Monday, August 17, 2015

Do you truly believe in the constitution?

 
Disclaimer: this is not about politics or religion, this is simple right and wrong, the wrong being "creative interpretations" of things when it suits yourself.

I am not a constitutional scholar nor do I claim to be an expert on the constitution. Nevertheless, I am an educator and I have read the constitution (have you?).

Just because I do not agree with your points of views,  it does not make me less of an American, it also does not mean I still do not like you as a person. We are not always going to agree with our friends and relatives all the time and educated debate can be good for progress.

However, please understand that the true beauty and strength of the United States of America, is that I do have the right to disagree with you within the boundaries of the law because just like you I too have the same  constitutional rights.

The constitution does not use a George Orwell Animal Farm approach such: "everyone is equal but some are more equal then others". It gives us all equal rights, equal protection under the law, including the right to do things you personally might find abhorrent and/or morally wrong. Blood was shed to protect all our rights, and some of it was shed by the very people you might despise.

So, I ask you: do you believe in the constitution you so espouse? If so, believe in all of it, not just some of it, otherwise you really do not believe in it all. https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/constitution

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to run a Presidential campaign in 2015, I am not kidding



As I listen to the latest asinine, irrelevant, horse manure, “political scandal”, I feel I must educate on some very important issues about campaigns nowadays. They are full of Fallacies!
Rhetorical Fallacies
ž  Rhetorical fallacies, or fallacies of argument, don’t allow for the open, two-way exchange of ideas upon which meaningful conversations depend. Instead, they distract the reader with various appeals instead of using sound reasoning. They can be divided into three categories:
      1. Emotional fallacies unfairly appeal to the audience’s emotions.
      2. Ethical fallacies unreasonably advance the writer’s own authority or character.
      3. Logical fallacies depend upon faulty logic.
ž  Rhetorical fallacies often overlap.
Emotional Fallacies
ž  Sentimental Appeals use emotion to distract the audience from the facts.
      Example: The thousands of baby seals killed in the Exxon Valdez oil spill have shown us that oil is not a reliable energy source.
ž  Red Herrings use misleading or unrelated evidence to support a conclusion.
      Example: That painting is worthless because I don’t recognize the artist.
ž  Scare Tactics try to frighten people into agreeing with the arguer by threatening them or predicting
                Unrealistically dire consequences
      Example: If you don’t support the party’s tax plan, you and your family will be reduced to poverty.
ž  Bandwagon Appeals encourage an audience to agree with the writer because everyone else is doing so.
      Example: Paris Hilton carries a small dog in her purse, so you should buy a hairless Chihuahua and put it in your Louis Vuitton.
ž  Slippery Slope arguments suggest that one thing will lead to another, oftentimes with disastrous results.
      Example: If you get a B in high school, you won’t get into the college of your choice, and therefore will never have a meaningful career.
ž  Either/Or Choices reduce complicated issues to only two possible courses of action.
      Example: The patent office can either approve my generator design immediately or say goodbye forever to affordable energy.
ž  False Need arguments create an unnecessary desire for things.
      Example: You need an expensive car or people won’t think you’re cool.
 
Ethical Fallacies
ž  False Authority asks audiences to agree with the assertion of a writer based simply on his or her character or the authority of another person or institution who may not be fully qualified to offer that assertion.
      Example: My high school teacher said it, so it must be true.
ž  Using Authority Instead of Evidence occurs when someone offers personal authority as proof.
      Example: Trust me – my best friend wouldn’t do that.
ž  Guilt by Association calls someone’s character into question by examining the character of that person’s associates.
      Example: Sara’s friend Amy robbed a bank; therefore, Sara is a delinquent.
ž  Dogmatism shuts down discussion by asserting that the writer’s beliefs are the only acceptable ones.
Example: I’m sorry, but I think penguins are sea creatures and that’s that
ž  Moral Equivalence compares minor problems with much more serious crimes (or vice versa).
      Example: These mandatory seatbelt laws are fascist.
ž  Ad Hominem arguments attack a person’s character rather than that person’s reasoning.
      Example: Why should we think a candidate who recently divorced will keep her campaign promises?
ž  Straw man arguments set up and often dismantle easily refutable arguments in order to misrepresent an opponent’s argument in order to defeat him or her
      Example: A: We need to regulate access to handguns.
      B: My opponent believes that we should ignore the rights guaranteed to us as citizens of the United States by the Constitution. Unlike my opponent, I am a firm believer in the Constitution, and a proponent of freedom.
Logical Fallacies
ž  A Hasty Generalization draws conclusions from scanty evidence.
      Example: I wouldn’t eat at that restaurant—the only time I ate there, my entree was undercooked.
ž  Faulty Causality (or Post Hoc) arguments confuse chronology with causation: one event can occur after another without being caused by it.
      Example: A year after the release of the violent shoot-’em-up video game Annihilator, incidents of school violence tripled—surely not a coincidence.
ž  A Non Sequitur (Latin for “It doesn’t follow”) is a statement that does not logically relate to what comes before it. An important logical step may be missing in such a claim.
      Example: If those protesters really loved their country, they wouldn’t question the government.
ž  An Equivocation is a half-truth, or a statement that is partially correct but that purposefully obscures the entire truth.
      Example: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” – President Bill Clinton
ž  Begging the Question occurs when a writer simply restates the claim in a different way; such an argument is circular.
      Example: His lies are evident from the untruthful nature of his statements.
ž  A Faulty Analogy is an inaccurate, inappropriate, or misleading comparison between two things.
      Example: Letting prisoners out on early release is like absolving them of their crimes.
ž  Stacked Evidence represents only one side of the issue, thus distorting the issue.
      Example: Cats are superior to dogs because they are cleaner, cuter, and more independent.
 
We teach children in school and college that this is an improper way to debate. However, it seems that true facts and figures, evidence or even relevance is needed anymore; this also seems to be the problem with the news media as well by the way.
I do not care what your political affiliation is because that is not the point. The point is the election process is essentially a sham, a smoke screen, a dog and pony show, and we are all buying tickets the show.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Please compete for my vote



The Presidential election season has already started, and it looks to be a season based upon sound bites, ad hominin fallacies, and a lot of assumptions; not to mention a very expensive election.
The candidates will be after your vote, or in some cases depending on the color of your skin, age, state, or how you label yourself; they will simply be expecting you to vote for them.
We have very little true choice with our current presidential election process, usually it is the lesser of two evils, and that is scary. The Republican Party of today is more like the Democratic Party of yesterday (study your history, the party of Lincoln is gone); and the Democratic Party does not truly know where it stands except they feel entitled to and are expecting the vote of people of color. These are not assumptions, there are enough facts if you do the research yourself, and I am about to make a point.
Candidates on both sides do not clearly discuss and define issues because they think we are stupid, instead what they try and do is simply woo you into voting for them without giving any substance. Some candidates feel that if they insult you enough you will vote for them out of sheer fear, some candidates think that because they never had to work for your vote before than they do not have to now.
News flash, the people are not stupid, we see through the lies and deceptions, and I would like it to be known that you still have to earn our votes. Do not assume that because someone is labeled “conservative” they will vote for a Republican, especially if you are spewing hate and bigotry in this increasingly diverse world (you do not know their life’s story). Do not assume that because someone is labeled “liberal” or because they are African-American, they will vote for a democrat; you still need to campaign in those neighborhoods and convince them.
So as the political circus begins, politicians, here the words of this educator: YOU NEED TO EARN OUR VOTES!
Good luck and may common sense be with you.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why do we #lockup our #kids?

Image result for juvenile hall is dangerous

I dropped my kids off at science camp this morning. They gave me their usual kiss goodbye and as I watched them walk in, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of love and pride about who they are and what they are becoming. I love my children, and I have always assumed everyone else does as well.

Then I heard this story this morning:

“Meant To Keep Youths Out Of Detention, Probation Often Leads Them There

“Juvenile justice reformers have tried for years to figure out what works to help rehabilitate youth in trouble, and a recent shift away from locking kids up has been at the forefront of reform efforts. One of the most common alternatives to incarceration is to order kids directly into probation, instead of juvenile hall”


We know how ineffective the zero policy rules in schools work, we know that it is a slippery slope into the school to prison pipeline; and we know that a disproportionate percentage of those children are poor and/or minorities. What is worse is that the juvenile system seems to mirror the adult system: we are eating our young!

“Accused of Stealing a Backpack, High School Student Jailed for Nearly Three Years Without Trial” read here: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/10/1/accused_of_stealing_a_backpack_high

“Pennsylvania rocked by 'jailing kids for cash' scandal” read here: http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/02/23/pennsylvania.corrupt.judges/



These stories go on and on

I cannot imagine my kids ever being in a situation like this, but the reality is that our current system is about punishment not rehabilitation, and certainly not justice. Kids need to be in school, learning, playing, and growing. Warehousing young minds simply creates young people with criminal records who cannot be productive in society (they are not eligible for the military either nowadays).

This story is not about the solutions at this point, I just hope you become aware of the other end of the criminal justice system, and will join in in protecting our children.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Do you think you know me?


 
Do not assume you know someone simply because you can see them. True vision of a person comes after truly fellowshipping with them. Have you done that lately? It is never too late.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mathematics can reduce the prison population and better the education in California


 
It is simple math, and if we spent more time on the critical uses of math perhaps we would not have this problem:

“California has built 23 prisons since 1980. In the same period, the University of California system has opened one new campus. And although California's prison population has declined in recent years, the state's spending per prisoner has increased five times faster than its spending per K-12 student in the last two decades.”

“California has more than 130,000 prisoners, a huge increase from the state's 1980 prison population of about 25,000. Prisons cost California taxpayers close to $10 billion, compared with $604 million in 1980. While some say the additional spending is needed for rehabilitation services, they also note that the prisons are draining scarce funds from education and other key areas.”

Prison system = huge drain on society in so many ways

Education = increase of critical thinking skills (real education that is)

Society – Prison population = higher tax base

 This is just California…

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sharing an article 7/23/2015


College Jobs, Never Easy, Have Become Pressure Cookers

By Jennifer Howard
College Jobs, Never Easy, Have Become Pressure Cookers

W. Kent Barnds loves his job. But with all the pressures facing higher education these days, it’s not getting any easier.

Mr. Barnds is vice president for enrollment, communication, and planning at Augustana College, in Illinois. He’s been there 10 years but has worked in higher education since he graduated from college, in the early 1990s.

A lot has changed in those two-plus decades, and Mr. Barnds’s job has expanded remarkably. Like other administrators and faculty and staff members on campuses around the country, he is learning to live in a world of tighter budgets, swelling regulations, and ever more assessment and competition.

"The pressure’s greater on enrollment officers for a whole host of reasons, but we’re not alone," he says. "There’s increased pressure on every senior leader on a college campus."

The squeeze to do more, often with less, has been felt throughout higher education. The proportion of tenure-track jobs continues to dwindle, the precariousness of choosing the professorial life reflected in the statistic that some 76 percent of faculty members now work as adjuncts. In the sciences, researchers have been learning to deal with little to no growth in federal support for a decade now; the budget of the National Institutes of Health has fallen about 25 percent, adjusted for inflation, since 2003. Their colleagues in the humanities, meanwhile, feel the weight of increased expectations.

Kathryn A. Conrad, an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas, values the freedom to teach and research that her job gives her but worries about how to balance all the demands on her time. "I want to make a difference in the classroom, in my service, and in my writing, but it is far too easy to become bogged down in paperwork and meetings that don’t have a lasting impact," she says via email.

According to Ms. Conrad, many faculty members now feel obliged to take on administrative tasks involving assessment, recruitment, or university task forces. "Most of these initiatives are well intentioned, but there is only so much time, and no new resources to accomplish them," she says. At the same time, many faculty members feel they have less say over curricular and other core questions than they did in the past.

The squeeze to do more, often with less, has been felt throughout higher education.

Administrators, too — in admissions, financial aid, legal affairs, and athletics, as well as at the level of president and provost — face a growing burden, even when their jobs are secure. One bright side: Along with the added pressures come opportunities, at least for some, to become more involved in top-level planning and to help sharpen or reimagine the driving mission of their institutions.

At Augustana, Mr. Barnds has felt a substantial increase in job intensity since the recession of 2008. "There’s less margin for error," he says. "Family income really hasn’t rebounded. People aren’t broadening their horizons." If more students want or need to stick closer to home, that can cut into the pool of potential applicants, particularly for an institution with a small or local profile. Those students who do apply come prepared to do more negotiating over financial assistance, he says.

Adding to the pressure, it seems everyone — other administrators and faculty members, as well as trustees and development officers — is now paying closer attention to enrollment numbers than ever before. "You can’t walk across a campus without people asking you, ‘How are the numbers?’" Mr. Barnds says. For some enrollment managers, that leads to burnout. He has responded by embracing new roles: communications and marketing, giving advice about the college’s website, and strategic planning.

"I certainly feel I’m involved at a different level than I would have been 10 years ago," Mr. Barnds says. "There’s a lot more give and take necessary."

Being able to make that kind of big-picture, strategic contribution is not just a rhetorical or intellectual exercise but a matter of survival in a tough market, according to David W. Strauss and Richard A. Hesel. They’re principals with Baltimore-based Art & Science Group, a consulting outfit that provides market research and strategy advice to colleges.

"There’s a class system among institutions," Mr. Strauss says. A handful of elites control their own destinies, while those at the bottom are most susceptible to market pressure. Meanwhile, "middle-class" institutions get squeezed, with public flagships as well as smaller private colleges feeling the pinch. That affects almost everybody on campus, from top administrators to junior faculty members.

"When the government of a state decides it’s going to take $350 million out of your budget, that hurts," Mr. Strauss says. "You have the public and political sectors beginning to impinge philosophically on the institution."

For some public universities, like those in Wisconsin and North Carolina, budget and political pressures have been a matter of high-stakes public drama lately. In the case of Wisconsin, the faculty’s say in governing the university and even the fundamental principle of tenure have been called into question.

Even at institutions where the situation isn’t so dire, budget constrictions have set off waves of strategic rethinking and adjustments, adding new complexities to already complex jobs.

In Maryland, the state uses a formula to calculate how much money to give to its community colleges; the percentage used in that formula declined from 23.6 percent in the 2010 fiscal year to 20.6 percent six years later, says Thomas E. Knapp, vice president for administrative services at Prince George’s Community College. That doesn’t sound like a drastic drop, but it means that the colleges collectively have millions less to work with than they probably would have had the percentage at least held steady, Mr. Knapp says. His institution also receives less local support today, with the county contributing 29.7 percent of the college’s operating budget, down from 33.5 percent six years ago.

It’s not getting cheaper to run a college, either. Just keeping hardware and software more or less up to date eats up a lot of money. "Raising tuition and fees on students is the last card we want to play in building a budget," Mr. Knapp says. "So in turn you’re having to make sacrifices in other areas."

The challenge for Charlene M. Dukes, Prince George’s president, and her staff is how to make the new numbers work without losing sight of the main goal. "We’re all focused on college completion, college success," she says. "Even as we’re looking at that, we’re resetting priorities within the institution." That includes not always filling jobs that come open, scrutinizing academic offerings and student services to determine what students need and use most, and strengthening partnerships with businesses to help equip students for the work force.

Keeping up with technology has become a central issue for the college, Ms. Dukes says, as wired classrooms become the norm and students clamor for more computer-lab time. Tuition and fees have risen slightly, and federal and state regulations eat up more time than they used to. "Financial-aid regulations are pressing for all of us," she says.

Financial-aid officers everywhere have seen their job definitions expand — sometimes uncomfortably, says Justin Draeger, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. More and more they’re drawn into enrollment planning — determining the makeup of their student population — and away from their traditional focus on need-based aid. The desire to be more hands-on in shaping enrollment has spread from private colleges to public ones, according to Mr. Draeger. "The strategies that have the most impact hinge on how a school utilizes its financial resources in the form of tuition discounts and scholarships, which inevitably involves the financial-aid office," he says. For financial-aid officers, "it’s creating more potential conflict."

"The reality of the job today is you’re also the CEO of a significant-size operation."

Mr. Draeger sounds a note heard throughout academe: As federal and state regulations have grown more complex, creating a culture of assessment and accountability, administrators have had to work harder on multiple fronts to meet the increased demands of their jobs. Because colleges do not want to lose federal student-aid eligibility, "we’re seeing financial-aid officers take on a much heavier role in compliance," he says. (See related story.)

Once students arrive on campus, they become the concern of people like Allen W. Groves, associate vice president and dean of students at the University of Virginia, a job he’s held since 2007. Mr. Groves’s predecessor was known as "the walking dean," always out and about among the students, he says. That kind of interaction is much harder to pull off now.

"I have worked very hard to make myself accessible to students," Mr. Groves says. "But the reality of the job today is you’re also the CEO of a significant-size operation." His team includes seven associate deans, five assistant deans, and a number of program and area coordinators. "You’re managing a lot of very sensitive issues," he says.

Some of those issues — including Rolling Stone’s now-discredited account of an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house — have been painfully public for the university in recent months. Beyond the headlines, the regulatory environment has become much more intense in the past few years, Mr. Groves says. He rattles off a list of regulations that his office must be expert in: Title IX, the federal gender-equity law that’s been at the center of numerous campus assault complaints and controversies lately; the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or Ferpa; and the Clery Act, which requires colleges to report crimes on campus.

That’s a sea change from what the job involved a decade ago. "And I don’t think the regulatory climate is going to change," he says. Mr. Groves’s office also deals with free-speech issues, and he serves on the university’s threat-assessment team and its athletics-oversight committee. While those are important, he says, "it severely restricts the time you have to sit down with an individual student."

Students also remain the focus of Jon Fagg’s job as senior associate athletic director at the University of Arkansas, but his job has expanded and become more holistic. The son of a college coach, Mr. Fagg remembers when players were expected simply to follow directions. "Today’s student-athletes want to be part of the process," he says. "We talk about preparing them for the rest of their lives."

That means being aware of what students have to deal with off the playing field, at home as well as in the classroom: learning disabilities, special dietary needs, academic and personal struggles. "It has really evolved into the era of student well-being," he says. "That’s a term we use a lot at Arkansas."

As a compliance officer responsible for making sure the university follows the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s rules, Mr. Fagg thinks a lot about regulations. For him, that’s eased up a little as the association has revamped those rules. "The NCAA rule book for a while had been bogged down in some minute details, for instance defining how many institutional logos could be on a postcard we send to a prospect," he says. Being freed from some of those details is liberating, but it also raises expectations, he says, since he and his colleagues often don’t have an easy (if sometimes arbitrary) rule to follow.

At Northwestern University, Thomas G. Cline, vice president and general counsel for almost 14 years, is also feeling an uptick in pressure. "The number of demands on our time has skyrocketed," he says. A surge in Title IX and sexual-assault cases takes up a lot of staff time, along with the usual legal activity — employment claims, real-estate actions, even lawsuits challenging grades — that universities get drawn into. (See related story.)

"No. 1 on everybody’s list is this issue of compliance," Mr. Cline says. The agencies making the rules don’t always make them clear. "We get precious little guidance, and there are a lot of competing pressures," he says. "It’s a pretty daunting task."

Not daunting enough to make him want to quit — he says he loves the variety and working for one client whose mission he believes in. Nor does he have trouble finding job candidates for his legal team. It helps that university lawyers have good support networks, he says.

For instance, he and a group of fellow lawyers from the Midwestern consortium known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation meet regularly to talk about issues of common concern. When something bad happens, he gets calls of support from colleagues.

"We all know these issues run across the country, and it’s just a question of who’s going to have one pop up at any given time," he says. "There are times when it seems pretty overwhelming, but then you catch your breath and you go on, because it’s a great job."

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