Joseph Gale 4th grade classes each have 35 kids with barely room to turn around in the classroom.
The level of noise in the classroom is distracting to say the least. In my daughter's class the students have a huge range of (dis)ability with some who can barely read and one reading at 12th grade level. Some who can barely add, some doing long division. (This besides the mainstreamed "special needs" kid who is learning to button his shirt.) I don't know how the teachers cope, but I know it can't be easy.
Some parents are preparing to riot, through all the proper channels of course.
Fueled by a 10 percent jump in Latino students, Oregon public school enrollment grew by nearly 7,000 students this school year, the largest growth in a nearly a decade.
State enrollment rose to 559,228 students in fall 2005 from the previous fall, including 84,246 Latino students.
"The surprising increase in the number of public school students this year will continue to put pressure on Oregon schools and districts," said Susan Castillo, state school superintendent. She said increased enrollment means bigger classes, which makes it more difficult for teachers to reach every child who needs extra help.
Oregon school districts conduct a student count every October, but it has taken this long for all of them to report this years' results to the Oregon Department of Education. The enrollment figures show:
Latino enrollment grew by nearly 7,500 students, with the biggest numbers in primary grades.
As a teacher, I sat dumbfounded last May 16, 2005, when the Rocky Mountain News inked a story, "What Happened?" to a stunned Denver, Colorado audience. In a five year study starting in 1999 in Denver Public Schools, 5,663 students started the eighth grade. Five years later, only 1,884 graduated from high school. That's a 65 percent drop out/flunk out rate! That's pathetic, if not frightening.
What was the cause? First of all, 30,000 illegal aliens, speaking 40 different languages, attended Denver schools. Our classrooms suffered thousands of kids functionally illiterate in English with parents functionally illiterate in English and Spanish. The classrooms featured so much incompatible diversity that it created horrific tension, stabbings and death. Thus, American kids suffered a profoundly dumbed-down educational process. One in five teachers quit or transferred out of those Denver classrooms every nine month cycle during those five years.
Last week, the Denver Post announced that 30 percent of teachers in Denver schools were not coming back next year. This is a nationwide travesty. Why? As a teacher, I taught in the inner city in the 1970s. It's exasperating beyond understanding to walk into a classroom where children suffer learning disabilities, broken homes, teen pregnancies at 14, 15, 16, multiple languages and violent confrontations with other ethnic groups. It's impossible to teach. I left my idealism in the ghetto and escaped to a suburban school. But, today, teachers can't escape because over 1.5 million illegal alien students with more than 100 languages attend our kids' schools nationwide. We witness a national breakdown in education. Last week, Superintendent Roy Romer of Los Angeles public schools resigned in frustration and defeat. California schools match the violence of a war zone.
Can you imagine such a failure rate across the country? Can you imagine the consequences of an illiterate generation leading this Republic into the 21st century? Folks, this country won't make it. Where is the outrage?
The second campaign we are doing is opposing HR 4437 - an extreme anti-immigration bill passed by the US House and being introduced to the Senate. This bill makes being an 'undocumented immigrant' an Aggravated Felony. It makes helping any undocumented person a felony - 'transporting aliens' - something that will be used against unions that organize immigrant workers. It will set up a nation-wide computerized employment registry - you will need to prove you are a US citizen to get a job, and the Federal Government will keep track of all employment. THIS IS BEING PUSHED AS AN 'ANTI-TERROR AND BORDER ENFORCEMENT' BILL. We are asking people to write to Senators Smith and Wyden to stop this legislation.
It was suggested that a list of web sites be published, where people can connect to new ideas promoting peace, war-tax resistance, and social justice. What fllows [sic] is a short list of sites and organizations. The following groups have a personal relationship with West County Council for Human Dignity, and the Rural Organizing Project. We have worked together for a long time and support each other's struggles. There are many other great sites and organizations out there. Please feel free to post them for our benefit.
www.rop.org Web site of the Rural Organizing Project - Promoting democracy in rural Oregon. Linking 60 local grassroots groups together across 30 counties of Oregon, to work for peace, social justice, equality. Come to the People's Convention and annual ROP Caucus, May 6-7, in Woodburn @ PCUN Union Hall. Contact email@example.com.
www.peaceworks.org voice of Oregon's peace movement, especially outside the Portland area. Links to many other peace groups such as the war tax resisters.
www.theportlandalliance.org newspaper voice of the Portland left.
www.afsc.org American Friends Service Committee - Quaker based social justice and peace group, long time activist organization. Currently taking a lead to fight the anti-immigrant backlash.
www.kboo.org Our favorite radio station
www.pcun.org Voice of Oregon's farmworker 's union - Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste. Fighting for farm workers' rights, the rights of immigrants - saying 'No human being is illegal' MARCH FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS - SAT. MARCH4, 12 NOON, PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE, PORTLAND.
www.mfso.org Military Families Speak Out - the voice of families with loved ones in the military. The most remarkable development in the peace movement is the anti-war military families' movement. Cindy Sheehan's group, as well as our local friends, Michelle DeFord, Eric Blikenstaff, and many others.
This isn't going well. We should be accepting this proposal [Dubai Ports World taking over the management of several terminals in US ports] because all the security details have been reviewed by the same Administration that thoroughly reviewed the existence of WMD's in Iraq, before plunging that country into chaos.
Now that Leno and Letterman have had their way with Vice President Cheney's hunting accident and the port controversy, maybe we can get back to something really important — like Saddam's WMD program.
Yes, the linchpin of opposition to the Iraq War — never really strong to begin with — has taken some real hits in recent weeks. And "Bush lied" — the anti-war mantra about the president, Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction — looks the most battered.
Inconveniently for critics of the war, Saddam made tapes in his version of the Oval Office. These tapes landed in the hands of American intelligence and were recently aired publicly.
The first 12 hours of the tapes — there are hundreds more waiting to be translated — are damning, to say the least. They show conclusively that Bush didn't lie when he cited Saddam's WMD plans as one of the big reasons for taking the dictator out.
Nobody disputes the tapes' authenticity. On them, Saddam talks openly of programs involving biological, chemical and, yes, nuclear weapons.
War foes have long asserted that Saddam halted his WMD programs in the wake of his defeat in the first Gulf War in 1991. Saddam's abandonment of WMD programs was confirmed by subsequent U.N. inspections.
Again, not true. In a tape dating to April 1995, Saddam and several aides discuss the fact that U.N. inspectors had found traces of Iraq's biological weapons program. On the tape, Hussein Kamel, Saddam's son-in-law, is heard gloating about fooling the inspectors.
"We did not reveal all that we have," he says. "Not the type of weapons, not the volume of the materials we imported, not the volume of the production we told them about, not the volume of use. None of this was correct."
There's more. Indeed, as late as 2000, Saddam can be heard in his office talking with Iraqi scientists about his ongoing plans to build a nuclear device. At one point, he discusses Iraq's plasma uranium program — something that was missed entirely by U.N. weapons inspectors combing Iraq for WMD.
This is particularly troubling, since it indicates an active, ongoing attempt by Saddam to build an Iraqi nuclear bomb.
"What was most disturbing," said John Tierney, the ex- FBI agent who translated the tapes, "was the fact that the individuals briefing Saddam were totally unknown to the U.N. Special Commission (or UNSCOM, the group set up to look into Iraq's WMD programs)."
Perhaps most chillingly, the tapes record Iraq Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz talking about how easy it would be to set off a WMD in Washington. The comments come shortly after Saddam muses about using "proxies" in a terror attack.
In short, let us repeat: President Bush was right. We had to invade to disarm Saddam — otherwise, he would have completely reconstituted his chemical, nuclear and bio-weapons programs when inspectors left.
Saddam probably knew better than to use them himself against the U.S. But it's likely he wouldn't have hesitated giving one or more to terror groups with which he had routine contact.
Lest you think we're making the case entirely based on these tapes, let us assure you that other evidence — mounting by the day — points to the same conclusion.
We've been very impressed by the story told by Georges Sada, the former No. 2 in Iraq's air force. He has written a book, "Saddam's Secrets," that details how the Iraqi dictator used trucks, commercial jets and ships to remove his WMD from the country. At the time, the move went largely undetected, because Iraq pretended the massive movement of materiel was to help Syrian flood victims.
Nor is Sada alone. Ali Ibrahim, another of Saddam's former commanders, has largely corroborated Sada's story.
So how was Saddam able to use his "cheat and retreat" tactics without being found out? He had help, according to a former U.S. Defense Department official.
"The short answer to the question of where the WMD Saddam bought from the Russians went was that they went to Syria and Lebanon," said John Shaw, former deputy undersecretary of defense, in comments made at an intelligence summit Feb. 17-20 in Arlington, Va.
"They were moved by Russian Spetsnaz (special ops) units out of uniform that were specifically sent to Iraq to move the weaponry and eradicate any evidence of its existence," he said.
These are extraordinary developments. They deserve a full airing in the media, since they essentially validate part of Bush's casus belli for invading Iraq and deposing the murderous Saddam.
But once again, the mainstream media have dropped the ball. They seem more interested in Dick Cheney's marksmanship and American port management than in setting the record straight about one of the most important developments of our time.
Poland funding radio station to broadcast into BelarusThe domino theory works.
Warsaw, Poland February 23, 2006
The Government has decided to fund an independent radio station aimed at promoting democracy and freedom of speech in Belarus.
Radio Racja (Radio Reason) will begin broadcasting before Belarus’ March 19th presidential election. The station will be based in the city of Bialystok, in the Northeast.
Some of Radio Racja's programs will be broadcast on FM frequencies via a local radio station in Vilnius (Wilno) to areas in Belarus close to the border with Lithuania.
The plan will likely further inflame tensions with the Lukashenko government, which has been busy stifling cultural expression by Poles living in Belarus.
Poland's Government, for its part, wants to play a pivotal role in removing the last dictatorship in Europe.
America's retailers announced last week that they aren't especially keen to follow the steel, airline and perhaps auto industries into bankruptcy court. If Big Labor really wants a fight over mandated health insurance, it now has one.
The announcement came in the form of two federal lawsuits filed by the Retail Industry Leaders Association against the state of Maryland and Suffolk County, New York. At issue are the "Wal-Mart" laws that both jurisdictions recently passed, which would require a few large companies to pay more for their workers' health care. The lawsuits argue the statutes are "discriminatory," which may be the legal understatement of the year since both target only a few employers.
What were these people who are being "forced" to apply for Medicaid doing before they were employed by Wal-Mart? Are we expected to believe that people leave jobs with health care benefits to go to work for Wal-Mart as part-timers and receive no health care benefits? Just how does the addition of a Wal-Mart to a community cause an increase in Medicaid spending?
Simply put, it doesn't. A study by Michael Hicks -- "Does Wal-Mart Cause an Increase in Anti-Poverty Program Expenditures?" -- found that a 1% increase in Wal-Marts's retail share is associated with a 1.5% increase in Medicaid expenditures per capita. Put another way, "each new Wal-Mart worker is causing the average state to expend just under $900 a year in Medicaid benefits."
Some 45% of all Republicans report being very happy, compared with just 30% of Democrats and 29% of independents. This finding has also been around a long time; Republicans have been happier than Democrats every year since the General Social Survey began taking its measurements in 1972.
[Fernando Sanchez, general consul for the Mexican government in Oregon] said Mexican workers boost the economy of an agricultural region such as Umatilla County, raising the value of farms and ranches, adding retail purchasing power and increasing county tax revenue.
In the letter he mailed to Fox last week, [Umatilla County Sheriff John] Trumbo argued that "each time an illegal immigrant from Mexico was booked into our jail, we were forced to release local prisoners to make bed space available to your citizens."
Trumbo, as an example, cited Juan Carlos Solis, 25, of Mexico, who has been in jail since December 2004, when he was accused of murder and robbery in a home invasion.
OFIR (Oregonians For Immigration Reform) members are correct in asserting that illegal immigrants should not be able to receive government-funded social services such as health care and food stamps. The Oregon Department of Human Services currently has a $172 million budget deficit. Those who want to benefit from government services offered in the United States should be legally deemed allowed to do so beforehand.
The American Disaster Preparedness Foundation gave Portland a "D-plus" and ranked the city in a tie for 24th with Boston in a study of emergency preparedness among 30 major U.S. metropolitan areas.
Hello friends!Well, I've managed to find a place that sells Carlsberg (although I prefer Tuborg) and purchased all Carslberg that was available: 2 six-packs.
Just wanted to ask for your support in helping out Denmark which is being attacked by muslim extremists who would like to take away the freedom of press. This is all due to the cartoons printed in a Danish newspaper.
Now several muslim countries are boycotting Danish goods.
Danes make great havarti cheese, ham (often found in cans), cookies (the kind in the metal tins), and beer (Tuborg and Carlsberg). We are sure you consume at least one of those!!;)
Thanks or as they say in Danish... Tak!
And related question for peace mongers is: what if American "artists" start desecrating Islamic symbols such as the Koran the way they frequently desecrate Christian symbols and call it art and some Muslim country asks the US government to make them stop or it will go to war with us? Are you willing to compromise our civil liberties (you and ACLU hold so precious when Bush and Republicans want to make us more secure) to placate Islamofascists?
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