Question(s) for Politicians & School Officials
Also refer to: "Daily News of Note" by clicking   here  or for the updated  School Massacres, Gun Control & Politicians Blog,  click here.
Crucial Concerns:

April 18, 2018

What's going on in public school classrooms --- if whole schools are failing to serve their students? Parents need  regular detailed information about this concern that cannot wait until states actually start implementing ESSA. For instance, if wealthy students (attending a non-unionized elite boarding school) failed an Algebra class their parents would have ensured that the teacher was fired --- or received, at the least, intensive training (immediately) centering on the curriculum or subject content. (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 being blamed for the teacher's failure to teach, the school officials' inability to ensure the effective implementation of (CCSS) best practices in classrooms, and the students' failure to learn the content --- that was never taught. What are politicians doing to help low income parents whose children attend low performing schools? Otherwise, is it any wonder that certain children drop out of school?



April 17, 2018

According to a Gallup Poll:  guns and gun control are no longer considered the top problems for Americans. Does this mean that Americans are no longer concerned about the safety of children who attend U.S. public schools? Does it mean elected officials are no longer focusing on gun control or bringing constant attention to this concern --- on purpose? Could it be that the government is the number one poll issue due to Trump's weak arguments for most things (or his inability to lead due to his highly controversial background (i.e., with Russia, porn stars, money grabs --- now built into tax laws,  --- or facts that cannot be ignored when it comes to a POTUS --- facts that keep interfering with his presidency) including but not limited to: school safety or the weak arguments that he uses against comprehensive gun control legislation, etc., etc., etc., etc. These are simply signs that he is failing to represent the urgent concerns of the majority of Americans who still believe in the U.S. Constituion. To learn more about these highly important questions, click here or here .


March For Our Lives, March 24th 
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)
Once again the NRA , (which the POTUS supports and whose own profound ignorance on school safety and assault weapons defies logic) has blood on its hands for failing to care about   the connection between the mass shootings of children and firearms.  Why does the NRA think that it is far more powerful than the majority of Americans who expect politicians to pass critical comprehensive firearm safety legislation to address gun violence  --- including suicides. . . i.e., two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides -- and of those: "men carried out 80 per cent of all suicides and 89 per cent of those involved guns?​

Surely, the U.S. Congress knows that Americans do not believe in the NRA gun ideology or  their need to create, promote and then benefit from a nationwide, Wild, Wild West, U.S. gun culture, a notion that contradicts the leadership status or  role of the  U.S. as the most advanced, "civilized" nation in the world. In this light, can politicians who receive millions of dollars from the NRA in the form of donations represent the safety needs of children or will they, instead, represent the NRA's positions? Will they quote accurate statistics on gun violence or will they ignore the fact that most Americans believe that  " where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths ?"  

Do  politicians care that the majority of  Americans want bans on assault weapons?  (refer to the  polls, fact sheets   charts , maps , etc.)  If they do -- they also know that:  the majority of Americans do not agree with Trump who wants teachers to have gun battles with active shooters --- or for schools to be windowless and each classroom to have steel doors in preparation for more mass shootings. (Please refer to the: History of the Assault Weapons Ban ). 

Is it any wonder why so few Americans trust Trump and the Republicans to do the right thing --- who could, if they wanted to,  change things tomorrow--- if they took weapons of war out of the hands of Americans, overall?  Is this lack of trust  due to the disproportionate number of conservatives who keep overlooking far too many red flags about guns, including that   " US  firearm deaths  outnumbered American combat deaths in World War II or that the total societal costs of firearm injuries were estimated to be $174.1 billion in 2010?" Maybe it is due to their inability to notice  the high suicide rate of white men. With this truth in mind, is it even possible for conservatives  to recognize   the fact that gun deaths are a "huge public health concern? "

If not, will the Republicans or Trump ever do anything to address school safety concerns or to improve the effectiveness of the  armed assailant response guidance or training  and/or even review best practices in   school safety research ?  Will they recognize that they are underutilizing the data that they do have access to even though it could help prevent school massacres ? If their answer is no, how is possible for them to remain so detached, emotionally absent or dismissive about much needed bans on weapons of war? Where is their “faultless moral instinct" even when they are confronted with the mass shootings of children with weapons of war?

Protecting their privilege to hunt, etc. . .  while eveyone and everything else  --- or real safety concerns are disregarded speaks volumes about the  NRA and the POTUS whose superficial speeches and inactions  amount to an overall "out of sight, out of mind" reaction to the slaughter of children or a  downplaying of the human costs or casualties stemming from their right  --- to hunt (or to do the NRA's bidding in the name of profits at the expense of American lives). But what about the rights of the majority of Americans who do not think Americans who own "weapons of war" are safe to be around? Do the Republicans, who control both houses,  know that the majority of Americans would never choose  the NRA and/or any unregulated militia  to speak on their behalf, especially with their uncivilized goals in mind that continue to place guns in the hands of children (as if their  brains are fully developed when they are not fully developed  until around 25)? 

Why then do Republicans promote and defend the use of AR-15 rifles in the U.S. but --- in the aftermath of one massacre after another massacre only offer Americans band aid type solutions? More to the point: why do they cower or avoid questions  in the face of their own decisions by failing to take ownership of their own weak gun legislation when Americans are slaughtered? Why do they try to place the blame elsewhere or try to ask someone else to step down when they should step down for lacking the competence and know-how and/or the ability to even discuss the data tied to U.S gun massacres ? Why are they surprised when the majority of Americans criticize their modern-day Republican styled gun culture that continues to  produce and cause at its root    gun violence? 

After all, children like Cruz take their cues from American leaders who continue to make it possible for weapons of war to be placed in the hands of an eighteen year old,  a legally bought A -R 15 rifle that was not created for hunting animals but for killing humans .  But do the   Republicans  (who only seem to be able to act in partisan ways to the detriment of the masses) understand the critical nature of this fact?  If they were truly interested in preventing school massacres or saving the lives of children who depend on adults to protect them they would remember that “t o bear arms was most commonly used in the 18th century to describe participation in the military " not for ordinary citizens to  be able to buy deadly weapons used in wars.  C an Americans then say, in all honesty,  that the Republicans are serving the best interests of the  public? Could it be that they are dismissive of the public since they think that the NRA is in it for the long haul and will remain active days, months, years after the fact ---  members who will continue to fight against gun control research and put pressure on politicians to uphold the priorities of the NRA lobbyists and gun manufacturers with no shame? 

What are Americans then to make of the cavalier, if not  feeble, lackadaisical ways that the Republicans continue to respond to these massacres as if they expect the public to eventually take on an apathetic role that lets them off the hook in response to mass shootings? Do they care that children in schools across the nation are allowed, based on their decisions, to remain vulnerable  to these horrific slaughters on a daily basis? For example, why do they still think their  same stock answers  (  here here , and here , etc.) will work this time --- days after the investigation ended and the shooter was caught?  Furthermore, why do they allow a small U.S. minority such as NRA members to dictate the gun laws (at the expense of school children) for the majority of Americans "currently at 70%" who are against high powered guns?

If the Republicans are not motivated enough to care about the deaths of children, they should step aside or resign for as it stands their silence or their inabilility to act --- or their refusal to answer questions about the urgent need for gun control legislation means that they,  along with the  NRA, their lobbyists or any and all politicians  should be blamed for promoting the use of guns  rather than trying to prevent firearm deaths. Their inertia also demonstrates that they are willing to support the lies of NRA profiteers and their need to create and then feed a gun culture complete with the proliferation of semi-automatic rifles and programming that is responsible for  endangering the lives of Americans on purpose, which can be backed up with plenty of sound data to prove this point.

If not, can Ryan, McConnell, Rubio, etc.  discuss   what they are doing to stop these school massacres besides voting against policies belonging to the Obama Administration that did try to stop school massacres?  They should know that no one wants another Republican to simply report on a mass murder after the fact. Citizens need politicians to tell them what they are doing (now) to prevent the use of weapons of war ---  by ordinary citizens. But, have any of the Republicans, including the POTUS even read the prevention studies on gun violence such as   this study , and this one , this one , this one , this one  , this one , this one , and this one --- or prevention efforts  that the U.S. has never really tried to i mplement ? While a wide range of a ctive shooter response guidance and programming is, of course,  needed (i.e. from the Alice Training Program and the Safe and Sound Program with Sandy Hook Promise ) the real need is for school massacres to stop. This means leaders must act like leaders rather than mere  supporters of greed .

If Republicans are not motivated to study the facts or if they have never researched "the roots of gun violence," how are they qualified to make decisions about these deadly issues in an intelligent, informed way that demand urgent actions? That Republicans, however, need to hang on to mental illness as the cause of the massacres or have tried hard to prevent  federal agencies from "researching gun violence since the 1990's" is, surely, a telltale sign that they do not want the public to know that the critical connection to mass murders continues to be or has always been the easy availability of assault weapons.  And yet, it does not take a brain surgeon to figure out that mental illness was not the cause of mass murders when stronger gun laws were in place or  when " easy-to-obtain assault weapons were once banned under U.S. law , a common thread connecting many of the deadliest mass shootings." 

And so, it is sad to say that if the NRA, their lobbyists, their donors and these politicians who are against gun control laws truly cared about the lives of children they would have felt compelled, a long time ago,  to act in ways showing and proving that ---  now --- is the time to make common sense decisions about U.S.   ownership of weapons of war or semi-automatic rifles. But, when Americans hear Ryan, McConnell, Rubio say it is too soon to talk about gun control (--- if ever, they say) should Americans also recognize that they are really witnessing the views of politicians who are unfit to lead or too lazy be called public servants?  How can their uncivilized priorities be interpreted in any other way except that they are "bought" politicans who are controlled by "gun lobby money  or corporate interests" even if means that in all probability the cost will be human lives,  including the lives of childen?

In other words, until they can guarantee that no one will commit mass murders using these "weapons of war the "unrestricted ownership of firearms" should stop." In fact, the mere possession of these weapons should be considered a criminal act based on the high number of mass murders across the nation based on their availability --- as a common sense response.  Any elected politician who truly cares about the astronomical number of innocent children and adults who have been slaughtered by ordinary citizens would be moved by  this fact and would never settle or compromise with Ryan, McConnell, Rubio, etc. about their need to prevent stronger gun control laws. After all, the majority of Americans have already figured out  that their incentive to prevent gun control laws might just have to do with the money that they receive from the NRA,      a point that automatically signifies a direct conflict of interest with the overall safety of all Americans.  

Given these facts, will they fight against the young high students, too ---  who are calling for stronger gun control laws? Will Republicans continue to do what they did recently: declare porn dangerous but refuse "a single debate, vote, or hearing on anything related to assault weapons ?” Will they keep fighting against any and all bans on assault weapons? Will they try to prevent banks and credit card issurers from allowing would-be gun owners from buying guns on their platforms? What will they say when donors withhold money from politicians who support the ownership of assault weapons? What will they do when "the financial resources of Bloomberg, and other multimillionaires emulate one of the most successful public service advertising campaigns in history: the anti-tobacco “truth” campaign ---and, in turn,   keep the gun control majority engaged on a daily basis, and in the long run, reduce the demand for guns in areas where the NRA exerts political influence? " Will they still fight against any and all regulations on   bump stocks?  Will they fight against Americans who do not support gun lobbyists who try to " obstruct federal gun safety regulations and/or  infringe upon sensible gun violence prevention policies "? Will they continue to refuse to fund gun research? For instance, will they shamelessly fight against the repeal of the Dickey Amendment, "which prevents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from researching deadly gun violence, a cowardly act or pathetic immoral stance on their part that proves that the Republicans are afraid of what the research will uncover about U.S. mass murders?"  Will they fight against the push for  proficiency tests for all would -be gun owners in much the same way that car owners must pass a test? 

What is particularly disgusting is that Ryan, McConnell, Rubio, etc. have not  not bothered to address the contradictions or the  gaps in the information that the NRA promotes about AR-15 semi-automatic weapons or the protection factors that must be in place when it comes to the research data that's tied to the safety of humans --- or to the safety of American children.  So, now high school students have taken over their roles. They are the ones saying that the adults or the politicians who control both chambers of Congress and the White House have done nothing  to promote more effective gun control laws. As young as they are they have already figured out that the speeches offered by these Republicans and some Democrats are meaningless (or complete and utter pretense) if all they really want to do is to protect and support the special interests of gun lobbyists and gun manufacturers. Most importantly, they already seem to know that when politicians fail to respond to common sense gun control efforts, it aso means they simply do not care about the lives of Americans or the mass murder of children based on their inability to act or --- to recognize the urgent need for change.  This point is also the main reason that these politicians  (who  are owned by the gun lobbyists)  must be voted out of office .  




January  2018
Question:

What does it take to secure our U.S. Democracy ? For instance, this site shows that the "release the memo" Russian bot tried to influence public opinion about the Nunes memo or his "cherry picked" content about the FBI and the DOJ.  Clearly, Nunes and Kelly missed the point: Americans need to make informed decisions based on the truth, not cherry-picked information about the FISA warrant ( a document consisting of at least 50 plus pages), especially since " four separate judges ultimately approved of the initial warrant and three applications to renew ."  

At this point, Trump looks like a desperate, trapped animal swinging wildly at anyone or anything who he thinks is trying to catch him. But, he is confused. It is not the Americans he should be swinging at it is the Russians. Americans who are alert and knowledgeable understand this obvious fact even if his base does not. What will he do when he realizes that the majority of Americans are growing tired of this type of U.S. presidency that's akin to a reality show built on one crisis after another crisis, full of daily drama and fawning, obsequious Republicans without any type of substance, a show without any type of committment to democratic principles on display? 

Will the POTUS  realize that his attempts to escape the investigation are simply not possible without also ignoring the Russians who are tied to him (his staff, in-laws, sons, etc.) in a type of regular come out, come out where ever you are frame - - - whose hands and DNA still seem to be all over him ? The only question left to ask is if their meetings involve choice or force? (i.e., In regard to his latest meetings with Russian agents at the WH ---  were they informational meetings, did they want something from him or have requests? Were they there  to tell him what to do and say or to back him in saying that there wasn't any Russian interference in the election, an impossible task since it would require all Americans to ignore what 17 American agencies said about the Russians? Were the Russians there to say that they know the names of the Russians who interfered in the election, etc.?) This observation begins with his on-going lies that have now turned into propaganda in the form of a four page memo with 50 pages of missing information, his demands for loyalty and, of course, his authoritative manner  that cannot operate without servility, obedience and compliance from his would-be subjects. Consider this
         
       We have direct evidence that the President asked the FBI Director for loyalty. He demanded it. He asked          the FBI Director to drop an investigation into Michael Flynn. The President fired the FBI Director. Then,            on national TV, he said he did it because of the Russian probe. Then he told the Russians in the Oval                      Office that he did it to relieve great pressure because of the FBI investigation. That is classic obstruction            of justice. The Washington Post today has a quote from one of the prosecutors of Watergate. He says: ``I          helped prosecute Watergate. Comey's statement is sufficient evidence for an obstruction of justice case.''
 
What will it take for the Republicans to admit that he is obstructing justice? If he fires Rosenstein, too will Americans take to the streets and protest Trump's blatant obstruction of justice even if the Republicans will not?  The Republicans have a long list to choose from and yet they are doing nothing, an act that should be remembered at the 2018 elections and discussed in classes all over the world. Given these facts, do they know that: " The obstruction-of-justice statute holds that any individual who “corruptly . . . influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice” is guilty of the crime ."  

As it stands, it seems that the POTUS and Company (Fox News, etc.) somehow think they can outmaneuver and, thus, prevent Mueller from carrying out an investigation. They are forgetting that the majority of Americans want and need the Mueller investigation in place to ensure that their liberties are protected ." A four page memo is not going to hide the fact that the POTUS is working against the very American institutions who are charged with protecting the U.S.,  a POTUS who very few Americans identify with or believe in --- on moral grounds --- a POTUS who continues to shed light on his Russian connections  --- who proves his guilt on a daily basis by doing nothing to prevent or track another cyber attack. Does he really think that Americans do not understand the: "c oncept of verification, the insistence on evidence (that is not cherry-picked) and (true) standards of proof that apply in a courtroom or a medical lab --- things that ought to prevail in the White House? " Does he really think that Americans take what he says at face value?


In other words, Americans do not deserve this treatment from the POTUS. In fact, it  is an insult for the Trump Administration to believe that Americans could be manipulated into believing  propaganda or manufactured  lies about a four page memo without reading the 50 pages (at least) missing from it. Why would anyone want the POTUS or Nunes to make decisions for them when Americans can make their own informed decisions about a classified (?) document ( and do not need a president who cannot even admit he used the  s_ _ _ _ hole comment to speak for them).  

So,  once again the truth stands alone. . . and is left voiceless, disrespected and isolated.   With this view in mind, what are all elected officials doing to protect  the investigation, U.S. Democracy, and the rights of  American citizens as the the POTUS and the Republicans keep" making a bid to discredit the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election ?"


Question:
The president, during his State of the Union address, said "There is tremendous divisiveness in the nation  and I want to unify the country but it is hard to do it without a traumatic event affecting Americans." Help!  This statement is a very scary statement for it shows he lacks the ability to create a platform focusing on true leadership strategies --- without a traumatic event producing, guiding and determining the decisions that might or might not lead to unity. Most of all, it shows he lacks the depth or know-how to create  or to recognize original thoughts that do not depend on a "traumatic event" to create unity. 

He could start by asking why his staff (or his lily white party) cannot tell the difference between inclusiveness and social exclusion.  Clearly, the importance of tying inclusivity to any unity goal is a key point that cannot be ignored for obvious reasons. From there he could change his weak transparency and accountability goals that are allowing him to create agendas and strategies based on racism and/or completely devoid of the  true concerns of people of color or U.S. Democracy, overall --- leading to "the tremendous divisiveness in the nation." Better yet, he could ask what he is doing on purpose to ensure that people of color are  missing in action when it comes to those unity discussions.  
For discussions on the SOTU address, refer to:   Joe  Kennedy's response   as well as  Bernie Sanders' response . 

Question: 
What does it feel like for the POTUS to feel like a loser or the worst U.S. president in modern-day history by the entire world? Will he try to change this fact, during his State of the Union" address, by explaining his decision to: "hold off on Russian sanctions" when 17 intelligence agencies say the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election. . . on his behalf? Will he finally discuss what the majority of Americans want to know by  speaking the "unvarnished truth, plainly, without embellishment and without softening the hard realities" of how he became the president of the United States of America amidst a Russian/U.S. scandal turned investigation that he keeps ignoring but, at the same time, fighting leaving the majority of Americans to question the legitimacy of his presidency?  

How serious can Trump's Administration be when they promote the release of a WH  report (released on Monday) listing Russian oligarchs to deter criticism of their anti-American Russian stances when the names of the oligarchs were taken from a Forbes Magazine article? If they are serious, do they want the Russians to believe that they have already out -maneuvered the U.S. by placing an unpopular, compromised U.S. president in office who, to date, does not hide the fact that he is working against the very American institutions who are charged with protecting the U.S.,  a POTUS who very few Americans identify with or believe in --- on moral grounds --- a POTUS who continues to shed light on his Russian connections and/or to prove his guilt on a daily basis by doing nothing to prevent or track another cyber attack ? For instance, what is he doing about the " release the memo" bot that is being promoted as this site proves?

Will he address the fact that most people of color and fair-minded world inhabitants think he is a   racist   and a  misogynist, etc?  Will he address what he said about Africa and Haiti? Will he explain when he is going to release his tax returns or explain his bankruptcies? Will he explain his relationship with Deutsche bank, a bank known for laundering money precisely when he started dealing with it? Will he explain his relationship with Russian oligarchs and the Russian mafia? Will he continue "to misuse the powers of his office to intimidate witnesses, to fire prosecutors, to withhold documents or destroy them. . . based on   a very clear line that evidently he doesn’t respect."

And, what about the Republicans who follow him without shame? Are the Republicans afraid of the POTUS due to to his relationships with dangerous oligarchs --- or are they acting in anti-American ways on their own? This is an important question to ask for many reasons but mainly because the U.S. desperately needs a checks and balances system in place that can be identified, especially since the Republicans who control both houses are failing to remember that they are public servants serving a U.S. Democracy,  first and foremost (Consider the  cherry picked content of the Nunes secret memo, which is simply another example of Trump and the Republicans' desperation to end the Mueller investigation.).   Given these facts: what happens when a party is not serving as a "counterbalancing influence" or is blatantly ignoring their constitutional responsibilities to the American people and supporting Trump's obstruction of justice stances?

What about the Republicans' " own" lies ?" They won't even tell the truth about the s_ _ _ hole comment. So, what about their inability to serve the nation, truthfully, if not ethically . . . consider DACA or immigration overall, the highly unpopular tax cuts for the rich while kicking people off SNAP to pay for the tax cuts,  returning to redlining, causing the poor to pay health premiums that they cannot afford, etc.? This includes the fact that many of their  voters only support the Republican Party because they say "they stand up for the rights of the unborn" but how are they standing up for the unborn when some of their members combined with the "evangelical Protestants who support them have an abortion rate that is just as high as any other group," another fact that represents profound hypocrisy to say the least. (Note:  54% of women getting abortions are Christians." None of them then have a relationship with the truth or identify with the vast diverse real world that surrounds them, which makes them unfit to lead anyone. 

For instance, Trump says he is responsible for how well the economy is doing (He will tell this lie and a mountain of other lies during his State of the Union address making it impossible for anyone to watch it --- so why watch it? Watch the People's State of the Union instead.) when everyone knows that President Obama set everything that is happening to the economy in motion. The question is: what happpens when Trunp's decisions kick in or his unregulated world is in full bloom (or when the rich own the nation and/or everything and everyone in it. . .)? And, then there is the question of immigration - - -  is he trying to end it due to his white supremacy tendencies which are showing up in his policies against people of color not only in the U.S. but on a global scale? The only thing left to do, under these racist conditons, is to  have faith in God to address the divisions that Trump has unleashed throughout the world and to prepare to vote at historical levels. It is also not too late to prepare to run for office against anyone who supports racism, misogyny or unfairness of any kind.    

Since only 40% of eligible voters vote in midterm elections what are the Democrats doing to increase this number to ensure that "people of color, the elderly, students, and people with disabilities— will be able to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot ?" What noise are the Democrats, churches, and noprofits making to support early voting, to guarantee that all voters have identification , and to prevent  purges of voter rolls across the nation?  

From the Original Post

Based on recent events (which tend to change from minute to minute), what are "all of the U.S. elected officials" doing to ensure that Trump does not keep the door open for the Russians to interfere in the 2018 election s?  Will he answer this ongoing question in his "State of the Union" address or will he downplay it? Though the POTUS keeps saying the Russians did not interfere in the 2016 elections, we have plenty of evidence that the POTUS is a liar. Firing FBI directors and getting rid of Russians sanctions prove this point or serve as his favorite key cover-up strategies. We also know that allowing one of his lawyers to take the blame for a tweet that Trump wrote or knew about concerning Flynn was convenient but  cowardly if not alarming and still causes questions about the legitimacy of his presidency.  (The question remains: what did Trump know about Flynn's actions, when did he know it and who was telling Flynn what to do? These are questions that will not go away until he answers them.) Most of all, it proves that he will do anything to protect himself and his family from criminal charges, including obstructing justice proving that he has always believed the  17  intelligence agencies who continue to say that  the Russians did interfere in the 2016 election. 

The question, therefore, is: why are elected officials ignoring the American people who deserve a "do over" election  if 17 intelligent agencies have proof that the Russians interfered in the election on behalf of Trump? As it stands. . .   Trump is the Russians' indisputable choice for president based on their actions but not the American (majority) choice , a fact that raises more questions on top of the previous questions.  He still has not been clear on why his family and staff met with Russians, a high number of Russians, during his presidential campaign, a point that is still causing intrigue in spite of what Trump says.  Moreover, the POTUS seems too protective of Russia at the expense of the United States of America as if someone is telling him what to say and do. He is, after all, not  Russian. He also was not running for president in Russia so why does he think that his actions (and his staff's meetings) were normal, especially if he keeps trying to cover up  "Russian interference" in a U.S. election by first trying to ignore it and then trying to defend it  --- a decision that is still causing him to attack U.S. institutions or intelligence agencies daily for protecting their country against anyone who would collude with the Russians to win a election by committing a crime called treason?    

The impeachment question (or is it  a nullification question ) should also apply to his inability to tell the truth about the 19 women who state he committed sexual assault against them while others say he committed: rape. The POTUS proves the truthfulness of their statements by admitting that he has put his hands under women's dresses, etc., etc., etc., to "grab their ______ or private parts." Why is he still in office if he is a self-described sexual predator? 

His immorality or his inability to care about other humans beings extends to the Dreamers as well.  American voters will not forget Trump's racist, misogynist, and corrupt background in the next election where Trump's legitimacy as the POTUS will ultimately be determined  when the Republicans who are so sure they will win: lose.  Prepare to vote in record numbers then and remember  Judge Andrew P. Napolitano's   words that  go against Trump's views on immigration (in spite of their friendship), who said:

       When the history of our times is written, it might relate that the majority repressed the rights of                             minorities by demonizing them using appeals to group prejudice — by blaming entire ethnic groups for            the criminal behavior of some few members of those groups. That history might reflect that this was done        for short-term political gain. If that happens, it will have changed America far more radically and                           dangerously than any wave of undocumented immigrants did.  And that would be profoundly and                          perhaps irreparably un-American.


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?  Are these elected officials confused about what U.S. Democracy looks like as if they can ignore the U.S. Constitution and create an inferior form of U.S. governance standards? Do they really believe that the majority of Americans want their elected officials to speak for them without paying attention to "what" they want as constituents or as American voters' whose demands were clear from the start for DACA or the permanent status of the Dreamers?  Who are these elected officials serving if they are not serving their constituents? This is the question that every American should ask all Republican elected officials, in particular --- who caused the government shutdown. By ignoring this "all-important imperative to support DACA," a clear demand and call from American voters to their elected officials, these politicians are providing the masses with evidence that elected officials can omit and ignore the demands of American citizens at whim or whenever the impulse arises.    

This is not a new development for Trump and the Republicans who are known for promoting lies rather than the truth.  In light of their past performances, will the "Truth" serve as the platform  that can reach beyond party lines in the 2018 elections ---  by including lessons learned and back stories that serve as a reminder that nothing counts if it is not based on political behavior that conforms to accepted standards of morality, respectability, ethics and decency?" To date, American voters do not have any proof that the Republicans embrace these standards or will create a fair and equal chance for DACA to be supported.  If we could name these standards we would. 

As a result, will the masses vote in the 2018 elections to  make a statement about those politicians who were unable to tell the difference between right and wrong by failing to understand the "urgency" of ensuring the permanent status of the Dreamers, etc.? Furthermore, will the Republicans who made Democrats beg for CHIP finally understand that they never did have a mandate to prove how low they could go  in showing a lack of concern for human lives and/or life threatening concerns tied to the poor and/or people of color? The Republicans' low standards for humanity are also manifested in how they are using DACA and community health care centers as bargaining chips --- a choice that keeps underscoring that they are willing to gamble with human lives for political reasons.

​This point also applies to the opioid crisis that politicians have allowed to increase year after year --- so much so that 50, 000 Americans are dying each year without the proper funding to address their treatment concerns - deaths  the Republicans have trivialized by hiring incompetent people. Withholding treatment of these individuals should, therefore, be considered a crime for the Republicans have refused to address this concern, in reality, for years.   

The Republicans then are always careful not to offer Americans any real promises. With  DACA, Americans are expected to accept an undefined and questionable type of "level playing field" to discuss DACA (a playing field that needs to be defined since basic human relations are foreign to this lily white political party whose racist form of politics differs little from the Dixiecrats for which this new Republican Party emerged to ensure it would always be lily white. Who else would join it?). If we review current Republican history, there is nothing new in view to negotiate. . .  or on the horizon that will tie equality or democratic principles to a spending bill. . .  for they believe "the colored people" are taking over the country and have too many babies. Their profound ignorance (that is showing up in a multitude of ways) disrupts their claims of being recognizable Christians even though they believe  they are the only ones who are. One way to disprove this fact is to remember  that the God (of the bible), alone multiplies. . . and he, especially  multiplies the oppressed to address an imbalance in power - - - for "everything God made is good," a fact children  need to remember as they hear or watch the Republicans' current round of racist (commericals and) negotiations.  This means, of course, that the Republicans' government shutdown was merely another example of their moral deterioration or their inability to hold any discussion that would allow them to first see the humanity in people of color or the poor. 

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. 

Do Democrats realize that the hardheartedness of the  POTUS and the Republicans (overall)  toward people of color, in particular (who they ignore the most)  proves once again that they are unfit to lead, a critical fact that deserves repeating daily for it stems from their inability to embrace transparent and accountable decisions pertaining to a diverse nation? Who then could  compromise with conservatives  who hold an "out of sight, out of mind" view of people color? Should the cavalier response by many moderate Democrats (about DACA) who quickly gave in to these Republicans serve as a critical call or need for newly elected democratic politicians who, at the least, understand the difference between immorality and morality --- or who should, without urging, automatically recognize that politicians should never compromise with racists  (i.e. There are many politicians who understand this point such as Phil Murphy who replaced Chris Christie, a typical Republican self-serving politician of the immoral kind)? Unfortunately, the governmental shutdown represented the only chance the current Democrats really had to perpetuate this distinction between Republicans and Democrats, which voters will remember as voters anxioulsly await the 2018 elections that represent a stand against Trumpian ideas that are not only inhumane but  racist and misogynist, too. 

The U.S. certainly does not need any more racists and misogynists to serve as elected officials whether or not they are Democrats or Republicans.  The POTUS and Republicans proved  long ago, based on the simplest of concerns, that their lack of ethics showed that they do not even care about sick children so much so that they used sick children as bargaining chips proving that they are dispassionate and hardcore leaders. This point can be proven by simply asking: how are they supporting an all inclusive agenda and/or a race conscious agenda that shows that they care about people of color (that people of color agree with)? Can they even respond to this question by: naming a bill or policy, including its date of enactment, its actual "successful" implementation by Republicans (which would exclude ESEA 1965, Brown vs. the Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, etc.) or something --- or anything that they have not tried, instead,  to end based on racist reasons.

With this question and its answer in mind, how can the POTUS and the Republicans even begin to make principled decisions and engage in logical debates about the Dreamers --- when Trump thinks he has a mandate to promote racism without opposition?   The last time I checked racism is illegal, a fact that the Democrats must claim rather than pretending that the POTUS can expect their silent acquiescence.  With this view in mind, it almost seems that the Democrats are more afraid of Trump's voters than their own Democratic base (a point pondered by a  pundit). We all know that both houses are controlled by the Republicans but it also seems as if "things are falling apart" under their leadership beginning with the Russian investigation, etc. things which can be named, including their need to lie, on his behalf. Nevertheless, the Democrats pretense that they did not have leverage with the governmental 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? 

How can the Democrats bargain with the POTUS & Conservatives who would have no trouble supporting blue-eyed blonde immigrants from Norway (whatever the cost) but not people of color even if they are better educated in many instances? The shithole comments pertaining to this subject, thus, changed the conditions of their bargaining table permanently. If the devil is in the details of anything that they do --- the government shutdown is merely a fight for the soul of the nation. Trump and the Republicans must remember their own immigrant histories, including that "the Constitution protects all persons from governmental deprivation of life, liberty and property."

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. 

Clearly, the Republicans and the POTUS are operating at appallingly low morality levels while the world remains stunned at their vile actions --- from their tax cuts that will add 2 trillion dollars to the U.S debt on behalf of the rich  (when they use to argue against U.S. debt proving, once again, that they are abject hypocrites) to undermining U.S. health programs, overall. Their immorality or thuggishness is showing up in cuts for aid to UN agencies that serve the poor --- agencies that do not support the policies of the POTUS (Nikki Haley is no diplomat since she, too lacks a moral compass. . .) --- to calling nations of color shitholes, including acting on these racist statements through policies that are preventing Haitians from working low level jobs in the U.S., etc.
 
Will Democratic elected officials stay the course. . . and keep recognizing. . . and speaking out against the POTUS. . . and the Republicans. . . and their inability to lead? If so, they will have ample material to choose from that will guarantee that they will remain in the public eye for a long time --- rather than the Republicans whose un-American stances have created chaos originating from a false interpretation of Trump's win by Trump himself whose 2000 lies (and counting) have caused everyone to rethink everything and anything he says --- including his belief that he has a mandate to lead without bipartisan support.  This American embarrassment --- or a POTUS who lies at such pathological levels is a fact that cannot be denied due to his historically low approval ratings and the daily prayers, from around the world, for his impeachment.
 
That the Republicans see themselves as the undefeatable Goliath (with the POTUS by their side) is a disputable fact that will be decided on in the upcoming elections where 70% of voters (at the least) are very, very, very, very eager to vote against all of them. In winning, the Democrats will, of course, by then completely understand why they must never underestimate the importance of powerful American ideals that have to do with equality "in status, basic rights and opportunities"  --- points that they will remember often when they look back at the governmental shutdown of January 19th to prove how they fought the good fight. By then they will know that compromising with the Republicans on  "harming humans" or without considering what would happen to the Dreamers  in the short or long-run was never an agenda item in the first place. They will understand that DACA never needed long drawn out discussions or debates lasting months and months and months about the obvious  importance of human lives --- not if the Republicans were acting in civilized ways or in "good faith." 

This point underscores the necessity and urgency of ensuring that all humans are always treated with the utmost decency and fairness at all times, an urgent point that needs to be underscored for the color of ones skin should never interfere with anyone's basic human rights and/or U.S. equality.  Given these truths, Trump's white supremacist tendencies are "the elephant in the room" when it comes to  the governmental shutdown. His current record shows that he is a racist who uses racist language and promotes racist decisions (DACA, a wall) tied to racist  policies , including racist judicial appointments, which will, hopefully,  all be for naught when all is said and done. None of these things will curb the increase of people of color in the U.S. --- not even his racist bans or his hatred of shithole nations. Most of all, (and this is his key concern) none of these things will address the rapidily shrinking U.S. white population or the future status of whites as U.S. minorities.

He will have to box with God to address the root causes of this change and figure out if one's skin color is really the issue that worries Jesus the most since (he says) he prays a lot (i.e., If so, does Trump know that the hair of Jesus was, after all, compared to wool and his feet to burnished bronze as if he was, in reality, from one of the s_ _ _hole nations. . . that he hates. . .?  And, then there is evolution and/or darker skin that provides "a superior protection against the deleterious effects of ultraviolet radiation" a fact that will continue to be perpetuated due to natural selection "by which each slight variation [of a trait], if useful, is preserved." Long standing conservative policies that are harming planet earth will be responsible for this change, etc. . .). Trump (perhaps,  along with his children, his mostly racist staff, the Republicans and even Bannon)  will have to figure out why they hate dark skin, once and for all, and why other whites are not interested in white supremacy when he/they were so sure that they were  --- including why most Americans support DACA: the fact he/they are trying so hard to ignore --- but "the fact" that will help him/them  address the shutdown.

And so, the POTUS and Republicans must recognize that this rapidly changing world is now asking questions that they are not use to answering. They must get use to the fact that Americans now see themselves as Americans united by ideals rather than as individuals grouped by a color scheme. They now want to know if "any and all" political accomplishments (i.e.,  the   economy or even  a soaring stock market which Americans are ignoring when it comes to Trump) were built on a moral high ground,  first and foremost. They want these accomplishments to reflect ethical U.S. standards rather than the  shifting sinking sands of the right wing Trump Administration  in which the  very "what" of the POTUS and his actions  are trumped by the very "why and how" of  clearly non-negotiable U.S. standards if not human standards . (What does it matter if you gain the world but lose your soul in the process?) 

That the Republicans keep missing the crucial lesson of their rogue, selfish ways over and over again, most poignantly with the governmental shutdown, including proof that Trump lacks the talent and ability to cross the aisle on behalf of American ideals is a sign that they are behind the times in  recognizing something higher and larger than what their mostly male, lily white Republican Party can offer.  But, will the POTUS and the Republicans heed the call and honor  90% of Americans --- including 68% of Republican voters who want them to step out of the darkness into the light to understand why the majority of Americans want a DACA bill approved?  With Americans staring them down and the governmental shutdown staring them down the only thing left for them to do is to remember that they are, "above all things political" employees who are really servants --- public servants who must act in ways that reflect the decisions of Americans, overall. 

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? 

Question:
The Grand Old Party is not what it use to be. The Republicans' silence -- (when it comes to the actions of the President of the United States of America)--- shows that they have placed their own special interests before the needs of American citizens --- or an ally or God or what happened to Jo Cox .  Does it really take leaders from around the world to lead the discussions against the president's most recent racist positions?

And, what about the 25th Amendment recommendations that are growing popular around the world
calling for him to be removed from office, most recently, for failing to understand what a two-state solution is that recognizes  "both" Palestine and Israel or why " negotiated peace " talks are important? It makes one wonder if Trump would have supported Hitler, too as the way to appease his white nationalist voters in the same way that he is supporting his evangelical voters   ---  voters who share his mindset, such as Roy Moore (a present day believer in racism who states that the country was great and  headed in the right direction during slavery) --- voters who think certain groups are expendable.

Will the Republicans ever explain why they also campaigned for a racist and misogynist, a politician who pursues young girls based on the testimonies of nine women? Will they still follow the lead of the POTUS in never criticizing Mr. Moore directly? Their silence can only be called an American embarrassment and travesty on a global scale, including President Trump's hypocritical "visit" to a Mississippi civil rights museum, an act that could only ring hollow under the current circumstances.  

That the Republicans nor the POTUS, to date, have brought attention to the cruelty of slavery or the murders, rapes, beatings, forced breedings, kidnappings, forced prostitution and maiming of their fellow human beings, including the separation of families is further proof of  their current core priorities or directives that ignore racism and criminal acts against other humans, particularly young girls showing that they lack any awareness of ethics.  Their  "out of sight, out of mind" policy stances against African Americans also continue to reinforce the idea that none of these conservative politicians can make a clear distinction between the barbaric belief system of slave masters and any clear understanding of right or wrong, a view that makes their interpretation of Christianity or  what a Christian is confusing on many fronts. 

Inasmuch as the Republicans must remain mum or play dumb about Mr. Moore's need to gloss over the subjugation of African Americans or the abuse of young girls and/or his current positions on segregated schools, misogyny or the oppression of children and women, etc., the only question left for the public to ask is: how can the POTUS and the Republicans who are public servants keep justifying their support of a politician who is a well known racist and misogynist (the POTUS & Co. must be asked these questions, on a regular basis,  until the questions are answered. . .)? After all, the Republicans are supporting the funding of Mr. Moore's campaign  with the blessings of the POTUS.  

(Update on the Jones/Moore election: The Doug Jones' win is a win not only for Doug Jones and Alabamians but a win for the United States of America against a brand of politics that finds its roots in racism and misogyny. From this perspective, Roy Moore's historical defeat will always be remembered and explained as the ongoing weakening of Trump's presidency or Trump's inability to influence or ensure a win for a GOP candidate. That African Americans voted in record numbers and were "mobilized and informed" in spite of voter suppression laws is a testimony to this fact.  As a result, Americans everywhere are applauding all of the Alabamian voters both black and white, young and old who stood in long lines to vote.  

In this light, the Doug Jones outcome allows most Americans, if not the world to breathe a sigh of relief for many reasons, on behalf of America. Firstly, Doug Jones win represents higher American standards for justice --- with all Americans in mind. This purpose is demonstrated by his prosecution and conviction of the homegrown white racist terrorists who murdered "Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins and Denise McNair as well as Addie Mae’s sister, Sarah Collins (Rudolph) who survived the explosion but lost her eye and the sixteen other people injured by the bomb." It was an election that did not diminish but  substantiated the shared American belief in human rights and basic human relations. 

But it was also an election about Moore's white supremacist beliefs ---  which  were all on trial --- beliefs that still boldly seek to minimize the evilness or wickedness of slavery, including his ungodly belief that all of the amendments after the 10th amendment should end, which means he is against the "outlawing of slavery" throughout the nation. . .  It also means that he believes that white women as well African American men and women do not deserve to vote.  Is this a view of someone who believes in the United States of America & its Constitution? Who could support such a man? Unfortunately, the answer is the POTUS who campaigned for him and identified with Moore's beliefs and everything that he represents even though the majority of Americans reject Moore's views, a fact that must take into account Trump's own racist and  misogynistic tendencies .) 

 
The Russian Connection & the POTUS

Needless to say, most Americans do not think Trump is fit to serv e as the POTUS. While the Democrats are listening and responding to the public with calls for his resignation why is the GOP ignoring the public and once again choosing to remain silent about the state of his presidency?  The deciding factor for their decision should be the everyday drama that he attracts originating from his lack of morality or his white supremacist leanings (i.e., his shithole comment his racist ongoing tweets, his support of Moore, his need to take aid away from the poor all over the world if they are people of color, his misogyny (the complaints of 16 women and counting --- along with those with a NDA) and/or  his overall conflicts of interest as the POTUS.   If the POTUS was fit to serve he would be supported but the very foundation of American Democracy is crumbling under the Trump administration or being undermined by  " an administration that has no checks or balances that are functional." In light of this view, why are the Republicans ignoring his  not so  subtle hint(s) or clues about his need to collude with the Russians to change the result of an American election? Why are they ignoring Trump's statements about his love of WikiLeaks or his administration's feeble response to the presidential election cyber attacks ? Will they ask him what his administration is doing to prevent future attacks? Will they ever ask the POTUS to explain why he felt (or still feels) compelled to ignore what 17 intelligence agencies said about Russian's connection to the election?

Will they ask the POTUS, directly why so many of his staff had conversations with the Russians before the election? Will the GOP's actions or their complete utter desperation --- in trying to end the Mueller investigation provide the public --- if not the world --- with further proof that the GOP is also colluding with the president in trying to safeguard his presidency by any means possible (as if a coup or the theft of the presidency through an election of a super power could actually happen or he could actually get away it)?  If not, the GOP must allow the investigation to proceed so they, too do not look as if they have something to hide as elected officials, especially in light of the changing voting tide against the Republicans (i.e. Alabama, Virginia, New Jersey, etc.) or how they are governing when it comes to prioritizing  domestic issues or the concerns impacting the U.S. public school system. If they do, will the POTUS and his staff finally explain that they "actually" all know more than they want to know --- or say they know, especially Flynn whose legacy can still be preserved if he supports the "greater good"of the nation? Moreover, what will happen if the POTUS pardons Flynn, and tries to fire Rosenstein and Mueller? 

Will elected officials finally have to impeach the POTUS for trying to prevent the public from finding out about about his connection to Russia? If not, is the request for Americans to  "get ready for protests" around the nation and/or to get their warmer clothes together  a huge hint that Trump really is going to fire Mueller and Rosenstein to hide his guilt, thereby creating a constitutional crisis (similar  to and based on a type of   Nixon Saturday Night Massacre)?  Will the Republicans be the ones who push this Shakespearean plot forward by continuing to serve as his puppets in maligning Mueller and the FBI, unfairly  --- or will they ask themselves one important question: do the military generals (who surround Trump and treat him as if he truly has the mind of a child. . .) really have Trump's back in trying to destroy the very idea and meaning of American democracy? If not, will his presidency turn into a cautionary tale for future presidents who will be told to grasp the meaning of the words best practices, evidenced-based or lessons learned before they take on the role of the president so they never upset U.S. generals and/or the entire U.S. military who have all  risked their lives in one way or the other to defend the U.S. Constitution and/or our democratic freedoms? 

In the meantime, will the Democrats keep asking for transparency and accountability commitments from the  GOP whose standards are so low that they are willing to follow a president who  is surprised that the majority of Americans think that he, unlike other presidents throughout the world, would accept Russian's offer to interfere in the U.S.  presidential election as if no would notice? With this thought in mind, will the Democrats do what most Americans have been thinking for a very long time, which is to first acknowledge that no one wants the POTUS impeached: Americans want his presidency nullified ( a first for the United States of America ) in much the same way a very, very bad marriage would be annulled.  Again, the only way for elected officials to   respond to this request or to  redeem America's place as a super power in the world is to ensure that the much needed Russian investigation remains in place --- no matter where it leads. It is an investigation that all Americans not only need and deserve, it is an investigation that demands urgency and thoroughness in the minds of everyone, everywhere or most of the world community, especially with an authoritarian U.S. president in office who has set the stage for the trivialization of bona fide elections throughout the world --- with voter suppression as the norm or Russian interference as an acceptable way to win.   

The Tax Bill, the POTUS, & the GOP 

And then there there is the tax bill --- and the GOP's shameless, undemocratic need to squash  an in-depth
debate on the bill before they voted on it, (which is  an absolutely amazing fact if you are paying attention to   the POTUS and the Republicans who do not think that public hearings are a necessary part of passing a bill ), a view that parents  and community stakeholders should consider when they vote if they do not want to be taken for granted or if they do not want to be seen as marginalized citizens. . .  For instance, will it increase income inequality? If so, what solutions will remedy this problem? What will Democrats do to address the GOP's  low standard for democracy? In other words, what will they do to address social exclusion or the ways in which the GOP has  prevented the public and the Democrats from discussing the bill in a timely manner, which is an un-American historical act in and of itself since the bill, according to many, will ultimately end the safety net for most Americans.  

By now, the POTUS and the Republicans should know that they have lost all credibility (as proven by their very low approval ratings and their inability to tell the truth about the impact of their
political stances and/or to distinguish between bad decisions and good decisions, including their support of and silence about the racist, Roy Moore). To redeem themselves should they plan a  televised town hall discussion about this tax bill with trustworthy experts on hand (i.e., Steve Schmidt, a republican? Robert Reich, a democrat?) to verify, beyond a doubt,  that they  are not just thinking about themselves but the public, too? This goal is needed since they have eliminated public hearings and witness testimonies tied to the tax bill --- a decision that is causing them to lose their souls in the process (much like the housing crash did for those who perpetuated it). Are they addressing the "starve the beast" accusations built into the tax bill? They must remember that Reagan took two full years to study and, in turn, promote tax reform with democratic principles in mind.

As a result, the devil is, indeed, in the details of the Trump/Republican tax bill with the tax cuts (strangely or greedily) remaining permanent for the rich without any guarantee that the cuts will be used for the creation of jobs --- while the tax cuts will end for the middle and low income citizens by 2025.  Trump's voters should ask Trump this question on a regular basis. They should also ask him  and all corporate doners to provide proof of their commitment to job creation, which should also show up on their tax returns. Unfortunately, to date, the POTUS and the GOP have not explained how the tax cuts (2 trillion dollars) will pay for themselves --- or provided citizens with a guarantee that these tax cuts, including the estate tax cut or the built-in loopholes hedge fund managers will exploit, etc. will cause the rich to create jobs. They should ask: where is the clause for these guarantees before Trump signs this bill? 

Essentially, in translation, it is a bill that allows republicans to use tax cuts as a U.S. cookie jar raid --- without shame --- because they can ---  ( even during the Advent season as most of them  prepare , instead,   for a distorted interpretation of the message of Christmas! ). This means that everyone from DeVos, McConnell, and Trump, etc.  grabbed everything that they could get or  steal --- at a cost  ---to the masses --- (without any recognition of  fairness and decency) so much so that they are still drunk from the power of the theft: its possibilities endless and astonishing --- as if American citizens would not notice. If the bill passes the cookie jar will go cookieless for some time based on the cost of the replacement of the cookies.  All Americans should call their elected officials and report this childlike escapade or thievery by children pretending to be politicians and ask how this type of undemocratic standard could be supported in the United States of America --- while making definite  plans to vote in the next election against all of these politicians --- starting with McConnell and Ryan.

Certainly, these questions should reach beyond partisanship or the simple ways Trump's partisanship is creating divisions in America from the empty spaces at his (Trump's) inauguration to the empty seats at the lighting of the national Christmas tree for American families --- or, why --- in comparison,  both of these events were hugely popular for Obama who had a diverse crowd of citizens travelling from near and far to support him --- without excuses. Remaining hopeful, as a matter of course, then is an essential part of the American governmental equation for it allows "We the People" or American citizens to focus on "American Democracy" and, in the process, to understand  that we are "all in this together" even if Trump is the least popular president in American history and the GOP's creditability rating is below 20%. The question(s), therefore, remain until they are answered:  Have all elected officials provided parents and community stakeholders with opportunity structures to learn about these tax concerns, etc. or how the tax bill will impact American families and the lives of children --- or public school systems throughout the nation?

From this perspective, if the Republicans did not provide all politicians "with a good faith effort" to review the bill or failed to provide opportunity structures for the public to ask questions about it (invitation only sessions do not count) then it is a bogus bill.  Given this fact, will American voters and Trump's voters, in particular  finally have the proof that they need to figure out that Trump is an incompetent leader, along with the Republicans as his accomplices who as conservatives are willing to give unethical tax cuts to the rich without trying to figure out what is actually legal or fair and decent for American citizens --- when all is said and done? Will Trump's voters who are not a monolithic group by any stretch of the imagination, especially since many of them voted for Obama, remain apathetic and distracted and, in turn, uninformed and expect nothing from Trump even though they voted for him? Will his racist voters still expect him to insult people of color as the easiest method  if not the ungodliest of ways to depend on their support even if Christianity, racism, misogyny, and Roy Moore's unrepentant acts, etc. do not go hand in hand. . .?

Will politicians demand higher standards from Trump whose unethical tendencies seem intertwined and normal for him showing that he cannot distinguish between right or wrong as demonstrated by his need to get away with obstruction of justice ( through tweets ?), racism, misogyny or bankruptcy after bankruptcy, and even his dealings with the  Deutsche Bank,   etc.?  Will his behavior become the new normal for politicians, along with a fragile type of egotistical mindset that must be fed, as a matter of course, without any consideration for its impact on the world by those who share his Trumpian value system, a value system that  seeks to divide rather than unite Americans? Will his value system birth a new type of U.S. authoritative leadership style thereby changing the America we all love into an America without democracy? Will he try to protect this mindset, by any means possible, from the possibility that his presidency, in actuality, never really happened since Mueller and the FBI, to date, have failed to recognize the rules of his bubble existence and all that it implies. Will he continue to retaliate against people of color for failing to believe that he is a superior being or  will people of color from black athletes to President Obama and/or blacks who live in the real world continue to show him, for the first time in his life, that his bubble house is imaginary --- a fact that Mueller & Company are teaching him the hard way.  

Under these conditions or in light of these national concerns, will voters overall realize that he is creating a two trillion dollar deficit (according to some estimates) and that he will need someone to pay for it over the long haul? Since it will not be the rich --- will Trump and other conservatives push for a "starve the beast theory" or approach (as they have mentioned in the past to address deficits) to compensate for the 2 trillion dollar deficit stemming from their own mind-boggling bad choices or tax bill? Will Trump and Company care that this "starve the beast" approach will, in turn, use and  "drag their own voters, particularly their vulnerable voters or poor, uneducated whites into a new sort of historical economic abyss," without safety nets ( Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, healthcare, etc.)   --- if they have, already, boldly proven and demonstrated that they do not care if their voters have access to affordable health care? (Please note that this strategy is not new: rich white men have always counted on or used the ignorance of poor whites to perpetuate their greed.) )  So, the answer is: no.  (King Ahab, please step aside --- Trump is here.) All of this will happen --- alongside the ongoing opioid crisis impacting Trump's voters, a crisis that he has basically ignored even though  the death rate is still soaring.

What should voters do? The only thing left for all Americans to do, if not the world to do, is to question their elected officials, publicly ​and, in the process, vote for politicians who embrace higher ideals rather than the low ideals that create a divided world based on income inequality, racism, misogyny, deception, etc.  They can also remember what W.E.B Dubois wanted Americans to know when he stated: “We are all Americans, not only by birth and by our citizenship --- but by our political ideals. And, the greatest of those ideals is that all men are created equal.”  

How will elected officials respond? How will elected officials who truly represent all Americans respond to their fellow politicians who, on the other hand, serve their own special interests, first and foremost based on their need for "things" stemming from greed --- or things --- that are diminished --- and/or pale in comparison to the horns on their heads? In other words, how can they work with elected officials who bow down to golden calves --- or to their corporate donors, in particular (with the ink still not dry from the over 6000 lobbyists' input and/or still remaining written notes on this tax bill --- while no one else has really had the time to read it) at the expense of most Americans? Will they keep Trump's profound inability to lead at the center of America's transparency and accountability concerns with the response of voters in mind? Will they discuss whether or not the "center will hold" or if Trump could be the slouching beast (in the poem by William Yeats) headed toward Bethlehem (6 miles from Jerusalem)?

How will the aliens respond?
If Trump & Co. are trying to undermine U.S. Democracy as demonstrated by  their evil "alienized version" of a Christmas  present in the form of greedy tax cuts for the rich  ---  what do the real aliens think about the POTUS who are (also?) currently being studied by  The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program  using b lack money ?   Is there a reason that the aliens want us to know just how superior they are when contrasted with humans, especially since they are intentionally allowing us to see how fast their space ships can travel in comparison to our own earthly built contraptions  --- space ships so superior to anything anyone has ever seen on earth that our scientists cannot even explain them? Or. . . are the aliens here simply to study Trump and the conservative mindset that keeps proving it cannot handle anything more than one thought at a time. Are they here to understand why Trump & Co. have embraced a type of mindset that allows them to harbor incomplete thoughts in which decency and fairness are constantly overlooked, a thought, clearly,  lost on many of this planet's  leaders who keep failing to recognize that humans are, indeed, sharing a planet with all humans  --- a thought, for the moment, even aliens understand.  

Casting a vote, needless to say, with widespread historical voting goals in mind --- in spite of unethical gerrymandering --- is the message that must be sent to these politicians as a response to the POTUS and his undemocratic standards for the nation.  Surely, our alien visitors who are, outshining us by "showing up" in their advanced spaceships are a reminder that Trump can try to isolate the U.S. from the rest of the universe (The U.N. etc.) --- but not really. . .  He does not seem to know that he is merely changing the status of the USA by moving away from the higher, advanced  goals that created the path for or led to the U.S. becoming a leader or super power --- especially in regard to basic human relations. These lessons learned, however,  elude  Trump whose ignorance is known throughout the world by nations and their citizens everywhere complete with an awareness of his childlike leadership style, if not his tweets that serve to intimidate anyone who is against him, including his tweets that are intimidating witnesses in the Russian investigation (that should even cause the superior aliens to giggle at his stupidity?). Is Trump's incompetence creating a huge gap for a new super power to emerge. . .?  If so, who would of thunk it under Trump? Duh. . . or who is really surprised at the Republicans who are allowing an insane man to stay in office based on their greedy practices that operate on an "out of sight, out of mine" inhumane basis?  Have they asked what the repercussions will be that will result from his feeble inability to lead --- (alas... perhaps only the aliens know for sure)? Please call your elected officials and then remember  why you need to --- Vote!




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?


To contact your elected officials, click here .
To contact your public school state officials, click here.  
To contact your school district leaders, click here

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 recent 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 others as you debate this topic.   From the archives,: click here for information on previous information on  turnaround schools