Student Society – USC PRSSA Government & Student Funding http://uscprssa.com/ Government & Student Funding Sat, 08 Jan 2022 19:33:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://uscprssa.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default-150x150.png Student Society – USC PRSSA Government & Student Funding http://uscprssa.com/ 32 32 The legislative priority is additional class aids for the first and second years https://uscprssa.com/2022/01/08/the-legislative-priority-is-additional-class-aids-for-the-first-and-second-years/ Sat, 08 Jan 2022 18:42:56 +0000 https://uscprssa.com/2022/01/08/the-legislative-priority-is-additional-class-aids-for-the-first-and-second-years/ West Virginia lawmakers will consider a range of educational policies, including adding classroom aids for younger students. Roger hanshaw House Speaker Roger Hanshaw R-Clay said funding the aid was a top priority for him. He cited public investments to support higher levels in recent years, but said it wouldn’t pay off if younger students didn’t […]]]>

West Virginia lawmakers will consider a range of educational policies, including adding classroom aids for younger students.

Roger hanshaw

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw R-Clay said funding the aid was a top priority for him. He cited public investments to support higher levels in recent years, but said it wouldn’t pay off if younger students didn’t have enough support to prepare.

“What I do know is that the problem is the student-teacher ratio in those early years,” Hanshaw said during a participation in a legislative preview panel Friday.

“That’s where my support comes from. It’s about making sure that we don’t send the kids to the upper grades to enjoy the things that we’ve been trying to do over the past four years in such a way that they can’t reap the benefits.

The aid funding would be intended for the first and second year classes.

Joe statler

Delegate Joe Statler, deputy chair of the House Education Committee, also described this support as a priority during Friday’s legislative anticipation event sponsored by the West Virginia Press Association, AARP West Virginia and the West Virginia University Academic Relations Office.

“Overall, this bill will be extremely productive in this state as it allows for more one-on-one with students,” Statler, R-Monongalia said.

“We know that building the foundation of education is essential, so these students have what they need, especially in reading skills to move forward. “

Statler described the effort as building on the success of preschool programs in the state.

The financial projection is $ 68 million, Statler said, affecting about 1,800 classrooms. He said the state’s education ministry and others were working on preparing the legislation. The 60-day ordinary legislative session begins next week.

“If you have more than 12 students in the class, you will need to have an assistant in that class,” he said.

Dale lee

West Virginia Education Association president Dale Lee said he hopes the policy will really reduce class sizes.

“My concern for Delegate Statler is that I understand the desire to put classrooms aids, teaching assistants,” Lee said. “I hope you’re not going to increase the size of the classrooms, the size of these classrooms, to do it. “

Higher education financing formula

Statler also said the House education committee will consider a new funding formula for colleges and universities. A formula could provide more certainty than the ups and downs of the traditional budget process, Statler said. “This will be another bill that will really help,” he said.

Hanshaw agreed.

“I think this will bring some stability to our higher education institutions,” he said. “I think this will provide them with some clarity on the state’s expectations in terms of how we want to allocate our resources to higher education institutions.”

Mirta Martin

Fairmont State University President Mirta Martin described the significant progress made by higher education leaders by examining how the formula works.

But Martin warned that the covid-19 pandemic has brought about so much change in society, the economy, and education that it’s difficult to define what success in higher education should be.

“We are concerned that this is a very difficult time to implement a performance-based funding formula,” said Martin. “We just don’t yet have a benchmark against which to measure our future in an ever-changing present. “

Salary increases

Statler also alluded to the pay rise for public employees promised last month by Gov. Jim Justice. The salary increase described as an average 5 percent increase would affect teachers statewide.

“The good thing is that it was not triggered by any request,” he said.

Lee of the West Virginia Education Association said the increases could help the state recruit and retain employees in the education system.

“We have to deal with shortages. We know there are teacher shortages, service staff shortages, our bus drivers, our cooks, our guards, wherever we have shortages, ”he said. “We need to make our salaries comparable to those of our contiguous states. “


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American Meteorological Society cancels in-person annual meeting https://uscprssa.com/2022/01/06/american-meteorological-society-cancels-in-person-annual-meeting/ Thu, 06 Jan 2022 22:08:46 +0000 https://uscprssa.com/2022/01/06/american-meteorological-society-cancels-in-person-annual-meeting/ AMS was planning an in-person meeting for the meteorological community in Houston, Texas, later in January. Image: AMS The American Meteorological Society (AMS) announced today that it is canceling the annual in-person meeting scheduled for this month in Houston, Texas, citing ongoing pandemic concerns. The 102nd Annual Meeting consisting of sessions, public meetings, short courses, […]]]>
AMS was planning an in-person meeting for the meteorological community in Houston, Texas, later in January. Image: AMS

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) announced today that it is canceling the annual in-person meeting scheduled for this month in Houston, Texas, citing ongoing pandemic concerns. The 102nd Annual Meeting consisting of sessions, public meetings, short courses, posters, exhibits and side events goes completely virtual this year. However, the 21st Annual AMS Student Conference will remain a hybrid meeting, where attendees can participate in person or remotely on January 22-23.

In a statement released today, AMS wrote: “The 2022 Comprehensive Planning Committee and staff worked tirelessly to ensure a safe environment at the conference in Houston for those who felt the level of risk was acceptable. . However, with the rise of the Omicron variant (which is expected to peak at the same time as our annual meeting), we have had a growing number of key individuals and organizations (volunteers, staff, presenters, attendees, vendors, universities). , and government organizations) necessary to support and contribute to the quality of the in-person meeting choose to participate in the annual meeting remotely. It is now clear that we will not have the critical mass of on-site expertise to deliver the component in person nor the participation necessary to provide a quality face-to-face meeting at the level we all expect. Therefore, we came to the difficult conclusion of focusing our attention and resources on a fully virtual annual meeting and hybrid student conference. “

The AGU reports on a COVID outbreak that occurred during its fall meeting earlier this month in New Orleans.  Image: AGU
The AGU reports on a COVID outbreak that occurred during its fall meeting earlier this month in New Orleans. Image: AGU

Another high-level conference that many attend in addition to the AMS event is now dealing with their own outbreak of COVID. The AGU Fall 2021 meeting for the American Geophysical Union was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, December 13-17. According to an update released by AGU on December 31, the last day they tracked infections, 94 fully vaccinated conference attendees tested positive for COVID-19. The AGU required that each individual be fully immunized if they were at the New Orleans Convention Center (NOCC). This included AGU staff, NOCC staff and security; they also demanded masks in the NOCC since they rented the entire facility.

One of the largest conferences in the country in January also sees a large number of people and companies cancel their participation. The Consumer Electronics Show 2022, or CES 2022 for short, now takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 5-7. Some of the biggest names in tech have canceled plans to attend the event, including T-Mobile which was scheduled to have its CEO speak at the event.

“After careful consideration and discussion, T-Mobile has made the difficult decision to significantly limit our in-person attendance at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show,” the company said in its statement, also posted on Twitter. “While we are confident that the CES organizers are taking comprehensive measures to protect attendees in person and that we have also implemented many preventative practices, we make the safety of our team and other attendees a priority with this decision. “

T-Mobile has joined Amazon, Meta (Facebook), Pinterest, Twitter and iHeartRadio in canceling their plans to participate in this event.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) which runs CES 2022 decided to end its event a day earlier due to concerns over COVID.

The CES also welcomes meteorologists and companies presenting weather-related technologies. In 2019, IBM used CES to unveil its new weather forecasting model. Weather stations, weather radios and household electronics that work due to the weather or weather forecast are often featured at the electronics fair.

IBM used CES2019 to unveil its latest model of weather forecasting.  Image: Weatherboy
IBM used CES2019 to unveil its latest model of weather forecasting. Image: Weatherboy

All of these events have COVID-19 security protocols for their attendees. The AGU required that all participants be vaccinated and wear masks at all times, with the exception of podium speakers who were given the option to remove their masks. Although everyone is vaccinated and masked, COVID continues to grow. CES 2022 requires all guests to be vaccinated and wear masks; Earlier this week, they also announced that attendees must have negative COVID test results within 24 hours of attending a CES event. CES 2022 is providing COVID test kits to event attendees.

Another major scientific conference has decided to cancel their January 2022 event altogether. The 239th meeting of the American Astronomical Society has decided to cancel their in-person event scheduled for January 9-13 before the end of 2021. A statement released by the AAS last week said, “The AAS Board of Directors voted unanimously to cancel the in-person component of the 239th AAS meeting. The rapid increase in the COVID-19 Omicron variant and the health risks it poses to our staff, attendees, exhibitors and contractors, as well as the likely spread of the virus from attendees to other after the conference were considered too great a risk to hold the meeting. Additionally, international and institutional travel restrictions have already impacted some of our speakers and attendees, severely limiting their ability to travel to Salt Lake City. We also received and evaluated community feedback regarding the cancellation of the in-person meeting, with the majority in favor of a cancellation. Most of the people who submitted comments also thanked the board for listening and many recognized the difficult decision they have to make and expressed their support for the board.



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Team designs prison facility with focus on inmate mental health https://uscprssa.com/2022/01/04/team-designs-prison-facility-with-focus-on-inmate-mental-health/ Tue, 04 Jan 2022 21:51:00 +0000 https://uscprssa.com/2022/01/04/team-designs-prison-facility-with-focus-on-inmate-mental-health/ The way prisons are designed is changing. “Our building is quite radical when you look at it. I compare it a bit to a concept car. It’s the concept car and it’s going to be refined throughout the process, ”said JD Zogg, an architecture student at the University of Oklahoma. He led a 17-student project […]]]>

The way prisons are designed is changing.

“Our building is quite radical when you look at it. I compare it a bit to a concept car. It’s the concept car and it’s going to be refined throughout the process, ”said JD Zogg, an architecture student at the University of Oklahoma.

He led a 17-student project at the University of Oklahoma to redesign a nearby prison.

“How do we create this prison that actually serves its purpose and creates a better society, because that is the overall purpose, isn’t it?” He explained.

The student team behind “Rebuilding Incarceration” focused on promoting better mental health outcomes for inmates. The project was in an exhibition late last year.

“I just think that architecture is a continuum in the lives of these inmates that can really make a difference,” said Marjorie P. Callahan, professor at the University of Oklahoma Gibbs College of Architecture.

Callahan, a licensed architect, said they focused on many design elements to help with mental health.

“Architecture can really create an atmosphere,” she said.

“Being able to see trees, plants, beautiful landscapes, bring as much natural light into the cells as possible and have access to the outdoors. These are the three things that are our big goals which will hopefully be transferred to the new prison that will be built, ”Zogg added.

An overhaul of the Oklahoma County Jail is something that has been in the works for a long time.

“Our firm has been examining the Oklahoma County Jail for, I can literally say it, decades,” said John Semtner, director of FSB Architects & Engineers.

The Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council chose the local company as an infrastructure consultant to solve the jail issues.

Semtner is a professional engineer.

“We have visited several facilities as part of this project and others. We have worked in several. When you walk in, they’re clean, they’re respectful, they’re dignified. When you walk into the Oklahoma County Jail, you just want to go out and take a shower, ”he said.

“We really appreciated a lot of what the university project brought. It fits with a lot of national trends about bringing light into spaces, really trying to create a better environment for people to reform, ”Semtner said.

According to psychologist Apryl Alexander, reform must focus.

“There is now a movement towards a more humane correctional design. We know that many prisons are dingy, they are poorly ventilated, they are not well lit. All of these things impact your brain and how you function in these environments, ”said Alexander, professor of forensic psychology at the University of Denver.

“If you go to facilities in Sweden or Norway, you’ll find that a lot of their correctional facilities, even for young people, are more like community centers. Places that support, nurture, ”she explained.

Alexander said proactively helping detainees would benefit communities.

“About 70 percent of the people in our prisons and prisons will return to our communities. So we want to make sure they’re safe, we want to make sure they’re successful in the community when they come back. We need to support their mental health, ”she said.

The Jail Trust and Oklahoma County Commissioners have approved construction of a new jail. The design is still being created.

The Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council’s recommendations include such things as providing mental health treatment, modernizing module design, and providing space for education and others. programs. Elements like this are in keeping with the “Rebuilding Incarceration” concept created by the university team.

“Buildings can’t solve all problems, but they can definitely make problems worse,” Semtner said.


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sabha: Sahitya Sabha holds discussion on economy and role of women in society | Guwahati News https://uscprssa.com/2022/01/02/sabha-sahitya-sabha-holds-discussion-on-economy-and-role-of-women-in-society-guwahati-news/ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 22:51:00 +0000 https://uscprssa.com/2022/01/02/sabha-sahitya-sabha-holds-discussion-on-economy-and-role-of-women-in-society-guwahati-news/ Guwahati: Asam Sahitya Sabha has launched an initiative to encourage young people to organize research-based debates and speeches on various topics related to the history, economy and literature of the state, among others .As part of this initiative, a program titled “Swadesh Swabhiman” was recently organized by the Sabha at the Assam Book Fair in […]]]>
Guwahati: Asam Sahitya Sabha has launched an initiative to encourage young people to organize research-based debates and speeches on various topics related to the history, economy and literature of the state, among others .
As part of this initiative, a program titled “Swadesh Swabhiman” was recently organized by the Sabha at the Assam Book Fair in Chandmari here. The program discussed the naval combat strategy of General Ahom Lachit Borphukan and others, the relationship between economy and language, the role and place of women in Assamese society, eating habits, dress of the different communities and the desire of the young people of Sabha.
Sabha Chairman and former Police Director General Kuladhar Saikia said: “Although it is an initiative of Asam Sahitya Sabha, the event was fully planned and executed by a group of ‘students from different colleges and universities.
He added: “The young people of the new generation are pretty smart. They study, research and are keen to learn and do something for the Assamese community and the language. The students spoke on various topics related to the history, economics and literature of Assam, among others. One of the students shed light on General Ahom Lachit Borphukan’s naval strategy… how he defeated the Mughals. Another student gave an analytical presentation on the relationship between economics and language. If a community becomes economically strong, only then can it survive.
Seven students – Unmilan Kalita, Tridip Bhagawati, Kallol Kashyap, Gunjan Das, Jharna Bharali, Kiran Koushik Hazarika and Ruma Begum – from different universities and colleges attended the event and spoke about the different topics.


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Fall Girls Swimming All-Scholastics and League All-Stars – Boston Herald https://uscprssa.com/2022/01/01/fall-girls-swimming-all-scholastics-and-league-all-stars-boston-herald/ Sat, 01 Jan 2022 05:01:56 +0000 https://uscprssa.com/2022/01/01/fall-girls-swimming-all-scholastics-and-league-all-stars-boston-herald/ ALL SCHOOLS SWIMMING GIRLS Diya Ackerman-Vallala (North Andover) 100 yards breaststroke Malia Amuan (North Andover) 200 medley yards, 100 freestyle yards Anna Boemer (reading) 50 meters freestyle, 100 meters butterfly Tabitha Chen-Fiske (Winchester) diving Charlotte Kaduson (Winchester) 500 freestyle yards Alexa Kalish (Brookline) diving Hannah Lee (Brookline) 100-meter breaststroke Charlotte Moulston (Andover) 500 freestyle yards […]]]>

ALL SCHOOLS SWIMMING GIRLS

Diya Ackerman-Vallala (North Andover) 100 yards breaststroke

Malia Amuan (North Andover) 200 medley yards, 100 freestyle yards

Anna Boemer (reading) 50 meters freestyle, 100 meters butterfly

Tabitha Chen-Fiske (Winchester) diving

Charlotte Kaduson (Winchester) 500 freestyle yards

Alexa Kalish (Brookline) diving

Hannah Lee (Brookline) 100-meter breaststroke

Charlotte Moulston (Andover) 500 freestyle yards

Madelyn Smith (Ursuline) 100 butterfly yards

Trinity Trainor (Framingham) 50 yard freestyle

Hannah Wieczorek (North Andover) 100 backstroke yards, 200 freestyle yards

Maddison McAloon, Alexandra George, Julia Netishen, Julia Paradis (Central Catholic) 200-yard freestyle relay

Hannah Wieczorek, Diya Ackerman-Vallala, Malia Amuan, Alexandra Shea (North Andover) 200-yard medley relay, 200-yard freestyle relay

Freestyle relay by Sophie Juethner, Rachel Tsang, Claudia Huang, Isabela Teixeira (Acton-Boxboro)

DIYA ACKERMAN-VALLALA, North Andover

The junior won the 100-yard breaststroke title at the Merrimack Valley Conference Championship, then was the North Section champion in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 IM, then won the Div. 2nd state title in the 100-yard breaststroke. Recipient of the Scarlet Knight Award, Ackerman-Vallala is elected captain for the 2022 season.

MALIA AMUAN, North Andover

The senior star has established a Div. 2 meet record in both the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard free, the latter being a state record. In the north sections, Amuan broke records in the 200-yard free and 100 backstroke. She set school records in the 100-yard freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 medley yards and two relays. Member of the National Honor Society, Amuan will swim at the University of Michigan.

ANNA BOEMER, reading

The junior won the North Section title in the 50-yard freestyle and placed second in the 100-yard freestyle. At the Div. 2nd state competition, Boemer set a state record in the 100-yard butterfly and nearly broke a second record by winning the 50-yard freestyle. A four-time NICSA All-American and Olympic qualifier in the 100-meter butterfly, Boemer verbally pledged to swim at the University of Michigan.

TABITHA CHEN-FISKE, Winchester

The senior has remained undefeated this season, winning the Middlesex League, the Northern Section and the Div. 2 state diving title. A two-time NISCA All-American diver, Chen-Fiske has qualified for the United States National Junior Diving Championship 13 times in the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform events. Chen-Fiske is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society.

CHARLOTTE KADUSON, Winchester

A Middlesex League All-Conference performer and two-time All-Star, the senior has won the 500-yard freestyle in both the North Section and the Division. 1 state tournament. Kaduson is also a member of the National Honor Society. She will continue her swimming career at Sacred Heart University.

ALEXA KALISH, Brookline

Kalish went undefeated last season, setting school records in the 6 and 11 dives, Bay State Conference champion Kalish won the diving title in both the southern section and the division. 1 state tournament. A student on the Honor Roll with a GPA of 4.0, Kalish will dive at Dartmouth College.

HANNAH LEE, Brookline

The junior won the 100 breaststroke and was part of the winning 200 medley relay, leading Brookline to a second place finish in the Div. 1 championships. In the southern sections, Lee broke a competition record in the 100 breaststroke. During the offseason, Lee swims as part of Charles River Aquatics.

CHARLOTTE MOULSON, Andover

The captain of the Moulson team was the Merrimack Valley Conference Div. 1 swimmer of the year, scoring the most points in league events. She was the Div. 1 state champion in the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events. A student with first class honors, Moulson plans to study environmental science. During the offseason, Moulson swims at Crimson Aquatics

MADELYN SMITH, Ursuline

The elder was undefeated in the 100-yard butterfly, winning the southern section and division. 1 state title. Smith was part of a 400-yard freestyle relay team that finished fourth in the Div. 1 states. Six-year-old college artist and former Boston Herald All-Scholastic, Smith is a member of the National Honor Society. Smith will swim at Middlebury College.

TRINITY COACH, Framingham

Trainor was the southern section and the Div. 1 state champion at 50 yards freestyle. She was also part of a record 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relay team. His efforts helped the Flyers claim a fifth place finish in the Div. 1 championships. Trainor did not choose a college but plans to major in biology.

HANNAH WIECZOREK, North Andover

The second captured the Div. 2 titles 100 yards back and 200 yards freestyle in addition to having competed in a pair of winning relays (200 yards medley, 200 yards freestyle). Wieczorek has trained with Crimson Aquatics and Bradford Swim Club. As a decorated young swimmer, Wieczorek’s long-term goals are to swim in a division. 1 college.

CENTRAL CATHOLIC

RELAY 200 FREESTYLE

The quartet of senior Julia Paradis, juniors Madison McAloon and Alexandra George and sophomore Julia Netishen took second place in the northern sections and then won the crown in the 200-yard freestyle relay at the Div. . 1 state meeting. McAloon competes in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle, while Netishen swims in the 50-meter freestyle. Paradis was sixth in 100 butterfly yards and 200 medley yards and George competed in 50 yards, 100 yards and 200 free yards.

NORTH AND ABOVE

RELAIS 200 MEDLEY, RELAIS 200 FREESTYLE

The quartet of Hannah Wieczorek, Diya Ackerman-Vallala, Malia Amuan, Alexandra Shea captured the Div. 2 state titles at 200 QN and 200 relays. Wieczorek, Ackerman-Vallala and Amaun have all won individual state titles, while Shea will be back for his final year after performing well in the 50-yard freestyle.

ACTON-BOXBORO

RELAY 400 FREESTYLE

Senior foursome Sophie Juethner, Rachel Tsang and Claudia Huang along with rookie Isabela Teixeira won gold in the 400-yard freestyle at the Div. 1 State comes together to help Colonials win the State Tag Team Title. Juethner won the 100-yard free and was second in the 50-yard free. Tsang won a third place in the 100-yard butterfly and a fourth in the 500-yard freestyle in the Div. 1 states. Huang was second in the 100-meter backstroke, while Teixeira already holds the school record in the 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter breaststroke.

LEAGUE STARS

MERRIMACK VALLEY CONFERENCE

(CO-ED): Amelia Barron, Calire Neilly, Maya Flatley (Andover); Craig Fiorino, Gabriel Flores (Billerica); Madison McAloon, Julia Netishen (Central Catholic); Neva Sa, Marissa Aldayaa, Abby Rice (Chelmsford); Cai Simard, Jacqueline Strong, Carly Quinlin, Kanzie Hillsgrove (Haverhill); Carter Delano, Caleb Canavan, Lex Flores, Corey Boiselle (Methuen / Tewksbury); Hannah Wieczorek, Diya Ackerman Vallala (North of Andover)

swimmer of the year: Charlotte Moulson, Melia Amuan

MIDDLE LEAGUE

ANY CONFERENCE: Ella Barker, Soline Fisher, Emma Gregory, Kathinka Hartvedt, Alexis Kim, Isabelle Houseman, Sylvie Racicot (Arlington / Watertown); Maddy Morawski, Alique Stepanian (Belmont); Anna Boemer (reading); Kaitlin Patt, Audrey Cook (Wakefield); Vivian Brooks, Tabitha Chen-Fiske, Charlotte Kaduson, Emma Kawai, Elle Michaud (Winchester)


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City University of Hong Kong demands removal of Tiananmen massacre statue as campus crackdown continues https://uscprssa.com/2021/12/27/city-university-of-hong-kong-demands-removal-of-tiananmen-massacre-statue-as-campus-crackdown-continues/ Mon, 27 Dec 2021 00:00:00 +0000 https://uscprssa.com/2021/12/27/city-university-of-hong-kong-demands-removal-of-tiananmen-massacre-statue-as-campus-crackdown-continues/ The City University of Hong Kong has ordered the statue of the Goddess of Democracy to be removed from campus, as it becomes the city’s fourth academic institution to crack down on monuments commemorating the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. The statue of the Goddess of Democracy outside the Run Run Shaw library at the City […]]]>

The City University of Hong Kong has ordered the statue of the Goddess of Democracy to be removed from campus, as it becomes the city’s fourth academic institution to crack down on monuments commemorating the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989.

The statue of the Goddess of Democracy outside the Run Run Shaw library at the City University of Hong Kong in 2014. Photo: City University of Hong Kong Students’ Union via Facebook

In an email to the union on Friday, school officials said the “temporary posting of the article” had “expired” on March 31 of this year and that the group of students were to move it the same day.

See also: 48-hour crackdown on Hong Kong campus on memory of Tiananmen massacre


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Striving for Real Equality in Society – Richa Okhandiar-MacDougall https://uscprssa.com/2021/12/23/striving-for-real-equality-in-society-richa-okhandiar-macdougall/ Thu, 23 Dec 2021 07:12:48 +0000 https://uscprssa.com/2021/12/23/striving-for-real-equality-in-society-richa-okhandiar-macdougall/ Richa Okhandiar-MacDougall, Principal Administrator at Converge and Art Psychotherapy Masters Student, Queen Margaret University Most people want a fairer and more egalitarian society, but it is a tough business and cannot be accomplished alone. Change, even positive, is scary. All over the world, and especially since the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement increased […]]]>
Richa Okhandiar-MacDougall, Principal Administrator at Converge and Art Psychotherapy Masters Student, Queen Margaret University

Most people want a fairer and more egalitarian society, but it is a tough business and cannot be accomplished alone. Change, even positive, is scary.

All over the world, and especially since the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement increased in the summer of 2020, we know that it is not an option to be indifferent to the tragedies and discrimination that permeate the systems in the world. which we all work for. While difficult and necessary conversations have taken place, how do we use this momentum to implement equality and change the status quo? Understanding what equality means is extremely important for us as individuals, but we also need to go further by understanding the systems and processes around us that cause damage.

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We live in an unequal society and face many obstacles: racism, sexism, poverty, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, classism and more in the context of a growing wealth gap, climate change and a global pandemic . What we know about how the world works is crucial to changing our reactions to these systems and behaviors. Equality doesn’t just mean giving everyone exactly the same opportunity. We need to understand that we all come from different starting points. We should ask ourselves whether the “one size fits all” approach takes into account the institutional barriers and biases that people are forced to face.

Members of the public kneel to mark the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd, which spurred the Black Lives Matter movement. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images)

How can we engage with equality beyond our own individual consideration of discrimination and work to push for institutional change? It requires solving uncomfortable and difficult problems and working to unlearn and dismantle what we know. An important question to ask ourselves is whether the processes in which we are currently participating are even capable of doing this? I would say they are not.

At Converge, Scotland’s largest university-based business creation program, we strive to embed these values ​​of equality into the work we do and the projects we support. However, we know that involves asking ourselves tough questions. Through our work, we collaborate with 18 universities across Scotland and a large network of partners. So how can we use our voice to speak up and implement the change within our own agenda and what will that look like?

Converge strives to support ideas and innovations that care about social impact and aim to create something that will change people’s lives for the better. Since this is one of our core tenets, we also continue to question ourselves to make sure we don’t become complacent, asking ourselves how can we do better?

We are keen to go beyond the traditional discourse on equality opportunities and tackle the real issues by providing direct funding and support for those innovative and radical ideas that support systemic change and offer real alternative options. to the status quo.

It is often a question of power: who holds the power and are they willing to give it up? I believe it is vital that we open a dialogue to understand power and how the systems we are in benefit those in power. Power can be understood at the individual, organizational and structural level and should be explored in depth. I’m really interested in the redistribution of power and resources. Power as a collective and collaborative force rather than hierarchical and imposed by domination.

Working for equality will involve us all. This can and should be a shared common goal, but it will be difficult for many. The refocusing of power and the questioning of dominant narratives and systems deserve to be defended.


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How the Kremlin is militarizing Russian society https://uscprssa.com/2021/12/21/how-the-kremlin-is-militarizing-russian-society/ Tue, 21 Dec 2021 12:57:33 +0000 https://uscprssa.com/2021/12/21/how-the-kremlin-is-militarizing-russian-society/ MOSCOW – Stepping onto a podium in heavy boots and military fatigues at a ceremony outside Moscow, six teenagers received awards for an increasingly important discipline in Russia: patriotism. For days, students from across the country took part in activities such as card reading, shooting and history quizzes. The competition was funded in part by […]]]>

MOSCOW – Stepping onto a podium in heavy boots and military fatigues at a ceremony outside Moscow, six teenagers received awards for an increasingly important discipline in Russia: patriotism.

For days, students from across the country took part in activities such as card reading, shooting and history quizzes. The competition was funded in part by the Kremlin, which made “patriotic military” education a priority.

“Parents and children understand that this aggressive shell around us, it tightens, it hardens,” said Sviatoslav Omelchenko, a KGB special forces veteran who founded Vympel, the group that organizes the event. “We are doing everything we can to make sure the children are aware of this and to prepare them to go and serve.”

For the past eight years, the Russian government has promoted the idea that the homeland is surrounded by enemies, filtering the concept through national institutions like schools, the military, the media, and the Orthodox Church. He even raised the possibility that the country will have to defend itself again as it did against the Nazis in WWII.

Now, as Russia massages on the Ukrainian border, sparking Western fears of an impending invasion, the constant militarization of Russian society under President Vladimir V. Putin is suddenly looming and seems to have gotten a lot used to the idea. that a fight could occur. .

“The authorities are actively selling the idea of ​​war,” said Dmitry A. Muratov, the editor of the Russian newspaper which shared the Nobel Peace Prize this year, in his acceptance speech in Oslo this month. . “People are getting used to the thought of its legality.”

Speaking to Russian military leaders on Tuesday, Putin insisted that Russia did not want bloodshed, but was ready to respond with “military and technical measures” to what he described as the aggressive behavior of the West in the region.

While there is no outbreak of war fever, there are many signs that the government is harboring preparation for conflict. A four-year, $ 185 million program launched by the Kremlin this year aims to dramatically increase Russians’ “patriotic education”, including a plan to attract at least 600,000 children as young as 8 to join. the ranks of an army of young people in uniform. Adults receive their education from state television, where political broadcasts – one called “Moscow.” Kremlin. Putin. – bring into play the story of a fascist coup d’état in Ukraine and a West determined to destroy Russia.

And all are united by the almost sacred memory of the Soviet victory in World War II – a memory the state seized upon to shape the identity of a triumphant Russia that must be ready to take up arms once again. more.

Aleksei Levinson, head of socio-cultural research at the Levada Center, an independent Moscow pollster, calls the trend the “militarization of consciousness” of the Russians. In the centre’s regular surveys, in 2018 the army became the most reliable institution in the country, overtaking even the president. This year, the proportion of Russians who said they feared a world war reached the highest level recorded in surveys dating back to 1994: 62%.

This does not mean, Mr. Levinson warned, that the Russians would be in favor of a bloody territorial conquest of Ukraine. But that means, he said, that many have been conditioned to accept that Russia is locked into an existential rivalry with other powers in which the use of force is a possibility.

The celebration of the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II – called the Great Patriotic War in Russia – played the most important role in this conditioning. Rather than promoting only a culture of remembrance of Soviet heroism and the 27 million lives lost, the Kremlin applies the WWII narrative to the present day, positioning Russia as once again threatened by determined enemies to its destruction.

In his annual Victory Day speech this year after a monumental military parade, Mr. Putin tore apart current anonymous Russian enemies who were redeploying the Nazis’ “delusional theory of their exclusivity”. On state television last week, a news anchor ridiculed threats of sanctions against Russia from those “who don’t know how to frighten a people who have lost more than 20 million people. its men, its women, its old people and its children during the last war ”.

A popular WWII bumper sticker reads, “We can do it again.”

“There is a transposition of this victory” – in World War II – “in the current confrontation with the NATO bloc,” Mr Levinson said.

An hour west of Moscow, the Great Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces opened last year. Its exterior is army green and its floors are made from weapons and tanks seized from the German Wehrmacht. The arched stained glass windows feature badges and medals.

On a recent Sunday, the church and its museum and accompanying park were full of visitors. A group of fifth graders from the Suvorov Military School in Tver, dressed in their uniforms, marched in two lines before heading to the museum. Their instructor said it was fundamentally important for students in their first year of military school to learn more about their predecessors.

“We also do a bit of propaganda,” joked the section chief, refusing to give his name.

Beyond the church grounds, visitors walked through snow-capped trenches in a mock front line. Further on, under the towering dome of the church, children could ride a go-kart like a track in a miniature replica of a battle tank.

“All children should come here and develop an interest in history from an early age,” said Alina Grengolm, as her 2-year-old son climbed an icy reservoir with the help of his father.

Recently in Moscow, more than 600 people from all over Russia gathered for a government-sponsored forum to promote patriotism among young people. Sergei Kiriyenko, the powerful deputy chief of staff of Mr. Putin, congratulated the participants for having done “sacred work”.

At the conference, two “victory volunteers” spoke about their plans to teach high school students about Russia’s victory in World War II at a regional event the following week.

In a Levada poll released last week, 39% of Russians said war between Russia and Ukraine was either inevitable or very likely. Half of them said the US and NATO were to blame for the recent rise in tensions, and no more than 4% – across all age groups – said Russia was at fault .

The belief across society that Russia is not the aggressor reflects a fundamental ideology dating back to Soviet times: that the country only fights defensive wars. The government has even earmarked money for films that explore this theme: in April, the Ministry of Culture decreed that “Russia’s historic victories” and “Russia’s peacekeeping mission” part of the priority topics for film producers seeking government funding.

“At the moment, the idea is put forward that Russia is a peace-loving country permanently surrounded by enemies,” said Anton Dolin, Russian film critic. “This is contradicted by some facts, but if you show it in movies and translate this idea back to the days of the Great Patriotic War, we all instantly get a pattern familiar to everyone from childhood.”

On Russian state television, the tale of a neo-Nazi-controlled Ukraine used as a playground for Western aggression has been a common trope since the pro-Western revolution in Kiev in 2014. After the revolution, Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula from Crimea, instigated war in eastern Ukraine, and sharpened its message about Russia as a “besieged fortress.”

Some analysts fear that escalating rhetoric may lay the groundwork for what Russia would present as a defensive intervention to protect its security and Russian-speaking people in Ukraine. Yevgeny Popov, a newly elected MP and host of a popular political program on state television, said in an interview that his ratings had increased in recent weeks – “the tension is rising,” he said. declared.

“I think most people in Russia would only be supportive if we stood up for the Russians who live in these territories,” Popov said, referring to the separatist territories of Ukraine where hundreds of thousands of people have received the Russian nationality.

The effectiveness of the state’s militarized messaging is subject to debate. Polls show that young people have a more positive outlook on the West than older Russians, and pro-Kremlin sentiment over the annexation of Crimea appears to have dissipated amid economic stagnation.

But the Kremlin doubles. His drive to increase “patriotic education” includes funding groups like Vympel. The “patriotic military” organization has around 100 branches across the country and organized the recent skills competition in the city of Vladimir which ended on Thursday.

Veronika Osipova, 17, from the city of Rostov-on-Don, near the Ukrainian border, won the award for best female student. For years she played the harp, graduating with honors from an elite music school. But in 2015, she began to learn to shoot a machine gun and throw grenades. She decided to join the Russian army to protect the country from its enemies.

“I am the example of the girls who, under bullets and grenades, went to fight during the Great Patriotic War,” Ms. Osipova said. “They had no choice, but we have it, and I choose the military.”

Anton Troianovsky brought back from Moscow, Ivan Nechepurenko from Vladimir, from Russia, and Valerie Hopkins from Kubinka, Russia. Alina Lobzina contributed reporting from Moscow.


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Religious education is doing better under the new standards https://uscprssa.com/2021/12/20/religious-education-is-doing-better-under-the-new-standards/ Mon, 20 Dec 2021 00:01:01 +0000 https://uscprssa.com/2021/12/20/religious-education-is-doing-better-under-the-new-standards/ As the year draws to a close, Minnesota students prepare for a school break – and many, but not all, will come together to celebrate Christmas vacation with friends and family, as safely as possible at the amid the continuing pandemic. It is in this context that I find myself reflecting on the continuing efforts […]]]>

As the year draws to a close, Minnesota students prepare for a school break – and many, but not all, will come together to celebrate Christmas vacation with friends and family, as safely as possible at the amid the continuing pandemic.

It is in this context that I find myself reflecting on the continuing efforts to refresh and improve the way the State of Minnesota teaches the social sciences – including religion – to our public school students. As a pastor, I recognize that our Christian students rightly have not only free time for the holidays, but also the benefit of knowing that their classmates from other traditions will learn the Christian religion in school.

These core values ​​- that inclusion and recognition are important, and that students of other major religions should see their own religious traditions taught appropriately and precisely – are the ones we must extend to all children of our state.

In mid-November, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the latest draft of its social studies standards and benchmarks, calling for another round of public comment. This document describes what public school children in our state are expected to learn in history, geography, and other social studies subjects, including religion.

Earlier this fall, I joined over 130 other religious leaders based in Minnesota in advocating for the inclusion of world religions by name in the updated project. Their inclusion, we argued, would mean that all major faiths, rather than those teachers already know, would be more likely to be incorporated into classroom discussions and teaching materials.

While we are happy to see world religions added in this latest version, there is still room for improvement.

For example, the latest iteration of the document lacks a point of reference that would ensure that all religions named in the standards are discussed in classrooms as aspects of modern identity, rather than mere historical events. While it is essential that students learn about the development and spread of various religious traditions in the past, it is equally important that they understand how individuals interact with religious identity here and now.

Additionally, Sikhism – the fifth largest religious tradition in the world – has been added to college benchmarks. It is, however, absent from the relevant high school benchmark, and therefore likely to be overlooked when other world religions are discussed in lessons like world history.

I believe it is essential that Sikh youth in Minnesota see their faith and history reflected in classrooms in the same way Christians and other students do.

While these further improvements are certainly needed, the fact remains that the MDE is undertaking essential and well-intentioned work in its efforts to revise standards and benchmarks. Despite the fact that this is a normal process, occurring once every 10 years, as required by law, there has been a torrent of unfounded anger in Minnesota – and across the country – in response to the most basic and best-informed efforts to make our schools more inclusive.

The most extreme opposition to this type of work has been truly disturbing, including threats against school board members and calls from state lawmakers to ban or even burn books.

Of course, parents are right to care about what their children learn and are entitled to their own opinions. But does everything in our society have to be so politically charged? We can certainly all agree that every student should feel seen and respected in the classroom. A richer and more complete education will lead to an appreciation of others and less bullying – an important priority given that, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, 1 in 4 students have experienced bullying related to their race, background national origin, his religion. , disability, gender or sexual orientation as recently as the 2018 school year.

And finally, it stands to reason that children are better prepared for life in a diverse country by learning about different faiths, races and cultures. This is basically the goal of the effort to improve social science education in our state.

All in all, I sincerely hope that the MDE finishes its good job with the inclusion of a point of reference to ensure that religion is discussed in contemporary and historical contexts, as well as the addition of Sikhism to other faiths in the high school section. This final step in the right direction would be something we could all celebrate together at this time of year – regardless, of course, of our religious tradition.

The Rev. Dr. Tom Duke is a Lutheran pastor (retired) and the former executive director of the St. Paul District Council of Churches (now Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul).


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“Reindeer Games” at Lakeview | News, Sports, Jobs https://uscprssa.com/2021/12/18/reindeer-games-at-lakeview-news-sports-jobs/ Sat, 18 Dec 2021 06:12:20 +0000 https://uscprssa.com/2021/12/18/reindeer-games-at-lakeview-news-sports-jobs/ CORTLAND – Students at Lakeview Middle School made helping the community a pleasure this holiday season with their “Reindeer games”. Working with the school administration, eighth-grade students Isaiah Lantz, Chelsea Walker, Will Kirila and Alex Bates each selected a local charity to support, then organized a host of events and competitions to their classmates – […]]]>

CORTLAND – Students at Lakeview Middle School made helping the community a pleasure this holiday season with their “Reindeer games”.

Working with the school administration, eighth-grade students Isaiah Lantz, Chelsea Walker, Will Kirila and Alex Bates each selected a local charity to support, then organized a host of events and competitions to their classmates – each participating student playing to earn points and raise money for their team or charity of their choice.

“It’s like we’re doing something important” said Walker, who chose the Warren Family Mission as a charity because she had heard her mother talk about it and “Love what they do for people”.

Lantz chose to support United Way, Kirila chose Veterans Outreach in Youngstown, and Bates chose the Autism Society of the Mahoning Valley, saying: “I think there are a lot of people who struggle with autism who don’t have the same opportunities as we do.”

The idea of ​​the games – which included everything from a volleyball tournament to hula-hooping, an artistic challenge, anecdotes, a “Snow storm” math challenge, building a gingerbread house and “musical masterpiece” blind music contest – started when students discussed the possibility of girls playing soccer, Walker said. From there, they decided the boys could play volleyball and looked to organize a boys’ volleyball tournament. At the same time, the students needed an idea for a “a problem solver” project in their English class – and eventually the two ideas became one and grew to include a little something for everyone.

The problem-solving project was originally supposed to be a summer project, said Sydney Stein, an English teacher at the college, but it has grown into a year-long endeavor.

“I didn’t want to entrust a book project during the summer”, Stein said. “Now I want (the students) to experience leadership and be advocates for their community. “

Stein said she was proud of the students and thrilled to see them working to bring about real change.

“I think what I like the most about this project is that it was completely student-led”, school principal Ashley Handrych said. She said she was also happy that the students learned that the holiday season is not just about receiving gifts, but also about giving.

“It feels really good” Kirila said of the project, adding, “We raised a lot of money.

College kids were also allowed to wear hats – or hats, as one student wearing a fedora over a flat cap – for a donation of $ 1 on Friday. At the end of the day, the charity whose team earned the most points took home the money raised for the hats, according to Handrych.

Before the final funds were tallied, Handrych estimated that the students had raised around $ 1,300 – although she said it wasn’t just money; these were the students enthusiastic about helping the community.

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