By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The Florida Department of Education said the state has rejected more than 50 math textbooks ahead of the 2022-2023 school year. The department cited references to critical race theory among reasons for the rejections. Officials said they would not accept about 41 percent of the books – 54 out of 132 – to Florida’s adopted list because the works didn’t adhere to the state’s standards. “Today, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran approved Florida’s initial adoption list for mathematics instructional materials properly aligned to Florida’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards,” the department wrote in a news release. “The approved list followed a thorough review of submissions at the Department, which found 41 percent of the submitted textbooks were impermissible with either Florida’s new standards or contained prohibited topics – the most in Florida’s history. Despite rejecting such large percentage of the materials submitted, the department claimed that every core mathematics course and grade is covered with at least one textbook. The names of the rejected books were not included in the release. Florida’s new law states that instruction in schools must be factual and objective. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mandate specifically prohibits “theories that distort historical events” – which includes the teaching of Critical Race Theory. Florida has banned such works as the Pulitzer Prize winning 1619 Project, which tackled the transatlantic slave trade. “They won’t tell us what [the banned books] are or what they say because it’s a lie,” Florida Democratic Rep. Carlos Smith wrote on Twitter. “DeSantis has turned our classrooms into political battlefields, and this is just the beginning.” Added State House Member Anna Eskamani, “I get it. The goal of math is to solve problems which the Republican Party of Florida doesn’t like to do.”
Apr. 18, 2022 (GIN) – When Patrick Lyoya, a Congolese immigrant, died at the hands of a police officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan, his life was cut down by violence much like the home-grown executions Congolese have been facing in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for years. Close to a thousand summary executions take place in the DRC each year. Women and children make up a large part of the victims, with a third of the killings carried out by uniformed security forces, the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) said in an annual report on human rights violations in the DRC. In addition to the victimization by security forces, Congolese civilians have been targets of killings by a coalition of Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers looking to root out the remaining perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. Over a five year period, 50,000 Congolese were resettled in the United States with Grand Rapids – “the No. 1 place” for such immigrants. Lynn Lawry from Harvard Medical School has studied mental health issues there. A 2010 study she conducted in the Congo found that half of all adults exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Many of them came to the U.S. without any English language skills and with trauma, depression and other scars of war. They were in need of mental health services — services that local providers feared would not be there. In 2014, the Lyoya family arrived in the U.S. They had escaped the regime of Joseph Kabila, son of Laurent-Desire Kabila, a brutal autocrat who became fabulously wealthy after 13 years in power. He managed to accumulate 2 billion dollars during his reign but was assassinated in 2001 by an 18 year old boy, possibly a child soldier. Joseph Kabila was the number two man in a weak and poorly-trained army when he came to power. The DRC – sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country five times the size of France – was trying to put down a rebellion that involved 25 armed groups and armies from at least eight African countries. The bloody conflict was billed as “Africa’s World War” started in 1998 and formally ended in 2003. It left more than two million dead and millions of others displaced. Dorcas Lyoya, Patrick’s mother, on learning of her son’s death at the hands of a yet-unnamed officer in Grand Rapids, said during a press conference this week that she was “surprised and astonished” her son was killed in the U.S. Patrick, 26, was her “beloved” first-born son, she said amid tears, and the family believed they had come to a safe place in America. Meanwhile, in a press conference, Dorcas Lyoya appeared with her family and national civil rights attorney Ben Crump to call for charges to be filed against the officer responsible for the fatal shooting. w/pix of protest for Patrick Lyoya
At the Greene County Board of Education’s monthly meeting, held Monday, April 18, 2022, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, as part of his report, called on Ms. Teresa Atkins, Greene County Career Center Director, to present a comprehensive report on the various courses and programs available to students at the Career Center. Ms. Atkins noted that the most effective message of the Career Center is Preparation for the Real World. The overall goal is to prepare well-rounded students for college, careers or the military. In her presentation, Ms. Atkins spotlighted the following offerings: Health Science, Cosmetology, Industrial Maintenance, Business, Career Preparedness, and JROTC. In addition to these, the Career Center offers Dual Enrollment courses in HVAC and Welding, through an arrangement with Wallace Community College Selma. She explained that the dual enrollment program gives students the opportunity “…to gain a jump start on the college experience.” This affords students the opportunity to receive the Associate Degree as well as High School Graduation certification. The preparations at the Career Center emphasize real-world skills, mentoring, and internships. This includes a focus on preparing students to earn national credentials in various career areas. Career Tech Student Organizations include active chapters in HOSA, Skills USA, FBLA and DECA. Continuing his report, Dr. Jones highlighted more positive news in the school system. These are featured below. The Technology Department has launched a new Mass Notification system with Blackboard. This system provides a more personalized way of communicating by sending messages to specific audiences. Stakeholders can receive messages simultaneously via phone calls, email, text messages and social media. The system also includes a feature to notify a parent once his/her child receives an unexcused absence in Power School. The Special Education Department attended and participated in Noah J 2nd Annual Autism Awareness Festival, Saturday, April 16, 2022. Eutaw Primary School completed ACAP testing on April 14, 2022. AIMSWEB-Scholars will be tested in various domains related to reading and math beginning April 25, 2022. May Day Celebration is tentatively set for the week of May 16, 2022. Scholars will be celebrated for their accomplishments during the 4th Nine Weeks. Robert Brown Middle School (P.A.W.S.) Parents Always Willing To Support nominees will be highlighted in newspapers and will receive certificates and gifts. On April 18, Greene County High School scholars spoke to RBMS students to stress importance of the ACAP test. Test Taking Pep Rally Scranton Scholars and ACAP All-Stars will be recognized and GCH band will participate. RBMS P.T.A. meeting is scheduled for April 28. Greene County High School Debate Team completed its final competition in Fairhope, AL. Jaila Brooks finishes her senior year with a total of four awards, three in first place. The GCHS Track Team is back. The boys competed at Central High School and performed well. The next track meet is April21, 2022. The Athletic Banquet was held April 14. Praise report from Program Manager from ACCESS: 30 students from GCH have a score of 70 or higher and is actively working in their ACCESS course. On April 15, Mu Alpha Theta (18 students ) traveled to Georgia to visit Great Wolf Lodge and Dave and Buster. Individual conferences have been scheduled with students to select courses for 2022-2023 school year. Eleventh grade students participated in ACT on March 29-31, 2022, with only two make-ups for 100% completion. Dr. Jones also announced that the Alabama Legislature has passed a 4% pay raise for all employees, effective October 1, 2022. This is combined with a new salary schedule which will affect most school employees. Superintendent Jones noted that the school system is coordinating efforts to assist the students whose families were affected by the recent tornado that hit the William M. Branch Heights community. He said buses will be re-routed to accommodate students who have been placed with their families in local hotels and other locations. Uniform dress requirements for those students have been suspended for the remainder of this school year. Other assistance that the school system can provide will be forthcoming. The board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent. One-time supplemental payment for Janice Jeames Askew for additional duties Greene County High School. One-time supplemental payment for Rosalyn Robinson for additional duties at Robert Brown Middle School. The board approved the following administrative items: * Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll. * Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. Marquita Lennon, CSFO. * Memorandum of Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Community Service Program of West Alabama, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start. * Resolution for Conveyance of Birdine Property to Town of Forkland.
By vote of 53 to 47, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday as the first Black women on the court, but only Republican Sen. Mitt Romney (R., Utah) joined Democrats celebrating her high honor as other Republic Senators fled the senate floor.
Judge Jackson, 51, will replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, who is retiring either in late June or early July.
Judge Jackson went over the top when Sen. Mitt Romney (R., Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska), announced they would vote to confirm her. Susan Collins (R., Maine) had said earlier she would vote for Judge Jackson. Sen. Tim Scott, (R., N. Carolina) a Black senator, also voted with the other Republican Senators against Brown Jackson.
Vice-President Kamala Harris presided over the U. S. Senate for the vote to confirm Judge Jackson, in case her vote was needed to break a tie and to help make history.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send Brown Jackson to floor of the Senate an 11 -11 vote. There have been 144 associate justices in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Jackson currently sits on the District of Columbia Circuit Court, which is widely considered the second most powerful court in the land.
The HBCU Community will come together for the 8th Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference next week. The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in collaboration will host the event in collaboration with Texas Southern University on April 13 – 16, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The goal of the conference is to unite HBCU faculty, students, researchers, climate professionals and environmental justice, and coastal community residents affected by detrimental weather caused by or related to climate change. The conference will work to help eliminate the gap between theory and the day-to-day realities of climate change. Issues such as climate justice, adaptation, community resilience, global climate problems, and other major climate change topics like transportation, energy sources, carbon emissions, and more will be discussed at the event as well. Also, the conference will work to incorporate local high school students into the activities of the conference. These teenagers who are looking to attend College will have the opportunity to learn more about how climate science is an integral part of their lives. The activities will offer an introductory glimpse into the realities of climate change for these young students through computer-simulated games and other forms of engaging learning tools. The conference was originally postponed until the Spring of 2022 due to the surge in the COVID19 Omicron Variant. But now the HBCU community will have an opportunity to come together to discuss and hopefully find some practical solutions to a very important issue. In May of 2021, Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, spoke to theGrio about the importance of inclusion for HBCUs and becoming actively involved in the discussion on climate change. “My first venture out in this COVID environment was to Howard University … it was to announce a $17 million opportunity at DOE [Department of Energy] offering to support college internships and research projects and opportunities and to bolster investment in underrepresented use in minority-serving institutions,” said Granholm. “If you don’t have diverse researchers at the table, your research product, whatever it is, is going to not be as effective,” Granholm continued. “So, for example, when we have all this face recognition software out there, all this artificial intelligence, well, they’re the way MIS identifies African-American faces, especially in law enforcement. If you have more people of color who are on the teams doing the development of that software and that technology, then you will not have that problem.” The conference will likely continue to serve as a vital step in helping to get more diversity in the conversations around climate change. “We have to have diverse participation in the design of these products and the research of them,” stated Granholm. “And that’s why we need to increase the diversity in our laboratories, but of our stem, our science, technology, engineering, and math workforce.”
By Associated Press Alabama lawmakers on Tuesday advanced legislation that would alter the name of Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge to honor those who were beaten on the bridge as they marched for civil rights in 1965. The Alabama Senate voted 23-3 for legislation that would change the official name to the “Edmund W. Pettus-Foot Soldiers Bridge.” However, the lettering on the famous bridge would remain unaltered. The name “Foot Soldiers” would be on a separate sign that would include a silhouette of the marchers. The bill, dubbed the “Healing History Act,” now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives with three meeting days remaining in the legislative session. The bridge in 1940 was named after Pettus, a Confederate general and reputed Ku Klux Klan leader. However, 25 years later it became an enduring symbol of the civil rights movement after marchers were beaten by law enforcement officers on the bridge in 1965. The melee became known as Bloody Sunday and helped lead to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “Not a single letter would be touched. It would stay intact in its historical context. And at the same time… honor the history that is there and the history that came out of it,” said state Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier, a Democrat from Selma. Sanders-Fortier is running to be the Democratic candidate for Governor of Alabama in the May 24 primary. Through the years some have proposed changing the name of the bridge, including a push to name it for the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who grew up in Troy, Alabama. The Georgia congressman was one of the demonstrators beaten on the bridge in 1965. A state trooper swings a club at John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, as police break up a voting rights march in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965. AP Sanders-Fortier said many who marched for civil rights in her community do not want the bridge name changed entirely because of what the bridge has come to represent. State Sen. Gerald Allen, the author of a state law forbidding the removal and renaming of longstanding monuments and memorials, voted against the name alteration. The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, was approved as some cities began taking down Confederate monuments and emblems. Allen said the name of the Edmund Pettus Bridge is famous across the world. “If you add to it, you change it,” Allen said. The bill also would steer funds to provide for the commissioning and protection of new monuments and the preservation of sites that have significance to Alabama history. Sanders-Fortier said it is important to honor all of the state’s history and “to heal from our past so we can move forward as a state.” “Many of the events in our state’s history have been traumatizing, been traumatizing to African-American folk to Indigenous folk to white folk,” she said, adding that healing means considering the “hurt of each group.”
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
With the style, grace, and humor that personified his two terms in office, former President Barack Obama returned to the White House to help celebrate the Affordable Care Act and help announce plans to strengthen his signature law which many refer to as Obamacare. “It’s good to be back at the White House,” Obama declared, much to the delight of an overflow crowd of reporters and onlookers in the East Room. With President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris standing alongside him, Obama referred to the current commander-in-chief as “Vice President Biden.” That brought laughter from all, including Biden, who would later jokingly declare, “My name is Joe Biden, and I’m Barack Obama’s vice president.” Of course, Biden served as vice president under Obama from 2008 to 2017. Donald Trump took the reigns from January 2017 to January 2021. “It feels like the good old days – being here with you brings back so many good memories,” Biden declared. It marked the first time Obama had visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since leaving office. “I confess, I heard some changes have been made by the current president since I was last here,” Obama remarked. “Apparently, Secret Service agents have to wear Aviator glasses now. The Navy mess has been replaced by a Baskin-Robbins. And there’s a cat running around, which I guarantee Beau and Sunny would have been very unhappy about,” he continued, in reference to the president’s dogs. Turning serious, Obama reflected on celebrating 12 years of the Affordable Care Act. “It’s an example of why you run for office in the first place,” Obama asserted. “We’re not supposed to do this just to occupy a seat or to hang on to power. We’re supposed to do this because it’s making a difference in the lives of the people who sent us here.” Biden said the Affordable Care Act had been called a lot of things. “But Obamacare is the most fitting,” he declared. The President vowed to expand access to health care by proposing a change to Obamacare that would allow more eligibility for premium tax credits. “Once today’s proposed rule is finalized, starting next year, working families in America will get the help they need to afford full family coverage,” Biden said. “With this change, it’s estimated that 200,000 presently uninsured Americans are going to gain coverage. Nearly one million Americans will see their coverage become more affordable.” Under the President’s plan, families would receive tax credits if the cost of their coverage exceeds more than 10 percent of their incomes. The U.S. Treasury Department said the change would allow 200,000 uninsured individuals to gain coverage while more than 1 million others would realize lower premium payments. “Thanks to the landmark American Rescue Plan, ACA premiums are at an all-time low, while enrollment is at an all-time high,” the administration said in a Fact Sheet. “Four out of five Americans can find quality coverage for under $10 a month, and families are saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums — $200 in savings every month back to families.” The Fact Sheet continued: “The Administration has lowered costs and increased enrollment to a record high of 14.5 million Americans—including nearly 6 million who newly gained coverage. “With the addition of Missouri and Oklahoma, two states that expanded Medicaid last year, nearly 19 million low-income Americans are enrolled in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion coverage, adding up to a record nearly 80 million children, pregnant women, seniors, people with disabilities, and other low-income Americans covered by Medicaid.” The administration said it’s seeking to fix the “family glitch” in the ACA law. “Under the ACA, people who do not have access to ‘affordable’ health insurance through their jobs may qualify for a premium tax credit to purchase affordable, high-quality coverage on the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces,” administration officials stated. “Current regulations define employer-based health insurance as ‘affordable’ if the coverage solely for the employee, and not for family members, is affordable, making family members ineligible for a premium tax credit even though they need it to afford high-quality coverage through the Marketplace.” The officials added that for family members of an employee offered health coverage through an employer, the cost of that family coverage can sometimes be prohibitive and make health insurance out of reach. The “family glitch” affects about 5 million people and has made it impossible for many families to use the premium tax credit to purchase an affordable, high-quality Marketplace plan, officials stated. Biden’s proposal reportedly would require some time before taking effect. Thus the goal is for it to begin in January. Administration officials said more than 14.5 million people purchased ACA marketplace plans this winter. That number included 6 million who purchased health insurance for the first time.
Eutaw, Alabama- The Greene County Chapter of the Alabama Democratic Conference held their endorsement meeting on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Members voted on candidates seeking endorsement from local districts. The meeting was conducted by the executive officers where Beverly Gordon is the local Chair. The following candidates were endorsed:
Greene County Board of Education Dist. 1: Carol Zippert;
Greene County Board of Education Dist. 2: Tameka King;