Monthly Archives: December 2013

Welcome 2014!

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Writing on the last day of the year obviously opens up choices. One can either look back to the year just ending, or look forward to the agenda ahead.

The present and future are always informed by the past; therefore priorities one may wish to set for 2014 will be shaped largely by the events and experiences of the preceding period.

Our biggest wish for the coming year is that we will do away with impunity.

Here we are not talking just about the impunity that places those in positions of leadership above the law and gives them licence to rob, loot, rape and plunder our national and county coffers.

We have in mind a more insidious culture of impunity that afflicts not just the political leaders, but the general citizenry.

We are all guilty of impunity, or aiding and abetting impunity by remaining silent about the crimes all around us.

As motorists, we speed, jump traffic lights, and overtake dangerously.

We accept that motorbike, taxis, Buses etc can operate in violation of all traffic laws.

We turn a blind eye to drunk-driving and make noise when police try to enforce the law.

And we buy immunity for our silent when we allow a culture of impunity to continue, pillaging leaders on the mere basis that we elected them.

Welcome 2014!

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Delegate files complaint with ethics panel…

…over Dance’s consulting job

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Superintendent Dallas Dance (Pictured above) is involved in corruption and covered up by the Maryland State Board of Education.

A Maryland legislator has filed a complaint with the Baltimore County school board’s ethics panel, saying he wants them to rule on whether Superintendent Dallas Dance violated board policy when he took a part-time job with a company doing business with the school system.

Dance took a part-time job in August, training Chicago principals with a for-profit company that had received a $875,000 contract with the school system in December 2012. He also did not notify the board ahead of time about the job, which his contract required. He said that he thought he only had to disclose to the board once a year.

Dance resigned his job this month with SUPES Academy of Illinois after his association with the company was made public and he was criticized by legislators.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/blog/bs-md-co-ethics-complaint-20131230,0,5414134.story#ixzz2p1IbiTI5

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Criticism of Teacher Unions in 2013.

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Anthony Cody a teacher who spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high school reviews his own sharp criticism of teachers’ unions during the past year for their support of the Common Core standards in 2013.

Cody questions why teachers have no one to support them when they question the validity of the Common Core.

He doubts that a one-year moratorium on high-stakes testing of the Common Core will matter much.

In a column that he cites, he wrote:

In effect, the Common Core tests will refresh NCLB’s indictment of public schools and teachers, with supposedly scientific precision.

Teachers – and union leaders — may feel as if they should get on board, to try to steer this process. However, I think this is a ship of doom for our schools. I think its effect will be twofold. It will create a smoother, wider, more easily standardized market for curriculum and technology. This will, in turn, promote the standardization of curriculum and instruction, and further de-professionalize teaching. The assessments will reinforce this, by tying teachers closer to more frequent timelines and benchmark assessments, which will be, in many places, tied to teacher evaluations. And the widespread failures of public schools will be used to further “disrupt the public school monopoly,” spurring further expansion of vouchers and charters and private schools.

We must move beyond not only the bubble tests, but beyond the era of punitive high stakes tests. Only then will we be able to use standards in the way they ought to be used – as focal points for our creative work as educators. I would be glad to have a year’s delay for the consequences of these tests, but I think we need to actively oppose the entire high stakes testing paradigm. The Common Core standards should not be supported as long as they are embedded in this system.

He calls upon the unions to exert leadership–not just in helping to impose CCSS–but in thinking critically about the corporate agenda and CCSS’s role in that agenda.

He holds out hope for change in 2014, a hope that we all share.

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Read more >> Union Accountability needed in PG County

Read more>>>Violation of the Grievance system

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Cartoon of Income Inequality

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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In 2014, We want citizens of the world to be more secure, better fed and healthier in a meaningful way.

It is our hope to see more children spend more time in school, and more workers to stay engaged in production.

As a movement, it is our hope to do everything we can to advocate for what is right and assist others. Charity begins at home and our plan is to master and advance proper accountability initiatives throughout the world in 2014.

Happy New Year.

Reform Sasscer movement for Prince George’s County

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Mandela left us a gift in 2013, but ….

…Prince George’s County government is not ready to receive it.

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Late Honorable Nelson Madiba Mandela

In Summary

  • Mandela was humble enough to accept that the business of running a country was different, something he had never done before.
  • We shudder at how little the Prince George’s County regime cares for our Constitution. For them, the freedoms there seem a nuisance to be ignored or, worse, negated
By Moses Mackenzie
Policy Director
Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County.

A lot has been written about the gigantic legacy of Nelson Mandela.

And as we end this difficult year — still waiting for the full accounting of money lost and unaccounted for during Dr. William Hite and Jack Johnson’s regime  — it is good that we look back at this significant human being.

While his death was a huge loss, his legacy remains a shining light that will hopefully guide us back on track.

Mandela was a one-in-a-lifetime figure. And since his death, we have been reading and re-reading about him and his life, and wondering why Prince George’s County was not so lucky as to have our own Mandela: a leader far-sighted, fair, reflective, courageous and brimming with integrity and the highest human values.

FAIR QUESTION

The film Invictus, about how Mandela used rugby as a tool for cohesion, reconciliation and nation building during the 1995 Rugby World Cup held in South Africa, should be necessary viewing for our political, administrative and judicial elite, and especially now when we are more divided than we have ever been despite the calm of the 2012 elections.

In a fascinating scene, Mandela has just been sworn in and as he takes an early morning walk at Qunu with his bodyguards, they come across the early morning papers.

The headline is ‘He may win an election, but can he run a country?’ The bodyguards are upset, but Mandela’s reacts differently saying, “It’s a fair question.”

Such was the man who, though adored and feted globally, and on the back of an overwhelming and clear election victory, was humble enough to accept that the business of running a country was different, something he had never done before.

We should be so lucky to have such leaders here in Prince George’s County who understand that running a country needs everyone, not just their “home boys,” and not just for the personal interests of a few.

To be fair, even those who followed Mandela in South Africa have fallen way short. The booing of President Zuma at the memorial service dominated South African media, with some shocked that it could happen in front of an audience of presidents and leaders, and screened live globally to billions.

But such are the frustrations in South Africa with the scandals surrounding President Zuma, the most outrageous being the ‘renovation’ of his rural home — at tax-payers’ expense — for US $20 million!

Mandela lived and breathed the hard fought and negotiated South African constitution, knowing that, that was what the people of South Africa wanted and needed.

The best guarantee of stability, development and peace was to craft the country to the dictates of the Constitution.

DEMOCRATIC SPACE

So we shudder at how little the Prince George’s County current regime cares for our Constitution. For them, the freedoms there — of expression, media, association, assembly, information etc — seem a nuisance to be ignored or, worse, negated. For nothing else can explain their dogged desire to reduce democratic space and ignore victims of discrimination and prejudice.

And nothing else can explain their turning to one of the most repressive tools favored by despots in police brutality and bribing of judges in the local courts . Yes, there is insecurity and interference of judicial proceedings, but spying on neighbors and interfering with court systems has never reduced insecurity.

That only increases fear and intimidation.

What reduces insecurity is a non-corrupt police force that focuses on the junior police officer on the street and not the living large of the top.

What reduces insecurity is when the law is applied equally to both rich and poor.

And what reduces insecurity is when we end the impunity for the rich and powerful, and when corruption is addressed from the top down. We reduce corruption when leaders mean what they say by creating proper checks and balances.

And now we learn that the Office of the County Executive, the most resourced yet opaque of all offices, may be extorting, illegally and covertly, funds from the Education system and elsewhere in ways that do not foster accountability or transparency.

These extra-budgetary allocations need Prince George’s County council and Maryland legislation approval as per the Constitution. The inspector General position promised years ago by the current County Executive Rushern Baker III is now water under the bridge.

If Prince George’s County Government could take a few lessons from Mandela in 2014, we will be a much better county!

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“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”- Nelson Mandela

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Cartoon of Income Inequality

Mr. Nelson Mandela did not like corruption. Something which continues to happen here in prince George’s county involving management. There is currently no checks and balances. Hence effects on thousands of it’s citizens.  Mr. Mandela once said, “We need to exert ourselves that much more, and break out of the vicious cycle of dependence imposed on us by the financially powerful: those in command of immense market power and those who dare to fashion the world in their own image.”

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Kwanzaa celebration kicks off.

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Kwanzaa, an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture, is celebrated starting today through Jan. 1. Its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.

Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Given the profound significance Kwanzaa has for African Americans and indeed, the world African community, it is imperative that an authoritative source and site be made available to give an accurate and expansive account of its origins, concepts, values, symbols and practice.

Dates Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 through January 1st.

History Established by Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is a holiday that honors African heritage and celebrates family, community, and culture. It takes its name from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which in Swahili means “first fruits.” Kwanzaa’s origin lies in the 1960s civil rights and Black Freedom movements, and is a way of commemorating the African heritage of black Americans whose ethnic history was stripped away by the slave trade. Swahili is the most widely spoken African language, and was thus chosen as the language of Kwanzaa’s principles.

According to Karenga, “Kwanzaa was created to reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture.” It is a cultural rather than religious holiday, and can be celebrated regardless of a person’s faith tradition.

“First fruits” celebrations date back to ancient Egypt and Nubia, and commemorate the harvest.

Colors The colors black, red, and green are part of Kwanzaa celebrations due to their special significance. Black represents the people, red is for the blood uniting all those with African ancestry, as well as the blood shed during slavery and the civil rights movement, and green is for the lush land of Africa. These colors also reflect the Pan-African movement itself.

Principles There are seven principles of Kwanzaa, celebrated on each day of the holiday and known collectively as Nguzo Saba. They are African values which are named in both Swahili and English.

  • Umoja: Unity
  • Kujichagulia: Self-determination
  • Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
  • Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
  • Nia: Purpose
  • Kuumba: Creativity
  • Imani: Faith

Traditions Families gather during Kwanzaa to light the kinara, a candle holder with seven candles in the colors of red, black, and green. The black candle is placed in the center and used to light the other flames from left to right. Together, the candles are called the mishuuma saba, and they represent the Seven Principles.

Other traditions include the kikombe cha umoja, or Unity Cup, which is used to pour libations in honor of ancestors departed.

Songs and dances are a popular way of celebrating Kwanzaa. “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” also known as the Black National Anthem, is a song that celebrates the struggles and triumphs of black Americans.

Greetings Kwanzaa greetings are in Swahili and English. “Habari gani?” is a traditional Swahili greeting, and the response is each of the principles, depending on which day of Kwanzaa it is. Other greetings include “Heri za Kwanzaa,” or simply, “Happy Kwanzaa!”

Also being celebrated today is Boxing Day, which traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts from their bosses or employers, known as a “Christmas box.” Today, Boxing Day is better known as a bank or public holiday which occurs Dec. 26, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in Canada, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other Commonwealth nations.

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HAPPY KWANZAA

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Happy Holidays.

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Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a future of shared prosperity for all.

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Our truly sincere thanks for your goodwill and loyalty throughout the past year. We look forward to meeting you and being of greater service in the future!

cheers!

~ Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County ~

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Thank you for all what you do. Let us help the Homeless youth population and others who might need help. Keep visiting our blogs.

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