The Florida unemployment rate is at its lowest point since January 2009. Over 10,000 jobs have been added in Florida, mostly in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities industries. The construction industry, though has continued its downward climb in the state.(0) Comments
Last month Governor Rick Scott signed Florida’s state budget, investing an additional billion dollars in K-12 education. The state spending plan includes more funds for Florida’s School Recognition Program, which provides financial rewards to schools that improve student learning. The budget also renews Florida’s commitment to reading by providing funding for an additional hour per day of intensive reading instruction for students in the 100 lowest-performing elementary schools, an expansion of Summer Reading Camps for any K-5 student who is having reading difficulties, and an emphasis on K-5 reading intervention services provided by reading intervention teachers.
“Equipping students with a high quality education is crucial for the future of our students and our state,” said Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future. “Florida’s budget reflects our state’s commitment to funding students’ success. I thank Governor Scott, President Haridopolos, Speaker Cannon and Florida lawmakers for keeping education a priority. I look forward to members of the Florida Legislature building on these advancements to further improve education and student achievement in the years to come.”(0) Comments
The new political boundaries in Florida have been set. Political candidates can now begin the process of preparing to qualify for office. The new maps were drawn according to regulations that were approved by voters in 2010. The Florida Democratic Party along with some voters are opposing the new maps and had asked the courts to hold of on the decision, to no avail. They claim that the new mapping unfairly groups together African American and Hispanic voters to the Republicans’ advantage.(0) Comments
Twenty years ago on April 29, 1992, four white LAPD officers were acquitted of assaulting motorist Rodney King despite the presence of videotaped footage of the horrific beating. The nation was fixated on the case, much like we are now with the tragic death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, FL. But what people often forget in Rodney King’s story is that it was not about race — it was about justice.
In fact, it was a man by the name of George Holliday (of Argentinian descent), who shot the infamous footage of King’s beating. Holliday knew instinctively that what he captured was troubling, and when police failed to do something about the incident he videotaped, Holliday went to the press and soon everyone saw the atrocity for him or herself. So when the not-guilty verdicts against the four accused officers were read some 20 years ago, all of us should have been united in our response. Race should not have been a factor; we needed to rally around the issue of police brutality and injustice. It was a missed opportunity. We cannot allow that to happen again.
The notion of race in America is complex, troubling and hopeful at the same time. Blacks still struggle with the remnants of slavery and unequal access to educational, housing and job opportunities. Whites still grapple with changing demographics, and immigrants work to both assimilate and hold on to their cultural heritage simultaneously.Comments Off
Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped, causing the state to do away with the extended benefits that most of the unemployed have expected to receive this year. During the recession, people could be eligible to receive 99 weeks of unemployment. As of May 12, those benefits dropped down to 74 weeks.(0) Comments
America has become more diverse and in the process, has become more aware of the benefits of a diverse workplace. Women and minorities have proven their abilities through executive leadership in business, civil society, and in top positions in the public sector. Despite this, representation in America’s boardrooms has become less diverse over the past several years, which points to ongoing challenges of diversity.
A recent article points out that since 2004, women and minorities have lost ground in overall representation in Fortune 500 board membership. The Alliance for Board Diversity Census, found that in 2010, white men held 77% of seats in Fortune 500 firms, with white women holding 13%, minority men 7%, and minority women 3%. Surveying Fortune 100 firms, the census found that white men held nearly 73% percent of board seats, which is up from their survey results from 2004 when held 71.2% of seats. Analysts and leading diversity groups had hoped and predicted that over time, women and minorities would see increased membership in the boardroom, however over the last six years, there has been a decline in diversity.
A further breakdown of the data shows that African American men were less represented in 2010 than in 2006, and Hispanics, Asians, and other minority groups showed no significant change. As if underrepresentation was not problematic enough, women and minorities only held slightly over 5% of top leadership positions on the boards of Fortune 500 companies. Even more surprisingly, the survey showed that no Hispanic female held a director or board chair position.
There are many explanations that have been floated around to explain this disappointing phenomenon. Arnold Donald, the President and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council, a network of African American Executives, stated that he believes, “The biggest contributor is just a lack of proactive intervention.” Mr. Donald also added that he feels the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which sets standards for financial accountability for publicly traded firms, was also a contributing factor. Increased regulations, particularly regarding financial matters has led to the recruitment of retired accounting and financial executives to the boardrooms of America’s top firms. These former executives are predominantly older white men. Additionally, Mr. Donald believes that in many cases, minorities have left their position on boards and were not replaced with other minorities.
Ilene Lang, the President and CEO of Catalyst, which advocates and promotes increasing roles for women in business, added that she believes the recession, which began after the last survey, also played a contributing role. Both she and Mr. Donald believe that companies are not attempting to discriminate or exclude women and minority groups from leadership positions, but rather they have failed to actively recruit and promote diversity.
Despite the fact that women and minorities may not be discriminated against, this still presents a major economic and social problem. There is no doubt that there are many qualified professionals from minority groups which could easily serve and contribute to America’s top firms. They have proven their skills and abilities as top managers in the corporate world and also in small businesses. Hopefully, this study will raise the issue of diversity as a topic of conversation for further discussion by selection committees and in the next survey, we will see improvement in women and minority representation. Ultimately, Fortune 100 and 500 firms must look out for their bottom line, and the best way to educate the selection committee on the importance of workplace diversity is to display success stories and point to empirical evidence. As Ms. Lang pointed out, “Research has shown that diverse teams produce better results…. Corporate America has the opportunity to seize the advantage that a more diverse board can yield in this increasingly competitive global economy.”(0) Comments
President Obama is scheduled to deliver a speech highlighting his administration’s priorities for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Monday morning at the Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Virginia.
According to a fact sheet the White House provided to reporters during a Sunday conference call, Obama will call for: an accountability system that shares responsibility for improvement and rewards excellence based on high standards and informed by assessments that measure individual student growth; a flexible system that empowers principals and teachers, and supports reform and innovation at the state and local level; and a focus on low-performing schools that ensures the most effective teachers serve students most in need.
Education Secretary said that the No Child Left Behind is too punitive and that the law’s only reward for success is to not be labeled a failure. In addition, he said, it has caused states to dumb down standards and narrow their curriculums to focus mostly on math and reading. While those two subject areas are fundamental, he added, it is important to provide more well-rounded curriculums that also focus on such skill areas as science and the arts. He also condemned NCLB’s “one size fits all” prescription for reform that focuses on one test that takes place on one day once per year. According to the White House, 37% of the nation’s schools are not meeting their annual NCLB targets and the Education Department estimates that number could more than double, to over 80% of schools in 2011.(0) Comments
At a Congressional hearing yesterday to discuss federal workforce pay, House Republicans launched an legislative assault on salaries for federal employees, complaining that federal workers are overpaid compared with the private sector.
On the wall directly behind Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform panel, majority Republicans had erected a large poster saying: “Employment Changes December 2008-December 2010; Private Sector Jobs -8,817,000; federal government jobs +157,000.” A sign next to it said: “2010 Average Total Compensation; Government Worker $101,628; Private Worker $60,000.”
“Compensation of private-sector employees has not kept pace with that of federal employees,” said Rep. Dennis Ross, chair of the House Oversight subcommittee that is conducting the hearing. “Our taxpayers can no longer be asked to foot the bill for these federal employees while watching their salaries remain flat and their benefits erode.” Ironically, federal workers are already facing a two-year freeze on cost-of-living increases through the end of 2012. …(0) Comments
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services will welcome students, parents, and teachers to the White House for a Conference on Bullying Prevention.
The conference will bring together communities from across the nation who have been affected by bullying as well as those who are taking action to address it. Participants will speak about the effects of bullying and the work of students, parents, and teachers nationwide. Last fall the President, Vice President and several administration officials taped video messages for the It Gets Better campaign and discussed the need to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage.
And, here’s Kenneth S. Trump, MPA, President of National School Safety and Security Services on his take about this upcoming conference:
“The Obama Administration, with the support of Congress, is systematically destroying any hopes for comprehensive and balanced federal school safety policy and funding. Last year they eliminated Safe and Drug Free Schools state formula grants for prevention, security, and related school safety programs. And in the last few weeks they eliminated the only dedicated federal K-12 school emergency planning grant program.
– DC.com Editor(0) Comments
Quote: “To support American innovation, what my administration is trying to do is not just hand out money. What we’re doing is we’re issuing a challenge. Because right now, some of the most promising innovation is happening in the area of clean energy technology — technology that is creating jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and — something that every young person here cares about — making sure our planet is a healthier place to live that we can pass on to future generations.” –President Obama, speaking at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania, about the future of American innovation.(0) Comments