Good teachers deserve more, bad teachers need to go.

Good teachers deserve more, bad teachers need to go.

Yes, teachers should be paid what they are worth. It is one of the most important professions and vital to the future of our country. The teachers that are dedicated to teaching and care about student development along with challenging our youth to be the best they can be should be paid with a pay scale equivalent to what corporations pay executives because that  is what they are. They are executives of a classroom. They manage between 30 and 150 students a day. They develop lessons, create evaluations and are responsible for getting their students to meet a particular standard among many other responsibilities they have. Let’s not forget to mention having to do this while dealing with discipline issues, students that don’t show up and other factors that would cause a business executive to quit within 3 months. Let alone an executive that does not see opportunity to make a decent wage in time. The small percentage of teachers that are burned out,  waiting for “something better” or like to project their own political/social or other biases into the classroom need to be removed. Tenure does not exist in business and should not in the classroom.  However, teachers should not strike or walk out during a school year. It hurts the students and causes other issues. Let’s fix the Education system as a priority and make teaching a profession that attracts the cream of the crop for an entire career and allow them to earn what they deserve. The future of our country depends on it.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices Face Impeachment — OPEN THREAD

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices Face Impeachment — OPEN THREAD

From The Hill:

A Pennsylvania state representative has introduced resolutions to impeach four of the five state Supreme Court justices who voted to override congressional district maps they said were unfairly gerrymandered on partisan lines.

The resolutions, introduced by state Rep. Cris Dush (R), accuse Justices Kevin Dougherty, Christine Donohue, Debra McClosky Todd and David Wecht of misbehavior in office.

In a memo to fellow House members, Dush said the ruling overriding Pennsylvania’s U.S. House district lines amounted to an overstep of judicial authority under the state Constitution, which lays out the path by which a bill becomes a law — in this case, a bill to delineate the district lines after the decennial Census and reapportionment process.

“The five Justices who signed this order that blatantly and clearly contradicts the plain language of the Pennsylvania Constitution engaged in misbehavior in office,” Dush wrote to fellow members.

In an interview Tuesday, Dush said he had drafted the resolutions shortly after the Supreme Court’s initial order in January. He had hoped to add language from the U.S. Supreme Court, if they took up the case. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied Pennsylvania Republicans’ request to hear a challenge to the state Supreme Court decision.

“This is basically 7th grade civics class all over again, the separation of powers and the authority of the legislature,” Dush told The Hill. “The courts basically are there to interpret when there’s conflict in the law, and they don’t have any sovereignty.”

The Supreme Court’s January order struck down the existing congressional district maps, under which Republicans won 13 of 18 seats in the 2016 elections. The court gave legislative Republicans just a few weeks to draw new maps, before they imposed district lines drawn by their own special master.

“The maps are indeed a piece of legislation. We write it out and we break it out by counties, cities, townships, and even down to the very voting precincts and wards if necessary,” Dush added. “The product the state Supreme Court produced is just a series of maps.”

This is as raw a power grab by justices as has been seen for some time. The Pennsylvania constitution clearly grants the legislature the power to draw congressional district lines. Democrats currently hold a 5-2 majority on the supreme court (justices are elected) and are doing what they can to sidestep the law in order to redraw federal lines in a Democrat-friendly fashion.

While citizens have had to endure some pretty awful court decisions on a local and federal level, this kind of power grab is breathtaking. The GOP, which controls both houses of the Pennsylvania Assembly (majorities of 59% in the House and 68% in the Senate), have the votes to oust the monarchs in black robes.

Judges have been crossing the line for a long time. It’s high time the People reasserted their constitutional prerogatives.

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Participate in Positive Change

Participate in Positive Change

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Positive change requires participation on our part. As we discussed in the previous chapter many people participate in self-destructive behavior. Positive change does not happen by itself. It doesn’t happen because we wish it to happen. And it doesn’t happen thorough osmosis. No, positive change happens because we participate in bringing it to fruition. Just as we participate in negative behavior we also need to participate in positive behavior. I meet so many people who believe if they pray enough or if they wish enough their negative habits will leave them. While they continue to pursue those same habits. To those people I say you weren’t born with those habits or behaviors, no you learned them and those negatives will need replacing with positives. All of us have negative habits or behaviors we wish would magically disappear, but unfortunately no magic pill exist.

Just as in the Bible those seeking miracles from Jesus participated in their miracles. In the case of the paralytic man in the book of St. Luke. As Jesus ministered in a house a multitude followed and surrounded the house so a paralytic man could not enter. Not deterred by the circumstances his friends went to the roof and removed a part of it and lowered the man down into the midst of the house. Because of their faith, Jesus healed the man. Initially Jesus told him his sins are forgiven, but because of the hardness of the hearts of the scribes and Pharisees, He told the man to take up his bed and walk. [1]

This story gives us insight into how we must participate in positive change. We participate in two ways, both equally important and necessary. Our participation in positive change or in the case of the story in our miracle requires both our physical and spiritual involvement. Let’s begin with the physical involvement first. The friends of the paralytic carried him from the nearby town with the hope of a healing. There was no guarantee, because I am sure there had been other healers during this time, as today who claimed to heal and do not deliver. This might well be one of those occasions. So we have the physical carrying of the paralytic man by his friends with the hope he might receive healing. But wait, they get to the house and it is packed and no way to get to Jesus. Now how many of us would have given up and told our friend, we tried but today would not be his miracle day. After all, they could walk and did not need a miracle. Instead rather than admit defeat they took him to the rooftop, opened a hole and let him down in the midst of the house.

Jesus moved by their compassion and their love for their friend because why would they do what they did if they did not love him? The physical contribution continues when Jesus felt compassion on the man and instructed him to take up his bed and walk. Now this was not the only time Jesus required physical participation. There was the time in Luke 6 when a man with a withered hand was in the synagogue and Jesus had the man arise and stand and then to stretch forth his hand and as he did so his hand was healed.

We can see from the Bible our physical participation is required in our positive change. So why would we expect it to be different today? Because we have lost touch with our faith and replaced it with idolatry. People now worship at the temple of technology and science. People no longer have patience and faith. If something doesn’t happen at once when we want it to, we force it to happen.  Technology is the answer to all of our problems we believe and any new problems we create we will solve them too. Which brings me to the second way we participate in positive change.

[1] Luke 5:17-26

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NCAA is Broken Welcome to Madness

NCAA is Broken Welcome to Madness

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I hate to spoil one of the most celebrated times in the NCAA; March Madness. But the real madness has nothing to do with what is happening in arenas all around the country. It is the madness of what the NCAA is doing to its players. The NCAA is broken and has been for a long time. The question is how long will we continue to allow it to operate in its present form? How many more scandals must we read about college athletics before we act? We have read about grade scandals, sex scandals, rape scandals, and pay-to-play scandals. No one really knows when the payments began, but anyone who thinks today’s college football and basketball stars are not being paid either by their university boosters are by agents is living in a fantasy world. And why shouldn’t they be. When you consider the amount of money being paid to coaches and the amount of money they receive through shoe contracts, it’s ridiculous. Take, for instance. former Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

Pitino’s total annual comp exceeds $7.4 million. And get this one: he got $1.5 million in a personal services contract from Adidas—virtually every dollar of the $1,525,000 in cash that Adidas paid the university under a one-year sponsorship deal. But the single most provocative piece on this mess comes from Bloomberg columnist Joe Nocera, the former New York Times financial and op-ed columnist who co-authored with Ben Strauss Indentured, an unsparing look at the NCAA and college sports.

He’s wondering why, after decades of government and NCAA passivity, the government is now criminalizing sliminess inherent in college sports.Vanity Fair

Mr. Pitino is just the tip of the madness. Many college coaches are the highest paid state employee in their states. Think about that; they earn more than the governor, the university president, or the state’s highest judge. Yet, the athletes responsible for generating the revenues live in virtual poverty. Many are worse off than the students who come and cheer for them on Saturday’s. Granted, they receive meals, receive medical care, and receive housing. The NCAA considers any benefit beyond these to be violations of their amateur status. They are unable to make visits home, call home, or have a car. In addition, the college education which is the largest part of their compensation for their many hours of practice, travel, and play most do not receive.

Black male athletes, who make up just 2.4 percent of the undergraduate population at Power 5 schools but 55 percent of the football teams and 56 percent of the men’s basketball teams, are still graduating at lower rates than the other groups Harper studied. Of black male athletes in football and basketball, 55.2 percent graduated within six years, compared to 69.3 percent of all athletes at Power 5 schools, 60.1 percent of all black undergraduate men and 76.3 percent of all undergraduate students. Only Miami, Georgia Tech and Arizona had equal or higher graduation rates for black male athletes than all athletes, and only Louisville, Mississippi State and Utah graduated black male athletes at an equal or higher rate than the overall undergraduate population.

Harper, (who authored the report) recommends that the NCAA create a commission on racial equity that would raise “consciousness within and beyond the association about the persistence and pervasiveness of racial inequities.”ABC News

Let’s be honest most star players at universities are black and come from poor inner-city neighborhoods. The only reason they are in college is because they cannot enter the professional leagues. These young men are prime targets for unscrupulous agents and managers who latch on in hope of a large payday. Usually leaving the athletes who lack financial literacy broke after short careers in the professional leagues. But that’s another story.

The time has come for this madness to end. The NCAA is a farm system for the major professional sports leagues. But unlike other farm systems the athletes in this system cannot accept legal payments. This is the height of hypocrisy. Everyone pretends these athletes are amateurs until a scandal comes to show us what’s behind the curtain. We lament and then go back to business as usual. The answer is simple and no Mr. Harper it doesn’t involve a commission of for you to sit on or chair. We create sports leagues for those athletes who may have the talent to play professionally. Sponsored and sanctioned by the professional associations and leagues giving the players the opportunities to learn their craft and compensated. The compensation would be determined by the leagues and the players unions. Other countries have provided these leagues for their athletes for years.

This would free our colleges, universities, and the NCAA to focus on what they well educate. Let’s return college athletics to their original conception. An opportunity for student athletes to compete against other student athletes. This would also allow a triage of talent to occur early enough in their careers for the athletes who are not professional material to find another trade. Which would be more humane than the system used where they complete their eligibility and do not have degrees. It would also put an end to the basket weaving studies many athletes take in school to stay eligible. Those are my humble thoughts. I would enjoy hearing yours.

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Success Story Brayden

Success Story Brayden

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Brayden came to The Man Class looking for employment after being released from incarceration. His ability to communicate and his desire to learn immediately impressed me. Unlike some men who believe they have all the answers. (to which I say if you’re so smart why are you here) Brayden showed up every day on time and enthusiastic about taking part in the lessons. Although unsure of the relevance of some exercises he completed his assignments. As the days progressed he became more willing to be open and share his experiences with the group. When using the experiential learning model open and honest communication is essential. A student must expose intimate details and experiences from their pasts. It is how we grow and learn from past mistakes.

Upon graduation, Brayden secured a position with a manufacturing firm where he continued to work for several years. He continued to stay in contact with me and became active with an organization of men in town who provided positive mentoring to those formerly incarcerated. Brayden had shared his fear of success during our training sessions and how he had sabotaged his own efforts in the past. Concerned about this pattern and I would share these concerns whenever we spoke together. His fear stemmed from not wanting to disappoint others once he became successful and his sense of unworthiness of his success. His low self-esteem kept him from reaching his full potential as it does with many of the men I train. Because of all the negativity they receive as children and the negative self-talk they develop many feel undeserving of good things.

After being laid-off from the manufacturing firm due to a plant closing, Brayden reached out to me to see if I could find a position for him. One strength of our program is we are able through our network of employers to aid our graduates in securing employment. I reached out to a few contacts and found a position for Brayden. He is working for a contractor here in town and is doing a great job. He is planning on joining a union and continue a career in the building trades. Brayden’s story is one of my favorites because it shows what anyone is capable of it they are able to overcome their fears and put these simple principles into practice. It has been a struggle, but he continues to move forward with a growing faith in the knowledge of his worth. So what is the life application for us in this story? I think first we have to be teachable and be open to new ideas. We have to acknowledge what we don’t know and be ok with not knowing everything. Humility plays a large role in overcoming our pasts. Secondly, we have to put in the work. Breaking patterns and changing thoughts is hard work and requires a lot of patience. This is a marathon and not a sprint. We are overcoming years of bad programming and it cannot be deleted all at once. Third, is we have to overcome our fears whether they are fear of failure, of success, or the unknown. Fear is the greatest enemy to our success. You must not allow fear to rule in your life. One tool I teach the men I work with is positive affirmations. Every morning wake up and say, “Today I will be unafraid to be great.” If you put these tools to work in your life, I believe you will lead not just a successful life, but a rewarding life for those around you.

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