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Archive for November 6th, 2015

CPS Students to Rally at the Thompson Center Today to Pressure State Government to Pass a Budget to Fund Chicago Public Schools

Posted by Admin On November - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
CHICAGO, IL -More than 500 students are planning to rally in front of the James R. Thompson Center today to pressure State Government to pass a budget that will fund the Chicago Public Schools.
The rally will be held Friday, November 6th 4:00 to 6:00 P.M., at the  James R. Thompson Center (State of Illinois Building), 100 W. Randolph St.
The hashtags for this event are #wheresthefunds and #FundOurFutureNow

Students of the Chicago Public Schools invite other students, teachers, parents to protest the inability of Governor Bruce Rauner and the State General Assembly to come to an agreement on the state budget that will provide funding for Chicago Public Schools. Without the cooperation of the State Government, Chicago Public Schools are in danger of losing 5,000 employees, cutting popular classes that are not required for graduation, and drastically increasing the size of classes that remain.

Chicago Public School Students have called on students from high schools all around the city to meet Friday, November 6 at 4:00 p.m.

Schedule of Events:
4:00 – 4:30 p.m. Study-In at Thompson Center
4:30 – 5:00 p.m. Rally in front of Thompson Center
5:00 – 5:45 p.m. March around the block
5:45 – 6:30 p.m. Rally with speakers including students from Jones College Prep, Walter Payton College Prep, Kennedy HS, and Kelly HS, as well as Alderman John Arena (45th Ward) and State Representative Will Guzzardi.

Over 1,000 students have confirmed they are attending on Facebook. More than 8,500 people have seen the event on Facebook.

The hashtags #wheresthefunds and #FundOurFutureNow have spread throughout multiple social media platforms, where students have directly addressed Governor Rauner and Mayor Emanuel.

Numerous principals from schools all around the city have emailed their students and their parents to ask them to appeal to their state representatives to provide the funding needed. This Friday, students from CPS all over the city are responding to their principals call to action by physically going to the offices of their state representatives (along with a few of their colleagues) to ask them to move past their political agendas and remember the people who need them to take action.

The 400,000 students of the Chicago Public Schools, their parents, and the 5,000 teachers that would be laid off, do not deserve to be affected by the political disputes in Springfield. On Friday, the students of Chicago Public Schools are reminding the Governor and the General Assembly of their duty to the citizens of Illinois who depend on them.

For more information, contact: Nidalis Burgos, (773) 987-5138, nidalisb1@cps.edu or
Darcy Palder, 773-895-9978, dhpalder@cps.edu

Kirk Bill to Fund Veterans’ Care at Record Levels Clears Hurdle, Setting Up Passage Before Veterans Day

Posted by Admin On November - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Kirk Amendment Will Increase VA Funding Above President’s Budget Request by $1.1 Billion


WASHINGTON, IL – A bill authored by Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to fund veterans’ care at record levels cleared a key procedural hurdle today, setting the stage for Senate passage of a fiscal year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon/VA) Appropriations bill that funds the VA above the president’s budget request by $1.1 billion.

“We are one step closer to putting veterans first and partisanship aside,” said Senator Kirk, who is chairman of the MilCon/VA Appropriations Subcommittee. “This bipartisan bill funds veterans’ care at record levels – $1.1 billion above what the president requested. With this bill it is my hope that we can confront the systemic retaliation against the medical personnel who try to protect veterans.”

Following the unanimous 93-0 vote to begin debate on the bill, Senator Kirk offered a substitute amendment to boost funding for the VA to a total of $71.2 billion, an increase of $6.2 billion or 9.5 percent over last fiscal year. 

In addition to funding veterans’ care at record levels, the bill extends whistleblower protections to VA doctors and nurses and includes serious construction reforms to prevent the VA from wasting taxpayer money on poorly managed projects. The bill passed out of the full Senate Appropriations Committee in May with a bipartisan vote of 21 to 9. An attempt to advance the bill in early October was blocked on the Senate floor in a filibuster by 44 senators. 

Senator Kirk’s MilCon/VA funding bill, along with his substitute amendment:

  • Closes a loophole in the Whistleblower Protection Act so that doctors and nurses are now fully protected from retaliation under the law
  • Requires the VA to provide whistleblower protection information to all employees
  • Increases VA funding by $6.2 billion, or 9.5%, compared to last fiscal year – which is $1.1 billion above the president’s budget request
  • Funds VA Medical Research, Veterans Benefits claims processing, and VA Office of Inspector General at president’s budget request
  • Supports the Illinois Army National Guard by providing $1.9 million for construction of a firing range in Sparta, Illinois
  • Supplies $20 million in funding for 38 additional housing units at Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, Illinois

As chairman of the MilCon/VA Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Kirk on Friday will chair a field hearing in Chicago about reports of mistreatment of veterans and retaliation against whistleblowers at the Edward Hines, Jr., VA Hospital near Maywood, Ill. Germaine Clarno, a social worker at Hines and president of AFGE Local 781, and Dr. Lisa Nee, a former cardiologist at Hines who experienced retaliation from VA officials after reporting a backlog of hundreds of unread echocardiogram tests and unnecessary surgeries, will testify.

Photo: U.S. Senator Mark Kirk

Gregory D. Cox Named Assistant Director of the Critical Incident Response Group

Posted by Admin On November - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

FBI Director James B. Comey has named Gregory D. Cox as the assistant director of the Critical Incident Response Group in Quantico, Virginia. Mr. Cox most recently served as the special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division at the Washington Field Office.

Mr. Cox entered on duty with the FBI in 1991 and was assigned to the Washington Field Office, where he worked drug, gang, and criminal enterprise investigations. From 1996 to 2002, Mr. Cox was an operator on the Hostage Rescue Team based in Quantico. During that time, Mr. Cox participated in numerous criminal and counterterrorism tactical operations throughout the world.

In 2002, Mr. Cox was promoted to supervisory special agent in the international terrorism operations section in the counterterrorism division at FBI Headquarters, overseeing al Qaeda and Usama bin Laden matters.

In 2005, Mr. Cox was promoted to supervisory special agent and program manager for the international terrorism program in the Sacramento Division. In 2007, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Sacramento Division’s intelligence branch.

In 2009, Mr. Cox was selected as the legal attaché to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he worked to enhance the relationship between the FBI and foreign partners in five countries. His efforts led to the expansion of the office in Copenhagen and the opening of a sub-office in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 2012, Mr. Cox was promoted to section chief of the global operations section in the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters.

Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Cox served as an officer with the Berea Police Department in Ohio. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wittenberg University.

Mr. Cox reports to the Critical Incident Response Group in early November.

Washington, D.C. November 05, 2015
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Major Poll Shows African Americans Strongly Back Action on Climate and Believe a Shift to Clean Energy Will Create Jobs, Hold Down Electric Bills

Posted by Admin On November - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Van Jones

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) – Two-thirds of African Americans believe global warming is a serious problem, they want action more than the population at large and they overwhelmingly support the Clean Power Plan to address the growing climate crisis, a major new poll released today shows.

Fully 83 percent of African Americans back setting the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from coal- and gas-fired power plants under the Clean Power Plans standards, which the Environmental Protection Agency finalized in August, according to the poll released by Green For All and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Further, a strong majority of African Americans believe that as the nation drives down dangerous carbon pollution it can drive up the use of clean, renewable wind and solar energy.

Most African Americans count on this shift to clean energy to also create new jobssix times the proportion that believes it will result in job losses. And 57 percent believe that expanding clean energy will reduce not raisetheir energy costs.

The African American community has been hard hit by injustice, from violence against young people to disproportionate environmental harms from pollution, so its no surprise the community wants action. Its time to hold polluters accountable and fight the pollution that causes climate change, said Adrianna Quintero, director of Partner Engagement at NRDC, who released the poll with Green For All in a telephone press conference joined by two African American leaders, a solar company executive in Washington, D.C. and a prominent Chicago minister.

Vien Truong, Director of Green For All, said: This polling shows that communities of color care about climate change and want to be part of creating solutions to pollution. Climate change affects us all – and it hurts low-income communities and communities of color first and worst. This information shows a ripe opportunity to engage communities of color. By reflecting the diversity of our country, the climate movement will be stronger and better on equity and environment.

Mark Davis, CEO of minority-owned WDC Solar, said: I am a Green For All Climate Champion, and renewable energy and energy efficiency are two pillars of our plan for low-income communities to lower the cost of energy, create green jobs for low-income residents, and improve the environment. The Clean Power Plan can accelerate an increase weve already seen in African American participation in clean energy and can enhance economic empowerment in low-income communities.

Rev. Stacey Edwards-Dunn, executive minister of community engagement and transformation for Chicagos Trinity United Church of Christ, said: Climate change not only imperils the natural wonders of Gods creation, it threatens to cause enormous human suffering. Worldwide, we are facing severe drought, famine, disease, and disasters as a result of our climate crisis. We have a moral obligation to do all we can to lessen its impacts on our children and future generations.

Its perhaps not surprising that the African American community wants to protect their families from the impacts of a changing climate, because they are very real. The African American community has seen rates of childhood asthma increase a whopping 50% between 2001 and 2009. Sixty-eight percent of African Americans, furthermore, live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant.

Some key findings from the poll of African Americans views on energy follow.
African Americans view global warming as a major problem:

* While crime, economic issues and education rank as the most serious issues, 60 percent of African Americans rank global warming among the most serious issues.

* 67 percent of African Americans say that action should be taken to reduce the threat of global warming.

* They want action on climate change more than adults generally. Only 3 percent of African Americans say concern about global warming is unwarranted, compared to 13 percent of all Americans.

African Americans strongly believe a shift to clean energy will be good for jobs and their energy bills:

* 66 percent of African Americans say using more renewable energy will translate into new jobs, while only 11 percent expect job losses.

* More than half, 57 percent, believe that shifting to cleaner energy will reduce their energy costs, and only 18 percent will increase those electricity bills.

African Americans overwhelmingly favor using more renewable energy than getting power from coal or nuclear:

* 87 support using more solar power and 83 support more wind energy.

* 42 percent favor getting more power from coal and 36 support more nuclear energy.
African Americans overwhelmingly embrace the Clean Power Plan and states developing state-based clean energy plans to implement it:

* 83 percent support the Clean Power Plan, with 63 percent in strong support. Just 9 percent oppose the plan.

* 82 percent back states developing clean energy plans that help cut carbon pollution, improve energy efficiency and boosting renewable energy.
Two firms, Marketing Resources International, Inc. and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, conducted the poll jointly. They interviewed 800 randomly selected African Americans nationwide September 20-27. Their poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

The pollsters summary memo the poll is here:
The pollsters questions and responses for the poll are here:
A blog by NRDCs Adrianna Quintero on this subject is here:


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at http://www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


Green For All works to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Its goal is to make sure people of color have a place and a voice in the climate movement; that neighborhoods are strong, resilient, and healthy; and that as the clean energy economy grows, it brings jobs and opportunity to our communities. Visit us at www.greenforall.org





President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

Posted by Admin On November - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  •   Karen Brevard Stewart – Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Department of State
  • Robert Riley – Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia, Department of State
    President Obama also announced his intent to appoint the following individual to a key Administration post:
  • Jaime Castillo – Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development

President Obama said, “I am confident that these experienced and hardworking individuals will help us tackle the important challenges facing America, and I am grateful for their service.  I look forward to working with them.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Karen Brevard Stewart, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Department of State

Karen Brevard Stewart, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minster-Counselor, serves as Political Advisor to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, a position she has held since 2013.  Prior to that, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic from 2010 to 2013 and in the Department of State as Special Advisor to the Director General in the Bureau of Human Resources from 2009 to 2010.  Ms. Stewart also served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor from 2008 to 2009.  She served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Belarus from 2006 to 2008, and as Director of the Office of Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus Affairs from 2005 to 2006.  Before that, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, Belarus from 2002 to 2004 and at the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, Laos from 1999 to 2001.  Her earlier assignments with the Department of State include postings in Pakistan, Thailand, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.  Ms. Stewart received a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.S. from the National War College.

Robert Riley, Nominee for Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia, Department of State

Robert Riley, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, serves as Management Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, a position he has held since 2013.  Previously, he served as Management Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines from 2009 to 2013, at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam from 2007 to 2009, and at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan from 2006 to 2007.  Before that, Mr. Riley served as Senior Financial Management Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq from 2005 to 2006 and at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France from 2002 to 2005.  His earlier assignments with the Department of State include postings in Spain, Cote d’Ivoire, and Malawi.  Mr. Riley earned a B.A. from Yale University.

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individual to a key Administration post:

Jaime Castillo, Appointee for Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Jaime Castillo is Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a position he has held since July 2015.  Mr. Castillo has served as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Secretary at HUD since July 2014.  Prior to this, he served as Chief of Staff in the Office of San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro from 2013 to 2014.  From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Castillo served as Communications Director and Senior Policy Analyst for Mayor Castro.  From 2000 to 2009, he held various positions for the San Antonio Express-News, including Metro Columnist, Political Editor, and Senior Reporter.  He was Assistant City Editor at the El Paso Times from 1999 to 2000.  Prior to that, Mr. Castillo was the Capitol Bureau Reporter and Political Writer for the San Antonio Express-News from 1996 to 1999.  Mr. Castillo received a B.A. from the University of Texas at El Paso and an M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

NAACP Files Brief in Support of University of Texas Admissions Standards Case

Posted by Admin On November - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

BALTIMORE, MD – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and its Texas State Conference this week filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting admissions standards at the University of Texas at Austin.

In a brief filed Monday, lawyers for the NAACP asked the court to continue allowing a “holistic review” of student performance when determining entry for college applicants.

“Race is merely a fraction of one factor that admissions officers may consider when looking at an applicant as a unique individual,” the brief states. “UT’s constitutionally permissible holistic review process recognizes the simple truth that race is still relevant in American society, and that race may help shape and inform individual perspectives and experiences.”

This is the second time the Court will hear arguments in the case filed by Texas resident Abigail Fisher, who was denied admission to the university in 2008 and challenged the decision in federal court, claiming that the university’s consideration of race in its admissions process violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The case was sent back to the Fifth Court of Appeals, which upheld its previous ruling.

In the brief, attorneys for the NAACP cite the long history of racial segregation in Texas, which creates a compelling interest for the university to seek racial and ethnic diversity in its student body. The brief also notes that Fisher failed to meet threshold academic qualifications and therefore was not injured by the university’s consideration of the race of any applicant who did meet those threshold standards.

Oral arguments in Fisher vs. Texas are scheduled for December 9.

Markham Public Library to Host Night of Family Fun on November 19th

Posted by Admin On November - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Free Event Features Fun Activities and Surprises!

The staff of the Markham Public Library invites the entire family to a fun-filled night featuring storytellers, performers and surprises! The free event takes place on Thursday, November 19 from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M. Themed, “Camp Out With a Book,” the fun takes place at the Library at 16640 South Kedzie in Markham, which is officially known as the Bradford Anderson Oglesby Library.

The evening of fun offers a rare opportunity for children to showcase their creativity and to tap into their imaginations through interactive games. There will also be a number of other activities aimed at encouraging participation and at delighting everyone of all ages. Refreshments will be served.

The first 15 families will receive free reading kits.

The program supports the library’s mission to encourage reading, and to promote family unity through the library’s many offerings.

For more information on this event and on other programs offered by the library, call 708-331-0130 or log on to www.markhamibrary.org.


Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Butterfield Joins Rep. Waters and Tri-Caucus to Release Staff Report on Federal Financial Services Agencies’ Workforce Diversity Efforts

Posted by Admin On November - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Minorities and women continue to be underrepresented in the general workforces, particularly at the senior-management level

Washington, D.C. – Federal financial services agencies have yet to reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the American population in their workforces – this according to a Democratic Financial Services Committee staff report released during a press conference today led by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee.

Senior Democratic Members in attendance included the Chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), as well as Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), representing the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), one of the primary Democrats monitoring implementation of the  diversity provisions in the HERA and the Dodd-Frank Act.

Democratic staff found that minorities and women are underrepresented at the nation’s Federal financial services agencies.  According to the staff report, racial and ethnic minorities and women are also very underrepresented in senior-management positions when compared to overall representation within the agencies’ workforces. Moreover, staff found that African-American employees across the agencies generally received lower performance management review scores than white employees.

“I am disappointed to find that, more than five years after the enactment of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act  that included provisions intended to promote workforce and supplier diversity and inclusion, the Federal financial services agencies have largely failed to improve on these critical matters,” said Ranking Member Waters. “As communities of color continue to face an insurmountable wealth gap, and as African-American unemployment remains stagnant at 9.2 percent, our nation cannot afford to have a Federal government that is out of touch with the needs of racial and ethnic minorities and women and their daily financial challenges.  As this country’s population is increasingly becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, it is well past time for these agencies to move beyond paying lip service to diversity efforts and instead fully embrace diversity and inclusion policies and practices as vital to achieving their missions by adopting the sensible recommendations included in the staff report.”

“Diversity in the workplace is one of the CBC’s cornerstone issues,” said CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield.  “We have focused on a number of American corporations and government agencies to determine whether they are making a serious effort to increase diversity and invest in underserved communities.  As revealed in the Committee on Financial Services staff report, many of these agencies have thus far failed in making a concerted effort to grow the diversity of their workforces.  The gross underrepresentation of minorities, women, and African Americans in their workforces and senior management positions is alarming.  The CBC encourages each of the agencies audited as part of this committee report to address our concerns expeditiously to ensure diverse representation and equal opportunity for all eligible employees and qualified applications.”

“What this Diversity Report reveals is just what we’ve feared and have already known: people of color and women are underrepresented in our federal government. This is particularly concerning given that the U.S. is expected to become a majority minority nation within our lifetime. Today, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, APIs, are the fastest growing racial group in the country, but only account for about 5% of the total federal workforce, and only about 4% of those in SES levels,” continued CAPAC Chair Judy Chu. “It’s clear we are at risk of neglecting an increasingly important segment of our population. We need to level the playing field for minorities and women that have been historically underrepresented and underserved.  We need to ensure that our government is providing a pipeline for APIs and other communities of color to enter and advance up the ranks.   We need to make sure that all Americans have an equal opportunity to serve our country through federal employment.”

Rep. Norma Torres added, “I thank Ranking Member Waters and the Democratic staff for undertaking this important effort. The agencies examined in this report have a direct impact on the lives of many people in our communities, and employing a diverse workforce will only help them better understand the needs of the people they serve.  It is our responsibility as Members of Congress to get to the bottom of the diversity gap and work with our federal agencies to address it.”

“As the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, I was honored to work under the leadership of the Honorable Maxine Waters to advocate for the auditing of workforce diversity within the federal financial regulatory agencies.  The findings in the report indicate that there are challenges to achieving success for women and minorities that must be addressed by these regulatory agencies. As a nation, we have witnessed the effects of these challenges, as African-American unemployment remains approximately twice that of the national average. Clearly, it is evident that more proactive remedies to diversity deficiencies are needed within the federal government—the largest employer in the United States,” Ranking Member Al Green said. “I trust that all of the audited federal financial regulatory agencies will move to quickly address the diversity deficiencies highlighted in this report and redouble their efforts to improve the inward and upward inclusion of minorities and women.”

“As Members of Congress we have a responsibility to ensure that the agencies are following the law with respect to non-discriminatory personnel practices. The seven federal agencies with thousands of staff that oversee the financial services industry currently employ 18% Blacks, 7% Hispanics, 6% Asians, and 2% other, while employing 67% whites.  I, along with Ranking Member Waters, have pushed for standards to address the diversity and inclusion shortcomings highlighted in this report. We will keep a watchful eye and provide ongoing oversight as these agencies improve their inclusion of minorities and women,” remarked Rep. Joyce Beatty.

The report noted the following:

  •         Hispanics make up only 2 percent of senior management at the FDIC and, Asians comprise just 6 percent of the same group.
  •         At the Federal Reserve, Hispanics, African Americans and Asians all received drastically lower performance management review scores than their white counterparts.
  •         The CFPB’s senior management is 77 percent white, while Hispanics make up 5 percent and Blacks make up 8 percent.
  •         The OCC and the FDIC had the lowest numbers of women in senior management, at 31 percent and 32 percent, respectively.
  •         Hispanics made up only 3 percent of FHFA’s general workforce.
  •         Asians comprised just 5 percent of the National Credit Union Administration’s general workforce.
  •         And at the SEC – our Wall Street cop on the beat – minorities also faced significant obstacles to advancement, as African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians make up just 12 percent of senior management, combined.

Democratic Committee staff recommended that agencies improve on deficiencies identified in the report by, among other things, formally investigating the root causes of diversity shortcomings, enhancing interactions between agency diversity officers and agency heads, and establishing periodic reviews for Congress on the representation of minorities and women within the workforce.

Read the executive summary here.

Read the full report here.

High AP Exam Scores Will Guarantee College Credit at Illinois’ Public Higher Ed Institutions

Posted by Admin On November - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

ISBE applauds Northern Illinois University for awarding credit retroactively to AP students before new law takes effect in 2016-17

SPRINGFIELD, IL – As a result of House Bill 3428, signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner earlier this year, all public universities and public community colleges in Illinois must award college credit to students who submit scores of 3 or higher on College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Exams starting next school year.

Northern Illinois University (NIU) has already initiated the new credit-granting process for high scores on these prestigious exams. Academic departments affected by the ruling have begun to retroactively award credit for AP scores of 3, 4, and 5 received after Jan. 1, 2015.

NIU examined the retention and graduation rates of students with and without AP credit and determined that students who engage in more rigorous AP classes have higher retention and graduation rates. NIU academic leaders have expressed strong support for credit-by-examination and the AP program because they feel that awarding this additional credit will benefit the university and its students.

“HB 3428 is an extraordinary opportunity to provide more students with AP credit when entering postsecondary education,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “Having more students receive Advanced Placement credit means more students are already on their way to obtaining degrees in pursuit of their chosen careers. I commend Northern Illinois University for recognizing this advantage.”

As a result of the university’s decision, NIU will award an additional 963 credit hours to 168 of its students.

51st Chicago Int’l Film Festival Announces Audience Choice Awards

Posted by Admin On November - 6 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

51st Chicago International Film Festival Announces Audience Award Winners
CHICAGO, IL – Cinema/Chicago’s 51st Chicago International Film Festival announces the winners of its Audience Choice Awards. Every new film that played at the 51st Festival (Oct 15-29, 2015) is eligible to win the audience award.
Festival audience members received a ballot at each public screening during the two-week Chicago International Film Festival. Festival moviegoers ranked films on a five-point scale.
All votes were tallied and averaged after the 51st Festival officially closed. Overall, audience members gave this year’s Festival films an average rating of 4.2 out of a five-point scale. Films that received the highest averages were declared the winners as listed below.



Presented by Cinema/Chicago

Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative English-Language Feature
Country: USA
Director: Tom McCarthy
Synopsis: Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James and Stanley Tucci, Spotlight tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world. Directed by Academy Award-nominee Tom McCarthy, Spotlight is a tense investigative dramatic-thriller, tracing the steps to one of the biggest cover-ups in modern times.
Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative Foreign-Language Feature
Country: Turkey, Greece, France
Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Synopsis: At the start of this stark, meditative drama that recalls The Virgin Suicides, five sisters play in the sea with their male classmates. As punishment for such immoral behavior, the grandmother and uncle raising the girls imprison them at home to maintain their “purity” until marriage. Submission or defiance seems to be the only options, as each sister, one by one, finds her own personal escape route.
NOTE: Mustang is also France’s entry into the 2016 Academy Awards.
Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature
Country: USA
Director: Michael Moore
Synopsis: What has lured Michael Moore, the documentary genre’s most entertaining rabble-rouser, back to feature films after a six-year hiatus? Only the future of his country, naturally. Where To Invade Next is an expansive, rib-tickling, and subversive comedy in which Moore, playing the role of “invader,” visits a host of nations to learn how the U.S. could improve its own prospects. The creator of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine is back with this hilarious and eye-opening call to arms. Where To Invade Next shows the solutions to America’s most entrenched problems already exist in the world, he says–they’re just waiting to be co-opted.


Where To Invade Next also won the 51st Chicago International Film Festival’s


Founders Award, which is given to one film across all categories that captures the spirit of the Chicago International Film Festival for its unique and innovative approach to the art of the moving image. The award was given to director Michael Moore at the Festival’s Awards Night on Friday, October 23,

2015 at The Peninsula. 

Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film
Country: Japan, Singapore, USA
Director: Atsuko Hirayanagi
Synopsis: A chain-smoking, corporate Japanese woman develops a crush on her English teacher in this ingenious comedy of manners and Americanization.
Cinema/Chicago is a not-for-profit arts and education organization dedicated to encouraging better understanding between cultures and to making a positive contribution to the art form of the moving image. The Chicago International Film Festival is one of the year-round programs presented by Cinema/Chicago, which also include itsTelevision Awards, CineYouth Festival, INTERCOM Competition, International Screenings Program, and Education Program. More information at ChicagoFilmFestival.com.


The 51st Chicago International Film Festival’s sponsors include Gold Festival Partners: TIAA-CREF, Columbia College Chicago, Wintrust Community Banks; Official Airline: American Airlines; Headquarters Hotel: JW Marriott Chicago; Silver Festival Partners: Bloomberg, Intersites; Platinum Media Partners: National CineMedia (NCM), JC Decaux, Michigan Avenue Magazine; Gold Media Partners: WTTW11, Time Out Chicago, WBEZ91.5, WXRT-FM, WBBM Newsradio, and The Hollywood Reporter; Bronze Festival Partners: Stella Artois, AARP, Tribune Media; Participating Partners: SundanceNow Doc Club, Whole Foods, Wansas Tequila, Cultivate Studios, Netrix, KIND, OtterBox, Optimus, Sound Investment; Official Vehicle: Volvo; Participating Hotels: Public Chicago, The Whitehall Hotel, theWit and Loews Chicago Hotel; and Cultural Partners: Consulate General of Argentina in Chicago, Consulate General of Italy in Chicago, Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago, Italian Film Commission,  Italian Trade Agency, Polish Film Institute, Goethe Institut, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, ANCINE National Cinema Agency of Brazil, and Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest. With Foundation and Government support from the National Endowment of the Arts, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, the Illinois Arts Council, and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Additional support provided by Allstate, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Dark Horse Wine, Effen Vodka, Lavazza, and SkinnyPop.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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