case, this how former county Executive Jack Johnson  was able to pull off through a reign of terror for many years without accountability. We should never let such a scenario revisit itself  here in this county. On this note, we applaud the parents of Judith Hoyer Montessori for demanding transparency. Parents in the other schools should do the same thing. This is the only way to keep the leadership in check.

“Winning elections only matters if the governing that follows progresses the county and the nation. The nation only progresses where citizens as a group are better off after the elections than before.”

Whether citizens are better off or not, it is a matter of judgment on the part of citizens and not necessarily what political factions assert. In the end, in an open democracy, the wisdom of the citizenry wins out.

We believe trust in government will not be restored by what citizens expect but by what they inspect within their local governments. There is a great need for politicians, at both the national and local levels and especially here in Prince George’s County, to be forced to submit themselves to greater inspection, scrutiny and accountability.

Politicians, should be scrutinized both before and after they are elected. Parents needs to get involved with parent teacher Associations (PTA) in their neighborhood schools.  They need to subject their leaders to rigorous scrutiny as to their thoughts about governing and their conduct in the governing process. The issue is to get at the heart of their policy content, intent and execution.

Only an alert, attentive and active citizenry can ensure this level of inspection. It is much to ask of people caught up in their everyday lives and the burdens of making ends meet, but when politics matters to the quality of everyday life, then involvement is mandatory.

While an active change in governing structure is important, the media cannot do it alone:  “It is not enough to leave the media to this inspection alone.  The media must play its rightful role, but an active media and active citizenry can make for a powerful inspection mechanism for politicians. If you want to make an inept politician shake, tell him or her that both the press and his constituents are demanding to speak with him or her and have some tough questions to ask.”

Sleeping voters and a passive media are an ill-intentioned politician’s dream.

As articulated before, Mr. Rushern Baker’s biggest test is creating a smooth transition within the schools, but if he wants to pass this test, he must persuade every single PG County citizen that he has sincere intentions that transcend his own political interest, for the wellbeing of the County to include other groups into the change management with the New CEO.

If PG County is to attain its aspirations for modernity, its politicians must see value in balancing county and national drivers of growth. This way, they can create enabling environment for Businesses to flourish while embracing other groups as part of the county system.

Our world needs drastic improvements in governance structure especially here in PG County under County Executive Rushern Baker III. If any improvement is to come, alert, attentive and active citizens must rise up and demand for it. The more alert, attentive and active, the greater the improvement is likely to be. Schools in the county are not going to progress if we do not get involved in the process and demand accountability. It’s our moral duty.

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“The collapse of good conscience and the absence of accountability and public scrutiny have led to crimes against humanity.” ~Nelson Mandela.

PGCPS finally hears our cry…

….concerning high suspension rates and outlines new disciplinary policy in student handbook to address the concern.

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In Prince George’s County Public school system, there were 15,615 suspensions in the 2011-2012 school year and 13,951 in 2012-2013, a drop of 1,664.

Prince George’s County schools (PGCPS) have a new discipline policy that officials hope will reduce the number of suspensions following our expose in corroboration with Washington post and keep students in school. The PGCPS school district has done a good thing by improving their disciplinary code for students. Enforcing too many days of suspension leads to students falling behind on their homework and many never catch up again. Since many students are punished for misbehavior, in many school districts around the country, this is a good improvement for sure. Zero tolerance should not be a base for disciplinary codes.

According to Washington post, …”The policy, outlined in a handbook recently distributed to the county’s 123,000 students, reduces the number of offenses that could include suspension as a punishment and places a maximum number of days a student can be kept out of class for a specific offense.”… >>Read more Washington post

Many schools across the nation report increases in the use of punitive disciplinary methods (e.g., suspension). As a result, many students on suspension become a problem to our society. The need for these disciplinary practices to address serious student misconduct is undisputed. However, what research has questioned is why some students seem to be suspended more often than others, what effects suspension has on students, and whether or when alternatives to suspension might be more effective practices than suspension itself.

In general, African-American male students are suspended at higher rates than are other racial/ethnic groups. While the reasons for the connection between race and school discipline is not clear, this relation likely occurs because of an interplay among many factors that cut across student-, teacher-, administrative-, policy-, institutional-, and community-level factors. Research suggests that school systems that incorporate comprehensive schoolwide practices that are positive, consistent, collaboratively regulated, and culturally sensitive are much more likely to have lower rates of suspension than schools without such practices. School systems that incorporate such comprehensive proactive policies are also much more likely to enhance their students’ current and future academic achievements as well as their broader life successes.

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We are like farmers. We plant seeds of thought and emotions in our lives. That which we plant will produce effects in which we must live. There can be no effect without a cause. The cause is what we believe, how we act and react to what we experience. The cause lies within us. It is the essence of our being, our spirit. ~ Iyanla Vanzant

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Baker accepting applications to fill seat on PGCPS board.

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Mr. Baker

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) is accepting applications for a seat on the Board of Education — again to help us grow even stronger!

This is the third time this year that Baker has taken applications to fill a seat on the school board.

Baker’s office will accept applications until Sept. 19 to fill the seat vacated by Donna Hathaway-Beck (District 9).

Hathaway-Beck announced recently that she was resigning after serving nearly seven years on the board. She said she wanted to spend more time with her family. Today September 6, 2013 is her last day as a Prince George’s County Board Member of Education and we wish her well.

In July, Carletta Fellows (District 7) resigned from her seat. And earlier this year, Baker accepted applications from across the county after he was given authority to appoint three new members to the reconfigured board. Ms. Lyn J. Mundey has since been chosen to replace Ms. Fellows.

Applicants interested in the latest opening must live in District 9. Applications are available on the county’s Web site or at the County Administration Building.

Baker plans to name a replacement by the end of the month, according to Mr. Christian Rhodes, the county executive’s education adviser.

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Federal judges rules in favor of 4 Cases.

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Two different federal judges have ruled that a total of four separate discrimination lawsuits against the Prince George’s County Public School System can advance to trial in federal court. The first of these four trials is scheduled for November 2013. Collectively, these four discrimination lawsuits allege violations of the following laws:

•Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – failing to accommodate an employee with a known disability.

•Title VI and Title VII – racial hostile work environment/retaliation.

•Title VII and Title IX – sexual hostile work environment/retaliation.

The four plaintiffs include two white men and two African American women. One lawsuit is demanding $1,000,000 and three lawsuits are demanding $5,000,000. The attorney Bryan A. Chapman who has been handling some of these cases and who was reprimanded by Hon. Judge Peter J. Messitte on several occasions for filing defective complaints, refusal to file rebuttal and other issues has been fired by several clients recently. The said clients decided they will never go to the jury trial with Mr. Chapman for letting their friends down and making false and misleading statements to defeat justice. As indicated, the termination arose from unethical behavior of an attorney who is entrusted to uphold the rule of law and who instead led several cases being dismissed deliberately. According to confirmed reports by several plaintiffs in Federal court, Thatcher law firm and PGCPS legal department played a major role in this corruption and an investigation is warranted to uncover the truth of what happened. “We are not going to rest until the whole truth comes out.” said several former clients who no longer have faith in the Court system. “Everything is so broken down starting with the Prince George’s County District and Circuit Courts and it is not funny anymore.” added another.

Mr. Chapman “far exceeded zealous advocacy and included repeated abuse of the tools of the legal system.” Among some of the rules Mr. Chapman violated were; asserting a position for which there is no non-frivolous basis in law or fact; using means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person; engaging in conduct that was not legitimate advocacy, in a professional capacity, manifesting bias or prejudice based upon race, religion, and disability (mental condition). Mr. Chapman who has a history of unethical litigation practices and disciplinary proceeding in other cases in Washington Dc, the virulent bigotry he has manifested in Federal proceedings in Greenbelt should never be ignored including his lack of any insight into his misconduct.

The school system has a two billion dollar annual budget. The school system also receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal assistance, so there is no cap on the amount of damages a jury can award in each of the four lawsuits.

One of the four lawsuits alleges that Angelique Simpson-Marcus, the African American principal of Largo High School, called Jon Everhart, a white male English teacher, “white bitch” and “poor white trash”. In the fall of 2007, the principal told Mr. Everhart that she would fire him and take away his teaching certificate as “payback” for a time when white principals mistreated black teachers. Complaints of racial harassment were made to Superintendent William Hite and other school board officials in 2008 and 2009, nonetheless, the racial harassment/retaliation continued until Mr. Everhart was terminated in the summer of 2010. Jon Everhart v. Board of Education of Prince George’s County, 11-cv-1196 (PJM) Others on the way to the jury include Tracy Allison v. Board of Education of Prince George’s County, Ruth Johnson v. Board of Education of Prince George’s County ~> Tracy Allison – Order, jon everhart order and Ruth Johnson)

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