What Is CT Senate Bill 423? Who Is Affected By It? Find Out

Dear Friends,
Close to 4,000 students in Connecticut took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) last year, and in more than half the cases, military recruiters obtained the results.
 
The ASVAB is offered for free and thus is a staple of many public high schools’ testing environments. However, many high school students who take the test (and their parents) never have a clue that it is a military exam and that their personal information, and their test scores, can be sent to the military for recruitment purposes.
 
Information gathered as a result of the administration of the ASVAB is the only information leaving Connecticut’s schools without providing for parental consent. But a bill currently before the Veterans Affairs Committee, SB 423, will protect the privacy of students taking the ASVAB. It will require active consent of a young person and their parents before their test results are given to a third party (military recruiters).
 
Last month the bill passed the Education Committee by a vote of 23-10 even though a representative of the Army testified against it, arguing that the legislation would harm the military’s ability to recruit. In fact, nothing in the legislation will preclude the military from continuing to administer the test in the high schools for enlistment purposes. This act would simply require a student who wishes to use his or her scores for enlistment to visit a recruiter who will complete a form and have the student (or parent) sign it.
 
SB 423 will replace today’s patchwork system in which some school districts have opted out of automatic conveyance of information to the military and some have not with a state-wide legal framework that respects student privacy. The bill
is modeled on a similar law enacted in Maryland (similar bills are being considered and passed by other state legislatures).  The link to the bill online is http://
cga.ct.gov/asp/CGABillStatus/CGAbillstatus.aspselBillType=Bill&bill_num=SB423
 
Please urge the Veterans Affairs Committee to join the Education Committee in supporting student privacy and parental consent by backing SB 423. Spread the word to friends and colleagues, post on social media outlets and write letters to the Editor. Please feel free to reply to this email with questions and comments. Updates (e.g. about opportunities to testify) will be forthcoming.
 
Contact information for the Veterans Affairs Committee’s members (with their districts listed) is attached (also see www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?comm_code=VA).  The committee’s offices are located at Room 509A, Capitol
Hartford, CT 06106 (tel. 860-240-8467).
 
Let’s stand up for our young people’s civil liberties, and end government access to test scores without informed consent.  Learn more about this issue at the link below.

 CT Senate Bill 423 Will Protect Student Privacy With Regards To Military Recruitment
 In Peace,
Paul Hammer,
* Co-Clerk, New Haven Friends Peace & Social Outreach Committee
* Member, CT American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Program Committee

Read More      No Comments

Prevention Is Power. Having Health Insurance Is Smart

April Is National Minority Health and Health Disparities Awareness Month 

During April, we mark National Minority Health Month by raising awareness about the health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities. This year’s theme, Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity emphasizes the critical role of prevention in reducing health disparities. It is a call to action, a charge for all of us to unite towards a common goal of improving the health of our communities.

Everyone in America should have the chance to live a healthy life, regardless of who they are and where they live. There is NO existing reason why anyone in CT should not have affordable health coverage.  For the poor there is expanded Medicaid (HUSKY A, B, C, D).  The ACA provides subsidies for all who qualify to make health care accessible and affordable to everyone.  Health Equity Can’t Wait. Everyone should have health coverage.  If you do not work, you should apply for HUSKY (expanded Medicaid).

Now that the open enrollment period is closed, we suggest that everyone who– for whatever reason– did not get signed up by March 31, 2014, should now use the intervening months to get their documents in order and learn all they can about getting health coverage during the next sign-up cycle starting Nov. 15, 2014.  Visit this link: https://www.accesshealthct.com/AHCT/LandingPageCTHIX  to get detailed information.

Enrollment in Medicaid (HUSKY) and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) is open year round for eligible persons and families. You may also be eligible to enroll in coverage throughout the year if you or a member of your household has experienced a Special Enrollment Qualifying Life Event in the past 60 days, or you will in the next 60 days.  Qualifying Life Events may include: childbirth, adoption, marriage, loss of health care coverage, and other life-changing events.  If you live in CT visit the Access Health CT web site, or call your local public health clinics.  In New Haven, call the New Haven Health Dept at (203) 946-2227 or  if you are a pregnant woman, please call:

  • 946- 8187 (pregnant women) to meet with someone who can help you

  • The New Haven Health Dept. is at 54 Meadow Street, New Haven, 06519

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc works daily with community partners to design education programs that will help to combat health disparities, and build healthier communities; to engage citizens on meaningful issues, and to promote education as a public good.   On our YouTube channel visitors can find several health-related video segments and full length videos on our web site.  We have a 59 mins video on signing up for the ACA: http://youtu.be/M_eK_jGyHsE Although the sign-up period has ended, except for the dates, the information in the video is still applicable.   Viewers can watch the entire video linked above.

It is within the power of each of us, regardless of our limited resources, to take proactive actions to improve our health.  Join OneWorld and the National Office of Minority Health during Minority Health Month and throughout the year in taking action to achieve health equity because equity in health should not wait!  Start today. See additional resources linked below, and watch OneWorld health education and literacy programs called “21st Century Conversations.” We also produce The Education Agenda: dealing explicitly with all aspects of education, and Civic Engagement, that tells how to be involved in activities that improve our community.

In Hamden, New Haven and West Haven, for those with Comcast, OneWorld programs are scheduled to air on Citizens Television, Comcast Chan. 26, Sundays at 7pm.  If you have AT&T Uverse, find our programs on Channel 99 (drop-down menu).  We are listed by towns: Branford, East Haven, North Branford, North Haven and Wallingford.  We are also on Comcast Channels 10 (in all Valley towns); Channel 15 (Cromwell, East Hampton, Middlefield, Middletown & Portland) Channel 18 (Shoreline towns) and on Charter Communications, Community Vision Chan. 21 in 14 mid-western CT towns.

We also invite you to visit and “like” OneWorld on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OneWorld-Progressive-Institute-Inc/151551484879941

High Blood Pressure is a chronic condition in the Black and Hispanic communities.  Read the result of this study about the benefits of reducing salt intake.   SALT-REDUCTION CAMPAIGN LED TO DRASTIC DECREASE IN DEATHS FROM STROKES AND HEART DISEASE:

A nationwide campaign to reduce salt intake among people in the United Kingdom resulted in a drastic reduction in heart disease and stroke deaths among the population, the Los Angeles Times reported. Researchers analyzed data from more than 31,500 people participating in the Health Survey for England between 2003 to 2011. During the study period, levels of salt intake among the population decreased by about 15 percent. Over the same period, deaths from stroke decreased by 42 percent and deaths from coronary heart disease dropped by 40 percent.    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/04/15/salt-reduction-campaign-led-to-drastic-decrease-in-deaths-from-stroke-heart/

Learn much more about Minority Health Awareness from the links below National Minority Health Month – The Office of Minority Health  http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/NMHM14/  

Read More      No Comments

As 17 Year-old Is Buried — A 16-Year-old Is Gunned Down!

The epidemic of gun violence, of Black on Black crimes in New Haven is, in fact, an accumulative massacre!  This is not too strong a statement.  Between Jan. 2009 and April 3, 2014, if someone had descended into various areas of the black New Haven community and gunned down 107 young  black people the rage could not be contained; and it would be justified.   This is exactly what has happened in New Haven over the past 5 years; the only difference is — the killers are from within the community. There is much “this community” can do to save itself and its children.  What are we waiting for? How many more have to die before we act? What will it take to get sustained impact?

On March 24, 2014, 17 year-old Taijon Washington was murdered in Newhallville, CT. He was buried amidst a bit of pageantry on April 2, 2014.  On that day Bishop Brooks extended an invitation to young black men to come to church and appealed for a moratorium until Easter: “Two weeks of peace. No shooting, no violence, no beating, no selling of drugs.” While I fully understand that the appeal is an effort to do something; I also find it truly disturbing for several reasons. Think about what this request implies.  What is it that we are accepting as an inevitable part of life in the Black community?!

Why two weeks? Is it because that seems to be reasonbale to ask? Or is it because – as a community– we need a 2-week respite? Is it O’K to resume the mayhem after the moratorium is over? Of course not. The good Bishop was not implying any of these.  When we are at our wits end we are often willing to accept anything that seems like a better alternative. We do NEED a great deal more.

Many supposedly in ‘the-know’ are saying the murder of Torrence Gamble is personal. We are not sure how that should be interpreted.  If these killings are not as a result of robberies, or murders for hire, aren’t all of these murders personal?  It is a question. What is the answer?

The NHI is masterful at covering these events. One descriptor reads ‘Many of the mourners wore T-shirts, buttons, and other obituary wear reading:  “Rock Da Heavens, Sleepy” and” Sleep up, Bro!  Heaven Couldn’t Wait for You.” We beg to differ; not with the NHI, but with the mourners. Heaven was quite prepared to wait and had nothing to do with the decisions made in Newhallville on March 24, 2014. Maybe telling ourselves that these senseless killings are a part of God’s plan makes it easier to accept them. God gave us free will; how we exercise it is entirely up to us.

“The funeral was especially poignant for the family because two of Taijhon’s cousins, Dallas Boomer and Thomas “TJ” Mozell, with whom he had been close, were also shot to death in New Haven.” The NHI informs us.

Among the words spoken at the funeral of  Taijhon  Washington, as a throng of 300 were preparing to take him to his grave, were:   “We have here a young man killed not by a Zimmerman, but by somebody who looks like him!” declared Bishop Brooks’ son, Pastor Darryl Brooks, invoking the Trayvon Martin case. “We can’t go on about ‘stand your ground’ laws in Florida when we don’t stand up [here] in New Haven. We need to stand up and say enough is enough.”

Clearly, those who control the guns, the drugs, the gangs and the violence in our communities were not in the church on April 2, at the funeral of young Mr. Washington, or maybe they were there but the message did not get through; on April 3, 2014 – “Another teenaged boy lost his life to gun violence.” We later learned that this boy was alive and at the funeral of Taijon Washington one day earlier.

The latest victim is Torrence Gamble of Henry Street, New Haven.

Police responded to a call at 9:38 p.m. Thursday at 78 Daggett St. in the Hill. There they found Gamble, shot in the head, according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman.”  He was pronounced dead at 3:15 a.m. He was 16 years old. He attended Riverside Academy.”

“No shooting, no beatings, no drug dealing, no violence of any kind from now until Easter: A call for that two-week moratorium emerged from an emotional farewell funeral ceremony for Taijhon Washington,  the 17-year old who was killed in gun violence on the evening of March 24 near Butler and Lilac streets near the Lincoln-Bassett School in Newhallville.” The killers were not listening to Bishop Brooks; they certainly did not accept the invitation for a moratorium.

Why are guns so easily accessible in our communities? Did you call your CT legislators today to tell them to STAND UP TO THE GUN LOBBY? What can the broader community do?  What would have happened in this – the greater New Haven– community if  a bunch of other people had gone into black communities and gunned down these same five, 17 or 33 young black men?  How many people would have gone to the Capital to demand changes to the gun laws? These are the numbers of young black men killed in New Haven over the past few years! See links below.

Yes, most crimes are intraracial; 86 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders; 94 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders. This is true throughout most of America. People are killed mostly by people they know. However, there is no reason for us to accept this as the norm in the Black community. If we do not want to accept it, how are we going to change it?  When kids used to fight with their fists, no one got killed. Why are our black young men killing each other at such an alarming rate?

We ended 2013 with the killing of three people in Dec. What are we doing to bring this accumulating massacre to an end? Of the 20 homicides in New Haven in 2013, 18  died of gunshots; 17 were young Black men and two were Hispanics.  Between January 2009 and April 3, 2014, New Haven lost 107 young Black men to gun violence.  Many more survived their encounters with guns (NHR***). Here are the names and ages of our latest victims; they range in age from 16 to 33!

  1. 12/07/2013 –  Shamar Willett , 23 , Black, shot and killed in New Haven (Harding Place)

  2. 12/14 /2013 – Deveron McLaughlin, 32, Black,  was shot and killed in New Haven (Weybossett)

  3. 12/28/2013 –  Javier Martinez, 18, Hispanic, was shot and killed on Hemingway, New Haven

  4. 1/20/2014-     Durell Patrick Law (20), Black,  shot and killed, Eastern Street, NH

  5. 1/31/2014 -    Varnouard Hall (33) Black, shot and killed, East Pearl Street, NH

  6. 2/10/2014 -    Kyle Edwards (22), Black, shot and killed, Kossuth Street, NH

  7. 3/24/2014 –   Taijon Washington (age 17), Black, shot and killed in Newhallville, NH

  8. 4/03/2014 –   Torrence Gamble (age 16), Black, shot and killed, Henry Street, NH

So far we have had 5 young Black men murdered in 2014! Regardless of how many police the Mayor puts on the streets, that is not going to prevent the problem.  We NEED to go deeper; we NEED to understand what is happening with our young Black men why they perceive their lives to have no value.  We need to engage parents and the broader community.   We need to get the gang members into a safe space and talk to them. Most of those who killed the 107 of their brothers are still walking the streets!  Why? The police cannot make arrests without information.  What do we value? Who do we value? How many more will have to die before we do something more than cry and talk?

Let us do the additions.  In 2011 there were 33 black people murdered in New Haven: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/another_year_no_white_/

They announced that murders rose from 12 to 24 from 2009 to 2010. Twenty-two victims were black males, one a black female, and one Hispanic male.

Of 124 non-fatal shooting victims, 99 were black men; seven were black females; seven Hispanic males; one Hispanic female; eight white males; one white female; and 1 “other male.”

Let us bear in mind that the killers among us also have mothers and fathers; they have siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins.  What are you doing to save the young people in the NH Black community?

Read More      No Comments

10 Things You Should Know About the Common Core | NEA Today

Get The Facts About Common Core State Standards In Education

Whether you were one of the many people at Thornton Wilder Hall on March 27, 2014 or not, it is important for everyone to understand exactly what the new Common Core Education Standards mean to the future of America.  It is imperative that we understand the FACTS and dispel the MYTHS about Common Core Education Standards in Connecticut  and throughout the country.  If your state is not implementing the Common Core Standards, teachers, parents, business and community leaders need to become involved and ask why is this not being done.  

The League of Women Voters has sponsored community information forums on the Common Core.  The National Education Association has also provided some detailed information about the Common Core.  It is important to read various sources.

10 Things You Should Know About the Common Core | NEA Today  neatoday.org/…/10/…/10-things-you-should-know-about-the-common-core/

1.   Most NEA Members Support the Common Core

2.  “Drill and Kill” Curriculum Could Be History

3.   The Standards are Designed to Help all Students

4.   Shakespeare is Welcome

5.   Common Core Promotes Cross Curricular Learning

6.  Success Depends on Better, Balanced Assessment and Accountability Systems

7.   Implementation is a Work-in-Progress

8.  Teacher Leadership is Essential

9.  Parents are Key Partners

10. Resources for Teachers Abound

This is important because K12 Education lays the foundation for children’s lives as adults. Today’s students are the people who will be shaping and governing our communities in the future. How they are taught during their K12 foundational years is critical to how they will function as leaders and as citizens.  There are various rumors and reactions that have largely obscured the facts of exactly what the Common Core Standards mean for the future of K12 Education in Connecticut and throughout the country.

It is important that leading community organizations everywhere do what the League of Women Voters is doing in Hamden.  It is important that people understand the purpose and benefits of Common Core.  In Hamden a school administrator, Common Core consultant, classroom teacher, program preparation advisor and an elected legislator will be present to answer questions during an open Q & A session.  We think it is important that other towns in Connecticut follow this example.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an education initiative in the United States that details what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. This is important because children will no longer be promoted to a higher grade level unless the are proficient in the current grade.  This is  good for the children; it will better prepare them for advance studies and will better ensure academic success.

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc (http://oneworldpi.org/) Education Agenda programs are designed to encourage parents to get engaged, become informed, and take positive actions to ensure that their children succeed academically.  Our programs air statewide in CT on AT&T Uverse at various times; find us on Channel 99 (drop-down menu, listed alphabetically by towns) to see when OneWorld Presents airs in your town.  OneWorld Presents program schedules:

  • OneWorld programs air as OneWorld Presents: “21st Century Conversations”, “Education Agenda” and “Civic Engagement” on the following Channels and towns:

  • On Charter Communications, Community Visions, Channel 21, Mondays at 7:00pm and Fridays at 4:00pm. 

  • Comcast Channel 10 in all Valley towns on Comcast Seymour, Weds at 8:00pm;

  • Comcast Channel 15 – Cromwell, East Hampton, Middlefield, Middletown & Portland, Fridays at 7:00pm. 

  • Comcast Channel 18  in Branford (BCTV), East Haven (ETV), North Branford (on Totoket TV), North Haven on NHTV, and in Wallingford on WPAA TV.  OneWorld programs air multiple times weekly on Channel 18 and on AT&T Uverse (Channel 99) in these towns.

  • Our programs are also supposed to air on Comcast Channel 26, Citizens TV in Hamden, New Haven & West Haven on Sundays at 7:00pm 

See links to recent Education Agenda programs: http://youtu.be/TVP4zMx_JtQ -Parent 411- Pt1: A 14 mins VideoParents CAN Play A Vital Role in Reducing Suspensions & Expulsions In CT Public Schools http://youtu.be/WPp00buGLXE  – Parent 411- Pt2: The Right to an Education is in the Constitution

Important Resources about key aspects of the Common Core Standards In Education: Learn why the Common Core is important for your child- http://www.corestandards.org/

What Parents Should Know – http://www.corestandards.org/what-parents-should-know/

Explore the Common Core – http://www.corestandards.org/read-the-standards/

Myths vs. Facts | Common Core State Standards Initiative  www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/myths-vs-facts/

Understand how the Common Core was created – http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/development-process/  

http://vimeo.com/51933492  3 mins video by Vimeo - Short and effective overview.  Link below presents the video in Spanish – Este video también está disponible en Español. Haga clic aquí para ver el video.

www.CommonCoreWorks.org - Provides good information and a success Showcase from Albuquerque (linked below)

http://www.oneworldpi.org/education/index.html

http://www.youtube.com/user/oneworldpi/videos  – OneWorld’s YouTube Channel 

Albuquerque Implements Common Core  Albuquerque Public Schools piloted new Common Core standards in 4th and 8th grades last year, and is rolling them out in every kindergarten through 3rd grade classroom. Click on headline to read the Education Week story. 

http://neatoday.org/2013/10/16/10-things-you-should-know-about-the-common-core/ Click this link to read the entire NEA presentation.

We at OneWorld Progressive Institute sincerely hope that you find this information helpful.  We serve the community and produce these programs to benefit the broader Greater New Haven and CT community.  We are 100 percent volunteers.  Producing these programs are costly. We earn no income; we appreciate getting tax-deductible donations.  We want to continue to make a positive contribution to the community.  DVD copies of our programs are available for a nominal contribution.  You may reach us at (203) 407-0250 or by email to: oneworldpi@oneworldpi.org

See additional Resources below – http://www.corestandards.org/other-resources/

Myths Versus Facts | Truth in American Education  truthinamericaneducation.com/common-corestandards/myths-verses-facts/

Everything you need to know about Common Core — Ravitch  www.washingtonpost.com/…/everything-you-need-to-know-about-common- core-ravitch/

Prepared for Common Core Implementation?  www.schoolimprovement.com/common-core…/common-core- implementation-gates/

N’Zinga Shäni, M.Sc., MBA, Lead Program Producer & Executive Director

Read More      No Comments

Teachers Union Prez Fed Up With Student Discipline in NHPS

The New Haven Independent (NHI) reports that at a recent New Haven Board of Education meeting David Cicarella spoke out about the problem with lack of discipline in many New Haven Public Schools (NHPS).  Mr. Cicarella, president of the teachers union, handled the discipline situation with aplomb. It is about time this critical issue is brought out into the open and then resolutely addressed.  It cannot be adequately addressed while hidden.  Teachers have taken early retirement, and some have left the district out of frustration with this issue.  Even some parents have given up trying with their own children! It is a major problem affecting learning for all children involved in these situations. The costs on all fronts are extremely high and it is long-term.

In the NHI True Vote survey the statement reads: Students who throw chairs or attack teachers should be – 1) Suspended or Expelled; 2) Counseled in School. 

The result: 100 people (71.43%) say Suspension or Expulsion; 40 people (28.57%) say Counseled in School.  Can we justify expelling a first grade or elementary student unless the child committed a major felony? 

It is disturbing that 71.43% (100) of the people who responded to the survey believe suspensions and expulsions are the answer.  By law, a school district must provide a public education for all children until they graduate from high school or reach the age of 21.

  • What will it costs the district to educate all of these suspended and expelled students?

  • When a child is suspended or expelled, the district must provide 2 hours of certified instructions daily. Where will these children be during the remainder of the school day?

  • If they have parents or guardians who work, who will take care of these elementary students? Who will pay for their care?

The NHI should have offered a third choice: Provide these children with Clinical Therapy in a professional setting.  In an interview done with Abby Anderson (Executive Director, CT Juvenile Justice Alliance) she stated that white children are clinicalized for learning and behavioral problems, and black children are criminalized. 

  • The figures from our juvenile and criminal justice systems bear her out.  As much as 83 percent of those in CT’s JJS are black and brown boys; 68 percent of those incarcerated in our JJS do not have a high school diploma. 

  • Of the 450 young men in Manson Institute on Oct. 1, 2013, 230 were black and 160 were Hispanic! Only 60 were white!  Yet, black, Hispanic and white boys commit violations at the same rate; yet the outcomes are different.  Dr. Rayford recently explained how the penal system repels white boys but pulls in blacks. 

    http://youtu.be/g8D4WRFeI-s – Youths-At-Risk – YouTube Segment

  • We have to change the projectory for these children in Kindergarten. 

  • Suspensions and expulsions are  NOT the answer. 

  • As a society, we will pay a major price later.  We need to spend the money up front and deal with the issues involved rather than keep spending $60 Billion annually to maintain prisons!

  • Supt. Harries is correct; we should not be suspending more students; however, it cannot be for political reasons.  Whatever is done has to be in the best interest of children.  Also, teachers should not be expected to deal effectively with these children and also teach the others. 

  • It is too much to ask, and it will deprive the children who are prepared to learn. 

We have a large number of children with severe emotional and mental health problems. Suspensions and expulsions are not going to help these children.  They need intensive therapy in highly specialized clinics, not in school. The parents also need therapy; this is why everyone NEEDS health coverage. 

The ACA provides mental health coverage and therapy for an extended period.  People who don’t have jobs qualify for the expanded Medicaid. All of us, including the schools, need to encourage parents to get health coverage so that these children and their parents can get the mental health services they need.

Call the NH Health Dept at (203) 946-2227, or community Action Agency (203) 387-7700- Ext 193 to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.  Failure to sign up by March 31, 2014 will mean not having health care until January 2015.

Union Prez Fed Up Over Student Discipline (from the New Haven Independent)

“Cicarella said he broke his silence because he has been privately sparring with Harries over the discipline issue for the past year and he feels nothing is being done.

Too often, he said, kids disrupt class—throwing chairs, punching, biting or hitting teachers—without effective discipline from school administration.

“Why isn’t the student discipline issue more front and center?” he asked. “It impacts everything that we say and do.”

(School Superintendent) “Harries said the district is working to train more teachers and staff in how to better handle the social and emotional issues kids face that cause them to act out in school. He called the discipline issue “complex,” one requiring a range of responses.” This might be indicative of the fact that supt. Harries, along with many parents and community leaders, do not fully appreciate the depth of the emotional problems many children have. New Haven is a school district laden with a disproportionately high number of troubled children. These children need help, not expulsion from school.  We NEED to invest in our children early; we need to teach our youngsters how to think critically and how to solve problems peacefully.  Many of these children live in violent homes; they are taught by examples in their homes that screaming, shouting and hitting are how they resolve problems.

Suspensions and expulsions will only exacerbate these children’s lack of problem-solving skills.  While there are more that some teachers can do, it is not reasonable to put this burden on teachers only.  Clinical therapy! Please.

 Read the extensive article in the New Haven Independent linked here:

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/union_p…

Read More      No Comments