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Archive for December 8th, 2014

Illinois State Board of Education Awards $33 million to Support Before- and After-School Enrichment Programs

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Eighty-seven applicants receive 21st Century Community Learning Center grants


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education approved grants that will support valuable before- and after-school enrichment programs that annually serve nearly 70,000 students. The $33 million in federal 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) grants will fund programs at schools and organizations across the state.

“Before- and after-school programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Center grants provide students a wide assortment of activities, services and resources that reinforce and complement what they’re learning in the classroom and help families connect with their children’s education,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “This experience is valuable for low-income students who are especially vulnerable to outside forces that impede learning, such as hunger and unstable housing conditions. Such programs often make all the difference in a child’s life.”

The 21st CCLC grant program supports extended learning and academic improvement opportunities that bridge achievement gaps and are aimed to help pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students in high-poverty, low-performing schools meet state and local performance standards in core subjects, such as reading and math. The program offers a variety of services to students and their parents/caregivers to promote social-emotional development and cultural enrichment, including drug and violence prevention lessons, counseling, art, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics(STEM) programs, music and recreation classes, technology education and character education.

The program also sponsors family events and provides literacy and related educational services for parents and caregivers to better engage families in school activities. Although ISBE’s flexibility waiver to some aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) allows applicants to provide programming during the school day through extended learning time, most student activities are provided during non-school hours (before or after school) or periods when school is not in session, including weekends, summer recess, holidays and the upcoming winter break.

“These grants allow our community partners – like the Rockford Park District, museums and arts programs – to bring their excellent programs into our schools so our students can experience all Rockford has to offer through enrichment,” said Ankhe Bradley, assistant superintendent of training and development for Rockford Public Schools. “In addition to reading and math tutoring, the grants provide constant educational stimulus during after-school hours. We’re excited to get these programs back into our schools.”

The purpose of the 21st CCLC grant program, a key component of NCLB, is to serve schools where low-income students make up at least 40 percent of the population or schools eligible for Title I school-wide programs. Title I provides financial assistance to schools with high numbers of children from low-income families to ensure all students meet state academic standards.

“This grant allows us to extend the educational day so students can spend more time in a learning environment,” said East Aurora School District 131 Superintendent Dr. Michael A. Popp.  “Because of the grant, our students will receive educational opportunities that aren’t necessarily available at home. Many of our families work more than one job and rely on a longer educational day to provide an enriching after-school setting. We’re so appreciative that this grant will help our families with great needs.”

Illinois receives funds for the program based on a formula from the U.S. Department of Education. The $33.7 million allocation was available for fiscal year 2015 awards through a competitive grant process.

ISBE received 142 proposals, requesting more than $53 million. Eighty-seven 21st CCLC grants on behalf of 300 schools and entities were awarded based on criteria including the need for the project, adequacy of resources, plan for sustainability and cost effectiveness. Each application was read and scored by three peer reviewers and three ISBE staff members then reviewed those scores.

The 2015 grantees can be renewed for four years, but subsequent fiscal years depend upon a sufficient appropriation for the program and satisfactory progress in the previous grant period. The award amount per site ranges from $50,000 to $150,000. Each applicant may request funds for as many eligible schools as they have the capacity to serve. The total award for any one funded application over a five-year period will not exceed $2.7 million.

ISBE has outlined seven performance objectives for grant programs to use to gauge whether they are meeting the state’s minimum requirements for encouraging student success. These are: student involvement in school activities, student achievement, positive behavioral changes in students, community benefits, expanded learning opportunities, professional development opportunities for program personnel, and efficient and effective use of funds.

ISBE’s College and Career Readiness Division conducts an annual evaluation of the 21st CCLC program and results from the last three fiscal years (FY 2012-14) show that the program had an average of 151 active grants, which totaled an average of 447 operational centers. The three-year average of students served was 66,933. Among those students served, 32,047 were regular attendees who attended more than 30 days. While the total number of active grants remained fairly constant over those three years, the number of students served increased each year. Likewise, the total number of students considered regular attendees also increased, demonstrating that the program has consistently expanded its reach and service to students.

Schools and organizations receiving grants for FY 2015 are:

Recipient Cities Served Number of Schools New or Previously Funded Total Amount Awarded
Cahokia CUSD 187 Cahokia 4 P 540,000
Frida Kahlo Community Organization Chicago 3 N 404,869
Illinois Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs South Beloit, East Alton, Brooklyn, Carbondale 5 P 540,000
Chicago Public Schools 299 Chicago 4 P 540,000
Rockford School District 205 Rockford 5 P 540,000
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council Chicago 5 P 540,000
Frida Kahlo Community Organization Chicago 3 N 404,869
Illinois Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Bloomington, Chicago 4 N 540,000
Chicago Public Schools 299 Chicago 4 P 540,000
National Museum of Mexican Art Chicago 4 N 540,000
Rockford School District 205 Rockford 4 P 540,000
Driven and Empowered Youth, Inc. Chicago 3 P 315,000
Enlace Chicago Chicago 4 P 450,000

Chicago Public Schools 299

Chicago 4 P 540,000
Enlace Chicago Chicago 3 P 450,000
Metropolitan Family Services Chicago 5 P 540,000
Aurora East School District 131 Aurora 4 N 540,000

Family Focus

Chicago 4 N 540,000
Chicago Public Schools 299 Chicago 4 P 540,000

Driven and Empowered Youth, Inc.

Chicago 3 P 315,000
Alternative Schools Network Chicago 1 P 135,000
Rockford School District 205 Rockford 4 P 540,000

Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education

Chicago 2 N 270,000
Youth Guidance Chicago 6 N 539,952
BUILD, Inc. Chicago 1 N 81,000

Northeastern Illinois University

Chicago 3 P 405,000
Columbia College Chicago Chicago 4 P 540,000

Family Focus

Aurora 3 P 540,000
Youth Organizations Umbrella, Inc. Evanston, Skokie 2 P 504,000

East St. Louis SD 189

East St. Louis 4 N 540,000
Aurora West USD 129 Aurora 5 N 540,000

Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago

Chicago 4 P 487,800

NICASA

Round Lake 1 P 90,000

Springfield Urban League, Inc.

Springfield 4 N 540,000

Chicago Public Schools 299

Chicago 4 P 540,000

Rock Island/Milan School District 41

Rock Island, Milan 2 P 229,500

Youth Organizations Umbrella, Inc.

Evanston 1 P 126,000

Gads Hill Center

Chicago 2 N 270,000
Regional Office of Education 28 Bradford 2 N 499,090

Dime Child Foundation

Chicago

1

P 135,000
Tap in Leadership Academy Champaign 4 P 540,000

Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois

Springfield 4 P 476,931
Metropolitan Family Services Chicago 2 P 540,000

Madison CUSD 12

Madison 1

The National Urban League Combats Unemployment in Philadelphia With Its “Jobs Rebuild America” Campaign

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

– A 50-City, $100 Million Public-Private-Nonprofit Partnership Effort to Put America Back to Work –

– $1 Million Multi-Year Community Investment Commitment to The Philadelphia Urban League –

New York, NY – Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League – the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization – recognized Philadelphia as a designated Jobs Rebuild America market, with a five year, $1 million community investment commitment from 2011-2016 to The Philadelphia Urban League, led by Rosalyn McPherson.  This comprehensive commitment is part of the National Urban League’s historic “Jobs Rebuild America: Educate, Employ, Empower” initiative.  Jobs Rebuild America, a solutions-based, comprehensive approach to the nation’s employment and education crisis, brings together federal government, business, and nonprofit resources to create economic opportunity in 50 communities nationwide through the Urban League affiliate network.  The National Urban League first unveiled the two-prong campaign in May 2013 in Cleveland, OH in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, currently led by Secretary Tom Perez.

The community investment component of Jobs Rebuild America is a $100 million, five-year multi-platform effort designed to reach job-seekers, vulnerable youth and entrepreneurs.  The initiative uses a comprehensive community development model that includes program offerings such as job-training for youth (18-24) and mature workers (55+), college preparation, a jobs network, entrepreneurship support, small business financing and resources, and tax credits, among others.

This component also includes efforts specifically aimed at promoting and growing small businesses and entrepreneurship.  The Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers in 10 affiliate markets, including Philadelphia, empower entrepreneurs of color to take advantage of new business and financing opportunities, enabling high-level business growth via the provision of proper management skills.  The Entrepreneurship Centers provide more than 40,000 combined hours of business counseling and training services to approximately 12,000 clients yearly.

“As our nation continues to struggle with post-recession un- and under-employment, creating jobs and economically viable communities must be a collaborative, tripod effort between the government, corporate and nonprofit sectors,” said Morial.  “Our Jobs Rebuild America initiative is a leading example that public-private-nonprofit partnerships can drive job creation and the program innovation required to revitalize struggling communities.  It’s time to shift from the debate about the problems of unemployed, underemployed, unsafe and under-resourced communities to comprehensively doing what is required to solve them, and our affiliates across the country, including The Philadelphia Urban League, are primed to do just that.”

Justice Department Selects First Ever Indian Country Legal Fellow to Serve in the District of Arizona

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that Charisse Arce, of Bristol Bay, Alaska, has been selected as the first-ever Gaye L. Tenoso Indian Country Legal Fellow, part of the Attorney General’s Honors Program.

Arce was chosen from a large pool of highly-qualified applicants and will be appointed to a three-year term position in the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona, where she will be assigned to the district’s Indian Country Crime Section.  Arce will also serve a portion of her appointment in the Pascua Yaqui tribal prosecutor’s office.

This is the first year of the Gaye L. Tenoso Indian Country Fellowship within the Attorney General’s Honors Program, and it is awarded to an extraordinarily well-qualified new attorney with a deep interest in and enthusiasm for improving public safety in tribal communities.

“This is an investment in the future of the department, named for a beloved and extraordinary member of our DOJ family – and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Indians – who sadly passed away this summer, but devoted her career to advancing the federal government’s relationships with sovereign tribes.  This program exemplifies how we are seeking to institutionalize the department’s commitment to justice in Indian country,” said Attorney General Holder. “The Indian Country fellowship will give each candidate an opportunity to gain significant experience and exposure to the work of the Justice Department in Indian country, and in the long term help us build a cadre of legal talent in the department with expertise in federal Indian law.”

“We are excited to welcome Charisse Arce to the District of Arizona as the first Gayle Tenoso Indian Country Fellowship recipient,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona John S. Leonardo.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to making this inaugural fellowship a success for all involved and a model for future fellowships in Arizona and in districts around the country.  Ms. Arce has demonstrated a strong commitment to American Indian and Alaska Native communities, and we look forward to having her in our Tucson office and working closely with the Pasqua Yaqui Tribe.”

Ms. Arce is currently a fellow at Bristol Bay Native Corporation, one of thirteen Alaska Native Regional Corporations created under federal law.  Ms. Arce received her law degree from Seattle University School of Law, where she was a member of the editorial staff for and published an article in the American Indian Law Journal.  During law school, Ms. Arce served as an extern for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, for the Washington State Supreme Court, and for the Department of Interior’s Office of the Solicitor.  She also worked as a legal research assistant for a law professor and for a private law firm.  Prior to law school, Ms. Arce graduated, cum laude, with a B.A. in Marketing from Seattle University.

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe, located near Tucson, Arizona, is one of three tribes – along with the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, and the Umatilla Tribes of Oregon – participating in a pilot project under the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA 2013) to exercise special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction over certain defendants, regardless of their Indian or non-Indian status, who commit acts of domestic violence or dating violence or violate certain protection orders in Indian country.  The pilot is authorized by the Department of Justice.  This new law generally takes effect on March 7, 2015, but also authorizes the pilot project to allow certain tribes to begin exercising special jurisdiction sooner.   Since the pilots began, more than 20 criminal cases have been charged by tribal prosecutors against non-Indian domestic violence offenders, and several have been convicted of domestic violence crimes.

“The Pascua Yaqui Tribe is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the District of Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Attorney General’s Honors Program, through the Gaye L. Tenoso Indian Country Fellowship,” said Pascua Yaqui Tribal Chairman Peter Yucupicio. “We welcome the new Department of Justice fellow and look forward to a productive partnership as we fight violent crime, work to keep our community safe, and continue to implement the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (SDVCJ).”

The Fellowship is named in honor of Department of Justice attorney, the late Gaye L. Tenoso. Gaye’s distinguished service to the Department and the people it serves spanned 30 years. For the last six years of her life Gaye served as the Deputy Director the Office of Tribal Justice. Gaye’s expertise in Federal Indian law and knowledge of tribes enabled her to be an exceptionally effective advisor on litigation and policy matters. She worked tirelessly to ensure that specific protections for American Indian women were included in VAWA 2013. Gaye also mentored many legal interns during her time at the Office of Tribal Justice, and was an inspiration and guide who left a deep impression on many young attorneys.

Read more about the work of the Department of Justice in Indian Country at www.justice.gov/tribal/accomplishments

Black Expert Speaks Out on Global Warming

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The coming global warming catastrophe and how to prosper before it arrives


By Marvin Wilcher

Marvin Wilcher

Nationwide — The effects of greenhouse gases on Climate Change and the policies on how we deal with it have been a disaster/nonstarter for United States and our infrastructure. We have already destabilized the earths climate and passed the point of no return. Now we can let the effects of global warming continue to surprise us each year at an ever increasing annual rate; costing us from $100-200 billion dollars or we can become proactive and turn this climate dilemma into the industrial revolution of the 21st Century. If we are bold and willing, our actions can bring enormous prosperity and a rising middle class not seen since the original industrial revolution in the early 19th century.

When we started seriously predicting that climate change was going to have significant impact on us all in the 1950s, and the 70s, and again in the early 80s, we really couldnt appreciate how it was going to affect our lives on a daily basis. Some of us nonprofessional climatologists simply thought it was going to be bad; others were indifferent and non-caring one way or the other.

The question was and is: what defines bad? Personally, I thought bad was extreme cold, incrementally rising sea levels, whatever that is; a few bad storms every other year and an occasional drought here and there. Did we really think that we would have Superstorm Sandy and its disastrous infrastructural impacts? Did we really believe just 2 years ago that California would have not just a bad drought, or an extreme drought, but worst of all, an exceptional drought? While by now it is many years past tense, did we really think that we would have Hurricane Katrina and Gustave in Louisiana where infrastructure was destroyed and the power lines would be down for weeks? Consider the lack of preparedness in Atlanta where drivers were stuck in their cars on the freeway in freezing cold weather for up to 12 hours. What about the economic impact far and wide of more than 10,000 flights being cancelled? Did we think that our winter electric bill could go from $250 per month to $650 per month during the same winter?

My memory tells me (and I could be wrong) that we didnt. Yes we have seen some bad storms over the past decades, but now it seems to be happening every other year, instead of every 7 to 10 years, and getting more intense each time. Well guess what? Climate change arrived unmistakably with Superstorm Sandy and Atlantas cold road madness and its here to stay. Its going to get much worse every year from here on in. Hotter in some places and colder in others. Unfortunately we have past the point of no return. Our Carbon foot print is larger than any shoe size we could imagine.

In the future, being trapped on the freeway for 12 hours will become 36 hours. Not going outside for 2 or 3 days will become 15 days. Power lines down for 10 days could become power lines down for 30 to 45 days or more. Not having enough water to water your lawn will become not having enough water to water your crops; and all of this on an annual basis. This new United States climate could last as much as 200 or 300 years, getting worse each year. My guess is that our kids are going to be very disappointed in us and may even despise us, not so much for what we did but for what we didnt do. Yes, we polluted the skies, the water and the land. Yes, we released carbon dioxide at an alarming rate, but instead of doing something about it we simply did next to nothing. Whether it will have happened for political or economic reasons, weather is going to force a change so severe on our grandkids that we may wish that we were not alive to see the effects.

Lets be reasonable, we should all be fair to ourselves. Living in a highly advanced industrial society is new to all of us who are alive today. We have not been dealing with this for the last 300 years. Its not like poverty or slavery where we should have figured it out by now. Dramatic climate change is relatively new to Americans, and the East Indians, and the Chinese and the Germans and everyone else.

Regardless of when and where you enter the picture, its time for all of us to wake up! Its time to shake off stupidity and head-in-the-sand based ignorance. Its time to put up our hands and defend our faces from the annual climate blows being thrown at us, or the long term damage to our beautiful way of life will not be cosmetically fixable.

If we are really honest we know that as we reduce carbon emissions, China and India are going to increase emissions. So the issue of worldwide global warming for this particular discussion is immaterial. Its too late. This is not to say we should stop doing our part to minimize the threat of global warming but that our short term problem is the climate change taking effect in our own back yard and not the global warming of the country across the ocean. Yes: the U.Ss need to prepare for the climate change trauma that is about to hit us is actually more critical than the need to reduce greenhouse gases, especially when for every 1 ton of carbon dioxide we reduce, China increases its carbon dioxide output by a factor of 2.

Equally important to climate change in our own back yard is the economic opportunity that climate change preparation affords us. And yes, the United States still leads the world in business, technology and arguably maybe even democracy. So we must do all we can to lead the world into this economic bonanza directly in front of us. The U.S. must become what we really are: opportunistic, creative, imaginative, optimistic, inventive and quite honestly driven. We must lead the world towards a new paradigm.

This paradigm shift is not just about reducing carbon output and all of us greenies feeling better about our Teslas (and by the way, I think Tesla is a phenomenal company), or putting solar panels on our roofs its about the huge economic windfall that will come from building the infrastructure of the future new types of homes, roads, bridges, waterways, water desalination plants, power transmission systems, weather alert systems, emergency command centers, large scale evacuation pathways and systems required to survive in the new hotter and colder world.

If we just ride along as is, climate change will eventually cost the United States alone more than $250 billion dollars per year in climate related damage to cities and states. If we dont prepare now, by the year 2020 when the really catastrophic climate changes effects kick in and the costs rise dramatically, we may be financially incapable of warding off economic Armageddon. We may lose the American way of life as we know it. While the movie Day After Tomorrow seems like an apocalyptic fantasy at this moment, there is actually some basis in reality for those weather effects. Do your own research and you will see for yourself. While proper preparation will be costly, lack of preparation will be even more costly.

The Plan

What we need now is The Climate Survival Plan. This plan must be proposed by both President Barack Obama and controlling members of both the House and the Senate. The Climate Survival Plan needs to include the following:

* Infrastructure Preparedness

– Our electrical grids need upgrading throughout the country. This would cost more than $450 billion dollars over the next 20 years, but would create more than 13 million direct and indirect jobs and generate estimated $220 billion dollars in tax revenue.

– Multiple desalination plants are needed for clean water accessibility. Each plant costs an average of $500 million dollars to build, and would create 15,000 jobs. We need at least 5 plants in California alone. At a cost of $2.5 billion dollars, this will create 75,000 new jobs, nearly 2 billion dollars in income generated, and an estimated $1.2 billion dollars in tax revenue for the government.

– We need an additional $100 billion dollars each year for the next 10 years to upgrade our roads and bridges. This effort will create at least 30 million new jobs and an estimated tax revenue of $490 billion dollars.

– Coastal water breaks and flood preparedness are necessary, including coastal breakers along much of the eastern seaboard. This would mean a potential work project from $36 to $72 billion dollars. This effort would create upwards of 1.5 million jobs and generate an estimated tax revenue back to the government of $49 million dollars

* Emergency Services & Shelter

– Every major city with populations greater than 2,000,000 should have short term shelters for a small portion of its residents, and every state should have at least 2 major long term shelters for a small portion of its residents. The estimated cost is not clear, but it would cost a minimum of $75 billion dollars, creating at least 2.2 million jobs and the tax revenue would be at least $36 billion dollars.

* Additionally we need to build, upgrade and prepare for:

– Hospital and critical care for large groups
– Energy efficiency upgrades for all federal buildings
– Evacuation plans for groups of 1,000,000 or more at a time
– Technology, data and financial record backup centers across the globe and in the sky.
– Citizen training and preparedness programs city by city across the nation
– Farming and livestock preparation programs

In conclusion, we are going to have to deal with these weather changes one way or another. We can suffer the loss of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens lives and trillions of dollars of lost infrastructure caused by the failure to prepare. Or we can be proactive and actually prosper through the allocation of significantly less dollars spent now that both builds a new national economy and prepares us for the next chapter of human existence.

Marvin Wilcher (www.MarvinWilcher.net) is President of NationWize Solar (www.natwize.com) and Managing Director at Solar Capital Inc. with offices in California and Louisiana. Mr. Wilcher also sponsors a clean energy camp for kids called Camp Green USA (CampGreenUSA.com).

Booker T. Washington’s Great-Granddaughter Tells Her Empowering Story of Rising Up to Claim Her Great Family Legacy

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Rising Up From The Blood By Sarah Rush

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Solid Rock Book Publishing has published Rising Up From The Blood: A Legacy Reclaimed – A Bridge Forward – the Autobiography of Sarah Washington O’Neal Rush, the Great-Granddaughter of Booker T. Washington by Sarah Washington O’Neal Rush, with Yvonne Rose, and a forward by Tony Rose, NAACP Image Award Winner for Outstanding Literature, and Publisher of Amber Books.

Although there had been hints throughout her childhood that she had a special calling from her ancestors it would be years before a bridge between her deprivation and her calling were revealed.

Sarahs great-grandfather, Booker T. Washington, was the inspiration for this book. He was born a slave on a plantation in Virginia and became an advisor to United States Presidents. He was the founder of the Tuskegee Institute, today known as Tuskegee University, and became the most influential world-renowned black leader and educator of his time. This is the brilliantly told story about a young woman’s struggle to reclaim her legacy.

Many years had passed and Sarah knew nothing about the true meaning of her heritage; but finally everything came full circle when she realized the power of her legacy. Sarah had an epiphany when she visited Tuskegee University for the first time. For Sarah, the veil of ignorance was lifted that day. Shortly thereafter, she became clear about her purpose and began to embark upon her intended journey in life.

For decades, as a child, a teen and a young adult, Sarah struggled with many insecurities brought upon her by unstable living circumstances; and she carried those insecurities into adulthood. Little did she know that the time spent falling and failing could only serve as a stepping stone to a future that would help her own children and grandchildren, and the numerous youth that she would encounter.

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” — Booker T. Washington

In Rising Up From The Blood: A Legacy Reclaimed – A Bridge Forward, Sarah states that her journey was by no means easy, but it has led to a place that she could have only arrived at with the trials she overcame along the way. It also allowed her to have genuine compassion for the underprivileged, while affording her the wherewithal to empower those who were within earshot to do something about their circumstances. Where Sarah is today is remarkably different from where she started. Each chapter of the book includes lessons learned and solutions.

Sarah states: By understanding more about my great-grandfather, I learned if I get down in the trenches with others and help to pull them out, I am much more effective than if I tell them how to get out. As one saying goes, People dont care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Sarah currently resides in Northern California with her husband, Anthony W. Rush.
BOOK DETAILS:
Rising Up From the Blood: A Legacy Reclaimed – A Bridge Forward
By Sarah Washington O’Neal Rush, with Yvonne Rose
ISBN: 978-0-692-31274-2
278 pages
Trade Paperback/ Photos
$16.95
For more details about Sarah Rush or the book, visit www.extraordinarylegacy.net
Bookstores and Libraries: Contact your Wholesaler or Distributor
Email your P.O.’s to Extraordinarylegacy.net

Photo Caption: Bookcover


Why They Call It a Labor ‘Market’: What the President Got Wrong

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
By William Spriggs

With millions of people’s lives in limbo because of our dysfunctional and misaligned immigration system, President Barack Obama acted last month to reach a commonsense approach to resolving the deportations implied by law with practicality, while awaiting a final resolution from Congress-more than a year in waiting. Of course, the same House Republican leadership that shut down the government rather than do its job of passing a budget-and was in session less than one-third of the year-objected, claiming the president was trying to do its job.

While the president sensibly offered meaningful relief to the parents of millions of American children, he also went in a wrong direction offering policy on temporary work visas. Letting American school children concentrate on studying, rather than be worried they might come back to empty homes because their parents had been deported makes sense. But, putting in place rules about the future flow of temporary work visas needs careful study.

In particular, the president, following the lead of President George W. Bush, wants to further loosen guidelines and restrictions on the extension of a visa program called Occupational and Professional Training (OPT), which is widely used as a bridge to help extend the duration and avoid the caps of the H-1B specialty occupation visa. In public, the president barely mentions this portion of his Executive Order.

Data from Department of Homeland Security shows that 61 percent of H-1B visas granted in fiscal year 2012 were for computer science workers. The claim of these employers, oft repeated in the court of public opinion, is that America’s universities are failing us by not producing the workers needed for these gateway occupations to the future. But, the data tell a very different story. Since 2002, the number of Americans earning baccalaureate degrees in science and engineering has increased from 399,639 to 565,448 in 2012. But, while more Americans have been earning science and engineering degrees, fewer have been earning them in computer science; falling from a peak of 54,908 in 2004 to 45,595 in 2012. So, why if Americans with technical skills are increasing are they choosing to steer away from computer science?

During the depth of the Great Recession, in 2008 and 2009, the computer workforce also shrunk, losing 4,570 workers in 2008 and 19,740 positions in 2009. While the number of jobs were shrinking, the number of new baccalaureates in computer science continued with 37,118 new degrees awarded in 2008 and 36,667 in 2009. One would think that with Americans continuing to be produced in a field with shrinking jobs, that our national policy would eliminate granting visas to hire people in those same jobs. But, that was not the case. Homeland Security approved 58,074 new applications for H-1B visas in computer occupations in 2008 and renewed another 78,936.
And, the following year, with that labor market still shrinking, approved 29,793 in 2009 and renewed another 59,168. Given that the new authorizations are for three years, the annual issuance numbers represent only a fraction of the total number of H-1B visa workers in computer occupations competing for jobs at any given time. While computer and math occupations had a slight 6 percent pay advantage over architects and engineers in 2002, by 2012 it dipped in half to only 3 percent. People who have the math skills to do science and engineering obviously have the skills to figure out which science fields are the most open, and which are the weakest.

The president’s decision to unilaterally grant favors to Silicon Valley has real implications that distort the labor market. First, expanding programs like the OPT that do not even guarantee minimum wage, let alone prevailing wage, chases Americans out of computer science and creates a self-fulfilling “shortage” as Americans respond to a relatively better market as engineers in other fields. Second, it is far from a race neutral policy. Like all Americans, about 30 percent of African-Americans who earned baccalaureates earn them in science and engineering fields. But African Americans who choose science were once far more likely to choose computer science as a major. In 2002, 14.5 percent of Black science and engineering majors chose computer science, versus 11.5 percent for all Americans. But, by 2012, the share of black science majors choosing computer science fell to 9.8 percent.

Whenever labor markets are weak, the room for discrimination, especially against African- Americans, runs high. Obama’s proposed policy that favors Silicon Valley will work to disadvantage African -Americans. Leading employers in Silicon Valley have finally reported their record on the diversity of their workforce, showing very weak Black representation (roughly 3 percent). By contrast, the high presence of African-Americans (roughly 17 percent) in the large Internet computer technology corridor of the District of Columbia and its Maryland and Virginia (DMV) suburbs highlights the underperformance of Silicon Valley in building a representative workforce.

The future flow of temporary workers is, of course, not an answer to the pressing problems of a broken immigration system. Creating a functioning labor market means thinking through supply and demand. With America’s college students struggling with heavy debts to pay for college, policies that undermine some majors-like computer science-will steer Americans to other majors. Policies to rig wages, such as Silicon Valley has pursued, further diminish producing American graduates in computer science. The president cannot fix the under funding of American colleges by executive order, though he can pursue anti-trust actions on wage fixing or prosecute firms that engage in discrimination in employment. Instead, under the guise of fixing immigration, he offered Silicon Valley a lobbying victory.

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs. Contact: Amaya Smith-Tune Acting Director, Media Outreach AFL-CIO 202-637-5142

President Obama’s Weekly Address: Ensuring Americans Feel the Gains of a Growing Economy

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President highlighted the good news in Friday’s jobs report – that American businesses added 314,000 new jobs this past month, making November the tenth month in a row that the private sector has added at least 200,000 new jobs. Even with a full month to go, 2014 has already been the best year of job creation since the 1990s. This number brings total private-sector job creation to 10.9 million over 57 consecutive months – the longest streak on record. But even with this real, tangible evidence of our progress, there is always more that can be done. Congress needs to pass a budget and keep the government from a Christmas shutdown. We have an opportunity to work together to support the continued growth of higher-paying jobs by investing in infrastructure, reforming the business tax code, expanding markets for America’s goods and services, making common sense reforms to the immigration system, and increasing the minimum wage.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, December 6, 2014.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 6, 2014

Hi, everybody.  Just in time for the holiday season, we now have another piece of good news about the pace of our economic recovery.

Last month, our businesses created 314,000 new jobs.  And that’s not a fluke – it keeps up the solid pace of job creation we’ve seen all year long.  November was the tenth month in a row we’ve added more than 200,000 jobs.  So far this year, our economy has created 2.65 million new jobs.  That’s the most of any year since the 1990s – even with a full month to go.  All told, our businesses have created 10.9 million new jobs over the past 57 months.  And that’s the longest streak of private-sector job creation on record.

We also know that the upswing in job growth this year has come in industries with higher wages.  Overall wages are on the rise.  And that’s some very welcome news for millions of hardworking Americans.  Because even though corporate profits and the stock market have hit all-time highs, the typical family isn’t bringing home more than they did 15 years ago.  And that still has to change.  And a vibrant jobs market gives us the opportunity to keep up this progress, and begin to undo that decades-long middle-class squeeze.

But first, we need the outgoing Congress to pass a budget and keep our government open.  A Christmas shutdown is not a good idea.  Then, when the new Congress convenes in January, we need to work together to invest in the things that support faster growth in higher-paying jobs.

Building new roads and bridges creates jobs.  Growing our exports creates jobs.  Reforming our outdated tax system and our broken immigration system creates jobs. Raising the minimum wage would benefit nearly 28 million American workers, giving them more money to spend at local businesses – and that helps those businesses create jobs.

America, we still have a lot of work to do together.  But we do have real, tangible evidence of our progress.  10.9 million new jobs.  10 million more Americans with health insurance.  Manufacturing has grown.  Our deficits have shrunk.  Our dependence on foreign oil is down.  Clean energy is up.  More young Americans are graduating from high school and earning college degrees than ever before.  Over the last four years, this country has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and every advanced economy combined.

The United States of America continues to outperform much of the world.  And we are going to keep it up until every American feels the gains of a growing economy where it matters most – in your own lives.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

NAACP Response to November Unemployment Numbers

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly employment situation report for the month of November.  Though the total nonfarm payroll employment increased by a strong gain of 321,000 jobs, it did not make an impact on the unemployment rate.  The main unemployment rate remained at 5.8% with little change in racial/ethnic unemployment, whites at 4.9%, blacks at 11.1%, Latinos at 6.6%, and Asians at 4.8%.

The strong gains in terms of job numbers obscure a different story in wages and income inequality. Overall hourly wages were $24.66, or just 0.4% more than one year ago (adjusted for inflation). More problematic is that for non-supervisors in retail work, where some of the strongest gains in jobs were and where African Americans and Latinos tend to cluster, wages were stagnant at $14.49.  For professional and business workers, another area where minority workers represent a large percentage of the employed, wages have actually declined by 0.1% since last year.  Meanwhile, the public sector workforce, long a path to the middle class for minorities, saw cuts to educators yet again.
These are not wages which allow workers to raise a family.

The NAACP continues to voice strong support for living wage efforts and the right of workers to bargain collectively for wages and benefits. The NAACP also supports job creation efforts in high unemployment areas.

From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO:
“U.S. income inequality has been increasing steadily since the 1970s, now reaching levels not seen since 1928 and the trend shows no sign of reversing.  Such a high level of inequality has both societal and economic consequences, in particular limiting the economic mobility of many Americans including many black and brown Americans. As we turn the corner on a new year, let us commit to building an inclusive economy that works for everyone not just the ones at the top.”

From Dedrick Muhammad, Sr. Director of NAACP Economic Department:
“Inequality in wages and income are undermining our country’s ability have long term and sustainable economic growth. Our businesses need consumers earning sufficient wages so that they can flourish and our families need higher wages so that wealth can be built for future generations. We need full employment and living wages as that is the only path towards economic stability for all Americans.”

Give the Gift of Health this Holiday Season

Posted by Admin On December - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The Illinois Department of Public Health encourages flu vaccinations to protect you and your family


SPRINGFIELD, IL – As we see increasing influenza activity in the state, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck is encouraging everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine during Vaccinate Illinois Week, December 7-13, 2014.  Vaccinate Illinois Week coincides with National Influenza Vaccination Week, a national observance established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination and encourage more people to be vaccinated during the holiday season and into the new year.

“Previous flu seasons have shown the number of people being vaccinated drops quickly after November, but this is typically when we start seeing increased flu activity, which we currently are.  If you haven’t received your flu vaccine, it’s not too late,” said Dr. Hasbrouck.  “Know that you have taken the single best preventive measure to help protect yourself and your loved ones this holiday season by getting vaccinated.”

Flu activity doesn’t usually peak until January or February in the United States, and the season can last as late as May.  As long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination can help provide protection.

Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.  Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, but it is not typically associated with respiratory flu.  People with flu symptoms should stay home 24 hours after the fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).  Antiviral drugs can make illness milder, shorten the length of illness and may prevent serious complications.  Complications of the flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions.  Pregnant women, young children, people 65 years and older, and anyone with underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or a weakened immune system are at greater risk of complications from infection.

One of the biggest myths about the flu is a person gets the flu from a flu vaccine.  The influenza vaccine cannot give you the flu.  Why?  Because the flu shot contains killed viruses, and the nasal spray has weakened viruses that cannot cause illness.  If you get flu-like symptoms soon after being vaccinated, it can mean you may have been exposed to the flu before getting vaccinated, or during the two-week period it takes the body to build up protection after vaccination.  It might also mean you are sick with another illness that causes symptoms similar to the flu.

Vaccination is important for health care workers and others who live with or care for high-risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.  For example, children younger than six months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated.

Flu shots and the nasal spray are available in many doctor’s offices, local health departments, health clinics, pharmacies and other health care providers.  For additional information about flu vaccinations and availability in your area, contact your local health department or call 800-526-4372.

Currently we are seeing local flu activity in Illinois.

To reduce the spread of flu, it is also important to practice the 3 C’s –

  • Clean – properly wash your hands frequently
  • Cover – cover your cough and sneeze
  • Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

More information about influenza can be found at http://www.idph.state.il.us/flu/index.htm.

Goodman Theatre Grants 18-Year-Old Sophia Ferraza’s Wish to Perform on Stage in the Theater’s 8th Annual Partnership with the Make-A-Wish® Foundation, December 16-19

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Ferraza to appear in two performances of A Christmas Carol Plus a Cameo in Twist Your Dickens (The Second City’s Holiday Send-Up), participate in casting sessions, acting workshops and more

CHICAGO, IL -  Goodman Theatre is proud to grant Make-A-Wish® beneficiary Sophia Ferraza’s wish to appear in a professional theatrical production. A budding “triple-threat” (actor/singer/dancer) from University Place, a suburb of Tacoma, Washington, Ferraza was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening medical condition that makes her eligible for Make-A-Wish. In her first-ever trip to Chicago, the 18-year-old Ferraza will experience hands-on professional theater training opportunities December 16-19 including—rehearsal with the cast of A Christmas Carol under director Henry Wishcamper; a professional headshot photo shoot with Brian McConkey Photography; sessions with the Goodman’s casting team and Paskal Rudnicke Casting; movement and music workshops and an improv workshop with The Second City Training Center. Her experience culminates on stage—first as a cameo in the December 17 performance of Twist Your Dickens, or Scrooge You!, The Second City’s holiday send-up in the Goodman’s Owen Theatre, and as multiple roles in two performances of A Christmas Carol on December 18 and 19 in the Goodman’s mainstage Albert Theatre.

“It hasn’t quite hit me yet that this is happening, but I am very excited to do something I love on such a large scale at Goodman Theatre,” said Sophia Ferraza, whose previous non-professional theater credits include Les Misérables and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Tacoma Musical Playhouse); Alice in Wonderland and Annie Jr. (Tacoma Little Theater). “Les Misérables was the best experience I’ve had with theater thus far—but the ‘aha’ moment came a few years later when I was performing in Annie Jr. Being on stage just fit—and I don’t think I get the same feeling from anything else. I’ve only been in a few shows, but theater is something I enjoy all aspects of, and hope I never lose touch with that.”

Ferraza’s appearance marks the 8th year in which the Goodman has partnered with Make-A-Wish Illinois—but its first time granting a wish and deepening the beneficiary’s experience beyond a one-night-only appearance. Previous years’ partnerships were considered “wish enhancements,” in which the Goodman brightened the lives of local wish children through a walk-on role in A Christmas Carol coupled with a sports hero or local celebrity.

“We are excited to welcome Sophia and her family to Chicago,” said Roche Schulfer, the Goodman’s Executive Director who established A Christmas Carol as an annual event in 1978. “Our cast counts our annual Make-A-Wish Night among the most special, meaningful annual traditions, and we’re proud to enhance the experience for Sophia.”

The Goodman’s partnership with Make-A-Wish Illinois began in 2007, inspired by the themes of goodwill in A Christmas Carol and the holiday season. Previous years’ appearances have featured:

2013 – Kenneth Schumacher (Lemont, age 17) with retired Chicago Bears linebacker #54 Brian Urlacher
2012 – La’Ren Kimble (Rockford, age 8) with Special Advisor to the President and C.O.O. Chicago Bulls Scottie Pippen
2011 – Emily Beazley (Chicago, age 11) with Chicago White Sox Manager Robin Ventura
2010 – Charles Finch (Markham, age 13) with Chicago Blackhawks Ambassador and Hall of Famer Bobby Hull
2009 – Maria Stavropoulos (Frankfort, age 17) with NBC-5’s LeeAnn Trotter
2008 – Emma Cohen (Evanston, age 17) with WGN-9’s Dean Richards
2007 – Michael Urbanik (Orland Park, age 21) with WGN-9’s Dean Richards

Now in its 29th year, Make-A-Wish Illinois continues to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Since 1985, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 12,000 wishes to children across Illinois. Illinois.Wish.org.

Goodman Theatre’s 37th annual production of A Christmas Carol, featuring an all-Chicago 28-member cast led by the acclaimed Larry Yando in his seventh turn as Ebenezer Scrooge, runs through December 28 in the Albert Theatre. Director Henry Wishcamper blends new magic with familiar moments in Tom Creamer’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella in a long-running production that has introduced nearly four generations of young people to theater. More than 1.2 million theatergoers have attended “the crown jewel of the holiday season” (Daily Herald) since the Goodman established it as an annual offering in the 1977/1978 Season—a time when only a handful of U.S. theaters mounted the production. Dickens’ holiday classic is the iconic tale of greedy British businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, whose sizable bank account is only matched by his hatred of the holidays. One Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts who take him on a spectacular adventure through his past, present and future, helping him rediscover the joys of life, love and friendship. Former cast members include stage and screen notables Jessie Mueller, Del Close, Harry J. Lennix, Felicia P. Fields, Raul Esparza, Sally Murphy and Frank Galati. The Goodman dedicates the 2014 production to Robert Christen (1949-2014), its beloved Resident Lighting Designer who was the only artist to work on all 36 previous productions of A Christmas Carol.

Tickets for A Christmas Carol ($31 – $101; subject to change) are available online at GoodmanTheatre.org/Joy, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Goodman is grateful for the generosity of its production sponsors. Fifth Third Bank is the Major Corporate Sponsor, PepsiCo is the Official Beverage Sponsor, Aon Corporation, Johnsonville Sausage, LLC and KPMG LLP are the Corporate Sponsor Partners, and Chicago Tribune is the Media Partner for A Christmas Carol. Visit the Press Room—newly integrated onto GoodmanTheatre.org with no login and new features—for production photos and broadcast quality video.

Equal parts naughty and nice, Chicago’s famed The Second City brings their version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to the Goodman’s Owen Theatre, beginning December 5. Entitled Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You!, this send-up of Dickens’ classic Written by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort and directed by Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center Matt Hovde, Twist Your Dickens—a “riotous havoc” (Los Angeles Times) that blends legitimate theater, parody, sketch comedy and improvisation, including the integration of audience “misdeeds” that are written in the lobby preceding the show—finds Scrooge and Tiny Tim hopelessly mixed up with characters from the Peanuts holiday special, the Island of Misfit Toys and even Little Orphan Annie. Nightly cameo roles feature a special Chicago-based celebrity guest; while audiences won’t know who appears from night to night, expected appearances include comedian and Vocalo host Brian Babylon; WBEZ’s Niala Boodhoo; WXRT’s Lin Brehmer; Senator John Cullerton; actor Allen Gilmore (Scrooge alternate in A Christmas Carol); chef Stephanie Izard; Chicago Tribune’s Candace Jordan; Chicago Cubs’ Len Kasper; WBBM-TV’s Bill Kurtis; author Sara Paretsky; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, B96’s Showbiz Shelly; sommelier Alpana Singh and more. While the set and costumes reflect The Second City’s minimalist aesthetic, audiences can expect to see backdrops of their favorite holiday television specials and the ensemble sporting “business casual Dickensian” wear inspired by ugly sweaters and other pop culture icons.

Tickets for Twist Your Dickens ($15 - $45; subject to change) are on sale now, available at GoodmanTheatre.org/Twist, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Please be advised that the show incorporates the use of strobe lights, smoke and haze. Twist Your Dickens is appropriate for adults and savvy teens age 16+.

About Goodman Theatre

Now celebrating its 90th year as Chicago’s flagship theater, Goodman Theatre is an artistic and community institution dedicated to the art of theater and to civic engagement in the issues of the contemporary world. The Goodman has transformed over the past 35 years into a world class theater and premier Chicago cultural institution distinguished by the quality and scope of its programming and its culturally and aesthetically diverse creative leadership; artistic priorities include new plays, reimagined classics, culturally specific works, musical theater and international collaborations. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, achievements include the Goodman’s state-of-the-art two-theater complex in the heart of the downtown Theatre District. Over the past three decades, the Goodman has generated more than 150 world or American premieres, and nearly 30 new-work commissions. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Swati Mehta is Women’s Board President and Gordon C.C. Liao is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre.

“A mainstay of Chicago and beyond” (Chicago Sun-Times), the Goodman is internationally acclaimed for its “fresh work of magnitude and ambition (and) bold, risky theatrical choices” (Chicago Tribune). From new plays to “first-class revivals” (The New York Times), the Goodman has earned numerous awards for its productions: two Pulitzer Prizes; 22 Tony Awards, including Outstanding Regional Theatre (1992); and nearly 160 Joseph Jefferson Awards.

The 90th Anniversary “Season to Celebrate” programming is rooted in the same spirit that launched the Goodman in 1925—an array of dramatic fare, from classics to noteworthy contemporary works, innovative and often controversial, embracing genres from farces to searing social dramas—honoring the theater’s past and envisioning its future. The nine-play season begins with an All-New Fall of works fostered and developed in the Goodman’s new play development programs followed by an “August Wilson Celebration” in spring 2015, the 10th anniversary of the playwright’s death and the 70th anniversary of his birth. This city-wide Celebration honors the longstanding collaboration between Wilson and the Goodman, the first theater in the world to produce all 10 works in his “20th Century Cycle.”

Visit the special anniversary website, GoodmanTheatre.org/90, to see famous faces who’ve worked at the theater, browse photos of classic productions and read interviews with noted artists.

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