Saturday, August 24, 2013

Negligent parents, lawbreaking kids by L.Z. Granderson

A detail in the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Shaaliver Douse by a New York Police Department officer earlier this month has been stopping me from grieving his death.
The tragedy happened around 3 a.m.
Why was a 14-year-old boy out that late without his mother, Shanise Farrar, who called the shooting an assassination? Or his aunt, Quwana Barcene, who said the bloody gun police say was found near his body was part of a coverup? Where was the supervising adult who should have been with a 14-year-old boy walking the streets of New York at 3 o'clock in the morning?

"I'm not saying that he's the best one, but he's my angel," his grieving mother said.
Her "angel" was a suspected gang member who police say was chasing and shooting at an unidentified man when they encountered him. Her "angel" was arrested last month for attempted murder of a 15-year-old. Her "angel" left their apartment around 8 p.m. and she had no idea where he was until the next morning when detectives informed her that her son was dead.
I want to mourn for her loss, I really do.
But as callous and as heartless as this sounds, I just can't get past what awful parents she and the boy's father were. Children may be born angels, but with all the temptations out there in the world, it takes work to try to keep them that way.
I'm sure the three teenagers suspected in the death of 23-year-old Christopher Lane -- killed because they allegedly were bored -- started off as angels. But who, besides their parents, would call them angels now?
As a newspaper reporter, I covered and was around a fair number of crime scenes involving juvenile delinquents and few things bothered me more than listening to their parents. Crying, ranting, proclaiming how great their children were despite being kicked out of school or previous run-ins with the law.
That's not to say kids won't be kids. Of course they will be.

Which is why it is vitally important that parents be parents.
To read more click on the following link:

Random killings spark laments, but reality shows long slide in crime rate by Michael Pearson

 You can't escape the headlines. An Australian going to college in the United States is gunned down by teens who police say killed him out of boredom. A few days later, a World War II veteran isbeaten to death for reasons still unknown.
The death of Australian Christopher Lane in Duncan, Oklahoma, even sparked calls for Aussies to boycott travel to the United States because of all the violence.
Two shocking, high-profile crimes, one question: "What the hell is going on!?" Facebook user Stacey James Gordon wrote on CNN's Facebook page.
"This country better wake up ...our youth have serious issues," Heather Chesser wrote.
Although the cases have struck a nerve with their disturbing randomness and apparent cruelty, the reality is that living in the United States may never have been safer, and you're much more likely to be the victim of a crime committed by someone you know than you are to be assaulted by a stranger.
Nearly eight of every 10 murders in the United States between 1993 and 2008 were committed by someone the victim knew, according a 2010 report by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. The report didn't include figures for 2011 or 2012.
Similarly, nearly two out of every three nonviolent crimes were committed by someone the victim knew.
Pair that with figures on overall crime: According to the FBI, the violent crime rate in the United States is about half what it was in 1992.
And between 1992 and 2011, the annual number of murders in the United States fell from 23,760 to 14,612 despite a growing population.
Rape, robbery, assault, even property crimes also fell in a well-documented decline that has gone on for years, albeit with a small upturn in 2012.
Criminologists have cited shifts in the crack cocaine market, which drove many 1990s-era murders; an increase in the number of offenders behind bars; the country's aging population; and more sophisticated policing for the declines.
But perceptions of crime haven't always followed the reality.
In May, a Pew Research Center study found that 56% of Americans believe that gun violence is higher than it was 20 year ago, even though it has fallen precipitously since the 1990s.

And in 2011, Gallup found that 68% of Americans believed crime was getting worse, despite the reality of declining crime rates nationwide.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

If blacks say the N-word, whites can too by Omekon

Well America, what do you think?  Comments please! 
Check out the video!  Impressive!
By omekongo  |  Posted August 6, 2013  |  Washington, District of Columbia

CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Longtime iReport pundit omekongo said he is 'tired of the double standard' and was inspired to record this commentary. 'I'm tired of some black folks saying it's a term of endearment when those same black people we'll talk about killing n.....s. I just think we as black Americans need to be honest with ourselves about the role we are playing in our own demise. We can't keep sending this word around the world and just think it's all ok. It's disgraceful to everything our ancestors fought to change.'
- hhanks, CNN iReport producer

As long as we continue to put the N-word in our music, movies, and other areas of public life, we should not be surprised that other groups use the word. Every group has terms that they use among themselves but they don't promote them to the world. It's human nature. If we want the same level of respect that other groups receive relating to derogatory terms used against them, we need to clean up our own act.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Run-D.M.C. rapper calls today's hip-hop culture 'disrespectful and immature'

Run-D.M.C. star Darryl McDaniels has launched a scathing attack on modern hip-hop music, accusing today's rappers of popularizing gun and drug culture.
The hip-hop pioneer says too many current chart stars focus on negative themes in their music, without making any tracks with a positive message, and justify it by comparing their work to Hollywood movies.
He tells Britain's Metro newspaper, "A rapper will use this excuse -- 'Man they don't go after Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis when they make their violent movies' and I go 'If you're going to use that excuse get off the mic, don't produce. I'll personally kick your a-- out of hip-hop 'cause if you're using that excuse, go be an actor.'"
McDaniels told the paper that his group made some negative records during their heyday, but they also put out positive releases too.
"If you make a record about a gun, on that very same record or album there's gotta be a record about not using a gun. If you're making a record on the b--ch or the h--s (sic), there's got to be a record about your aunt who worked all of the days of her life to send all her children to college," he said. "It seems like stupid America celebrates a person that says 'Yeah I'm a drug dealer, I'm bringing the drugs into the hood.' The reason why hip-hop exists is because it started out with good intentions; once all the good intentions left, the music became polluted, it became disrespectful, it became immature."
McDaniels also criticizes the quality of many modern records, adding, "98 percent of hip-hop music that's out now I say is just bad demos. ... If you want to see real hip-hop you gotta go to concerts and festivals because hip-hop on (the) radio sucks."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Getting Arrested for 95,000 Teachers By John Wilson

Can you imagine having your wrists tied behind your back with plastic handcuffs for two hours? Can you imagine being placed in a holding cell with many others and only one public toilet that is flushed every two hours? Can you imagine risking a misdemeanor on your permanent record? Can you imagine being so dedicated to teachers and education support professionals that you would go to jail to bring attention to their plight? Well, put aside your imagination; the reality is that Rodney Ellis, President of the North Carolina affiliate of the National Education Association, did just that.
Rodney Ellis is a leader like so many other professional union/association leaders in America. He must be the voice of teachers and other education employees whom he represents. He does not have the luxury of waiting for someone else to speak up or of closing the door of his classroom and hoping things will get better. He must be front and center and count on those who chose to work in our public schools to have his back.
Rodney started his presidency this year with a legislature and Governor who were angry at his organization for not supporting them politically. That did not deter Rodney. Support for public schools is the legal responsibility of the NC General Assembly and the Governor. Rodney reached out to them to build a cooperative relationship. He spent countless hours meeting with many legislators who needed to vent, and he found ways to compromise to create win-win situations on tough issues like tenure, class size, and funding for teacher assistants. In the end, he and his members were betrayed by the elected officials who had voted for the compromises and pledged their support through handshakes and promises---empty promises and meaningless votes, as it turned out.
The legislative bullies took over. Those officials were more interested in punishing teachers and public schools. They cut a half a billion dollars from education funding, refused to raise teacher pay, even eliminated master's degree pay, and replaced career status with terminating contracts in the hopes teachers will be silent rather than advocate for their students or themselves. They manipulated the budget process to incorporate policy that had not been fully debated, and they left North Carolina schools in the bottom rankings among indicators that matter.
They left Rodney and his organization no choice but to go to the public with their story. Recently, two major rallies, held on what are known as Moral Mondays, have focused on education. Thousands of Rodney's members and allies have contacted legislators. Rodney's Vice-President Mark Jewell and Executive Director Scott Anderson have gone to jail. The vice-president of the largest local affiliate in NC, Paulette Leaven Jones and retired teacher Tonia Pridgen have gone with them. There may be others. The media has focused on the damage done by this legislature, and North Carolina is waking up.
This recalcitrant legislature is counting on short memories, but teachers, parents, and students are likely to have their memories jogged every day once the school year begins. Legislators cannot hide the damage that has been done to North Carolina's schools. Great teachers will leave for positions in other states that offer them higher pay and more professional respect. Students will have more classmates competing for their teacher's attention. Private schools without the high standards and accountability of public schools, as well as fly-by-night charters that are looking to make a profit and pay their owners huge salaries, will begin siphoning off public funds. North Carolinians will notice, and those who care about North Carolina's future as a state of well-educated and creative citizens will hold those legislators accountable.
Teachers and education support professionals must unite to share the costs of a continuing message to the public about what has been done to their schools. Not a day should pass without that message ringing forth. Administrators and parents must support their teachers in ways that they never expected would be needed before this mean-spirited legislative attack. Allies of our public schools, including the business community and philanthropists, must step in to assure students are not the losers from this devastating legislative session. And those friends of public schools must run for public office in Republican primaries and the general election offering voices of moderation and common sense on behalf of public schools.
Rodney Ellis went to jail for 95,000 teachers, 20,000 teacher assistants, and 1.5 million students and their parents. His courage and commitment deserve the support of those affected by the senseless and harsh attacks by the legislature on North Carolina's public schools. Will you step up to help?

Anastasia Trueman, North Carolina Teacher, Quits After GOP-Backed Budget Rejects Raises by Nick Wing

After seeing her salary increased by just over one percent in the past five years and with no hope for a raise in the immediate future, Anastasia Trueman of Raleigh, N.C., has called an end to her 13-year teaching career.
Speaking with North Carolina's WNCN-TV this week, Trueman said the move was a direct response to a recently passed GOP-backed budget that upset the state's education community by rejecting raises for teachers.
"I have to take a stand somehow, and one of the ways I can do that is by quitting," Trueman said. "I hate that I have to do that because it's hurting the kids more than anybody, but if I really cannot sustain a living then that's what I have to do."
According to WNCN, Trueman had been working another job to supplement her teaching income, which had been frozen along with all state employees for four years before 2012, when it was increased by 1.2 percent.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed the $20.6 billion budget bill last week, despite complaints from those who noted that the state already ranks 46th in the nation in terms of teacher pay. The bill also eliminated bonuses for teachers with higher degrees and moved toward ending teacher tenure, a measure that the North Carolina Association of Educators has threatened to sue over.
In an interview with WRAL this week, Eric Guckian, McCrory's senior education advisor, appeared to admit that the education funding portion of the budget neglected teacher needs.
"We did fund education in our state," Guckian said. "Unfortunately we couldn't fund it to the extent that perhaps was needed as it pertains to the needs of the teachers."
Guckian's comments came as educators flocked to the North Carolina Capitol in Raleigh to protest the education cuts in the latest weekly installment of the state's Moral Monday protests.

Where Are All The Male Teachers? by Katie Lepi

Looking back on my own experience as a student, the vast majority of my teachers were female. From K-12, I can count the number of male teachers on both hands – I think there were probably about seven. I’ll roughly estimate that I had a total of about 50 teachers over the course of those years, that’s a pretty low percentage. But apparently that’s a pretty average experience. Male teachers are much less common, especially in the earlier grades (I didn’t have a male teacher until the 6th grade!). The handy infographic below highlights some statistics on male teachers. Keep reading to learn more.

Where Are All The Male Teachers?

§  Men account for less than 25% of teachers in the US, 17% in Canada, and 25% in the UK.
§  Only 2% of pre-K and kindergarten teachers are men.
§  Only 18% of elementary and middle school teachers are men.
§  The most cited sources of why men don’t want to be teachers are: low salary, low status, and the easy potential for accusations of abuse.
Are you a male teacher? We’d love to hear your thoughts on these statistics and projected reasons for so few men in the profession! We hear from a lot of really great male teachers through our site, so we hope this means a trend towards more great male teachers is in the works!