Out Of Time

Our Constitution was signed in 1787. According to The Constitution Project “It wasn’t until 1963 that “One person, one vote” became a widely articulated core principle of the Constitution when it was first spoken by Chief Justice Earl Warren’s Supreme Court.”

It took one hundred, seventy-six years for every citizen of the United States to be Constitutionally guaranteed the right to vote.

The Electoral College“Is the institution that officially elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. The President and Vice President are not elected directly by the voters. Instead, they are elected by “electors” who are chosen by popular vote on a state-by-state basis.

This is why voting in State and Local elections speaks louder to the power of the people’s voice.

According to HowStuffWorks, “After the American Revolution {1783}, Thomas Jefferson argued that the newly independent nation needed an educational system, and he suggested that tax dollars be used to fund it. His pleas were ignored, however, and the idea for a public school system languished for nearly a century. . . by 1918, all American children were required to attend at least elementary school.”

It took one hundred, thirty-five years before our nation’s leaders recognized the necessity of an informed citizenry.

It is time for our voice to be heard. We cannot waste another hundred years of our children’s future waiting for things to change.

Our first responsibility as citizens is to elect State and local leaders who respect and respond to our voice.

It then becomes our duty to hold our elected officials accountable for the decisions they make while in office. If, once in office, the voice of the people is not fully represented, it becomes incumbent upon the citizens to vote someone else into office.

The problem becomes what to do when no new leaders arise from the citizenry to replace the incumbents.

That problem no longer exists in New York.

Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu have come forward to challenge Governor Cuomo. If the only problem is inexperience, on the job training will solve that.

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Voices Of Color

Criminal Justice Fact Sheet

Incarceration Trends in America
*From 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled-from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million people
*Today, the US is 5% of the World population and has 25% of world prisoners.
*Combining the number of people in prison and jail with those under parole or probation supervision, 1 in ever y 31 adults, or 3.2 percent of the population is under some form of correctional control

Racial Disparities in Incarceration
*African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population
*African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites
*Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population
*According to Unlocking America, if African American and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates of whites, today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50%
*One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime
*1 in 100 African American women are in prison
*Nationwide, African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of the youth admitted to state prisons (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice).

Our current system of education perpetuates these statistics while convincing the American public that African-American males have little to contribute to society.

Listen to the voices of these African-American males and it will become evident that unless we change the focus of education to concentrate on the gifts and talents of ALL children America will forever be denied the intelligence, creativity, and passion it requires to become the powerful nation it was intended to be.

All of our children deserve an excellent education that is child centered, developmentally appropriate, founded in the arts, and experiential, with dedicated, passionate, teachers who help them discover, develop, and direct their gifts and talents and guide them towards becoming responsible, caring, adults.

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The Democratic Process

One does not have to be a Democrat to defend the democratic process.

Zephyr Teachout, Democratic candidate for Governor will be in Rochester on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, at the Public Market for their Food Truck Rodeo event.

That engagement will be followed by a press conference at the Village Gate, Thursday morning, August 28, 2014, at 9:00 AM.

The Democratic Party was asked to use their podium, a sound system, and 100 chairs for the event. Their response, we’re supporting Cuomo, “No”.

If both candidates are Democrats then both should be afforded the resources of the Democratic party. No official party office should admit to endorsing one candidate over another but instead should let the people decide through investigation into the issues and a debate between candidates who is the better choice for governor.

This is another issue. Governor Cuomo refuses to debate Zephyr Teachout. This is an unconscionable affront to the concerned taxpaying citizens of New York State.

We deserve to hear where our incumbent political leaders stand on the issues that are important to us and we must know how newcomers to the political arena stand on those same issues. Political debate is our opportunity to get to know the candidates.

No candidate, when offered the opportunity to debate the issues before the American public should be allowed to refuse. If they are not willing to present their position to the people they should not run.

This is how the people decide who will most effectively and efficiently represent their voice in the use of their tax dollars.

The responsibility of the people is to listen to those who throw their hat into the ring to be chosen leaders, to know and understand their position on the issue(s) that are important to them, and then make an informed decision about who should receive their vote. It is only then that we can hold our leaders accountable for enacting the policies upon which the majority of Americans agree.

Our voice is our vote and our power.

We deserve leaders who respect the Democratic process and our voice.

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An Alternate Reality – Save The Children Save The World

During his time, Jesus witnessed his cousin John the Baptist preaching redemption and salvation to the masses with little success.

There was extensive poverty among the people. Children were abused and neglected, people were diseased and homeless while the elite walked arrogantly through the streets dressed in fine clothing, adorned with jewelry, their pockets jingling with money. The temple had become a storefront where moneychangers sold their goods.

It was at this time in history that Jesus chose to become a change agent. He believed in what his cousin John lost his life trying to do, open the eyes of the people to the power of love.

While John the Baptist worked alone, Jesus began the “each one teach one” program and recruited twelve disciples to help him spread the word of love.

As the movement gained momentum, the moneychangers began to brainstorm ways to deter the message that was growing quickly among the people; love is more powerful than money and that if the people came together, they could rely upon themselves and each other and take control over their own lives, living together in peace.

Ultimately, the final plan was to turn Jesus into a religious icon, crucify him, make him a martyr and place him on an untouchable pedestal so that no one would try to emulate his success.

It was also important to divide the people the movement brought together, Jesus recruited both Jews and Gentiles. To do that it was necessary to create contention among the groups, so they placed the focus of Jesus’ death on who he was instead of the message he brought. They spread the rumor that the Jews killed him when it was actually the moneychangers who ordered his crucifixion.

Jesus was the most successful grassroots organizer in recorded history. To read his story is to know and understand the trials, tribulations and success of bringing people together in love.

Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Children love unconditionally.

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America Is Our Responsibility

Neglect: To pay no attention or too little attention to; disregard or slight; to be remiss in the care or treatment of; to omit, through indifference or carelessness; to fail to carry out or perform (orders, duties, etc.); to fail to take or use.

The Bipartisan Policy Center states,
“Voter turnout dipped from 62.3 percent of eligible citizens voting in 2008 to an estimated 57.5 in 2012″ in an election year when there was “an eight million person increase in the eligible voters”.

When we neglect to be involved in the life of our country, its health and physical development; intellectual and cognitive development; emotional and psychological development; social and behavioral development are all negatively affected and effected.

According to “Ambassadors 4 Kids Club“,
“30% of U.S. students in grades six through ten are involved in moderate or frequent bullying – as bullies, as victims, or as both – according to the results of the first national school bullying statistics and cyberbullying statistics survey on this subject.
School bullying and cyberbullying are increasingly viewed as an important contributor to youth violence, including homicide and suicide.

HuffPost Parents reports,
“U.S. childhood obesity rates have increased over the past 14 years, according to a study published on Monday, casting doubt on a recent analysis by government health researchers that found a sharp drop in preschool obesity rates over the past decade.

America is suffering from extreme neglect and America’s children are paying the price.

Americans have allowed this country to be run by those who would capitalize on our greatest resource, our children.

We recognize the ever-reaching tentacles of corporate America influencing the course of education and feel powerless to fight against the money that has purchased the legislative body of this country.

We fail to recognize that money did not build this country, people did. Money is not the power in America, people are.

As Americans, it is our responsibility to take an active interest in our country and provide its children with an excellent education so that they can become responsible adults who will not neglect their country or their children.

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America, What A Country

Our government was established so the people would have the power to make decisions regarding the laws that govern them.

The highest and most in-depth level of government was to be at the local level.

The next legislative authority was to be the State. The State was to have a broader perspective of the rights and responsibilities of the citizens that choose to live in that state and according to State rule. The people elect individuals from their community to represent their voice in solving problems and creating success for their State.

The least powerful of all the governments was to be the federal government.

The United States Constitution contained only seven Articles and twenty-one sections. It was a general guideline that every American had to follow. It was uncomplicated and transparent.

We have allowed the upset of our ruling body and given the Federal government almost total authority over our governance. The Federal government holds States hostage, manipulating them with the money they collected through taxation. States then hold local governments hostage for money they collected through taxation. Local governments struggle to maintain healthy communities by begging for money from Federal and State authorities and private concerns.

This is not the America that was intended.

Tax dollars come from the people, the individual worker who contributes to the health and well being of America by employing their individual gifts and talents towards making America a strong and powerful nation.

We have handed control of our tax dollars over to individuals who have been purchased by the elite to speak with their voice and that voice is drowning out the sound of freedom that America represents.

Providing our children with an excellent, arts based, experiential education that concentrates on their gifts and talents is the only way to return to the self-governing country that our forefathers intended.

It is time to stand up and begin to take care of ourselves and teach our children how to use their gifts and talents to become successful adults who will stand to defend a free America.

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Cure Vs Remedy

Cure: Relief of the symptoms of a disease or condition.

Remedy: A medicine or treatment for a disease or injury.

The idea that providing a remedy for the ills that plague our current system of education will somehow cure the disease that is destroying our children’s future is testimony to the depth of the level of mis-education from which too many Americans suffer.

There should not be a struggle to provide any child with an excellent education. Enough “data” has been collected over the years and research has shown that an excellent education involves providing an arts based, experiential, engaging learning environment guided by dedicated, passionate teachers, with no more than eighteen students, so that the parents, students, and teachers can form a relationship that leads to the educational success of the child.

Yes, there needs to be assessment, evaluation, and professional development, for all stakeholders in the school community. However, we do not need to collect the type and amount of data that is being warehoused by private corporations.

What could be the reason for the data being collected?

To better insure their profits in the future.

People have provided their children with an excellent education without the data, testing, and millions of dollars our system currently employs.

Our nation was built by individuals who had no education or training. They did however, have a belief in the freedoms this country professes to provide all of its citizens and they fought and we continue to fight to protect those freedoms.

By accepting their remedies to the disease from which our current system of education suffers, we are accepting the silent, prolonged death of those freedoms.

Unless we work together to actually cure this malady by changing the focus of the treatment onto the child, the elite will continue to surgically remove and transplant their failing system of education while making huge profits from the procedure.

Educating the child means concentrating on the gifts and talents of the child not the data that can be collected from the answers on a test.

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From The NYS Department Of Education

This message was sent to BOCES from Ken Wagner” <KWAGNER@MAIL.NYSED.GOV.

"As you know, the cut scores did not change from 2014 to 2013. . . . What did change are the raw scores that map to each of the scale score cut scores. See the “Raw Score to Scale Score Conversion Charts” further down the page at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/ela-math . . .

This is a standard process called equating that is followed in every state almost every year in every assessment program.

The purpose of the 2014 equating was to maintain the level of difficulty established by the standard setting process in 2013, when 95 teachers from across the state recommended the level of difficulty necessary to achieve proficiency (Level 3) and partial proficiency (Level 2).

Another opportunity to blame teachers for outcomes.

Based on student performance on common anchor test questions . . . the raw scores needed for each performance level were adjusted slightly to ensure that scale scores and performance levels are comparable from year to year.

As you know, equating occurs each year with Regents Exams, where the cut score needed for passing (65) remains the same, but the raw score needed to achieve a cut score of 65 changes from year to year.
Ken”

When the State manipulates the numbers whenever they choose, they can manipulate the outcome whenever they choose.

It is necessary to change the language of education in order to stop the manipulation of our children’s future by those who would confine them to college and career choices when their research shows individual creativity and private entrepreneurship are the answer to this country’s ills.

It is only when we discover, develop, and direct the gifts and talents of our children towards becoming respectful, responsible, successful adults that we can realize the America that it was intended to be.

Every child deserves the same opportunities for engagement in the arts to experience the wide variety of cultures and environments that are unique to America so that they can use those experiences to foster positive critical thinking skills to solve the everyday problems of life and envision the solutions to problems that occur throughout the world.

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Life Is More Than “College and Career”

A quick review of any School Comprehensive Education Plan (SCEP) for the 2013-14 school year and it is clear the goal of education for our children is college and career readiness.

With the recommendations of the Outside Educational Experts, the question becomes, will district leaders try, as they have in the past, to retrofit the concept of a child centered education into the currently failing system of education only to find that the result is simply more failure?

As stated by Randi Weingarten, “If you want to make money off of kids, you actually have to solve the problems that we raise.”

They will roll back on testing. They will find another way to collect the data that has nothing to do with educating children. They will rely more on on-site teacher evaluations. They will increase music, art, and counseling enough to pacify the masses but not enough to properly educate our children.

They will continue to prepare our children for their workforce, at the service level or the management level, but not at their level, growing the “middle class” in an America that boasts equality.

Will district leaders have the courage to actually change the focus of education onto the child?

Will they have the strength to fight for more than the common core by changing the vision of the district from “making every child college and career ready” to “directing the gifts and talents of every child towards becoming a responsible, respectful, citizen of the United States”?

That is the goal of public education, it must be the Constitutionally guaranteed right of every American.

The Outside Educational Experts advocated for a child centered, developmentally appropriate, arts based, experiential learning environment, with dedicated teachers in a small class that allowed the teacher to create relationships with students and their families, preferably based in neighborhoods.

Will our educational leaders have the courage and the strength to fight for our children’s right to be acknowledged for the unique gifts and talents they have to offer their community, our city, state, nation, and world?

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The Proof Is In Our Children Not In Their Numbers

Intelligence: Involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—”catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do. Wikipedia

There were approximately 35 million Pre-K through 12 children enrolled in public schools in 2009.

“A study published in June suggests that the things that really make the difference — between prison and college, success and failure, sometimes even life and death — are money and family.” states NPR, National Public Radio.

This study followed “nearly 800 kids in Baltimore — from first grade until their late-20s.” That is .0023% of the student population for 2009.

To limit the academic success of an entire population of children based on the findings presented by researchers who reference such a minute sampling of the population is absurd.

When we provide opportunities for a wide variety of experiences to all of our children, money and family, it is presumed that the family influences are negative, will not matter. In fact, these will be the least affective and effective determinants for personal success.

What the study does not concentrate on is the fact that the children followed were schooled in a system of education that profited from their failure. Does it matter what color they were or how they were able to use their color and affluence to lessen the degree to which they had to be accountable?

These are our children.

We should be more concerned with the fact that our children find it so difficult to handle the stresses of everyday life that they turn to a life of drug addition and crime.

It is our responsibility to provide ALL of America’s children with an excellent, child centered, arts based, experiential education, in small classes with dedicated teachers that discover, develop, and direct the gifts and talents of their students towards becoming intelligent, responsible, adults that are strong enough to avoid drugs and jail.

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