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Archive for January 27th, 2012

Interfaith Illinois to hold prayer for U.S. Senator Mark Kirk at their bi-monthly meeting

Posted by Admin On January - 27 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Prayer will be held Saturday, January 28, 2012, at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago

 

Members of Interfaith Illinois are holding a prayer for Senator Mark Kirk  (R-IL) who suffered a stroke earlier this week, at their bi-monthly meeting service, Saturday, January 28, 2012, 10 a.m., at the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, 4543 S. Princeton, Chicago, IL.

While Northwestern Hospital physicians say Senator Kirk, 52, is recuperating from brain surgery, is getting better, the ministers are praying for a full and speedy recovery.

“We feel that Sen. Kirk was a man of great integrity who is concerned with people not just from his party but for people across party lines,” said Bishop Claude Porter who heads the Proviso-Leyden Council for Community Action, Inc. and is Pastor of the Proviso Baptist Church (PLCCA).

For more information, contact Bishop Claude Porter at 708-236-5036

Illinois State Board of Education recommends responsible increase in education funding

Posted by Admin On January - 27 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

$265.2 million increase from FY 2012 still below previous state funding levels for education; State funding has been reduced by about $650 million since FY2009

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education approved a Fiscal Year 2013 State General Funds budget recommendation that provides a nearly $265.2 million, or 3.9 percent increase over the current year. The Board’s Fiscal Year 2013 proposal is still about $426 million less than the funding received in Fiscal Year 2009, the year with the highest level of education funding.

“We are taking a responsible approach to championing education in the state of Illinois,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “This budget reflects our efforts to balance the current economic situation with our role to advocate for education and fight vigorously against any more cuts in this area so critical to our future. Investing in education is an investment not only in the individual lives of more than 2 million students and their families, but also the economy and welfare of our state and nation.”

The Board’s recommendation provides increased funding in some specific line items such as early childhood education, bilingual education and several reform initiatives already under way in Illinois. Board members are recommending an increase of $201 million in General State Aid (GSA) during FY 13. Last year, insufficient funding was appropriated to pay GSA at the statutory Foundation Level of $6,119, which resulted in a statewide proration of 95 percent or an effective GSA Foundation Level of $5,953.  However, attempting to increase transparency in budgeting, the Board’s FY 13 recommendation shows a decrease in the per-pupil GSA Foundation Level, despite the increase of $201 million in this line, from the FY 2012 level of $6,119 to $5,972.

“On behalf of the Board, I urge legislators to seriously consider increasing education funding for the first time in more than three years,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Our proposed budget reflects a very modest increase that would support local schools and ongoing reform efforts. We are implementing some of the more meaningful education reform measures in the history of our state, and nation, but we need lawmaker support to turn many of these initiatives into reality.”

The progress Illinois is making with its reform efforts was recently recognized by Education Week in their just released “Quality Counts 2012-The Global Challenge,” the publication’s annual edition grading states on their education systems. While the Board recognizes much work still needs to be done, Illinois’ standing improved 11 spots, from 40th to 29th. Illinois’ highest score was an A- in Standards, Assessments and Accountability, in recognition of work to adopt and implement the new Illinois Learning Standards based on the internationally benchmarked Common Core and our work with the Partnership for the Assessment of College and Careers. The ongoing implementation of recent education reforms means Illinois’ overall ranking will continue to improve.

The Board’s recommendation includes new line items to support comprehensive reform initiates under way in Illinois. Continued work on these reform initiatives will ensure the state meets criteria outlined for the federal waiver to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, more commonly known as the No Child Left Behind).  Some of proposed FY 2013 increases or expenses include:

 

        * $201.3 million increase for General State Aid (GSA)

 

  • $19.9 million increase for early childhood education, providing a 6.1 percent increase over FY12 levels but still falling short of the FY09 levels.

 

  • $7 million increase in the bilingual education line item to help districts meet the needs of the growing bilingual population across the state and meet new mandates to provide bilingual preschool programs.

 

  • $5.8 million increase for State Assessments which were cut by nearly 9 percent in FY11, to be used to assess the academic growth of additional students consistent with the parameters of the waiver application. This increase would also cover the cost of restoring the 11th grade PSAE, which was eliminated this year due to budget cuts.

 

  • $4.1 million in additional funding to support new principal and teacher mentoring as outlined under comprehensive reform legislation, referred to as Senate Bill 7, signed into law last spring.

 

  • $3 million appropriation for improvement strategies and interventions in the state’s lowest performing schools.

 

  • $2.8 million increase in the amount of funding to pay incentives for recently-consolidated districts, and for feasibility studies as districts consider consolidation or another form of reorganization to increase efficiency. 

 

·         $2 million toward training educators on Common Core Standards implementation.

 

·         $1 million appropriation toward support and resources for the growing population of homeless students in Illinois schools.

 

As part of the budget making process the Board conducted a series of five public budget hearings around the state last fall where citizens, local and state politicians and candidates were invited to voice their priorities. More than 80 people signed in at those hearings to advocate for increased funding and another 1,300 sent written comments, also calling on the Board to restore, maintain or expand funding for General State Aid and specific programs.

The Board based its decisions regarding programs and funding on several key principles, including support for the largest number of students and greatest flexibility for districts, minimizing the introduction of new programs and mandates in order to conserve resources and the alignment to ISBE’s strategic plan goals:

 

·         Every student will demonstrate academic achievement and be prepared for success after high school.

·         Every student will be supported by highly prepared and effective teachers and school leaders.

·         Every school will offer a safe and healthy learning environment for all students.

 

The Illinois State Board of Education will provide its budget recommendation to the Governor and General Assembly for consideration as part of the overall State FY2013 state budget. The Board’s budget proposal is posted on www.isbe.net/budget.

Bishop Claude Porter launches petition in support of County Board President Preckwinkle and Sheriff Dart changing the policy of burying bodies at the Cook County Morgue

Posted by Admin On January - 27 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS
In a memo to religious leaders, Bishop Claude Porter, Chairman of Interfaith Illinois,  urged them to support Cook County  Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Sheriff Tom Dart changing the policy of burying bodies at the County morgue, and requested that they sign a petition in that regard.
 
The petition requests that the Cook County Board gives total support to Preckwinkle and Dart on handling of bodies at the Cook County Morgue.
 
“We as religious leaders of Cook County are requesting that the Cook County Board give total support to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to move on the preparation to separate the responsibilities of burying bodies housed at the Cook County Morgue.
 
“Given the current reported conditions at the Cook County morgue with bodies allegedly stacked up on top of each other and wrapped in plastic tarps, we feel that the burial our dead must be proper and in order and that their burial must be done with dignity not just for their families but also for the decease.
 
“We also want to get outside organizations/companies to donate wood so that the Cook County detainees enrolled in the Bootcamp program can build those caskets.  This would save needed money for the County and its taxpayers.”
Please sign and return to Bishop Claude Porter at this e-mail address: PLCCARCP@aol.com,
For more information, call  708-236-5036

A group of pastors to travel to Cook County Morgue “to pray for the forgotten dead”

Posted by Admin On January - 27 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

                        Faith leaders will “speak up for the dead and demand answers”

 

A group of pastors will converge on the Cook County Morgue at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, 2121 West Harrison Street, Chicago on Friday, January 27 at 9 a.m. to examine conditions, pray for souls of the deceased, and demand a thorough response to the tragic pile up of human remains.

“Every human being deserves dignity in death. County officials must be held accountable to the citizens and to God for this sacred trust. Given the level of disorganization and neglect at the morgue: any one of these bodies could have been any one of us”, stated Rev. Marshall Hatch of the Leader’s Network.

Rev. Ira Acree continued: “This is a national embarrassment. We should not have a pile up of bodies in downtown shadow of a world class city.”

“This is immoral and it is disrespectful of the families of the dead. As pastors we are moved with compassion to offer pastoral care for these unnamed souls”, concluded Rev. Cy Fields, Leader’s Network president.

The pastors will also demand that morgue overhaul plans be made public, and that an oversight board made of community and clergy leaders be put in place to monitor conditions and advocate for dignified resolution of the indigent and voiceless deceased

 For More Information Contact:  Rev. Marshall Hatch at 773-909-5051 or

Rev. Cy Fields at 708-774-9818

Lose weight not money: The Better Business Bureau advises

Posted by Admin On January - 27 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 

CHICAGO, IL -  Each New Year millions of people crowd into gyms armed with willpower and personal goals toward healthier, more active lifestyles. While it’s exciting to gear up towards a goal, it’s also important to treat this decision like any other major purchase. If you’re pledging to lose some pounds this year by joining a gym, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) provides ten questions to ask before signing on the dotted line.

 

In the past twelve months, the BBB serving Chicago and northern Illinois has received 296 complaints against Health Clubs and Fitness Centers. The complaints range from billing and collection issues to overall contract issues.

“Joining a health club can be a major investment, so first check out www.bbb.org to see how your club ranks,” said Steve J. Bernas, President & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. “Take time to ask the gym and yourself some important questions before rushing to sign up for a membership.”
 
Five questions to ask the gym:

  • What are the terms of any introductory offers? Gyms often use special introductory offers to lure in new members. Make sure you understand the terms and what the price will be once the introductory period is over.
  • Will my membership renew automatically? Many times people who joined a gym didn’t realize that their contract would renew automatically and that they would have to take specific steps to cancel their contract. 
  • How can I get out of my contract? Getting out of a gym contract isn’t always as easy as getting into one, so make sure you understand what steps you would need to take to cancel your membership.
  • What happens if I move? Gyms have any number of different policies when it comes to how moving will affect your membership. It might depend on how far away you’re moving and if they have other locations nearby.
  • What happens if the gym goes out of business? Ask the gym to explain what will happen to your money if they suddenly close down.

Five questions to ask yourself when looking at potential gyms/health clubs:

  • What are my fitness goals? Determining your fitness goals in advance will help you select a facility that is most appropriate for you. If you have a serious health condition, consult with a medical professional when setting your fitness goals.
  • Is this location convenient? If the gym is across town, you’ll be less likely to work out. Choose a fitness club that is convenient to work or home so the location is not a deterrent to getting exercise.
  • Can I really afford this every month? Monthly gym fees add up and, after any introductory periods are over, the price could jump higher than your budget can handle. Do the math before you join and make sure you can afford a gym membership.
  • Am I feeling pressured to join? Do not give in to high-pressure sales tactics to join right away. A reputable gym will give you enough time to read the contract thoroughly, tour the facilities, and make an informed decision.
  • Did I get everything in writing? Read the contract carefully and make sure that all verbal promises made by the salesperson are in writing.  What matters is the document you sign, so don’t just take a salesperson’s word for it.

For more advice from BBB on how to be a savvy consumer all year long, visit www.bbb.org

Being culturally conscious when teaching history

Posted by Admin On January - 27 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

By Dr. Edwin Lou Javius

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Traditionally, the month of February has been honored as Black History Month. Schools make a deliberate effort to highlight the achievement and accomplishments of African Americans. As a young student, the month of February became a source of discomfort and low self-esteem for me.

Beginning in elementary school during the month of February, our teachers would dust off the Civil Rights tapes and “shock” the rest of the class with the brutality and inhumane acts of white police officers toward Blacks, without any explanations from the teacher.

Consequently, I was on center stage to become the expert of the black experience from the 60’s. Each year, I was asked, “How does that make you feel?” Each year, I answered with a somber, “I don’t know.” Sharing what I really felt would have easily landed me in the principal’s office.

Interestingly enough, as I moved from grade level to grade level, the infamous tapes seemed to follow as well. Very little new material or instruction was offered to add depth to this period in Black history. But now, the teacher no longer had to ask how I was feeling, the students would take the liberty to take on the teacher’s role and ask me.

Being the only African American student in my classes created high anxiety every day, not just in February. I tried as much as possible to hide in class, by not creating any problems and not asking too many questions. I realized early in my educational experience that if I did not stand out maybe the students and teacher would not realize that I was the only black student in class.

Many times, educators do not provide the necessary activities, readings or instruction that will help all students understand the complexity of the content or build positive racial identity for students. The first strategy to being a culturally conscious teacher is for the teacher to share their own racial biography! When teachers consciously honor Race and Culture in the classroom all students gain an appreciation for their fellow classmates. In order for a classroom to be culturally conscious, the teacher must share his/her own racial journey with their students!

This February, I encountered an experience that reminded me of my childhood anxiety. One of my close black friends was very upset over what happened to her child. In her child’s kindergarten class the students were watching a video during the month of February. The video was about civil rights and the information from the video illustrated black people sitting in the back of the bus. Her child came home and asked, “Is it because I’m black that I have to sit at the back of the bus?” Nevertheless, my friend was upset because her child was questioning his place in our society due to the color of his skin. Perhaps the teacher did not realize the only black child in class was viewing the video with a different lens.

I truly believe educators do not intentionally plan to have students experience school with anxiety or negativity. Some educators “don’t know what they don’t know”! Some educators do not know the psychological effect of certain events and curriculum may have on students especially students of color. What students read and see shape their view and perception of how the world works positively or negatively! Unfortunately our traditional curriculum usually does not overtly empower students of color and their historical contributions, more importantly the sacrifice and perseverance people of color continue to have in shaping America.

Special recognition goes to schools that infuse different cultures into their curriculum, not as a separate and isolated piece of history but as American history. This courageous attempt will inevitably provide opportunities for all students to learn from one another. More importantly, it provides the impetus for students to see themselves and their experiences in the school’s curriculum.

Black History Month has come a long way from the Black History Day to Black History Week to the present Black History Month. I believe if it is only one day or 28 days, schools should provide a historical perspective which will serve to enhance the cultural and racial identity of students 365 days a year.

Dr. Edwin Lou Javius is the CEO/ President of EDEquity, Inc. Educational Consultant Firm specializes in working with educational leaders and teachers to becoming culturally conscious. Please feel free to respond at info@edequity.com or visit the company web site at www.edequity.com/edequity%20brochure/

Hip Hop Activist Chuck D Honored in Chicago

Posted by Admin On January - 27 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Crown Royal Black salutes Chuck D


Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) — Crown Royal and the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Illinois have teamed up for Black History Month to present “Crown Royal Black Salutes Chuck D.”, a tribute to the life and accomplishments of the legendary Public Enemy front man.

The tribute consists of a pictorial display featuring photos of Chuck D. taken by acclaimed photographer, Moses Mitchell. Also highlighted will be original paintings by artists Sam Kirk and Rahmaan Statik. The collection is co-curated by DuSable curator Charles Bethea and renowned Chicago artist Sam Kirk.

The opening of the artistic showcase will be held on the evening of February 2, 2012, and will feature an introspective conversation with Chuck D. and Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson on the subjects of hip-hop activism, the 25th anniversary of Public Enemy, and the soft launch of Chuck’s new company, Enemy Books.

Guests will sip Crown Royal cocktails while enjoying the musical backdrop of WGCI DJ Timbuck 2, and the band Zzaje.

For event details, visit www.guestcode.com (code #929)

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