Question(s) You Should Ask Your Elected Officials & State/District/School Leaders
(To listen to this Martin Luther King speech, please click  here . )

" "United"​​
We Have to Bring the World Together & Learn to Live as One!

For more information, please go to "Transparency, Accountability & Responsiveness in Public Governance" by
clicking here. For MLK & the Purpose of Education, please click here. For State & Local Public School Systems & Lessons Learned, click here.  To reach your representatives, please click here


June 13th

According to Daarel Burnette II :  
        Excerpt: "There's been little media coverage of spending disparities between schools, and few school boards  appear to be using the numbers to craft their budgets for the coming school year. . . Frustrated civil rights and school funding supporters are pushing state education officials to better publicize the school  spending amounts and urging journalists and local advocacy groups to do their own detailed reporting on the newly available data."


Besides Joe Biden has any other elected official brought attention to the
23 billion difference in funding between white and nonwhite districts? 
Is anyone addressing the weak state capacity for addressing the transparency and accountability concerns
of parents and community  stakeholders?
Call your representatives and ask them about these concerns and/or 
racial disparities. 

June 1st
Did politicians (as a congressional oversight need) ever advise school officials  to
stop using the SAT and/or ACT as their exit exam for students to graduate 
or as their high school achievement test?  
Why does this matter?
These tests are not aligned to their state standards.
Once again, states across the nation are  gaming the system or hiding what they are not doing to support student achievement in their particular
states, districts and schools for all children. Most importantly, they are proving that they do not know the difference between a "criterion-referenced” test and 
a "“norm-referenced” test and why this matters .
To learn more, please click here.


April 27th --- Like It (Currently) Is 
The Collier Prize for State Government Accountability Highlighed at the  
2019 WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' DINNER. . .
According to Olivier Knox: "The erosion of state and local journalism must be addressed. . . Unless you think your governor, mayor, state legislature, local school board, etc. are above reproach  you must support regional and local journalism."

How does this focus on transparency and accountability begin? It must begin by focusing on school officials and polticians who blatantly fail to address: the weak state accountability policies across the nation, the weak accountability goals in school funding across the nation, the ongoing failures to promote an opportunity to learn for all students across the nation --- (by shamelessly ignoring  historically underserved students thereby creating the conditions for  the achievement gap),  the disproportionality in black student suspensions across the nation, the disproportionality in the placement of black students in special education to protect and accomodate ineffective teachers across the nation, the unfair distribution of ineffective teachers in predominately black schools across the nation, the weak public school oversight goals across the nation, the ongoing patronage and conflicts of interest across the nation, the  low teacher expectations of children of color across the nation, the shortage of  effective teachers across the naton (based on the failure of politicians to notice that colleges of education are failing  to educate or to produce class-ready teachers and, who have, in the process, (or through collusion) created a noncompetitive, low paying profession without individuals who see teaching as a first choice career), the need for colleges of education to educate teachers by focusing on   the latest findings on how people learn, including findings focusing on race relations so that  white teachers understand racist practices. . .), etc.. 

With this said, it sometimes appears that the public school system could exist without any students and operate only with administrators and teachers who would not notice the difference anyway. That they say they speak for the public when they clearly do not is evident by their failure to serve public school students, effectively.

Democratic principles are needed to address these concerns. 
Democracy, of course, is messy. . .  but it is a sign of evolvement when diversity (based on inclusivity complete with differing views) becomes a recognized and necessary component of the whole. Without it, the system is  what it is: an incomplete, slow-moving system whose metamorphosis into an effective one remains a struggle based on a lack of political will or motivation to serve children.   Will politicians then focus on public school effectiveness (with some sense of urgency) and "do the right thing"  in spite of this long-standing, one-dimensional educational environment and, in the process, return the public school system to its rightful owners: the public who must have a voice in holding school officials and poltiicans accountable for serving children? Will their vision for all public school children correspond to the ideals of a high, quality educational system?


April 18th

How will your elected officials address the Mueller Report?
(To review it, please click here and here.) 
Clearly, this report confirms that Trump "
repeatedly tried to obstruct justice ." 
Will Democrats overcome their fear of a Republican presidential candidate and follow through on their oversight duties and impeach Trump? If they do not 
follow through on their oversight duties are they, in fact, stating that  "any" Republican presidential candidate (other than Trump) will automatically win --- if  ---they do abide by their oaths?  If these elected officials (including the Republicans who seem to be using their offices to make money) fail to recognize their "U.S. Constitutional Oaths" then the American people must remember their choices at the next election. 

(Its hard to imagine what the Democrats fear for they only have to count the ways the Trump/Republicans are guaranteeing that they will not
receive the Obama voters at the next election.
The Trump outsider mystery is gone/the thrill is gone/
its gone away for good.

For instance, most Americans will remember that Trump/Republicans gave tax breaks to the rich at the expense of their own supporters. They will remember that they ignored: the importance of fair elections and/or Russia's interference in U.S. presidential elections. They will remember that the "metrics for  high school dropout rates and falling graduation rates rose dramatically for working-class white children."  They will remember that they worked against the ACA  (and were never really clear about  covering preexisting conditons except when they thought they were going to lose too many seats during the 2018 elections), Medicaid, Medicare,  Social Security, income inequality, racism, the "MeToo" movement, misogyny and the accusations against Trump for rape (accusations ---which are all believable, at this point, even though the Republicans or his supporters keep forgetting that he admitted grabbing women by their private parts, etc. . . .).  Moreover, voters will remember that the Trump/Republicans have no problem taking  money from the NRA and, in turn, placing their special interests above the lives of public school children. They even take money from big pharma (Consider   Mitch McConnell's record on the opioid crisis), a crisis that keeps getting worse  --- a crisis that is destroying white families.  

Moreover, they do not seem to care that they are wasting their time focusing on a border wall instead of focusing on the "real" root causes of the white opioid crisis, the white fertility crisis, the record high white suicide crisis, the white alcoholism crisis, the premature white death crisis,  etc . Strangely, these concerns are impacting the lives of Trump's supporters disproportionately as if a lily white nation willl solve their problems. It won't. These individuals have been ignored for a long time time so much so that MLK  took up their cause. As they align themselves with Trump/Republicans also, please note that Trump's businesses are failing became companies do not  want to connect themselves with a racist even if he is the POTUS much in the same way that many companies do not want relocate to racist areas.  

As a result, separating brown babies and children from their parents might   rile the Trump/Republican base but it is not the correct remedy for the aforementioned concerns. It does prove, however, that they will sacrifice their own supporters (while the real causes of each crisis are ignored) --- due to their inability to
distinguish between morality and immorality as leaders.
Is it really a surprise then that they need to cheat to win or
call on the Russians to help them win a presidential election?) 

Given these facts --- are American elected officials moving away from their oaths
--- as well as the very ideals that Americans have come to  know or expect from the American value system, the U.S. Constitution --- or God and country. . .due to Trump(Is this why Trump and Pence also overlooked the burning down of black churches? Is it why they recognized the Notre Dame Cathedral's beauty rather than its purpose or meaning?) Click here and here to ponder this question. 



April 8th
Who is supporting Congresswoman Katherine Clark in asking for the resignation of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos?

April 5th
Is it not silly of some pundits to criticize Joe Biden for putting his hands on the shoulders of a woman and/or kissing the top of her head in front of hundreds of people or an audience --- for everyone to see? The worst that can be said about either one of these gestures is that they can be classified as  parenting gestures (or gestures belonging to the caring parent class of gestures).  Are these same pundits then redefining the purpose of the "Me Too" movement by criticizing
these nonsexual gestures?

March 26th
William Barr Reads "Moby Dick" Finds No Evidence Of Whales
By Andy Borowitz

March 26th (continued)

(Bravo to Adam Schiff  for standing up to the cowardly Republicans, a group who keeps showing the  world that there's no evidence of
the Republican Party, either.)

March 26th
Is Trump the new OJ? Is he getting away with colluding with the Russians
(in the court of popular opinion as many Americans are saying) in spite of the Mueller Report? A telltale sign is that any president would view Putin as an enemy of the U.S. based on his actions --- but not Trump.  After all, Trump, to this day, continues to befriend Putin even though he knows that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election as if he was or remains a Russian  asset. In fact, the Trump/Putin relationship makes both parties look like losers for if you cannot win based on your own reputation or if you are so jealous of another nation that you have to interfere in their elections can you really be called a bona fide leader of any nation? 

March 26th
Future generations of Americans will be less forgiving of Trump.
But the rest of us will be under its gaze, too.
(With this article in mind, many of us do not want to  to be cast as silent supporters of Trump, a man who has lied over 8000 times --- a fact that makes it impossible to agree with him on anything --- not even the economy ("the economy continues to follow the steady, upward path that began under Obama not Trump" though Trump lies about this, too. . .). How will history address this divide --- or
separate the sheep from the goats?)
Click here to read this article. 

March 25
Since Trump was never exonerated of the obstruction of justice charges how can he say he was exonerated of colluding with the Russians? One of the statements wipes out the other one --- and it is, of course, the obstruction of justice statement  that overtakes the  "colluding with the Russians" statement.  This means that Trump cannot be cleared of colluding with the Russians if he was never cleared of obtructing justice.

Since most Americans do not trust Trump and still think he is unfit for the POTUS role why would he  think Americans would want him or  anyone from his administration to interpret the report  for them?  

(Note: It is embarrassing enough that his supporters cannot tell the difference between a mentally and morally fit POTUS and Trump who comes across as a 12 year old boy in a man's body who doesn't mind being a bona fide racist or lying over 8000 times --- who says he has no need for forgiveness  --- not even for grabbing women by their genitals. His 8000 lies include  lies about the economy, which is O.K. if you are one of his  his low information supporters for  " the economy continues to follow the steady, upward glide path that began under Obama." The question is what will Trump do to destroy the gains --- any gains made under the Obama Administration --- a question that  still influences how Americans view Trump. In other words, do not place the majority of Americans in the same category with Trump's supporters for they do not appear to be interested in "oneness" or bringing humans together to create peace).

March 24
The Mueller Report will let Americans know that American citizens have never had a
God fearing  POTUS in office. This statement (though an understatement) is instructive for Trump's crimes are already  worst than Nixon's crimes. (Click here and here for more information.) But just like Nixon, " Trump will try to prevent the nation from learning about the details of the special counsel's report --- and just like Nixon he will lose" for Americans have every right to read the report in its entirety. . .  
How will your elected officials make this possible?

Why? Trump's crimes are legion --- from pretending he did not know about Russian hacking and interference in an election showing that  he needed their support to win  
---to   the the Republicans and his   refusal to address Russian interference in an election based on a wide range of concerns. Why?

But there's so much more that should deem Trump unpresidential from dividing the nation based on race* (including taking pages from  Hitler's racist playbook by  separating children from their parents  --- facts that will not be in the report but should be based on Trump's crimes against America. . .)  to profiting from his role as the POTUS. (Click here and here for more information.)  Yet, elected officials, along  with American citizens must always hold the POTUS accountable for all his actions, not just some. The Mueller Report, therefore, never was Trump's report.    With this thought in mind,  Americans will, of course, demand that the   "Mueller Report" must be made available to every American citizen, across the nation.

Clearly, America is so much better than Trump's one-dimensional "Make America Great Again " creed, (a creed based on white supremacy  or the blasphemous "white skin" god, his god of choice.  *Certainly, there's nothing wrong with white skin but not if it is  worshipped and deemed a god.).  This fact has always been evident --- if --- the popular vote is kept in mind, which shows that the American people have no desire to follow Trump's  "hell on earth" world order but  are still aspiring to a "heaven on earth" world order. . .  Americans then have higher world views and origins that reach beyond Trump's limited leadership views.  This stance recognizes and reinforces the belief that America is already the greatest nation on earth, in spite of Trump. It means America's world status is due to the American people and their value system--- not Trump's standing with nation's that have never been America's allies. As a result,  Trump and Pence, etc. will soon learn the Mueller Report belongs to the American people, first and foremost. 


 March 21th
Why are there only 11 ESSA statewide family engagement centers? What happened to the other states? Click here to learn more. If your state is not on this list, please call your elected officials to better understand the answer to  this question. If it is on the list you must still ask about the achievement gap and learn how it is being addressed across this nation (or in your state/district/school) (due to the weak ESSA state accountability plans that were approved by DeVos). Unfortunately, the funding awards do not always mean parents will be served. For instance, in MD more than half of their students are not proficient in reading or math.  In fact, some schools in America do not even have one proficient student in reading or math. These centers are, therefore, worthless if they are not teaching parents how to hold school officials accountable for school effectiveness on a regular basis. In other words, w here is the urgency in supporting the educational life chances of children? Who will hold the centers' representatives accountable as well?

Please refer to this archived study to learn more (since accountability concerns pertaining to
opportunities to learn still persist across the nation). 
Note: "While many factors contribute to the poor quality of education, parents and advocates universally report that one of the primary obstacles to guaranteeing the right to education is a widespread lack of accountability by school officials. Policies and plans are routinely and systematically disregarded. These failures in accountability affect all schooling issues – from fully funded reading programs that are never implemented to school improvement targets that are never reached. This lack of accountability is closely tied to the school system’s failure to ensure effective participation by parents and communities in the education system.
Parents and advocates report that schools systematically exclude low-income parents and communities from participating in school management and oversight, and through this exclusion severely limit the ability of these actors to hold schools accountable for educational failure. As key stakeholders in civil society, parents, community  groups and advocates have a fundamental human right to participate in the running of schools in their communities.
The human rights system recognizes that participation is an essential component of guaranteeing the fundamental right to education and a necessary factor in monitoring school system performance and ensuring government accountability."

March 19th
It's a shame Americans have to be concerned about the   POTUS' decisions and actions . For instance, many individuals  are wondering who will protect Americans from Trump as well as his obedient  Republicans  ---  when --- (not if) Trump goes stark raving mad. (He's almost there. . . ) This concern is based on his most recent threats against American citizens. Will the military follow Trump and his white supremacist partners in creating a bogus race war as he predicts? If not, how or in what ways can the American people be assured that they will be
protected against Trump's madness?

March 17th
When Speaker Pelosi says Trump is unfit for office does she mean his prefrontal lobe is damaged, a fact (through no fault of his own) making it impossible for him to lead? (For instance, consider his sexual hedonism problem, a problem that includes bragging about grabbing women by the pu _ _ _ (which is a felony). And what about his spatial reasoning problems tied to his racist views and stereoyping of  people of color? This includes the Central Park 5 who he still says are guilty even though they were long ago proven innocent based on DNA evidence.  Also, consider his need to call the U.S. a sh _ _ hole nation when a black man was POTUS. But it also includes his imaginings about a medieval wall that will not address drug overdoses - - -or his need to obsess about and then lie about
an American hero who died last year.)  

On the other hand, does she mean he is the barbarian at the gate who has entered through the gate and is the ruler of a small percentage of the white population who are equally impaired since they cannot  tell the difference between morality and  immorality? Fortunately, Trump's supporters represent a minority who do not mind endorsing the white supremacist rhetoric of Trump --- (a political stance that no one in their right mind would accept, including companies who do not want to be sued) --- while the majority of Americans want to build a world
where racism is in short supply and peace is plentiful.  

And yet, should Americans wonder about the lack of urgency tied to impeaching Trump 
even though he uses the same code language as a terrorist who says immigrants are
invaders? In fact, is Trump so out-of-touch with reality that he would prefer to criticize and  tweet about a "Saturday Night Live" skit rather than to condemn the acts of a man who slaughtered children, women and men in the name of white supremacy? Surely, the actions of white supremacists represent cowardice to the world's inhabitants. Who would kill children but barbarians? Who would fail to condemn white supremacy after the mass murder of other humans? No one but a deranged coward.

A legal category, therefore,  identifying white supremacists as terrorists or as ---- enemies of the United States of America should be established, specifically, for a group that wants to  start race wars, a category that should have been established long ago. Trump, as the POTUS, merely, emboldens white supremacists.  He, along with white supremacists have already shown the world, with ample proof, that they do not support the U.S. Constitution. This basic truth is further confirmed by the majority of whites who do not support their ideas and run away from them for fear of the wrath of God.  (Consider what happened to  Emmett Till's murderers. They lost everything  --- proving that no one is above the law when all is said and done. 

But Trump and his followers  --- please n ote: "have romantic ideas about how this country was
founded. . . and how it became  the greatest country on Earth. . ." Should Trump discuss American history  ( click here for a sample of it)  with his followers if he just found out  
Lincoln was a Republican? 

Currently, he is making history though by trying to turn his followers into terrorists ---
who he says will attack other Americans if he is not the POTUS. 
(His white supremacy leanings are on full display with this threat.)  
His threat should be taken seriously since it is treasonous. It is, therefore, time to  impeach Trump, (an act that would also prevent him from reaching out to the Russians  since he already knows he will not win an election with the support of the majority of Americans. 

What will national security forces do if white supremacists try to start Trump's race war? What are elected officials doing to protect the world from Trump and his white supremacist followers? Surely, elected officials must understand that Trump is an irresponsible POTUS, a man who does not consider the consequences of his words or actions since he brags about insulting women, men and teenagers in broad daylight. That Trump's followers --- are weak, gullible-minded and uninformed people who do not mind following an unfit POTUS --- whatever the cost. . . is a sign that they do not seem to know or understand that they are going up against the United States of America --- a nation that does not belong to Trump. 

Given this fact, at what point  will elected officials impeach a madman who influences other madmen to embrace madness --- or madmen who like to imagine, in their own minds, that they are god-like and superior to all mankind?

In other words, when will it be O.K. to admit that the POTUS will never be a great leader but only a bad one who leads by appealing to white supremacists throughout the world simply because he cannot figure how to do anything that's worthy of a genuine leader?  When will it be O.K.  to  admit that Trump is simply limited in his capacity to lead for he is a corrupt POTUS (with plenty of  proof to support this fact that surpasses Nixon's crimes)? When will it be time for elected U.S. leaders to say that they will no longer babysit a POTUS who is limited in his ability to take on leadership stances that reach beyond racism, divisions and scarcity and who does not know how to come up with the best solutions for mankind? 

If Trump and his fellow white supremacists hearts were not so hardened or damaged they would know that their enemies will never be people of color (We have seen the worst of mankind and are far too advanced to ever imitate racists. There will never be a race war.).  Opioid pills, however, are their true enemies. Trump could choose to address this  concern but he has chosen not to do so.  Yet, opioid pills are killing many of Trump's white followers, a number 167% higher than any other race or an increase ---- reaching to 72, 000 Americans last year --- a number that will keep increasing   ---  with or without his wall).  Their enemies also include ---  "historical" white fertility concerns and/or low white birth rates, white suicides, white premature deaths, etc. ---- that have nothing to do with minorities. These are all concerns that they must take up with God if they want the "peace of God, which surpasses all understanding," a fact that omits white supremacy. With this thought in mind, is this what Speaker Pelosi means ---- when she says let's not waste time on Trump's impeachment or says: " Thank God, because we have a lever; we have leverage against this assault on the Constitution." But, has she given any thought to people of color in her decision?



February 28th
Teach Your Children WellRep. Elijah Cummings' Brilliant Closing Statements at the Michael Cohen Hearing 

Will Michael Cohen be given a chance to change his life?



February 27th
The Cohen Hearing (a prodigal son story and the lesson learned) 
The GOP is demonstrating, once again, that they have selective memories and only promote selective information on many fronts, especially by remaining silent about the POTUS as if the world should envision him as squeaky clean. But he is the elephant in the room that's taking up all the space. From Cohen's testimony and thanks to the Democrats' questions, Americans can confirm that Trump broke federal campaign finance laws and  committed bank fraud by inflating his assets to get a loan.  We know Trump asked Cohen to lie to Congress. We know Trump interacts with Russian mobsters even though he denies knowing the one that lives down the hall from him on the 26th floor. . . We know Trump asked WikiLeaks in broad daylight to   weaponize an email dump to win an election. We know Trump is a racist, a conman and a cheat and not fit for office. The list goes on. . . 
Unlike the Democrats, the GOP's unwillingness to connect the dots, in spite of the evidence or the elephant in te room, remains on full display showing that they do not mind insulting the American people and/or that they, as a whole, lack spatial reasoning abilities (consider the black woman who the GOP put on display, at the hearing, to prove that they are not racists). This includes the GOP questions that were so one-dimensional that they could not even allow their own questions to be placed in any type of context without interrupting Cohen. 
Thank goodness, history will document that "the Grand Old Party," was scared to death of Cohen's testimony and, in turn, tried to sabotage or prevent the hearing from happening. History will record their unbelievable, astonishing, brazen-faced attempt to turn Mr. Cohen into a liar and felon but without seeing that the POTUS' crimes far execeed Cohen's decisions to act on behalf the POTUS. In fact, the GOP's insistence on a double standard for the POTUS merely calls attention to their need to overlook the 8000 times the POTUS has lied with no remorse and whose crimes against America far exceed Nixon's crimes against America. Consider what Americans must now contend with Trump as president by clicking here, and  here. 
Clearly, the GOP's cowardly behavior has become normalized in their version of America --- behavior that represents blind loyalty to an authoritarian POTUS, a fact that is not lost on the American people.  On the other hand, Mr. Cohen (unlike Manafort) has redeemed himself by volunteering to testify before the American people in order to speak the truth while the "the Grand Old Party," remains too afraid to be anything but the flunkies of the POTUS. In the process, the GOP's obsequious behavior reduces everything to a self-serving PR moment on behalf of the POTUS  for they have no problem supporting a racist, inarticulate, unpolished  POTUS  who tries to suppress anything and everything  about his own actions(!), including asking and paying the weak to lie for him. 
Perhaps, this is the point of the hearing. Cohen's experience with Trump has made him stronger for he now knows what he is not. The GOP has not been as analytical. In fact, the GOP should know that Americans will continue to wonder how odd it is that Michael Cohen (who was acting on behalf of Trump) is going to jail but Donald Trump is not. Until Donald Trump goes to jail some willl say ---( long after this hearing is over), Michael Cohen should not go to jail (especially since he has already paid his taxes). With this underlying notion of fairness on the table, should Cohen be given back his law license and his prison time reduced based on this foul, crime ridden culture that begins and ends with Trump ---  a culture   sustained by the GOP  --- a culture that will always need a fall guy to be sacrificed to protect an immoral POTUS?

February 26th 

Here's a key question to ask your state leaders and elected officials: Why do nonwhite districts receive  23 billion less than white districts?  The people who have allowed these racial inequities to happen and to keep on happening decade after decade are not very nice people. Please remember that Senator Lamar Alexander said it was not feasible for the nation to address the differences in spending between schools since it would cost too much money or 3.9 billion to do so. 


February 24th/ We Don't Need Another Hero. . . (America Needs A Real Leader)

The Centrist Paradox: Political Correlates of the Democratic Disconnect (Click here to learn more. . .)

     Republicans, and too many Democrats (including Blue Dog Democrats --- who say they must lead from the center) must stop saying that "Progressives" want to get rid of capitalism and replace it with socialism. Why? They are making stuff up. They are also pretending that  "U.S. Socialism" does not exist. It exists. In this light, these politicians need to admit how socialism addresses what capitalism will not. In the process, they will prove that they do not fall into a  category of politicians who find it convenient to ignore certain U.S. political realities, (including why socialism is needed in certain instances) at the expense of their own constituents. 
     This applies to the POTUS, too who, as a world leader, has not taken the time to know or understand how socialism is used in America or how it prevents many Americans, including his own supporters from starving, etc. He, therefore, sounds profoundly ignorant when he criticizes it. With Trump's ignorance in mind, Americans do not need to tiptoe around issues such as capitialism and socialism for the sake of Trump or his uninformed voters. (Note: W hites use programs built on socialism more than any other group). Instead, they must challenge Trump's criticism of socialism and ask Trump to study how the U.S. operates on a mixed economy of capitalism and socialism. Unfortunately, "u nbridled capitalism" is Trump's true claim to fame.
     Slavery, of course, was based on capitalism, a form of capitalism that could also be called barbarism or abject greed used against other humans. Adam Smith thought that --- "the beneficial workings of the
--- invisible hand --- are dependent upon commercial societies which are not based upon the institution of slavery." If he were alive today he would say the same thing about income inequality. Who is addressing income equality (that is who should win the presidency)?  
    As a result, is it possible for these same politicians to explain to Americans why they prefer to take on certain centrist positions when it comes to certain political issues or concerns that reach beyond their own experiences, including why certain socialist ideas persist in the U.S. --- in spite of capitalism (Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, etc.)? 
     And still, these Democrats  seem to be making fun of the "Green New Deal" or free college tuition or any discussions focusing on real solutions as if America must follow the lead of politicians who cannot chew gum and walk at the same time, along with balancing the budget. They need to explain how their views differ from the (cruel) out-of-sight/out-of-mind Republican philosophy that would even embarrass Adam Smith for it reduces capitalism to greed only,  a survival of the fittest form of capitalism that can only produce income inequality. (Note: Adam Smith who is recognized as "the Founding Father of Capitalism," stated: "T he true measure of a nation’s wealth is not the size of its king’s treasury or the holdings of an affluent few but rather the wages of “the laboring poor.”)
     Unfortunately, many of these Centrist Democrats sound just like the Republicans who have rendered socialism a dirty word, which means they do not understand the urgency of equality except on paper or anything that uplifts or supports democractic principles (food stamps, housing vouchers, healthcare, jobs,  etc.). It shows that they do not mind overlooking the poor or the racial disparities that cause poverty. They seem to assume that bipartisanship is the prize --- or something to brag about even though there is plenty of evidence to prove that income inequality and racial disparities have gone unchecked for years based on bipartisanship. (Consider the ghettos. . . Consider the 28 million Americans still without healthcare. . . Consider ESEA/ESSA, the national education law that was enacted under a Republican majority, a group that still brags about the bipartisan nature of the law even though it omits bona fide accountability principles that, in turn, are currently harming the life chances of children.) Will these concerns ever change? When will these problems ever be solved?
    In this sense, bipartisanship is not a substitute for doing the right thing if it still promotes all forms of  immorality and undermines the American value system. Most Americans, of course, can tell the difference between morality and immorality. They know when politicians "do the right thing" and when they don't. (This is why so many women and progressives won in the last election in certain areas where U.S. Democracy stands firm in the name of the U.S. Constitution. These brave politicians were elected because they did not go along to get along. They remain strong enough to be corrected in a debate, too without writing someone off because they disagree with them. Clearly, we are in new territory with new goals and a platform for new elected officials --- goals that started with the election of Obama and the many things that he accomplished.)  
      For instance, these politicians understand the imdportance of safety nets (tied to U.S.socialism based on a unique U.S. responsive category that attempts to address the "capitialism as greed category" that has caused certain humans to be enslaved, raped, maimed and killed by other humans. This form of U.S. Socialism is really the recognition of remedies that are put in place to address poor leadership solutions based on greed. When things fall this low, certain politicians who understand the meaning of the word humanitarianism rise to the occasion and come up with the ideas to support Democracy such as the Green New Deal  --- to compensate for politicians who are "unconscious of their own crimes against humanity" (as James Baldwin might say. . .). 
     Safety nets then not only compensate for capitalism's current identifiable failure to address all of the " economic uncertainities" that plague the majority of Americans but also uncover the actions of incompetent politicians who work against U.S. ideals.  These politicians should, therefore, know that  Americans are not as ignorant as they think they are (if they consider the results of the last election).
     In fact, Trump won because he took on certain political stances tied to  social exclusion and/or the way(s) politicians keep ignoring societal issues (as if they are saints when they do nothing to support Democracy). Most importantly, he knew politicians rarely solve anything (even though his focus on racism should explain why he has never addressed the real  concerns tied to his supporters, either). With this view in mind, should the list of Democratic presidential contenders shrink rather than grow for the 59th quadrennial U.S. presidential election?

February 2, 2019 

Secretary Devos needs to be replaced as the U.S. Secretary of Education. Is it really possible for a Secretary of Education to ignore educational best practices and lessons learned tied to the education of children? As it stands, she is an insult to children everywhere for she overlooks the civil rights of U.S. students and does not understand that treating black children differently from white children is racist on many different fronts This includes 5 year old children --- who she is setting up for the school to prison pipeline. What does it mean for school officials and  politicians to ignore the fact that children are attending school under these unfair, racist conditions? What does it mean when she  points to racist research to defiend her arguments?

What is Secretary DeVos doing to address the issues tied to charter schools, especially since far too many charter schools are failing to implement best practices and lessons learn tied to effective schools? And what about the fact that  "nonwhite school districts get 23 billion less than white school districts." Why? Click here and here to learn more.
Who is promoting oversight over the U.S. public school system? Who is addressing the decisions that promote racism and who is challenging Secretary DeVos to  address racial disparities due to the practices of
state and local school officials as well as union lobbyists and politicians?  


February 1, 2019
More presidential candidates must start their campaigns with a focus on the ground rather than the center, a goal that seems obvious to anyone who has experienced poverty or who is actually capable of identifying with the poor. Overlooking poverty, of course, is a sign that far too many politicians have normalized it. These politicians have forgotten that they are sharing a world with the very people who have placed them in their positions or who will place them in their positions. The American people, therefore, deserve better than this for Americans are tired --- of the wide range of pardons, per se that the average politician receives for keeping the poor --- poor --- their entire lives ---- or for failing to protect all of their constituents from unfair practices. Political daily normalized pardons should not be attached to a repeat button --- for doing nothing. 

Unfortunately , the more things change the more things stay the same on some fronts. 
A ll  Americans must, therefore, speak out against oppression --- where they find it. 
(Scroll to begin at 5:55 if your time is limited for the second link.)
Both of these links should be required listening for Americans
during Black History Month and beyond. 

 Who then understands that actually "recognizing" the needs of the poor is an emergency issue? Who is backing up their beliefs about the poor with bills that address their concerns rather than focusing on what  the rich will always want --- tied to their ever increasing need for greed? As it stands, the poor remain invisible to these politicians who use a type of --- out of sight ---- out of mind --- world view, a world view --- that they use to stigmatize the poor so that they will never have to address their needs.  In other words, they rationalize the need for an unnecessary,  purposeless wall, etc. but, at the same time, overlook "the poor's bread and butter" emergency needs that are tied to their daily lives. With this political view in mind, who will become the political game changer who will cause all politicians to address the immoral political strategies that are used on the poor without much fanfare  ---  strategies that have remained in place without much change --- generation after generation?

Who will represent the poor for poverty is surely a symptom of  weak policies that create the conditions that allow crime, health concerns, and unemployment (and/or classism and racism) to exist? (From this perspective, " attempts to alleviate poverty have sometimes suffered from a lack of attention to operational issues and from a lack of program structures that encourage innovation, assessment and learning.") As a result, most people are no longer interested in "simple" talking points and band-aid solutions that sustain "business as usual" plans that are  timid or lukewarm at best, especially from inexperienced billionaires --- when the problems are  larger than life problems that --- the rich create --- to keep the poor --- poor.  

Who will represent the poor? Who has the political acumen and experiences to create the policies that will address income inequality, along with how these goals will be implemented and/or enforced   --- even while a majority Republican Senate remains in place that  promotes income equality on purpose? By now, all Americans should know that   conservative politicians (and their do-nothingness or  silence on issues important to the poor)  are responsible for the existence of ghettos across the nation. That American-made ghettos can be tracked to conservatism is, without question, evidence of entrenched unAmerican policies that work against democratic ideals  --- and that place the  poor in positions to  survive abject racism decade after decade. Who will address these unAmerican policies? Who will speak out against these politicians and billionaires who keep trying to hide the fact  that their policies create the need for  affordable health care, food stamps, and housing vouchers --- if not despair leading to historical levels of white suicide rates, white alcoholism death rates, white drug overdose rates and/or white premature death rates  --- ? Will any politician  be brave enough to say that conservative politicians --- who are "charged with protecting all American citizens" are not protecting them at all --- not even their easily fooled constituents? Where are the politicians who will speak out against and/or  name and list the ways that politicians have failed to serve and protect Americans, especially the poor

How will  these politicians compete against conservatives who criticize social protections or call these protections --- socialism --- when policies favored by the rich continue to create the need  for nationwide emergency remedies to actually --- compensate --- for  the rich whose cavalier "out of sight/out of mind" solutions weaken and harm the poor?  How will they overcome racist politicians and their racist rhetoric used against the poor? How will they address the needs of the poor when the president overlooks them? Will they keep their concerns on the table by understanding how to undue decades of polices that keep
harming the poor or people of color?

How will they compete against the rich who decide one day, on a whim, to run for the presidency because they can ---- but who will run without any understanding of  U.S. governance principles making it impossible for them to lead an entire nation without promoting chaos? Will they encourage Americans to demand from politicians and future ones that they must, at least, embrace American democratic ideals or fairness and equality before they run for the presidency  --- with evidence of this commitment with scale in mind? This is a moral question that is caused by or stems from the rich and their out of sight/out of mind way of life
when it comes to "We the People" of the United States of America.

To date, conservative politicians, however, lack the morality to take ownership of the unnecessary burdens or racist practices that they "keep" placing on  poor people of color who must, in turn, also experience year after year  unaddressed poverty (on a daily basis) even though they, too are Americans. (Please note: " After 1900, the South had Jim Crow, a legal regime of separatism, but the rest of the country had ghettos, redlining, gerrymandering, quota and exclusion systems, and the artifice of the local school district. De-facto discrimination—we now call it “institutional racism” or “structural racism”—is much harder to address.
It requires more of people than just striking down a law.")

 Who will represent the poor? The overall solution is not prosecuting the poor ( since they have never been offered a level playing field in reality but are, instead, offered racism that is further perpetuated by a racist POTUS and kept in tact by a majority racist and conservative U.S. Supreme Court) but preventing U.S. poverty or social exclusion and racism from happening in the first place  in the richest nation on the planet --- by ridding the nation of the conditions that lead to poverty. Yet, after all of these years of racist policies directed at poor Americans of color, in particular --- the question still begs to be asked --- 
Who are the real criminals: the ones who create the ghettos (politicians?) or
the ones who learn how to survive the ghettos by any means possible? 

Increased taxes for the rich works or sounds good but --- who can cross the aisle and get more Republican Senate members to understand that they are hurting Americans and losing thier own souls by overlooking the need for higher taxes on the rich? Who has the experience to understand what it will take to create  the conditions for higher paying jobs or training programs so Americans can still afford a house with two car garages and their car payments (The American Dream is not based on greed.)? Will these politicians address wage theft --- when most states do not even have any staff in place to address it? Better yet, what about the lies that Trump and Co. tell about their job numbers and economic growth? (Note: "Economic growth, however, does not necessarily lead to sustained improvements in employment, income and well-being." Yet, Trump treats his supporters as if they will never connect the dots and wonder why wage growth isn't occurring since "growing employment should drive up wages." But, it isn't. Why?
People are dropping out of the labor force since they cannot find jobs. 

And what about the problem tied to Trump's followers, in particular --- who want more companies to move to areas where they live when it is not cost effective to do so --- with all of the law suits that follow these companies  based on their racist behavior? 

What about the school system --- which should be a way out of poverty except school officials and teachers have such low expectations of children of color that no one should ask anyone to stop reviling these special interest groups and their union lobbyists? (Note: this conservatism belongs to both parties when it comes to the public school system. For instance, "the Democrats have been champions of the disadvantaged in virtually every other area of public policy, education is a glaring exception. In education, and in education alone, the Democrats are the party of conservatism. Throughout the modern era they have been immobilized, unable to pursue major change. Their alliance with the teachers unions has taken true reform off the table." 
Click here to learn more. Scroll to page 10.)

Why then are students of color penalized for the ineffectiveness of school representatives who suspend and expelled children at high rates than white children who commit the same acts? Do they know that these children later become truants and dropouts? Why are children of color disproportionality and inappropriately placed in special education? Note: Clearly, bringing greater transparency to American classrooms and holding school officials and teachers accountable for their job responsibilities or school effectiveness are all commonsense strategies for addressing the needs of children, first and foremost. 



January 23rd
Stephanie Ruhle  and Ali Velshi (MSNBC) who are both covering the World Economic Forum in Davos stated that the voices of those who know what it feels like to live under weak economic policies are not there.

The main topic or the only topic that should be discussed there should be taxing the rich across the world at a uniform rate so that the poor are no longer allowed to live in abject poverty. Presently, the rich simply run to another nation that will tax them at a lower rate. Right-Wing Populism, of course, is a response, at its root, to income inequality and policies that favor the rich. Sooner or later these uninformed groups will figure this out and turn their attention to the rich, entirely --- and not poor immigrants. When that time comes, it would be better for the rich to say "how" they are addressing income inequality or this urgent need.. 

In other words, let the rich run but they should not be able to hide --- for greed (and income inequality) should have been addressed long ago in a civilized world.
After all, we are sharing a planet when all is said and done. Yet, the only one talking about tax increases on the rich in the U.S. is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex.  Why?  


January 22nd
Last week we learned that the number of missing migrant children
is much higher than what was reported by the Trump Administration. 
How many are missing? Where are the migrant children who are missing?  
I do not believe if the children were white that this question would have to be asked over and over again. The nature of this Trump beast called racism and the separation of children from their parents is a reminder of slavery and how low this uncivilized Trump Administration will go to create
a dysfunctional  executive branch of government due to ineptness.  

No matter what Trump says his "white extinction anxiety" is on display with his need to build a wall that blocks all brown asylum seekers (including brown babies and children, etc.) from entering the U.S., nothing more, nothing less. That he ignores  best practices in addressing drugs and illegal crossings on the southern border is "the" key sign that a wall is not his main objective.  In other words , Trump makes no distinction between asylum seekers and drug smugglers.  He also makes no distinction between his racist need to define all of the brown asylum seekers (including children and babies) as drug smugglers --- and his need to overlook the role of Big Pharma (represented by mainly white men) in hooking millions of Americans on drugs. What will he do to deter white drug dealers
from spreading drugs across the nation?


What kind of POTUS ignores the research on drug abuse anyway? He cannot even discuss the problem if he does not understand it. Does he know that "more people report using controlled  prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine combined. That puts prescription drugs second behind marijuana when it comes to illicit drug use. He is also overlooking the fact that the US represents 5 percent of the world’s population and consumes approximately 80 percent of the world’s prescription opioid drugs." 

On the other hand, his anxiety (that he shares with many whites) seeks to decrease the number of people of color in this nation as a way to fight his imaginary state of being called white extinction anxiety. A wall will not address this type of hysteria --- or drug smugglers. Separating children from their parents
will not end drug smuggling in America, either.

Is he reading, studying or attending classes on illegal drug use or who is responsible for the opioid epidemic? Does he understand what will prevent drug use from increasing and  how? Is he studying illegal immigration starting with an understanding of the origins of hateful stereotypes such as claiming that all migrants are animals or criminals? Is he reading what the experts are saying about the southern border wall and real border security ---- things that Trump must first distinguish between before he can make a decision on what will prevent real smugglers from entering the nation? That Trump struggles to tell the difference between real solutions and imaginary ones, of course, is the problem on far too many fronts. (Click here and   here for more information.) 

Americans, however, are suffering from a governmental shutdown based on his need for chaos (along with his firmly established need to promote racist practices 
to feed his base). It goes without saying then that no one in their right
mind could or would agree with his imaginary solutions --- under any circumstances.
No one would ever place themselves in a position to appease him for he has nothing to negotiate with since he has nothing to offer American citizens but  bad ideas. 
He does not have honesty, decency or fairness to place on the table. He only has lies, deception, and cruelty to offer the American people in an arena where a different set of elected officials now exists and where the majority of citizens voted for them not Republicans or him. (I'm not a gambling person but I am pretty sure his supporters will be the first ones to cry "Uncle" when their food stamps are all gone and the Fox News pundits tell them the economy is failing. (Note: The "number"  of whites who receive food stamps is more than any other race in the U.S.) 

In the meanwhile, Trump is ignoring the real causes of drug use (Originally, he
said he needed the wall to prevent drugs from entering the nation or was it immigrants. . . or did he change his made-up story so he could claim that all migrants are drug users?). In other words, he is essentially ignoring the opioid crisis. (There were 72, 000 overdoses last year and that number is increasing. . .)
But Trump also needs to handle the suicide crisis, the alcoholism crisis, the low birth rate crisis (and/or the infertility epidemic), and the premature death crisis of whites, mainly white women --- all problems impacting the lives of whites disproportionally. Could the cause of these problems be biblical (or a response tied to white racism)? No. Unfortunately, Trump alone has slammed all of the doors shut on any real remedies (for these very real epidemics have nothing to do with brown asylum seekers ) by wasting time on the wrong solutions (for instance his imaginary wall ).  

Trump's hatred of people of color then is causing him to overlook "all" of the real strategies that would address the real problems associated with his supporters (who just happen to hate people of color, too). Clearly, white conservative leaders have overlooked them for a long time. (Will the new presidential candidates change this outlook?)  And still (even now --- with Trump on their side) --- his supporters remain confused and misinformed about this very fact. Trump, in turn, is confused about U.S. governance standards and laws or how to protect them.  

The low level status of the missing migrant children that he separated from their families, the wall, and his need to use racially charged language to define all brown asylum seekers --- are all connected and are signs that he is trying to
please his base. His decreasing approval ratings, however, are proving his voters are fickled and his strategies are not working --- especially the governmental shutdown.  That he ignores any and all laws (including asylum laws and  international laws) is also a critical sign that he simply does not understand the American value system
or why America is great.  

But what are U.S. politicians doing to address Trump's deep seated hatred of people of color that's causing humans the world over to scratch their heads in wonderment at Trump, his supporters and their dwindling numbers? What are they doing to save Trump from Trump or to save Trump's supporters from themselves for on their own they are doing nothing to address their own real life problems stemming from bad ideas to bad choices (or their own inability to address their own problems that are impacting the nation) --- ideas that Trump, nonetheless, wants the nation to see as solutions even though they appear asinine (with the shutdown in mind)? What are they doing to help Trump know that his ideas, alone keep producing nationwide chaos or one crisis after another crisis for this very reason? What are they doing to let Trump and his supporters know that their choices and ideas are not caused by  people of color or migrants? Trump's ideas or unforced errors originate, at their root, from him as well as his followers. By now, surely, they all know --- a wall will not save them from themselves.    


January 19th
Did "The President of the United States of America" really threaten Cohen's family
as in a: "snitches Get stitches" mobster type way by threatening Cohen's father-in-law --- thereby proving that whatever Cohen said about Trump is true?????  Why else would a POTUS threaten Cohen's father-in-law? Did this threat then lead Cohen to say that he lied about Trump's latest obstruction of justice charge to protect his family? Clearly,  Trump's "threats" are very distracting and should not be considered business as usual for a POTUS. Nothing then must upend the Mueller investigation. As it stands, Trump's inability to understand the American value system (in and of itself) keeps undermining anything else he could possibly say or do. And so, there should be no denial from anyone that no one in their right mind should be asked to negotiate with him if the parameters  for the negotiations begin and end with his abject value system --- in which truth is absent. This Trumpian value system built from lies and racism will never be accepted or normalized
by the American people. 

During this "Martin Luther King Holiday Weekend" it is, therefore, instructive to remember that MLK said: “noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.”  Bravo to Pelosi and the Democrats
who understand this lesson learned.

But Trump and the Republicans do not understand this lesson.  A case in point is Trump's governmental shutdown --- that shows Trump is trying to place America on a road that leads to the destruction of the economy (and/or an eventual recession or worst).  Who would follow Trump down a road that leads to a 5.7 billion dollar plus border wall that will not address border security? No one . . . but  those who do not care that he is profoundly ignorant of the facts about border security.  Who would follow Trump down a road that separates children from their families or that allows children to die on purpose? No one. . . but those who do not have one grain of morality.  Most Americans prefer "the road that leads to life, a road that few will find" if they believe in Trump's distractions, lies or his thuggish ways.  


January 17
Everything Trump does hurts the nation. The most overwhelming fact is that he has underreported the number of migrant children who were separated from their parents at the southern border.  What will elected officials do to address yet another emergency situation facing children that Trump has created on purpose?

He is also hurting families who live paycheck to paycheck by treating the governmental shutdown as a trivial matter rather than an urgent one that should have been easily solved weeks ago.  But Trump's research on the border wall is nonexistent and/or has no underlying support. This is, therefore, not about the "LeftWing" of the Democratic Party being uncooperative --- this is about a leader who wants the American people to accept a profoundly flawed strategy that will not solve the border security problem at all. If Trump keeps misses this core point is he really capable of making any executive decisions on behalf of an entire nation? And so the question that should not have to be asked must be asked: Where is the Senate? Is it still capable of operating as an independent body or is it a toy belonging to Trump, alone? Where is Mitch McConnell? 

January 16th
Who are all of these people running for president? Clearly, this is creating a dilemma for many Americans ---- for most people know that there are many people who claim to be progressives who are not progressives at all --- for in reality they tend to run away from the people who need them the most. Trump's supporters know what this means and turned to Trump for recognition for this very reason.   Biden seems to understand Trump's supporters who tend to believe that they are invisible to most politicians. When I was a PA PIRC Director I attended a conference forcusing on the needs of poor parents and their children. Suddenly there was some commotion in the room. Everyone  turned around to find Biden there in attendance at this small conference.  He showed up without the cameras --- for poor parents, which says a lot about him as a leader. And then there is Cory Booker who is used to connecting  with poor citizens, too and/or  a rich diversity of networks for he actually lives with poor people. Both of these politicians practice what they preach. They are not just leaders on paper. They are leaders in reality. 

January 16th
Bravo, to Nancy Pelosi for her current decision about disinviting the POTUS to the State of the Union Address due to national security issues. This is what leadership looks like! But, will McConnell finally decide to join with the Democrats and reopen the government so that the U.S. Secret Service will be paid (along with all U.S. governmental workers, especially those responsible for the safety of all Americans not just Trump) so they will attend and  he, in turn, can attend? Will Trump understand why Pelosi disinvited him? Will he understand why his own decision that caused a governmental shutdown built on racism or overall unsound decisions is creating a domino effect impacting his own presidency and disapproval ratings as a POTUS?  Will he understand then that he alone set the stage  (for yet another historical first) that is leading to an inevitable State of the Union Address without the POTUS in attendance based on his own flawed leadership decisions? 
 


January 12th
(Based on a  New York Times Report released on January 11th)

Is President Trump "working on behalf of Russia against American interests?"
(Is this a question about that calls on Americans to simply distinguish between
right and wrong --- and the safety of all Americans  --- and not about 
Democrats and Republicans? Yes. )
Clearly, this is an ongoing question tied to Trump's behavior but the
New York Times' story   "reframes the focus and purpose of the investigation now headed by Robert Mueller."    As it stands, the FBI report should cause Americans to rest easier for it has always made sense for the FBI  to investigate him for obvious reasons that do not even have to be explained to Americans. After all, Trump makes  decisions on purpose --- that work against the interests of the U.S. in
broad daylight, not in secrecy. 

The ongoing question with Trump as the current POTUS, therefore, remains:  
Who is preserving, defending and protecting the Constitution of the  United States of America and the American people from Trump and his impulsive, unsound decisions? Where is the Senate or Republican conservatives who are charged with being a check on the POTUS? Why are the Republicans always missing in action as reflected in their own failure to understand the meaning of accountability as U.S. leaders and/or their roles as servants in serving the American people? Are they Russian assets or being compromised, too? Are they being investigated as well?  Is the House of Representatives t he only functioning legislative branch of government
aware of its responsibilities?

The answers to these questions are not  apparent ones when considering that the U.S. Senate (controlled by Republicans) does not appear to think that a functioning U.S. government is necessary, a fact that shows that they are --- in all probability working against American interests simply on principle. (Note: Trump's shutdown is also causing  the judiciary to operate on limited funds.) What does it mean when Trump is being investigated for being an asset who as POTUS is also held responsible for adminstering the U.S. executive branch of government --- who, at the same time, has shutdown the government --- and, in the process, is overlooking the American people's demands to reopen the government --- he says for possibly years? Does it mean that he is  working for Russian interests rather than American interests?   

Whatever the answers are to these questions they place American governance in a category that can only be deemed as an emergency that cannot be set aside as simply questions to consider on another day (even if the Republicans are apathetic toward their constitutional roles as elected officials). In other words, the American people have a right to know what is going on (with yet another investigation of Trump), especially since" counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security." (OMG) "  Agents also sought (according to the report) to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence."

All elected officials should stand up and address this concern nonstop unless
they also believe that Trump should keep trying to normalize a presidency that is being investigated as a national securty threat.  As a result, there will not be a public outcry about this much needed aspect of Mueller's investigation. All Americans already know that if Trump is an asset he has not been very good at hiding his status for Americans have always thought that Trump's relationship with Putin was based on power, money and Trump's ego (at the expense of the U.S. as if Americans would not notice his actions) --- a fact that Trump thought he could get away with anyway until he discovered that " the truest kompromat on Trump
has always been his own personality." 

Whether Trump or the Senate realize it the nation's emergency status is already apparent and it is not due to a wall: it has always been about their inability to tell the difference between right and wrong --- even when it comes to children and babies. 
Trump seems to like punishing Americans or anyone who does not  agree with him.  This need shows up--- not just in his decisions to promote racism and divide the nation (as Putin wanted/wants) but also in undermining the role of the Unites States of America as a superpower (as Putin still wants) --- a superpower role he appears to want to harm if not destroy --- based on its dominance as a " globe-spanning network of alliances and military bases." That Trump has Russian connections is one thing but that he may be a Russian asset or compromised or both based on his fascination with  greed (an addiction that got him into this fine mess) is a completely different story all together. 

January 10th
Why does Trump expect the American people to accept his off the cuff ideas about a "medieval" border wall? Why does he think he can overlook  best practices in U.S. border security and still expect the American people to support him? Why is he  ignoring the cost of the governmental shutdown,
a  fact that does not seem to matter to him? 

If he is not concerned about these crucial matters what are politicians doing to address his inability to lead, especially when it comes to a wall without any sound research to support it? Will the 25th Amendment against Trump be invoked
to ---- save the nation ---- from Trump's irresponsibility or his off the cuff leadership style that continues to harm the American people rather than protect Americans?  When will these proceedings start (since Trump seems to be using the shutdown as a prolonged distraction from his Russian collusion issues) so Americans do not have to worry about WIC, SNAP, food stamps, housing, air safety, food safety, highway safety, foodborne illness outbreaks --- or human life concerns, etc.
What about U.S. economic security (or the same facts that were discussed during
the governmental shutdown in 2013, a lesson learned ---
a shutdown also caused by  Republicans)? 

 
January 9th

In reviewing Trump's governmental shutdown speech, Don Lemon of CNN noticed that Trump did not distinguish between drug abuse caused by prescription drugs originating from the medical profession, etc. and drug abuse caused by illegal drugs originating from Mexican drug dealers (I'm paraphrasing). When Trump makes this distinction he might change his mind about the need for a southern border wall. (I'm wondering if Trump even remembers why he says he wants a southern border wall. . . even though he must know he is hurting American families by creating a false narrative for a governmental shutdown.) But then again In Trump's mind, asylum seekers of color are all criminals who are responsible for the U.S. opioid epidemic that killed 72, 000 Americans who overdosed last year. There's no logic in this belief . . . except if he needs to blame people of color for everything that goes wrong in this nation or if he needs to prove to his base that he hates people of color to receive their applause. (To learn more about this need, he must read Toni Morrison's book that addresses it. Click here for this cross-referenced info.) 

Fortunately, there is no buy-in (by the American people) for his white supremacist monument to racism for more reasons than one. The second reason is clearly due to his failure to address the true problems that are staring him in his face. I'm asuming that he probably already knows that the opioid users who mostly voted for him are white. This population uses opioids at a rate that is 167% higher than African American usage of opioids. If Trump wants to address this problem that is impacting American families he has to do his homework or research. Research, however, is a tedious job to many people but to some of us this need to search for the truth and uncover the facts tied to positive outcomes is instructive for it allows us to analyze data, connect the dots and see the connections. Unfortunately, this is not easy if the purpose for the research or its overall goal cannot be voiced or acknowledged. In this sense, is the governmental shutdown a costly distraction from Trump's number one ongoing concern in which his  DNA is a telltale sign that gives his goal away (unlike the Central Park 5 who were rendered innocent except to
Trump --- who still sees them as guilty)? Will McConnell address this distraction problem or allow it to linger for months 
or who knows how long?


January 7th
The Governmental shut down is hurting American families. Trump wants 5 billion dollars for a wall but he ignores the problems that are impacting the lives of Americans. For instance, he says nothing about equalizing school spending  across the nation or within U.S. borders, a longstanding problem that would address the failure of U.S. schools (48, 000 at last count). This problem, at its root, keeps impacting the life chances of American children generation after generation.  Senator Lamar Alexander, however, laughs at the notion of spending 3.9 billion for a failing school system but says nothing about a wall that does not even have any sound research to support it. He also does not broadcast the fact that parents should be the ones who determine what is fair and equitable in their state --- according to the law (or ESSA).  

With this thought in mind, Trump says the wall will protect Americans from migrant drug dealers as if all asylum seekers are criminals, including babies and children --- but Trump has lied to the American people over 7500 times.  His statements continue to be racist and his wall only serves as a monument for immorality (Pelosi) or white supremacy. Unfortunately, he expects Americans to actually accept his one dimensional view or need for a 5 billion dollar wall as if all Americans are stupid. Is it any wonder that most Americans
turn the channel when he is on th air? 

To save face, he must discuss all the ways Americans are gaining access to drugs (a problem facing countless American families) rather than blaming this problem on defenseless asylum seekers --- a problem that did not begin with asylum seekers and will not end with asylum seekers. He must discuss best practices or technology or ports of entry to address the U.S. drug problem at the southern border. He must mention "all of the ways that drugs enter this nation," including by planes, trains, buses, cars, the U.S. mail and by prescriptions, etc. Anything less makes him look profoundly uninformed, especially since 72, 000 Americans died  last year from drug overdoses --- a number that keeps increasing since the root cause of this profound crisis has been overlooked.   

It is, of course, honorable that he wants to address the U.S. drug crisis but to be seen as a leader by all Americans he must  "lead" by heading in the right direction rather than in the wrong direction. He must start doing his own homework and stop wasting the American people's time on flawed strategies and, instead, focus on  effective strategies stemming from valid research.This profound  opportunity to lead, therefore, starts with facts --- facts that prove  that  illegal border crossings are decreasing --- facts that should require him to pivot and search for
the real solutions that are tied to drug prevention
as a real leader would do. What are politicians doing to change this
culture of lies and racism  in D.C.? If politicians know that Trump is insane what are they doing to protect U.S citizens from his make believe humanitarian crisis built on racism (while ignoring the northern border/Canada) besides watching
what he does from the sidelines? 

January 2, 2019 

What are politicians doing to protect U.S. public school children from Trump, DeVos and their Federal Commission on School Safety?

Please remember that Trump created the commission after the mass shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida but, from the start, its purpose, was not to address the mass shooting and gun control. What then is its purpose besides pushing for U.S. schools to arm their teachers and to violate the civil rights of children of color?

Note: Here's what we do know: this commission is overlooking
the research on mass shootings. For more information on this subject, click here
This commission opposes federal investigations as well as the tracking of school disciplinary actions. This commission does not believe in federal overreach so it overlooks real federal oversight proving that its  members have no recognition or understanding  of best practices and lessons learned pertaining to school safety concerns. This is laziness not only on their part but also on the part of DeVos who is, after all, the Secretary of Education. 

In other words, they do not explain how states and districts will be held accountable for " appropriately training teachers to implement sound safety policies; and other methods that are being used by districts to evaluate the effectiveness of their policies by race, etc. For instance, DeVos and the commission are opposed to " Obama's guidance, which they believe "suggests that even facially neutral school discipline policies may violate federal law if these policies have a disparate impact upon members of certain racial groups in rates of suspension, expulsion, or referral to law enforcement." In a nutshell, DeVos and this commission do not want racism investigated. This means that they are intentionally pretending that racism does not exist in public school systems.

This pattern of overlooking research is common for  DeVos who does not seem to care about the civil rights of children of color or that  African Americans students face greater rates of suspension, expulsion and arrest than their white classmates.  She also overlooks that fact they these students  drop out of school after experiencing these violations of their civil rights when all is said and done. What then are politicians doing to protect U.S. public school children from Trump, DeVos and their Federal Commisssion on School Safety and/or the gaps in their overall abilities to understand U.S. public safety issues?


November 7, 2018

What are elected officials doing to protect the press ( here, herehere  and here) from Trump? Trump cannot pull press credentials from a journalist simply because he does not like the questions that they ask him. Will someone tell him that the press serves on behalf of the public not him? Trump is confused. They are not his servants. This is not Russia. This is not Saudia Arabia. 



Previous Questions:

​Do State Departments of Education  have the capacity (and political will) to develop high quality state standards, state curriculums, and state assessments? Do they have the capabilities to turn around low performing schools, in a timely manner, (or even to respond to mandated reporting requirements about school funding formulas or how the fair distribution of resources are being addressed) without federal interventions? (Hint Senator Alexander seems convinced that all states can do the job but recnt statistics work against his "off the cuff" statements. Consider this study or this article or this one --- including: The State. . . How Leadership Influences Student Learning as well as this one as you debate this topic. For more information on turnaround schools, click here.) 




​​July 2018

It is clear that Trump is harming immigrant babies and children by separating them from their parents. His inhumane leadership strategies keep proving that he is incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong or what is humanly possible to protect children --- as if critical decisions and solutions that serve the best interests of children are not within his moral code. He should be charged with breaking international laws. He should be charged with ignoring national standards for the treatment of children.

What then are elected politicians (with some sense of morality) doing immediately to protect powerless babies and children from his unAmerican policies --- policies that represent an extremely unrecognizable interpretation of American values?


April 18, 2018

What's going on in public school classrooms --- if whole schools are failing to serve their students? (Note: Some educators do not think that teachers have " the depth of content knowledge necessary to ensure students understand the why and the where of (for instance) math, instead of just the how." Colleges of Education are a huge part of this problem for various reasons, etc. but do these problems also originate from state, district and school leadership practices that have nothing to do with teachers?)  These  implementation concerns tied to professional development are, of course, problems (i.e., associated with the CCSS) that need to be addressed.

And yet, if this same scenario would have happened to low income parents a million excuses would have been used against them, including blaming them for the teacher's failure to teach, the school officials' inability to lead and the students' failure to learn the content --- that was never taught. What are school officials doing to ensure the effective implementation of (CCSS) best practices in classrooms? What are politicians doing to help low income parents whose children attend low performing schools --- who school officials are ignoring? Who is holding school officials accountable for student achievement? If schools cannot offer parents this simple type of information on a regular basis are school officials blatantly ignoring the need for this type of tranparency and accountability information? If so, should they be blamed for the high drop out rates across the nation?


March For Our Lives, March 24th 

(Also refer to: "Schools Gun Control & Politicians"  by clicking here.) 


Will elected officials listen to the specific legislative demands of U.S. students who want comprehensive gun control laws in place across the nation, a demand that is tied to their " March For Our Lives" event that will take place on March 24th? Will elected officials ensure that their demands are a top priority and/or that specific legislative efforts are underway that will keep them safe and alive? Will they end gun violence and mass shootings in their schools today?" For more info on March For Our Lives, click here.  Note: According to this NY Times article, the majority of Americans support these gun control  goals. (I would add the need for federal standards on gun safes, changing the age requirement for gun use and ownerhip to 21,  funding actual research on gun violence, etc. ) They include:

Assault weapons ban 
Bar sales to all violent criminals  
Semiautomatic gun ban 
High-capacity magazine ban 
Universal checks for gun buyers 
Universal checks for ammo buyers 
Bar sales to people deemed dangerous by mental health provider 

Bar sales to convicted stalkers 
Require gun licenses 
Ammo purchase limit 
Centralized record of gun sales 
Report lost or stolen guns 
3-day waiting period 
Gun purchase limit 
Workplace weapons ban 
School weapons ban 
Guns that microstamp bullets 
Require gun safes 
Require safety training 

Fingerprint gun owners 


Please Note: " Airing Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 9/8c, Click here to view this video.  "Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action" will feature victims, classmates parents and community members who are calling on President Donald Trump and Washington lawmakers to take action following one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history — and the 18th school shooting of the new year. The Lead‘s Jake Tapper will moderate the discussion." 

Bravo to the POTUS who held a listening session that allowed students, parents and educators to talk about mass shootings in schools (but will he listen to their demands for bans on AR 15 guns?), click here to learn more.

To learn about the recently formed Coalition of States for Gun Safety, click here and here. For information on best practices and lessons learned ---- or the "call for advocacy, research, health education and promotion activities directed to preventing gun/firearm death, injury," click here

Also, please take the time to listen to a "speech by Emma Gonzalez, a student at Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida where 17 people were left dead after a mass shooting, who calls out President Trump and the NRA by name at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida." Click here  to learn more.

Please note that: the "Women's March organizers are encouraging students, teachers and their allies to walk out of schools on March 14th , click here to learn more about Youth Empower of the Women's March who is organizing the protests against gun violence across the nation. For additional information, click here.  For a Live Stream of the Student Walkouts, click here


February 16, 2018

Why ask politicians about mass shootings?  "T he U.S. Congress has actually weakened federal gun laws by giving the gun industry immunity against most lawsuits, preventing the release of crime gun trace data, mandating the destruction of data from background checks within 24 hours, and limiting research that might threaten the gun lobby."

Questions: (Change Starts with Education)   For more information about these questions, 
click here.

Question: 
Why did elected officials ignore  the voices of the 90% of Americans who support DACA? Why are they still ignoring the majority of Americans who see DACA as an urgent concern and priority that should have been defended and acted on long ago?  

Message to Republicans with the 2018 elections in mind: the lives of the Dreamers --- should never have been used as a bargaining chip --- for an imaginary wall. Trump's current idea is an insult, too for the path to citizenship for the Dreamers should not take up to 10 to 12 years (as if they are in the movie 12 Years a Slave ). He also believes that even after 12 years they will need to prove that they are worthy of becoming citizens. How on earth can a man who puts his hands up women's dresses and grabs them by their private parts make such a demand  when 16 women say he has committed sexual assault and, some say, rape? He has no moral ground to stand on.     His  solution is not a solution  at all for obvious reasons except to those who who share his limited views about a diverse nation but it does reconfirm why there is a need for more people of color and women to run for office. This lack of empathy by white male conservative politicians shows that they do not identify with the Dreamers or  understand the urgency of the Dreamers' plight and their need for permanent status. Since we know that this stance against the Dreamers is being led by racists (or unconcerned politicians) such as thirty-two year old Stephen Miller and racist right-wing John Kelly (who thought slavery should have been negotiated), we also now know that the government shutdown was, at its root, a stand and a fight for the U.S. Constitution and its equality basis rather than an attempt to compromise with racists.  shutdown when it was always about the demand for permanent status of the Dreamers still remains mind-boggling. In fact, anything less was compromising with Trump's racism.  

The demands should, therefore, stand: the Dreamers should be granted permanent status immediately --- but this list should also include the "Extended Chain Family Migration Program," and the "Diversity Visa Lottery Program" (and always focus on the critical demand for Trump to leave the Russian investigation alone for the sake of the U.S., which should entail everyone calling and/or emailing Republicans and Democrats, especially since Trump & Huckabee Sanders do not think anyone cares about the investigation).   These concerns are a part of a long list of agenda items attached to the POTUS. The Trump Administration knows that each and every concern has its own corresponding list of citizens who want these agenda items discussed and solved. At this point, the POTUS has very few accomplishments to his name but he does have this humongous list of problems tied to his presidency proving that he is unfit to be called a U.S. leader. Why should the Democrats let him off the hook as if he brand of politics is acceptable? 

How then could Trump's cavalier need to end the "Extended Chain Family Migration Program," and the "Diversity Visa Lottery Program" be considered bargaining chips in the first place if the devil is in the details requiring Democrats to support racist decisions, at their root, that feed a conservative racist base that even includes white racist Evangelicals? Do the Republicans and Democrats know that the 47% of voters who did not vote are now awake ---  due to these racist conservative politicians and voters who are even accepting of misogyny? Why would Democrats, therefore, ever think that they had  to support Trump's insanity, including but not limited to: his racist policies and sexual harrassment background , including his imaginary wall that will, nonetheless, cost the U.S. billions of dollars as if a wall  can really prevent people of color from entering the U.S.  ---  even though it will serve as a symbol of his racism? 


Update:

And now, Trump says he wants to know what he will get from the Democrats in exchange for giving the Dreamers permanent status in the U.S.  He is making this statement while forgetting that  most people want him impeached (sooner rather than later) for acting in dishonorable, anti-American ways while others or most Americans want, for the first time in history, a U.S. presidency. . . or his presidency nullified for his collusion with the Russians. This includes the noise American voters are making to bring attention to his overall treatment of humans (i.e., children, women, men, the disabled, people of color, immigrants, his own voters or base, including his demands for political alligence from the FBI, etc. which can all be documented).

This shows that most Americans understand this key point: "The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors." In other words, Trump made a promise to Americans about DACA that he did not keep. . . which, in turn,  caused a government shutdown, etc. . .  As a result, did Trump violate and abuse the public's trust on humanity grounds? Please recall: " Hamilton was not loose with words. If a President abuses or violates the public trust, he has committed “High Crime and Misdemeanors .” Since there are far too many examples to choose from the question becomes: where should Americans begin in pointing out his abuses of the public trust, a fact that will show up during the 2018 elections where the legitimacy of his presidency will be determined  --- which means the 2018 elections will not be kind to the Republicans so why should they expect anything in exchange for protecting the Dreamers except a recognition that he was slow to act in their favor. Under a racist POTUS, including racist Republicans, however, the question is still: how low will they go in ignoring and harming the Dreamers? Will the POTUS & Republicans keep treating the Dreamers as inanimate objects without human lives to lead as if they can live in limbo for 12 years? Will the Republicans keep acting if they are not promoting crimes against humanity --- based on their failure to act with any sense of urgency? This, of course, is the real question that is currently up for debate. 


Question:
What are politicians doing to ensure that all  states across the nation offer all of their students a high, quality education? For instance, since Connecticut, etc. only has to offer its students a minimally adequate education what can parents do, across the nation, to support and promote equity and excellence for all students in their state? 

 June/2017

Question:

Who's Interpreting ESSA, (our new national education law) for parents & community members in your state? (For ESSA review and feedback processes and concerns, please refer to the letter" sent by Senator Patty Murray & Representative Bobby Scott to Secretary DeVos on July 28th. Also, review this letter that focuses on the necessity of equity goals in the state plans.) 

Are federal, state and school representatives disseminating information, promoting 
discussions and/or engaging the public "about the law" based on the views of school officials only? Please note: Asking questions about social inclusion/exclusion and equality --- or democracy should be necessary questions to ask in a public school-based context  --- if challenges  to previous or existing norms are to be addressed, (i.e., Consider the SBOE in D.C. who asked parents and community members to fill out applications so that "SBOE officials could choose" who would be on their ESSA Task Force, a method that limits democracy. They also told parents and community members "who were not chosen for the task force" to send in their comments.  They could not, however,   participate or speak at the meetings.) Under these circumstances and/or to save invaluable time it is important to ask at the start of any state initiated process  if --- state educational leaders --- will be the only ones "ultimately" making "any and all" decisions in spite of the stakeholder engagement meetings

Again, knowing how stakeholder engagement meetings will be conducted and how agendas will be determined  --- or simply asking if certain provisions will be discussed at all (equity? implementation processes and timelines?), etc. --- should be considered critical questions that require immediate answers  for the sake of goal clarity,  inclusivity and especially in terms of the   evaluation of the participatory process. Most importantly, these mandatory questions set the stage for procedural justice and fairness since: "consultation without attention to power and politics will lead to voice without influence. Furthermore, change or reform of political institutions without attention to (methods for) inclusion. . . will only reinforce the status quo."  (Gaventa).

Parents and community stakeholders or the public overall should, therefore, ask how participatory democracy is being  promoted in states, districts and public schools.   With this statement in mind, should t he department of education, school officials or the  CCSSO make t he decisions about who gets to participate or who can essentially interpret ESSA for parents and community stakeholders? Keep in mind, it is one thing to provide information about ESSA but it is another thing all together to interpret it or to choose groups to interpret it for all parents and community stakeholders without their input on who these groups will be. 

Statement:
 
In response to the first question------ perhaps, they are nonprofits (chosen by the CCSSO or school representatives) who support school choice and charter schools. And yet, many parents and community stakeholders prefer school effectiveness over school choice and want some guarantee that equality, equity and excellence are school priorities. Given these facts, are school officials or leaders choosing people to interpret ESSA that they were not asked to choose? Are they, at the least, exposing parents and community stakeholders to a wide range of views --- supported by best practices and lessons learned --- beyond the longstanding biases of conservatives and teachers' unions or the narrow focus of the status quo agenda, especially at the state and local levels? If not, have they forgotten that as "public servants" their role, in essence, is to serve all children and, in turn, parents and community stakeholders, (a task that cannot be accomplished if they overlook the educational and political standpoints of marginialized communities)? 

With ESSA's emphasis on elevating the importance of decison-making at the the state and local levels to prevent federal overreach, it is critical that parents and community stakeholders interact with their state and local officials to decide what their overall state goals for supporting student achievement should be. To support procedural fairness, for instance, all stakeholders should become familiar with state, district and school-based past failures to better understand how these concerns were addressed (if they were addressed) in the hope that these mistakes, at the least, will not be repeated. Furthermore,  state and local school offiicals should be expected to discuss with the stakeholders the school-based factors that have marginalized, if not
excluded, weakened or overlooked the voices of parents and community stakeholders and the ways in which these practices have changed. Parent and community stakeholder views are critically important for they are their children's first or most immediate teachers and, therefore, have a lot to contribute to school-based conversations  --- even if their views differ, if not clash with the views of state officials, school leaders, teachers’ unions, lobbyists, etc. Moreover, it does not help matters at all when the school boards sound remarkably similar to the teachers' unions --- at the start and end of any engagement process --- or listening/learning tour(s) focusing on the needs of stakeholders. The operative words, in this sense, for these processes, should be "stakeholder engagement" not status quo involvement or engagement. 

To address this concern, parents and community stakeholders must understand how their views will be promoted, interpreted and counted in comparison to the views of teachers' unions, etc. They should also understand how state and local educational systems have equalized the playing field so that they, too can influence educational and political decisions tied to student achievement --- in the same way that teachers' unions and lobbyists do.  Clearly, no group should be placed in a position to declare that it represents all parents and community stakeholders nor should any one group determine the final state plans --- if  procedural fairness is the goal. This goal, of course, includes determining what lessons learned and best practices are in relationship to all children, especially underserved children (rather than allowing the political stances and biases of special interest groups to determine decisions). From this perspective, all decisions must be backed by a thorough systemic, research-based analysis pertaining to school-based decisions and the fair distribution of resources in districts ---- to ensure that children are served, first and foremost --- and/or to determine how these decisions will play out on the ground in schools --- or in reality --- based on the motivation and political will of school representatives. 
 
A case in point begins with ESSA’s omission of federally mandated teacher evaluations (Teachers' Unions fought for this provision.): states, instead, must decide how teacher effectiveness will be defined. More importantly, states must determine how parents and community members define or will define teacher effectiveness. What if the definition parents and community stakeholders choose includes holding teachers accountable for student performance? What if they want teachers’ evaluations tied to student test results even if teachers' unions do not? What if parents and community stakeholders think schools cease to be schools if teacher evaluations are watered down and lack meaning? (Note: The unions think the socioeconomic status of all children predetermines student achievement. They also do not think that low scores have anything to do with teacher performance in classrooms.) (Consider New Mexico, etc.). 

What if parents and community stakeholders want super data groups eliminated so they can tell who specifically needs targeted interventions --- and school officials, in spite of ESSA's requirements, still fail to count certain subgroups or even mask their performance  as they have done in the past?  What if parents and community members want and need school ratings that ensure that academic measures are the bulk of a state's plan  --- even if school officials do not?  And, what about useful indicators that differ from the choices of school officials? What if parents and community stakeholders want indicators that focus on  a leadership governance analysis and teaching analysis rather than ones that simply focus on the school climate or student engagement as educators want but without any mention of of race relations or classism (refer to Gaventa)? What if they want meaningful timelines that correspond to the educational needs of students rather than educators Note: Thus far, state timelines will cause students to wait more than a year or two (after ESSA’s passage in 2015) to benefit from its goals.).
 
How will they define what an underperforming school is, along with the timeline for a school to be designated as an underperforming school  --- and what if parents and community stakeholders want fines or penalities associated with accountability mechanisms? Will they want the 95% participation rate rather than the 67% rate for tests, attendance and graduation rates upheld in their state, especially since the push-out rates increase without goals and targets in place? And, what do they think about high-quality standards that states no longer have to demonstrate that they have --- since under this new law they only have to provide an "assurance" that they are implementing challenging standards? 
 
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th questions (focusing on  why should parents and community stakeholders must pay attention to how ESSA is being interpreted) ---  are all political questions that address the wide variety of special interest groups or lobbyists, at play, in the public education system.  For example, state officials, in the past, developed "low standards" (rather than ones that supported college and career ready standards) to ensure that their students could pass state assessments --- (a political strategy that was meant to protect their jobs. And yet, it was an ineffective stategy from the start for to rationalize this strategy they had to depend on deficit models , including but limited to:   racist theories (page 3 - cross-referenced or based on the literary imagination) , name calling  or stereotypes of the very children they were charged with serving --- in an effort to explain away their students' low test scores. This, of course, was and is a horrible practice for it  intentionally overlooks weak state, district, and school-based strategies tied to student achievement. (Is it any wonder that the college dropout rate is high in the U.S.?) Most of all, it is a  strategy that creates a domino effect that leads to a modified curriculum in classrooms and low pass scores on state tests or the PISA, NAEP, etc. --- or even the school to prison pipeline ---  produced by high dropout rates if schools are not the genuine article.

And still --- In this political environment --- where far too many educators have shortchanged children for decades ( and are still supporting some of these same strategies ) very few of them have brought up the most recent U.S. test scores (a type of accountability mechanism useful to stakeholders if not conservative politicians and teachers' unions) that are low for all groups on the most recent NAEP and PISA assessments in comparison to other nations. That the achievement gap has not improved for over forty years (according to many groups) means that that there is an urgent need for parents and community stakeholders to focus on what school officials actually do to support student achievement. Perhaps, research groups chosen by parents and community stakeholders should provide insights in support of the best decision-making processes or strategies for public schools since school leaders and officials often fail to address this need or fail to produce how (gold standard?) research or its effective implementation is monitored and supported --- if best practices are effectively implemented at all (especially in relationship to underserved schools... Consider the current state standards in some states or their failure to ensure that all students have research-based textbooks aligned to high-quality standards. Stakeholders should also ask why the teachers' unions and their lobbyists do not have campaigns that emphasize class ready teachers --- or demand research-based books for all students, etc.). 

In other words, before anyone states that the overall buy-in or the legitimacy of any final decisions were approved by parents and community stakeholders, it would make more sense for them to first ask if they were involved in the development of the plans and if they had an understanding of the issues.  Why? It is their children who will have to live with the ultimate results and consequences of school-based decisions --- decisions that must be based on the best solutions for all children (rather than the agendas of  special interest groups). To ensure that this type of process occurs parents and community stakeholders must demand that school officials create the opportuniity spaces for transparency, accountability, responsiveness and answerability, a key step that allows these concerns to take center stage in school govenance, discourse and decision-making in a timely manner. (Note: This discussion assumes that states and local school systems already have processes in place that support parents and community stakeholders in gaining access to a wide range of information, including the pros and cons of a particular issue. If state and local officials have not addressed this need: how can parents and community members talk about key subjects --- if they do not know what they do not know. . .? How can they sit at the tables where decisions are made --- before the decisions are made, if they have not been exposed to certain critical, if not controversial issues through training programs? How can their involvement lead to genuine input or authenic inquiries if they do not understand all aspects of pertinent accountability concerns?

Unfortunately, parents and community stakeholders already know that the very point of their presence (as participants) at school meetings is often missed or diminished when school representatives simply expect them to mimic or think and say what school representatives want them to say without any need for them to build their knowledge base, (a taboo point but one that needs to be discussed since it overlooks U.S. democratic ideals --- or the educative value of democracy.).  Moreover, since there has never been any formal recognition, to date, of the necessity of truly separating the law or ESEA/ESSA from politics --- the
best solution should involve opportunity structures for a wide range of groups to take on the role of promoting ESSA in open forums or in workshops, etc. where the pros and cons of all pertinent subjects are challenged and explored from different angles, in depth. (Note: State and local websites only serve a limited amount of stakeholders and are not thorough or an effective way to reach all stakeholders). In fact, if politicians, unions and lobbyists, etc. are the only ones expected to determine how schools are run in certain states, districts and schools, this practice should change for it has not worked in the past and it is not working now.  The public must step up and take back its role as equal partners in schools by becoming informed and educated about equity and excellence in schools --- stances that should be backed by lessons learned as well as gold and evidenced-based research --- even if Trump has banned gold standard research for school choice voucher studies in D.C.???).

With these goals in mind, it is time for all stakeholders and/or the public to join the conversations centering on ESSA --- or to move pass one-dimensional viewpoints or superficial conversations about school-based concerns. It's time to figure out if
school leaders and teachers are, indeed, supporting school equity and excellence in classrooms as well as promoting effective district and state governance goals, particularly in the development of policies and practices that address the achievement gap.
It is time to figure out how on earth school, district and state representatives can hold themselves accountable for state accountabilty plans (a clear conflict of interest)--- if the public is not engaged in this process and/or if they do not provide a wide range of public spaces for discussions focusing on ESSA at the state and level levels --- including per pupil spending, local budgets and overall state funding.  And still, even after the discussions are completed, they must also figure out if the overall process was fair, egalitarian and/or based on procedural justice. If parents and community stakeholders were never exposed to and trained by organizations or individuals with a track record of supporting public school children, particularly underserved children but only exposed to  the status quo and its interpretation of ESSA  ---  the process was flawed.  When all is said and done then, the standpoint of parents and community stakeholders count, too. . .  They, of course, know that   equality and democratic ideals create the foundaton for participation, a fact that proves why parents, community stakeholders and public school students must be included in any process focusing on  transparency and accountability in the public school system. . .


Previous Questions:

Statement:
 

Please refer to the April 12th Senate Hearing for more details... Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) stated, at the hearing, that it would cost 3.9 billion or a complete overhaul of state and local financial systems to equalize spending between schools, an impossible idea not worthy of consideration, from his perspective. He abruptly left his argument there without mentioning what the future holds for public school children, specifically poor children or how they can truly be served, if at all. (Note: He also mentioned that there was a huge coalition of educational organizations that did not want the comparability loophole addressed ---from unions to state organizations.) 

In other words, he never mentioned the purpose of Title One. He never mentioned poor children --- who just happen to be the beneficiaries of Title One.  Clearly, when this omission is addressed or the children are added to the equation or discussions, the comparability loophole will become more than just a loophole: it will become  legalized theft for it allows imbalances or inequities in school funding to continue so that funds intended for poor children show up in low poverty schools, which clearly is not or was not  the original intent of Title One (or President Johnson's War on Poverty). This gaming of the system has been allowed to go on for decades, which, in essence, wants the the public to believe (if they know at all) that "all teachers are created equal." If they are equal (when it comes to teacher effectiveness tied to student achievement or test results) why is there a loophole in place allowing the majority of effective, tenured teachers --- or productive teachers to be placed in low poverty schools rather than in high poverty schools? ESSA is silent on this issue. Given this fact, states only have to respond to public reporting requirements to  ensure that the public knows where inexperienced teachers are placed throughout districts --- unless states utilize the flexibility provision to support the fair distribution of effective teachers, a goal that conservative politicians and conservative teachers's unions are against. It is, therefore, up to the public to demand this change --- otherwise, in spite of the reauthorization of ESSA, everything will remain unchanged. 

For instance:

     The federal government prohibits districts from calculating comparability using actual                            expenditures. Instead, it chooses to treat teachers as interchangeable widgets. For example, if School        A has 10 teachers and School B has 10 teachers, they must be providing a comparable education. It          is this loophole in federal law—the “comparability loophole”—that is at the heart of school funding            inequities.  (Refer to: Robert Hanna, Max Marchitello, and Catherine Brown, March 2015)

During the hearing, Senator Alexander did say that the only recourse is for parents and stakeholders to use the ESSA reporting requirement (a requirement that addresses transparency and accountability concerns) to demand answers (and/or thorough explanations) about --- (I would say): the methodologies that states and local districts are using to equalize spending between schools including how they are supporting the supplement not supplant p rovisions. Clearly, they must focus on questions that underscore equality or the fair distribution of effective teachers in schools where low income students attend.

QUESTION(S)


What methodologies are your states and local districts using to equalize spending between schools? How are they eliminating disparities between schools "before" they receive any Title One funds? For instance, what actual expenditures are districts spending on teachers' salaries and benefits (based on the fair distribution of effective, tenured teachers in each school) before they receive federal  supplemental Title One funds? Are these methods fair and equitable? If not, how can the ESSA state flexibility provisions address these inequities?


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