Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A truth that will not be admitted: An Educator’s point of view

For some reason, I keep seeing red herrings and non-sequiturs being thrown into discussions of “race and racially charged incidences”, and before anyone starts saying we are all one race, just know that I am using the term for educational purposes. Also, know that many Americans do believe we are different races, and that is a pity.

When you compare the KKK: “The Ku Klux Klan established in 1865, with its long history of violence, is the most infamous — and oldest — of American hate groups. Although black Americans have typically been the Klan's primary target, it also has attacked Jews, immigrants, gays and lesbians and, until recently, Catholics” https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/ku-klux-klan

To the Black Panthers:

“The Black Panther Party (BPP), was established in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The two leading revolutionary men created the national organization as a way to collectively combat white oppression, after constantly seeing black people suffer from the torturous practices of police officers around the nation” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/27-important-facts-everyone-should-know-about-the-black-panthers_us_56c4d853e4b08ffac1276462

And to BLM:

“Black Lives Matter is an international activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. BLM regularly holds protests against police killings of black people and broader issues of racial profilingpolice brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice systemhttp://blacklivesmatter.com/guiding-principles/

Comparing these groups are not like comparing apples and oranges which are both fruit, it is like comparing apples to chickens.

This is an apple:

This is a chicken:

They are nothing alike except they are both carbon base life forms.

·         Police brutality is real http://killedbypolice.net/

·       Justice is not equal (Gregory Gunn. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Terence Crutcher just to name a few). Police are rarely held accountable for killing civilians, especially black men.

There are so many stats, and most of them are ignored unless it benefits those in power. What happened in Charlottesville, VA was terrible not just because of the violence, but also because Americans died fighting those Nazi ideals, and yet we ae letting them on the street? Those Nazis showed up armed but were not arrested? Etc.

America, at some point we have to face our past and truly confront it, and it will not be pretty. This is not only living memory, but people are living it. Telling people to “get over it” does not help and is insulting.

Think America! Feel! Act!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Do you know why Americans died in ww2? An education question and statement


Do you know why Americans died in ww2? An education question and statement

In regard to Charleville, VA this week

“World War II fatality statistics vary, with estimates of total deaths ranging from 50 million to more than 80 million. The higher figure of over 80 million includes deaths from war-related disease and famine. World War II fatality statistics vary, with estimates of total deaths ranging from 50 million to more than 80 million”

 “World War II (1939-1945) ... The roots of World War II, which eventually pitted Germany, Japan, and Italy (the Axis) against the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union (the Allies), lay in the militaristic ideologies and expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan”. We were fighting fascism.

That is a lot of people.

Americans died fighting so they would not have to do that Nazi salute (all the axis powers used that salute by the way). Why the heck would you want to bring back that which so many AMERICANS died for? Nazism and its ideology, salutes, etc., is banned in Germany as well!

The AlT right are nothing but Nazis, that was proven this weekend. You might not mix with people of different skin colors, but if you consider yourself a patriot why the heck would you be using Nazi propaganda and rhetoric? WWII is very real to a large segment of the U.S population.
There is no excuse, no explanation that can clear this; as an educator and historian, I condemn this! As an American I condemn this! As a human, I condemn this!

That rally in Charlottesville had no place in the United States of America….

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam



Saturday, August 5, 2017

The far-reaching consequences of our criminal justice system


I learned something deep today: have you ever heard of “Collateral Consequences” in regard to the justice system? We all think we know how it affects people, but we mostly only know just the surface.

“Collateral consequences are legal and regulatory sanctions and restrictions that limit or prohibit people with criminal records from accessing employment, occupational licensing, housing, voting, education, and other opportunities. Collateral consequences most frequently affect people who have been convicted of a crime, though in some states an arrest alone—even an arrest that doesn't result in a conviction—may trigger a collateral consequence”.

“Some collateral consequences serve a legitimate public safety or regulatory function, such as keeping firearms out of the hands of people convicted of domestic violence offenses, prohibiting people convicted of abuse from working with children or the elderly, or barring people convicted of fraud from positions of public trust. Others are directly related to the particular crime, such as registration requirements for sex offenders, driver’s license restrictions for people convicted of serious traffic offense, or debarment of people convicted of fraud. But many collateral consequences apply to people convicted of any crime, without regard to any relationship between the crime and opportunity being restricted, and frequently without consideration of how long ago the crime occurred or the person’s rehabilitation efforts since. Collateral consequences with overbroad restrictions that offer no chance to overcome the restriction function as additional punishment and may discourage rehabilitation and ultimately increase recidivism”. 

“Collateral consequences are scattered throughout the codebooks and are frequently unknown even to those responsible for their administration and enforcement. They have been promulgated with little coordination in disparate sections of state and federal codes, which makes it difficult for anyone to identify all of the penalties and disabilities that may be triggered by a criminal record for a certain offense”. 

“While collateral consequences have been a familiar feature of the American justice system since colonial times, they have become more pervasive and more problematic in the past 20 years for three reasons: they are more numerous and impactful, they affect more people, and they are harder to avoid or mitigate. As a result, millions of Americans are consigned to a kind of a permanent legal limbo because of a crime they committed in the past”. 

It is calculated that the economy is missing out on approximately $87 Billion dollars a year on revenue because people with convictions are permanently labelled as criminals and cannot work due to these laws. Instead of someone being able to get a good solid job driving for UPS for example, they have to dig ditches for a living. Someone trained to be a barber cannot cut hair any longer because of this; about 40,000 collateral consequence!

I am going to quote something said to me today: “we as a society should not be counting recidivism rates as a measure of success, but rather, the quality of life of those who paid their debt to society”.
This is why criminal justice is a social issue: people should not be permanently labeled as criminals. If you believe this is true then you are not a true believer in justice, you simply believe in punishment.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam


PS I should not have to tell you that the neighborhoods most affected by these rules are minority peoples.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The rumor and gossip mill has no place in education


Education is one of the most regulated industries in the United States, but I have always said that educators are big gossips, no matter what the level.

People get judged on popularity, seniority, and by whispers. I recently attended what I thought was a professional conversation about teaching, and one of the opening statements was “well I heard …about you”. You heard?!

We are supposed to be objective with our students, use rubrics, have learning goals, etc. How can we truly claim this if we cannot be objective with each other? Do you realize so many performance evaluations in education are based upon how the supervisor is feeling about you at that time, not about your performance for the year?

Unfortunately, we often treat our students this way as well. We judge them based upon student records, but we do not look closely at the records, just the juicy gossip. The teachers lounge in K12 is often full of negative student gossip.

Educators, we must do better if we are going to ever transform education. We are allowing non-educators to run us, because we cannot seem to run ourselves.

So, next time you feel like repeating that rumor, talking that trash, or judging someone on hearsay, let us practice what we teach the students:

·         Is this kind?
·         Is it true?
·         Is it necessary?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Private Prisons Trample on American Values: An Educator’s Researched Based Perspective


What is a for profit company? “A business or other organization whose primary goal is making money (a profit), as opposed to a non profit organization which focuses a goal such as helping the community and is concerned with money only as much as necessary to keep the organization operating”

So, if this company is not selling its services or product, it goes out of business. But what if it product is prisoners? That means in order to make money it would need its jails to be full; all the time. Remember, the number one goal of a company is to maximize profits for its owners.

“The Corrections Corporation of America launched the era of private prisons in 1983, when it opened an immigration detention center in an former motel in Houston, Texas. Today the Nashville-based company houses more than 66,000 inmates, making it the country’s second-largest private prison company. In 2015, it reported $1.9 billion in revenue and made more than $221 million in net income—more than $3,300 for each prisoner in its care”.

“CCA and other prison companies have written “occupancy guarantees” into their contracts, requiring states to pay a fee if they cannot provide a certain number of inmates. Winn Correctional Center was guaranteed to be 96 percent full”.

“The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar”.

These systems do not only get you while you are inside prison, they get you if you have court fines, hallway house, on probation. Once they have you in their system, they make it very difficult for you to get out, and the average working person will end up paying dearly to get out of the system. Over inflated prices for goods, garnishing your paycheck for the privilege of being forced to stay at halfway house instead of being allowed to go home, fines and more fines.

“The Fines and Fees That Keep Former Prisoners Poor” “States and counties have upped the amounts they charge defendants, saddling those getting out of jail with huge amounts of debt they have little hope of paying off”.
“Increasingly, jurisdictions across the country are assessing hefty court fines and fees, called legal financial obligations (LFOs), on defendants, requiring them to pay thousands of dollars or face more jail time, according to Alexes Harris, the author of A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions for the Poor. Harris talked to one woman who was a victim of domestic violence and spent eight years in the prison system for shooting the father of her son. She’d been assessed $33,000 in LFOs, but 13 years after her conviction, despite minimum monthly payments she made, interest had brought her debt to $72,000”.  

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”

“Amendment VIII Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”

“Half of the world's prison population of about nine million is held in the US, China or Russia”. “Prison rates in the US are the world's highest, at 724 people per 100,000. In Russia, the rate is 581”.
Criminal justice reform in the United States would be one of the greatest things ever for human rights because, it is not enough to have laws of protection, what is needed is equal laws and true equal protection under the law no matter what your social status (or perceived status).


The state of incarceration in the United States, especially with the inclusion of the private prison system, is effrontery to American values, and all those who claim to love freedom, the constitution, and the United States of America, should be outraged.


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Some references for your perusal
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/uk/06/prisons/html/nn2page1.stm

Monday, July 10, 2017

Are you truly patriotic? An educator’s thoughts…


The 4th of July has just passed. So, the lingering of fireworks, flags, and people shouting “freedom” is still in the air. The 4th of July is a day when people’s patriotism comes out full force, but like Mother’s Day, it soon fades back into the closet until the next year.

Why do you say that? I am glad you asked.

True patriotism does not take a day off, true patriotism is also not just loving “your” version of America but embracing everyone’s America. It means acknowledging the diversities of religion, culture, skin color, etc. It means accepting the fact that the country is far from perfect but you are going to try and make it better.

There are people who struggle on daily basis just trying to make it, so perhaps they might not feel like celebrating. Does this make them less American? Absolutely not! The beauty of the freedom the country is supposed to have means one size does not fit all, but we are all in the same big box.
So as you sing your patriotic songs, wave your flag, have your BBQ, etc., remember that true patriotism means recognizing the faults as well as the freedom. It means that you are embracing everyone’s America.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam