Imagine finding out that your child’s teacher had their teaching license revoked in another state because they were busted for sexting a student, or physically abusing a child, or was busted in a child porn sting–what would you say and do?
You would possibly rush to the school principal and begin asking a list of questions such as, “how is it possible that this teacher was eligible to teach again?”, “why didn’t a background check uncover this fact before this teacher was hired?”, and “did you know about this teacher’s past before or after hiring them?”
You probably have plenty of additional questions that you would ask.
USA TODAY NETWORK conducted an investigation and discovered a major flaw in the teacher screening systems used across the U.S. by more than 13,000 school districts. By looking at the databases of certified teachers and disciplined teachers, their research uncovered that:
- Thousands of disciplined teachers were not reported by states to a privately run database which also happens to be the nation’s only centralized system for tracking teacher discipline.
- At least 9,000 educators who were disciplined by state officials are missing from the non-profit clearinghouse, National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification. At least 1,400 of those educators licenses had been permanently revoked, and at least 200 of those revocations were due to allegations of physical or sexual abuse.
- State systems used to check teachers background are plagued by inconsistencies, and this flaw has led to numerous instances of schools not finding out about criminal convictions until after the teacher is already hired and working in the classroom.
Due to their investigation there are a few states who are conducting internal investigations and audits.
Although the number of “problematic” teachers is minuscule (there are more than 3 million teachers in the U.S. and less than 1% have faced disciplinary action) there is still reason to be concerned about this flawed screening system—parents send their children to school with the belief that they will be safe and in no direct threat of predators and abusers of any kind.
Unlike the United Kingdom (and some other countries) the U.S. federal government does not mandate teacher background checks or make sure that states share information about severe abuse cases. This has been left up to states to handle. With so many people screaming “less big government”, it would be interesting to see if they still only want the states left with the responsibility of protecting their children.
The USA TODAY NETWORK investigation uncovered a great deal of information that you should read and share with others. Read more about this investigation here: http://www.usatoday.com/longform/news/2016/02/14/broken-discipline-tracking-system-lets-teachers-with-misconduct-records-back-in-classroom/79999634/
So I wasn’t surprised to read that more retailers have suffered from major foot-in-mouth or foot-in-rear syndrome as they have pressed and marketed t-shirts and other novelty items to young girls that basically tell them that it is more advantageous to focus on their looks than their intelligence. These messages also tell them that they aren’t as smart or smarter than boys, and guess what? It sends the same messages to boys who grow up to be men who think this way. Then women like myself have to deal with this ignorance throughout college and our careers. I’m in my mid-30s and I still have to prove that I’m intelligent and capable of playing with ‘the big boys’, while a man with a fraction of my intellect just needs to show up.
So what are retailers up to now? Well a few months ago it was the “I’m too pretty to do math” t-shirt by David & Goliath and let’s not forget the “Trophy Wife” t-shirt; I’m sure every parent sits back and hopes that their daughter grows up to be a trophy wife (yes, I’m being facetious). The more we struggle to break down these stereotypical images of females, the more guck and muck that flies up from companies that know better, but see the benefit of earning the buck more than doing the right thing.
So why would J.C. Penney get caught up in the cross-hairs of this nonsense with their “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me” t-shirt? I’m not sure. Obviously they missed the memo that said gender stereotyping is a big no-no. They were smart enough to pull the shirt from stores once the backlash from consumers gave them whiplash. Lesson learned? I hope so.
Here’s the crazy thing, retailers could actually make MORE money by producing and marketing positive images and messages of girls and women than they do with this other nonsense. Think of how many t-shirts you would buy for every young girl (or even boy) you know if it read, “I work hard in school so I can have the career of my dreams“, or “Need a tutor? I get A’s in Math“, or “You can have sexy, I’ll be your boss soon“. There are so many ways to show young girls and boys that being intelligent is smart and is a highly attractive quality not only for a future spouse -which they shouldn’t be concerned with until their in their 20s, (but realistically we know they obsess over as young as age 13) but also for future employment opportunities.
Of course I’ve included the link (see below) to the article that shares the J.C. Penney story and more. I’m thrilled to read in the article that entrepreneurs are jumping into the business to produce positive images and messages for our children to see and model, such as the “Pretty’s got nothing to do with it…Redefine girly” t-shirt.
If we are truly concerned with the future of our world and the children who will be tomorrow’s leaders, then we must take responsibility for the images they see and the messages they hear…we are all role models!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Paradigm Life.
By Natasha L. Foreman
Some people need to just think before they speak, or simply refrain from answering a question when they have absolutely nothing of intelligence to say in response. Case in point…again… Oklahoma state Representative Sally Kern.
This woman appears to have what I call, “brain-mouth disconnect syndrome” whenever a microphone or reporter is nearby. Her mouth gets to yapping but her brain is totally disconnected from the process. She needs a handler who does a better job screening what comes out of her mouth. Do you remember when three years ago she made the comment that gay people are destroying the United States and were a greater threat than terrorists? If not, I have included the link to this footage at the end of this post. Do you remember Kern’s Divorce Bill that would have made it hard for people to get divorced in Oklahoma? Yes, I included that link below as well.
Well Ms. Kern has really stepped in her own mess last Wednesday during an affirmative action bill debate she back-handed both women and African-Americans by saying that women don’t work as hard and earn as much as men because they are more concerned about raising their families, and the high incarceration rate of Black people must have something to do with them not wanting to work hard in school.
“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school?…I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”
But let’s hear it directly from the horse’s mouth shall we? Oh and look at the body language and reaction from her constituents in the audience! Thank goodness for YouTube…
Yep, she said it and after coming under attack and her people returning from their extended lunch break (I’m joking about the latter) she tries to clean up her comments by saying that women are some of the hardest workers in the world, and that what she said didn’t come from her “true spirit“. Okay so where did it come from? Will people have to question which spirit (true or false) she’s speaking from every time she opens her mouth?
Maybe it’s time for Ms. Kern to take some sensitivity training, or re-training. Anthony Davis, the President of the NAACP Oklahoma chapter is cutting Kern no slack and is standing firm in his call for her resignation, and urging Kern’s constituents do the same- saying, “Let’s send a message out that in Oklahoma we will not tolerate racism at its ugliest level.”
See the Oklahoma news KOCO report that covered the story and interviewed both Anthony Davis and state Representative Mike Shelton:
I’m all for freedom of speech but when do we draw the line especially when words of hate, bigotry, and racism come from the mouths of our country’s leaders, influencers, and those who intend to lead?
If we are to be the example for the rest of the world to follow why then should we be surprised that there is so much hate spewed about our country and our people? We talk about athletes and entertainers being role models and that they should watch what they say and do, but what about highly visible business people and those in government positions who serve the people of this nation? What standards are set for them, or are they not considered role models?
What are your thoughts?
Oh and by the way here’s the link to her Divorce Bill recommendation: http://youtu.be/tXYKe4gdeRo
And her remarks about gays in 2008 in case you never heard it or need your memory refreshed:
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.
What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.
I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.
I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.
These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.
When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.
We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.
We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.
We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.
We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.
I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
Are you ready to pick up where we left off ? Let’s go!
First let me say…OUR President announced late last night that the U.S. has confirmed that they killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan after OUR President gave the okay to engage in combative measures to eliminate Bin Laden and his associates as a threat. So…uh Donald Trump and all of you small-minded morons out there so concerned with OUR President’s birth certificate, maybe now you can see what pressing issues that he found more important to follow up on instead of tracking down his birth certificate from the 60s. Now this is a perfect segue into part two of my post on Trump the Chumps…
I want to see Trump’s transcripts from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Matter of fact I want to see his transcripts from Fordham before he transferred to Wharton. I want to see his academic honors he claims to have earned while attending the New York Military Academy (when he was acting up as a teenager as his parents sent him there to get his attitude problem adjusted). I want to know what gives a person who comes directly from Scottish (mother) and German (father and paternal grandparents) roots the right to question someone’s heritage and citizenship.
I want to know what a person who claims to have an interest in the U.S. economy, jobs, business development, and competing in the global marketplace- and says that OUR President is doing an awful job (the worst of all presidents he claimed) can do anything to turn our country around when in 1991 he filed for corporate bankruptcy (and almost filed for personal bankruptcy); watched banks and bondholders lose hundreds of millions of dollars while he restructured his debt to avoid losing more money in court. What can this man say when in 1992 his Trump Plaza Hotel was forced to file a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy?
Two years later Trump lost the Trump Shuttle, was forced to sell a parcel of his West Side yards to Asian developers without retaining ownership- only allowed to keep his name on the buildings that were built on those yards so a premium could be charged for them. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the breaking point when he became fixated on Asians, more specifically the Chinese as being enemy number one.
I want to know why Trump feels he’s qualified to run this country when in 1998 his Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts were profitless and could barely pay the interest on nearly $3 billion in debt; which kept them from making necessary improvements on the properties. I want to know how he feels he is capable of running our country and reducing our deficit when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought a financial-reporting case against Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc in 2002 alleging that the company had misleading third-quarter 1999 earnings release statements. Then two years later the company announced they were restructuring their debt reducing Donald’s individual ownership from 56 percent to 27 percent, and giving bondholders stock in exchange for surrendering part of the debt.
So who’s company had to file for bankruptcy November 2004? Trump’s. So who relinquished his CEO position but retained his role as Chairman of the Board? The Donald. So after re-emerging as Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings in 2005 and appearing to be on the upswing even with legal issues who then had to file for Chapter 11 again on February 17, 2009 after the “Chairman of the Board” said he would resign from the board four days earlier? Trump Entertainment Resorts.
How is Donald John Trump, Sr. qualified to be the President of the United States? Does he think it’s because he knows how to say, “you’re fired” and he thinks that shows signs of a strong leader? Maybe it’s because while he was a student at the New York Military Academy he was the captain of the baseball team in 1964 and received the Coach’s Award that same year. Or maybe it was because his senior year there he was promoted to the Cadet Captain-S4 (Cadet Battalion Logistics Officer). For those of you who don’t know what this title means- The Donald was “responsible for the maintenance, security, record keeping, issue, and turn-in of all U.S. government property (except ordinance).” That is definitely grounds to claim a stake at the presidency isn’t it?
His attack on OPEC and belief that as President he could force them to do what we say and “stop robbing us blind” is supported by what experience exactly? Does he think his real estate career has laid the foundation for dealing with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries?
Maybe Donald thinks he’s better suited for the Presidency since he knows the viewpoints from all sides since he’s been a supporter of the Reform Party, Republican Party, and the Democratic Party. Donald needs to choose a party first, commit to it, and I would suggest having had experience voting in primary elections- since according to an April 23rd report by New York-based TV station NY1 (and confirmed by a city board spokeswoman) Donald hasn’t voted in a primary election in New York City for 21 years.
I want to see Donald’s tax returns for the past four years. I want to see his academic achievements highlighted for verification. I want to see the report his “people” gave him when their intel said that OUR President’s birth certificate did not exist and then eluded that it was because he was Kenyan born.
I mean seriously, Donald’s foreign policy concept is imperialistic and pimpish. I thought our country is pushing an anti-bullying movement with our children- but we’re still saying, “do as I say not as I do”. He told CNN last week that we should have told the Arab League that we would go into Libya and take Gaddafi out of office for $5 billion and then we could go in there and get their oil. He then also found a way to attack China and place some blame their way because they haven’t sent their military troops to Libya.
Yes, China’s cleaning our clock economically and academically- how is that their fault that we got caught slipping on innovation and education? Donald why don’t you invest in our schools, bring in more textbooks and supplies, fund before-and-after school programs (in underserved and underrepresented cities) that offer tutoring as early as 6am and as late as 7pm during the week, and weekend programs open from 8am to 6pm?
I would also say this- the man who is so concerned about our economy, jobs, and competing with China whom he calls our country’s “enemy” should take the $100 million he offered to donate to the White House for a stinking ballroom and instead inject that into our economy for a booster shot and job creation. If he’s so concerned about jobs and says OUR President is incompetent at creating jobs, then The Donald should start hiring U.S. citizens in all of his companies, and since he has the money supposedly, why doesn’t he open more businesses to answer the supply and demand needs which will help to trigger positive consumerism trends in those states?
Let’s be real shall we…Donald Trump is the epitome of the capitalist that people detest- he is all about money and how he can acquire more only for himself, and not concerned with job creation except to help him achieve and maintain his financial wealth. I want to know as he’s attacking OUR President about our country not having enough U.S. based companies and U.S. made products, how many of his employees in Dubai, Turkey, South Korea, Canada, Scotland, and Canouan Island are U.S. citizens? How much of the generated revenues from these locations are being re-distributed back into the U.S. economy? I want to know what U.S. products he is helping to produce that are being exported to other nations to help boost our economy and help to pay down our staggering debt?
Let me say in closing that I see that Donald’s son Eric has a foundation- The Eric Trump Foundation for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital- but where’s Donald’s foundation? I researched and discovered on Trump’s website that “The Trump Family is proud to participate in and provide support for…” The Eric Trump Foundation, Girl Up United Nations Foundation, New York City Police Foundation, Operation Smile, and The Police Athletic League (PAL)…I will let you reflect on that for a moment and not to diminish the contributions made by and to these great organizations but just ask yourself where the support of education and job creation is present by the Trump conglomerate!
Then I want you to think about this…OUR so-called “incompetent” President has done something no other President before him has been able to do and that was whoop up on, defeat, and bring back the body of Osama Bin Laden snatching that magnet of fear out of the world. You may be able to huff and puff, and fire a bunch of people Donald, and Sarah Palin may be able to hunt deer and elk in Alaska but NONE of you fools have what it takes to deal with ordering the elimination of Bin Laden while being under attack from hate mongers who question your patriotism, nationality, citizenship, loyalty, and religion every single day; while also trying to bring up the spirits of the country, rebuild our schools, produce jobs for the unemployed and underemployed, and deal with back-to-back crisis situations affecting our country domestically and abroad- while raising a family and trying to be a loving and attentive spouse. Let’s not discuss your family lives and careers!
To my readers let me say…you know that I await your feedback!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
California is in the red and when you combine the balance of this fiscal year with next year’s the amount is a staggering $28 billion. If you want to understand the depth of what this really means consider this: California’s budget shortfall is the equivalent to the total general fund budget of Delaware, Maine, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Rhode Island, and West Virginia combined. That is humongous!
The current budget is broken down to include K-12 Education, Health and Social Services, Colleges and Universities, Public Safety, and Other- which covers the majority of state government functions like the state parks, court systems, department of motor vehicles (DMV), and other services.
The Los Angeles Times created an interactive model that allows you to make necessary cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit, and quite possibly create a surplus. They included a range of options to choose from which includes proposals made by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. So let’s look at the current budget breakdown and then consider the proposal I recommended. Finally, you can give it a whirl and see how you fair, and then compare all three proposals to that of Governor Jerry Brown. Trust me it is not as easy as it seems. Every cut and tax increase affects someone- especially YOU, if you are a California resident or business. Lives are impacted by the decisions you make. That is a great deal of pressure to carry.
When you look at the numbers you may think, “wow well at least education, and health and social services are taking the majority of the budget- that’s good news,” but what you may not know is that the educational system both on the K-12 and college/university levels are heavily strained. The voter-approved constitutional guarantee for K-12 schools has an estimated 40% earmark, but this percentage has dropped considerably because tax collections has plummeted. Basically, there’s no balance in this balancing act.
Spending per pupil is now the lowest in the nation, with California spending a mere $8,700 per student during the 2008-2009 school year. To make matters worse the state lost $2.2 billion of federal funding that went to schools- so the question posed is how much of the state’s limited revenues should go to schools considering the impact it has on our children and teachers?
If you maintain the current level for funding then the deficit increases to $30.2 billion. If you provide minimal funding then there is no impact on the deficit and the minimum level guarantee of $28 billion is earmarked for schools as usual. However, you can also consider cutting the spending that would go to each child, and reduce the deficit by $24.3 billion. So what do you do?
I remember when I was in undergrad at California State University, Long Beach (Long Beach State) in the 1990s. I also took classes at various local community colleges and just like the other students I was feeling the pressure of tuition increases- the same tuition increases we were told wouldn’t occur anytime during our tutelage. Since then the state-paid costs earmarked for the UC system has dropped significantly from 78% in 1990 down to 48% currently. Cal State enrollment has dropped considerably, and both UC and Cal State systems have seen their faculty face furloughs. But this has not meant a reduced or steady level of student fees- to the contrary- they have more than tripled.
Now although California still has the lowest per unit fee for their community college students in the nation- at $26- with the closing of many campuses throughout the state, there is a reduction in class offerings. This means that although California students are paying less to attend community colleges they now have less options for classes to take than several years ago. Do you see the catch-22? So where would you make budget cuts? What programs, grants, and services would you eliminate? Would you cut funding to the UC or Cal State systems, or to the community colleges? If so, which and by how much? Would you eliminate existing or new CalGrants, or both? Would you close some or all of the 110 community college campuses that have served as the traditional gateway into the Cal State and UC Systems?
The current budget allocates $26.3 billion. Let’s look closely at how that is broken down. It covers welfare; in-home services to the elderly, blind, and disabled; child care services for 55,000 children of working parents in the welfare-to-work program; Medi-Cal services; Medi-Cal services for legal immigrants; grants to the elderly and poor; and drug and alcohol programs. The proposals for health and social services would require you to make cuts or place limits on spending. Someone is going to go with less or completely without. So who should it be, and if you are making budget cuts, then by how much?
When we think of public safety we become instantly focused on our own safety and well being, we consider our homes and families and think of driving without fear of carjacking. We think of the bad guy being locked up in jail or prison, and a safe environment with hopes of some type of utopia. But let’s face reality…safety costs big money. Want to see the budget breakdown for public safety and the considerations that impact the state deficit? Let’s go…
The fastest growing area in the state budget is allocated towards the state’s prisons which are due in large part to the overcrowding in prison thanks to the 3-Strikes law, Proposition 9, and other statutes that keep inmates incarcerated longer, or for a lifetime. Each year California spends an average of $51,000 per inmate (that’s more than some people’s annual salary). The state holds 170,000 inmates. By releasing 40,000 of them the state would reduce its cost by more than $2 billion. Now they aren’t talking about releasing serial killers, rapists, and other hardened criminals.
Think about Joe who stole a steak at age 18, committed some other silly crime at 21, and then at 23 he did something else trivial- like steal a car radio out of a police cruiser- that falls under the 3-strikes law that locks him up for life…do you think the citizens of California could survive with Joe on the streets? Possibly- he potentially has not grown into a hardened criminal in the several years he has served so far.
Now consider the reduction in costs for successfully sending illegal immigrants who are incarcerated back to their home countries. California failed at doing this before, but if they were able to push this transition it would save California $106 million. These are just two of the four considerations of cuts to ponder. Prison rehabilitation and eliminating up to $100 million of the Citizen’s Option for Public Safety Program (COPS) are the other two options to consider. Do you make cuts or leave the budget as-is because safety is one of your biggest concerns? Are you noticing how difficult this process truly is or do you think this is still easy as punch?
As I mentioned earlier, this category is designated for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), state parks, the court system, and other state government functions. The current proposals suggest either:
- Cutting state payroll by 10% through pay cuts and furloughs to save the state $1 billion. This doesn’t affect employees of the Legislature, judicial branch and state colleges and universities.
- Eliminating up to $130 million in state funding for parks. Eliminating the full amount means that parks have to rely solely on collected fees.
- Cut the Legislature’s budget up to $130 million. If you cut too deep then it would mean possible layoffs, closure of district offices, and a huge impact on all operational aspects.
- Eliminate the California Conservation Corps program (a cost of $33 million) that places young people in positions to respond to natural disasters and help maintain the parks.
So what and how much do you cut, and what do you eliminate if anything?
Some of the proposals suggest it is time to raise taxes in various areas such as alcohol, tobacco, gas, crude oil, and for high-income earners. There are also proposals for imposing a tax on social-security earnings, creating a business tax break, raising the vehicle license fee back to the 2% car value rate that was in place before Schwarzenegger took office; continue temporary tax hikes, and adding speeding cameras on 500 stop lights throughout the state.
Remember, California relies heavily on income taxes, which is a wishy-washy situation, and property taxes can’t be increased because of Proposition 13. Although the state ranks the 15th highest in tax and fees collected, it has dropped by 20% since the peak of the housing bubble…which means more wishy-washy issues. So what do you tax and what do you leave alone? I hate to say this but no taxation means the state becomes crippled and the backlash of that impacts its residents. Taxation by some extent is necessary for all of our survival.
After reading all of this what solutions do you think I came up with? What areas did I cut, eliminate, and tax? How much do you think I increased the deficit or reduced it? Do you think I created a surplus, made matters worse, or just left it as-is? Curious? Tomorrow I will share. I was shocked.
Now give it a whirl for yourself. See how your proposal would impact the state and its residents. Then tomorrow you can compare yours to mine. Sound like a plan?
Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
P.S. If you are receiving this blog via email and are having difficulty seeing the images and following the details, just visit my blog at: paradigmlife.blogspot.com
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.
All charts, facts, figures, and statistics were provided by the Los Angeles Times and its reporters and researchers, as taken from: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/budget/
>Today I visited a middle school in Atlanta, Georgia to share a lesson on financial literacy with a group of young ladies, grades 6-8, who meet with me for roughly one hour during their art class. This is my third visit to this particular class. I visit their school as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through the Operation HOPE (HOPE) Banking on Our Future (BOOF) program. After my last visit next week, I will be returning independent of HOPE to continue reinforcing the principles and skills I have shared with them the past few weeks. I also intend to share other valuable lessons and skills that I truly believe these students need to know in order to survive and thrive in this gigantic, constantly-changing world.
When I see them I see young African-American girls who are faced with challenges of fitting in and being a part of the status quo, or stepping out and bringing about the change they want to see in their lives and in their community. I see young girls who could thrive in their studies and excel in life as leaders and change agents, but some of them would rather settle for mediocrity because they assume that is what is expected of them. Some of them have bought into the lies and imagery they see on the news, in movies and music videos; and what they hear in songs. Some of them only see what is around them, but do not take the time to dream for what could be beyond. Some look at their family situation and are content with that also being their future. Some have seen a cyclical pattern of behavior that sucks the life and hope out of people- and they don't conceive of how they can break the cycle. Some have bought the lie that they are not as smart and gifted as the average student. There are a few who have bought the label of being "special needs" and are content not pushing beyond this negative threshold.
Then there are the ones whose eyes still shine, who clearly dream big dreams, who want for more, who see a life in college and outside the boundaries of a neighborhood plagued by lack of hope and faith. These girls are more than the stereotypical pretty girl 'eye-candy' most would claim them to be; they are gifted and intelligent. Some of these girls are clear that their 'now' will be their 'past' because they have goals and aspirations of becoming educated career-women. There are a few girls in this class who are dreamers, but they are nervous to speak up and speak out in fear of being teased and criticized. They are the silent wells of hope, that believe that their dreams can come true but it is safer to work towards their goals silently than sharing outwardly. These young ladies smile through their eyes even in pain.
All of these young ladies are our future. Not to be forgotten. Not to be statistically categorized as 'beyond reach'. Not to be discounted as merely future booty-popping, sexually driven females who will amount to nothing except recipients of state-assistance, pole-swinging strippers, or guests on the Maury Povich or Jerry Springer shows. These girls told me today that they aspired to become pediatricians, chefs, and teachers- they have the potential to reach their career goals- they have the potential to afford to write the mock $10k checks they wrote today in class. They have the potential to live a life far-better than the one they have today. They have the potential to learn the lessons their elders were not taught, so they can have superior credit, own a home, own their car, travel the world, and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
We need to take back our schools and our communities. We need to stand up, speak up and speak out. We need to create a flow of communication between the state, neighborhoods, school districts, administrators, teachers, parents, and the students. Everyone must work to develop a system that works. Without total buy-in from these stakeholders, the system will fail and our country will suffer an unimaginable fate. We need to stop talking about it and start doing something. Parents, teachers, and administrators have to come together in order to effectively communicate what is needed and required for our youth to succeed both in and outside of school. We need more mentors coming to the schools, speaking to the students, working with the school personnel and the families of the students.
We need parents to be more engaged in the learning process, not just when they want to come to the school for a confrontation with a teacher or administrator. We need parents to take the time to ask, see, and know what is going on with their children in school and in the neighborhood. We need parents to ask for help when they need it; help with tutoring their children; help with showing their children a buffet of positive role models to learn from and aspire to become. If you are a single parent and your work schedule is hectic- ask for help to effectively connect with your child and their teacher(s). Parents need to stop relying on teachers to handle all of the teaching and disciplining of their children. What is taught in school is to be reinforced in the home. What is taught in the home should be a positive example displayed and expressed at school.
Teachers need to re-engage and reconnect, not waiting until a child has reached a failing grade- but showing care and concern once that child falls below a "B". Teachers need to take the time to reach out and talk to the students who clearly need more positive reinforcement. If you know that the vast majority of your students come from home environments filled with negative images and influences, why would you perpetuate this same negativity in the classroom? If these children are living in environments of fear, hopelessness, and diminishing faith- why would you not want to create and maintain an environment where they can feel safe and loved?
So many schools have signs around their campuses claiming a 'commitment to excellence', yet mediocrity is the norm. We have upset, frustrated, and disconnected parents who yell at upset, frustrated, and disconnected administrators- who then yell at upset, frustrated and disconnected teachers- who walk into their classrooms and yell at upset, frustrated, and disconnected students- who only model the behavior of their upset, frustrated and disconnected parents. The cycle of behavior won't stop until we stop it; until we stop passing the buck and blaming everyone else for our problems.
Historically the undervalued, underserved, underrepresented has always banded together to bring themselves out of the depths of darkness. In the 1950s we fought for our children's equal education rights. In the 1960s and 1970s we raised our standards even higher for teaching and education. Even in the early-to-mid-1980s our children knew that all eyes were on them; the administrators, teachers, the neighborhood, and the parents were all on the same page- and our children knew to walk the straight line.
Where did we go wrong? When did we stop caring? When did our vision of role models shift from the intelligent, courageous, and driven change agents- to the hard-core, lazy, thugs and 'barbies'? When did we go from working towards self-empowerment to self-entitlement? What are you doing to take back your community? Stop making excuses and start doing something. NOW! It takes a village to raise a child- we must reunite our village. We have to be the change we want to see!
Natasha L. Foreman
Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.