Put the Phone Down!

http://relationshipsrevived.com/get-your-ex-back/breakthrough-method-using-modern-technology-to-get-your-ex-back/

My teenage brother seems to be addicted to his phone. He single handedly, increased my parent’s cell phone bill by $100 last month because he went over their data plan. I remember growing up when we were at the dinner table my younger sister would be texting away and my mom relentlessly tried to get the phone out of her grasp.

Children today are addicted to their phones and they certainly are not the only ones. It is difficult to remember the last time I went to dinner with a friend and neither of us checked our phones. Technology is leading our children to not know how to communicate with others. Just last week I was in a meeting with someone who said he was uncomfortable networking because he grew up communicating via text and social media. He felt incapable of communicating and networking in person.

I don’t mean to sound like my Nana when she would tell me about how when she was a kid she had to walk hundreds of miles through hurricanes, sharknados, hail, and whatever else can fall from the sky on her way to school. This is a real issue. Communication is not obsolete in the business world. Once these children are adults they will need to know how to interview, network, and have day to day conversations in the work place. Communication purely through texting and social media is stunting their growth. So, kids, please put the phone down! You will need to know how to communicate someday soon.

Head Start Held Back by Government Shutdown

Photo from policymic.com

As the government shutdown begins this month, many Americans have yet to feel the pinch in their personal lives.  A few days without select federal programs may seem somewhat less earth shattering in it’s reality than it may have seemed in the whirlwind of news bytes and buzz words leading up to midnight of September 30th.  This however is not the case for everyone.  Many non-essential federal programs that are undergoing furlough are crucial in the lives of the most vulnerable of our citizens, our children.  As reported by The Hechinger Report:

The biggest immediate impact could be felt in Head Start programs, though, which are still reeling from federal sequestration cuts that pushed 57,000 children out of the preschool program for low-income children. According to the National Head Start Association (NHSA), an advocacy group, 23 programs in 11 states with grant cycles that begin Oct. 1 are poised to lose grant money due to the shutdown.

“Beyond the headline numbers, this shutdown has real consequences,” said NHSA Director Yasmina Vinci in a statement. “Government shutdown is one cut atop an already deep wound.”

In Prentiss, Miss., a town of about 1,100 people an hour south of Jackson, the Five County Child Development Program closed its Head Start classes on Tuesday after failing to receive funding. “The only funds we have coming in are the federal dollars,” said Jonathan Bines, director of the Head Start program, which serves about 900 children.

As the shutdown proceeds, more and more families with children will be looking for alternatives to their head start program.  In many households, this will mean a parent or family member staying home from work.  These repercussions are already being felt:

Bines says he has received phone calls from parents who are struggling to deal with the closure. In Jefferson Davis County, where Prentiss is located, the median household income is about $26,000, and about one out of every four residents lives in poverty.

“They don’t have any childcare,” said Bines. “Some of them are working. They’re trying to scramble to find a place to leave their children.”

A harsh reality for parents in low income high turnover jobs is the distinct possibility of job loss.

The political tools of congress people, who will not see an interruption to their pay of around 7 times the amount of these families, are directly impacting the lives of their citizens and voters.  The perceived protections from government overreach are likely to mean little in harsh realities where the relied upon services are removed. We can hope paths and services can be found that will help lessen the impact on our children. Maybe more crucially, we can hope that in the future, Congress will take more cautious aim as to collateral damage as they land their political blows.

Bryan ISD Investigated for School-Based Ticketing Due To Disparate Impact on African-American Students

From NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund:

In a letter sent to LDF, the U.S. Department of Education has confirmed it will investigate a complaint  that we and Texas Appleseed filed which challenges the “disparate impact” that Bryan school district’s practice of issuing criminal citations for minor misbehavior has on African-American students, who are ticketed at four times the rate of their peers.

“This investigation sends a strong message to school districts around the country that the government takes seriously allegations that police are criminalizing children in school instead of keeping them safe,” said Rachel Kleinman, Assistant Counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

“We are pleased that OCR is pursuing this important issue and look forward to working with the Department of Education and the Bryan school district to find more positive approaches to improving student behavior and keeping more children in class and out of the court system,” said Texas Appleseed Deputy Director Deborah Fowler.

Ann Boney, President of the Brazos County NAACP, said, “We are pleased that we will move forward with this issue and begin developing a positive approach that will benefit all concerned parties.”

African-American students comprised only 21% of the Bryan district’s student population in 2011-12, but received 53% of all tickets issued last year for Disruption of Class and 51% for Disorderly Conduct-Language (profanity). While the Texas lawmakers passed legislation this spring ending school-based ticketing in most cases, school districts can still file formal complaints and send students to court for the same types of minor misbehavior.

“In a very real sense, districts like Bryan are using law enforcement as a disciplinary tool, leading students into the school-to-prison pipeline,” said Senior Attorney Michael Harris, with the National Center for Youth Law. “But research shows these matters are far better handled by educators and parents.”

We are asking OCR to require Bryan ISD to provide additional training for school police officers in adolescent behavior, conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques. We are strongly encouraging implementation of nationally-tested programs shown to reduce disciplinary problems and boost academics—such as School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. Our complaint also proposes:

  • Revisions to the Bryan Student Code of Conduct to establish graduated consequences for misbehavior that minimize missed class time and reserve suspension, expulsion, and police responses to student misbehavior to only those incidents that pose a safety risk;
  • Required campus-based quarterly reporting of data on ticketing and school-related arrests, by type of incident disaggregated by race; and
  • Intervention services for students who receive multiple Class C citations and/or disciplinary referrals and who are at risk of educational failure.

It is a common practice in Texas for school districts to bring in the criminal system to handle issues with students that many people should be dealt with internally. The school-to-prison pipeline in Texas is used way too often and it is about time the Department of Education notices. Hopefully this investigation will lead to the elimination of this disparate impact practice.