Tag Archives: United States

Happy Valentine’s

Red_Bow_with_Heart_Decor_PNG_Clipart_Picture.pngSaint Valentine’s Day (Italian: San Valentino, Latin: Valentinus), commonly known as Valentine’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them.

The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

Here are beautiful happy hug day images for Valentine’s day. Enjoy the day!happy-valentines-day-3

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Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County wishes everyone a Happy Valentine’s day.

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The Day Former PGCPS Executive Cornered With Corruption Walked Away.

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Schools director Dr. Shawn Joseph (Former PGCPS Executive) ordered his staff not to answer NewsChannel 5’s questions about his hiring practices, planning instead to attack the station’s reporting after a story aired.

That’s according to emails obtained under the Tennessee Public Records Act.

Joseph’s directive came after NewsChannel 5 Investigates questioned the hiring of two individuals with connections to the new schools director.

As previously reported, one of those hires, Kathleen Dawson, was named an executive lead principal to supervise other principals – even though she has never worked a full year as a lead principal in any school. Another hire, Tamika Tasby, was put in charge of professional development for teachers even though she has no classroom experience.

On November 10, in anticipation of that news report, NewsChannel 5 submitted specific questions to the district about the hiring of the two women.

According to the emails, the district’s senior communications director, Janel Lacy, forwarded that request to Joseph and other members of his leadership team.

“I believe it’s in our best interest to respond, since he’s likely to go forward with a story regardless,” Lacy wrote. “The story will be much worse without a response from us.”

Joseph’s chief of staff, Jana Carlisle, responded that same day: “Dr. J is disinclined to engage.”

The next day, Lacy again pushed Joseph’s team to respond to NewsChannel 5’s questions.

“I think at the very least we need to answer whether the positions were posted or not,” she emailed. “If they weren’t posted – and legally didn’t have to be posted – then let’s own that and the decisions to hire them…. Better to address it head on.”

Lacy prepared a draft statement in which Joseph would say he felt “confident that time will show we have the right people in the right places – and that we are moving at a rapid pace to give our students higher quality instruction in every school.”

Joseph responded: “No, I do not like it.”

“I don’t want us to respond,” he continued. “If he does a story, we will follow up with a very direct statement towards his conduct…period.”

JOSEPH: “I DON’T WANT US TO RESPOND” (p. 1)

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3226375-Shawn-Joseph-Emails.html#document/p1/a329264
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It’s not clear what Joseph intended, but the district ignored NewsChannel 5’s questions and never gave any explanation about why no statement was issued.

Since there was no response to our questions, NewsChannel 5 Investigates filed a public records request for the emails in an effort to determine Joseph’s thinking and understand his refusal to respond.

That attitude followed an earlier on-camera interview in which Joseph had become agitated about questions about his use of district employees as chauffeurs.

Ironically, in a separate exchange, emails show that Metro Council member Russ Pulley told the district’s lobbyist that “taxpayers should be more concerned about the money we are spending answering these open record requests from Phil Williams.”

That comment came after NewsChannel 5 Investigates raised questions about spending by the district under Joseph’s leadership.

Pulley shared his response to a constituent about Joseph’s spending. He told the constituent, “I agree the optics of this or [sic] not the greatest, but the reality is we can do a much better job of finding waste other than this.”

But, then, in an email to the district lobbyist, Pulley showed no concern over “the optics.”

“Please let Dr. Joseph know that he has my full and complete support,” Pulley wrote. “And I also have absolutely no problem with how he conducts his business.”

via NewsChannel 5

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Shawn Joseph was the Prince George’s district’s deputy superintendent of the teaching and learning division and oversaw numerous departments, including the early education department that oversaw the Head Start grant in which the federal government revoke a $6.4 million due to teachers mistreating students.

The notice of the revocation, sent to the PGCPS district on Aug. 12, 2016 found that teachers used corporal punishment on children, as well as humiliated them in the county’s Head Start program in the Maryland district, according to a Washington Post report.

Shawn Joseph was not listed in the report or in the notice of revocation. He officially began the Metro Schools job on July 1, 2016 in Nashville. However, emails shared later shown that, Mr. Shawn Joseph was made aware of the issues but failed to act.

The first incident of child neglect was first reported in December 2015, according to the report, and the revocation document says that a 3-year-old boy at a Prince George’s early learning school was forced to mop his urine in wet clothes.

The teacher sent a photo of the student mopping the urine to the parent, the report says. It adds that a family services worker likely discouraged the parent from filing a complaint, which was eventually filed in mid-January 2016.

The deficiencies in reporting the incident of neglect were shown to be corrected in April 2016 during a follow-up visit, according to the report. And Shawn Joseph said the investigation was handled by human resources personnel.

But further incidents occurred on June 10 2016 and June 15, 2016 according to the report, and led to the eventual revocation of the federal Head Start grant. It said efforts to ensure staff followed the standards of conduct training outlined by administrators weren’t effective.

Other issues were also found including during that time where a student left the school’s campus and walked home unnoticed by employees. Staff did not know the child’s whereabouts for more than an hour. Rather than address the issues, Prince George’s County public schools personnel together with others engaged in cover ups rather than address the issues properly.

Just like Tennessee Metro School District under Shawn Joseph,  Prince George’s County Public Schools is run in similar version in which appointments are made based on family or friends without proper regard to their qualifications to positions of authority.

Read more >>>BOE political cronyism-nepotism refresher

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A Graphic Explanation: Why Corporations Want Our Public Schools

d61d4-charterThis is a brilliant yet simple infographic that explains the logic of what is deceitfully called “reform.”

Reform begins with a narrative about “failing schools.”

Students take tests whose passing mark is so high that the failure rate is high, thus proving the narrative.

The government closes the schools with the lowest scores, which are almost all in poor black and Hispanic communities.

The empty school is turned over to a private corporation, which has no relationship to the local community.

The privately managed school calls itself “a public school” because it gets public money.

When an employee or a family sues because their rights were violated, the charter corporation says it is a private contractor, not a state actor.

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Bipartisan group of state lawmakers calls for big changes to improve U.S. public schools

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A new federal law has returned considerable power to shape public education to the states. 

By Emma Brown August 9 at 12:11 PM

What will it take for U.S. schools to improve — not incrementally, but dramatically?

That’s the question that a bipartisan group of state lawmakers from around the country set out to answer two years ago, when they embarked on a study of the world’s highest-performing school systems. They compiled their answers in a report released Tuesday at the annual summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“The bad news is most state education systems are falling dangerously behind the world in a number of international comparisons,” says the report. “The good news is, by studying these other high-performing systems, we are discovering what seems to work.”

The group examined 10 nations that fare well on international comparisons, including China, Canada, Singapore, Estonia, Japan, Poland and Korea, and discovered common elements: strong early childhood education, especially for disadvantaged children; more selective teacher preparation programs; better pay and professional working conditions for teachers; and time to help build curriculum linked to high standards.

It also says that high-performing countries tend not to administer standardized tests annually, as the United States does, but instead at key transition points in a student’s career. The assessments emphasize essays over multiple-choice in an effort to gauge students’ complex thinking skills, according to the report. And the tests cost more than states are used to paying for standardized tests, but “these countries prioritize this investment as a small fraction of the total cost of their education system, knowing that cheaper, less effective, less rigorous assessments will not lead to world-class teaching or high student achievement.”

The report — which comes as a new federal education law returns considerable power to shape public education to the states — urges state lawmakers to build a coherent vision for better schools instead of adopting piecemeal reforms.

“Education is first and foremost a state responsibility. Each state can develop its own strategies for building a modern education system that is globally competitive, similar to the approach taken by other high-performing countries,” the report says. “But we must begin now. There’s no time to lose.”

The report does not address some of the more controversial and partisan issues that state legislatures face, such as the role of charter schools, vouchers and other school-choice initiatives.

The report’s findings echo many of the ideas that teachers unions support. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, praised the bipartisan committee, saying it had “set aside political ideologies to work together for what’s best for students and educators.”

The new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, “creates an educational reset, with the states now being the movers and shakers,” Weingarten said. “This is a rare opportunity in the United States to look at some of the best international practices and apply them here.”

Here are the members of the committee that worked on the report:

State legislators
Rep. Robert Behning, Ind.
Rep. Harry Brooks, Tenn.
Rep. Tom Dickson, Ga.
Rep. Ken Dunkin, Ill.
Sen. Joyce Elliot, Ark.
Sen. John Ford, Okla.
Rep. Eric Fresen, Fla.
Rep. Lynn Gattis, Alaska
Rep. Mary Stuart Gile, N.H.
Rep. Wendy Horman, Idaho
Rep. Betty Komp, Ore.
Sen. Peggy Lehner, Ohio
Sen. Rich Madaleno, Md.
Sen. Luther Olsen, Wis.
Rep. Alice Peisch, Mass.
Sen. Robert Plymale, W.Va.
Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, Wash.
Rep. Jacqueline Sly, S.D.
Sen. David Sokola, Del.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, Utah
Rep. Roy Takumi, Hawaii
Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, Nev.

State legislative staff
Ben Boggs, legislative analyst, Ky. legislature
Todd Butterworth, senior research analyst, Nev. legislature
Rachel Hise, lead principal analyst, Md. legislature
Julie Pelegrin, assistant director of the office of legislative legal services, Colo. legislature
Phil McCarthy, senior analyst, Maine legislature
Anita Thomas, legal counsel, N.D. legislature

NCSL education staff
Julie Davis Bell, group director
Michelle Exstrom, program director
Lee Posey, federal affairs counsel
Madeleine Webster, policy associate
Barbara Houlik, staff coordinator

Project partners
Daaiyah Bilal-Threats, National Education Association
Dane Linn, Business Roundtable
Scott S. Montgomery, ACT
Chris Runge, American Federation of Teachers
Adrian Wilson, Microsoft Corp.

National Center on Education and the Economy
and Center on International Education Benchmarking Staff:

Marc Tucker, president
Betsy Brown Ruzzi, vice president and director of CIEB
Nathan Driskell, policy analyst

via Washington post

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WHY “C”STUDENTS END UP SUCCESSFUL

Bush to ‘C’ Students at SMU: “You Too Can Be President”

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After reading this article we realized how irrelevant grades are in determining success in any life. Some of us can relate because as of last and this month, many will graduate and we know some won’t get any honours. As far as we are concerned our lives are still good, its not the end of the world if you get a “c” average. We still have ‘untapped’ talent, a brain with lots of ideas and a network of people to rely on. So dont’ despair because of a low G.P.A., we are more than just numbers in life.

Enjoy.

Former President George W. Bush isn’t typically celebrated for his public speaking skills, but he made an important and insightful point  while delivering the commencement address at Southern Methodist University on or around May 16, 2015.

He said:

To those of you who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards and distinctions, I say, ‘Well done.’
And as I like to tell the C students: You too, can be president.
Bush was making fun of himself for earning mediocre grades in college, while also granting some perspective for students graduating with less than stellar academic records.
He was highlighting the fact that grades don’t dictate the rest of your existence, and life is full of limitless possibilities.

Regardless of whether or not you like the guy or appreciated him as a president, he’s not wrong.

In fact, a number of other presidents did poorly in school at one point or another, including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush. Vice President Joe Biden also struggled with his grades as both an undergraduate and a law student.

In addition to some of our country’s leaders, there are a number of incredibly successful entrepreneurs who didn’t allow their academic experiences to deter them from rising to the top.
Steve Jobs, for example, never finished college. The same is true for Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Likewise, the youngest female billionaire in the world, Elizabeth Holmes, who is revolutionizing medicine, dropped out of Stanford to pursue her dreams. Richard Branson suffered from dyslexia and dropped out of high school at the age of 15.

Simply put, while receiving an education in some form or another is important, there is no single path toward greatness.
As renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson recently stated while delivering the commencement address at the University of Massachusetts Amherst:

Your grades, whatever is your GPA, rapidly becomes irrelevant in your life. I cannot begin to impress upon you how irrelevant it becomes.
Because in life, they aren’t going to ask you your GPA.
…If a GPA means anything, it’s what you were in that moment — and it so does not define you for the rest of your life.
Intelligence is subjective, and academic achievement is not always a proper way to measure it. Success as a student is largely dependent on one’s ability to operate within a certain system, but it’s not always the best preparation for the real world.
A person’s character, experiences and connections, not grades, ultimately determine their direction in life.
Success requires passion, perseverance, emotional intelligence and the ability to understand the value of failure.
This is precisely why we see so many “C” students, people we wouldn’t necessarily expect, running the world. They understand what it means to struggle, and often have to overcome more obstacles than many people realize.
This is not to say that getting poor grades guarantees success, but that doing well in school doesn’t mean you’ll always be on top.

In the end, grades are just arbitrary letters on a page. True achievement is a product of making observable and altruistic changes in the real world.

So if you just graduated from high school or college and you didn’t finish with honors, don’t despair. Life is full of ups and downs, and while we learn a great deal in school, the real education occurs after you leave the classroom.
Never stop learning, never give up and remember to enjoy the ride along the way.

Here is the whole speech – https://www.smu.edu/News/2015/commencement-may-bush-address
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Happy Memorial Day AMERICA!

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Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” John Stuart Mill

Freedom is never free. We honor all that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. May they rest in peace.

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For Your Viewing pleasure. Lynx helicopter landing on ship in rough sea

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This video shows a landing conducted by a Prism Defence Test Pilot and Flight Test Engineer during development of Ship Helicopter Operating Limits for the Lynx Mark 90B helicopter onboard the KNUD RASMUSSEN class Offshore Patrol Vessel.

Operating helicopters onboard ships is extremely complex, due in part to the difficulty of landing a helicopter on a moving platform, but also due to numerous practical engineering issues.

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