Make Back to School Work for ALL Children

 

Today more than ever, we must focus on educating all South Carolina children. Our economic future depends on having a well-educated work force.

Providing a quality education requires shared responsibilities … and the shared goal of educating ALL our children.

Responsibility lies with families, teachers and schools, and elected officials who set policies and funding.  Each plays a role.

 

There's more...

Make Back to School Work for ALL Children

 

Today more than ever, we must focus on educating all South Carolina children. Our economic future depends on having a well-educated work force.

Providing a quality education requires shared responsibilities … and the shared goal of educating ALL our children.

Responsibility lies with families, teachers and schools, and elected officials who set policies and funding.  Each plays a role.

 

There's more...

TX-Gov: Democrat stands up for immigration and education

You may not like where they come down on the subject, but it can’t be argued that Texans at least take the issue of primary education seriously. The electoral success of George W. Bush’s 1994 gubernatorial and 2000 presidential platforms proves that, as does the enormous public interest in the Texas School Board textbook shenanigans.

It’s no surprise, then, that Democratic candidate for governor Bill White has been focusing on education this week. Today his staff hammered incumbent Repub Gov. Rick Perry for his record on education, but not before White himself went positive with his own plan, outlining five points at the National Council of La Raza's annual conference yesterday. It’s heartening see a border state Democrat standing up to vicious right-wing lies about Latinos and La Raza, especially with so many running the other way after the administration’s Arizona lawsuit. Thank you, Bill “Backbone” White. This from White’s campaign:

White hammered incumbent career politician Rick Perry on recent revelations of the Texas Education Agency's Enron-style accounting on school accountability measures.

"They decided to cheat, and then once caught cheating they failed to acknowledge responsibility and accept accountability. They counted failing scores as passing," White said. "How can you teach individual responsibility to students, or emphasize the importance of parental responsibility, if the state's CEO and his appointees don't accept responsibility? How can you hold teachers, principals and school boards accountable if accountability does not start at the top?"

"Pretending that schools are improving, rather than actually improving them, has been a pattern in Texas during the last decade under this governor," White said, citing Perry's failure to account for the actual dropout rate and his veto of a bipartisan bill that would have expanded early childhood education.

"The choices confronting Texas are very stark and very plain. Will the state with one out of every ten Americans in public schools set a goal, tell the truth about where we are and where we want to be, and act to educate its younger population that is largely Hispanic? Will we, as did generations before us, act on the fact that young Texans are our greatest resource, or will we simply pretend they are? Will we plant for a future with great abundance, or will we forgo that hard work and live off our harvest?" White asked.

Perry spoke at an education event today, and White’s spokesperson Katy Bacon fired back in a press release: "Does Rick Perry think it's acceptable that Texas ranks 49th out of 50 states in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma? That SAT and ACT scores are lagging while college tuition rates have skyrocketed 93 percent. Only a career politician would try to brand this as success, accountability and preparing the workforce for the future."

La Raza? Education? A tie in the polls? The chance to bump up of secessionist Rick Perry ahead of redistricting? Support Bill White now at our ActBlue page.

TX-Gov: Democrat stands up for immigration and education

You may not like where they come down on the subject, but it can’t be argued that Texans at least take the issue of primary education seriously. The electoral success of George W. Bush’s 1994 gubernatorial and 2000 presidential platforms proves that, as does the enormous public interest in the Texas School Board textbook shenanigans.

It’s no surprise, then, that Democratic candidate for governor Bill White has been focusing on education this week. Today his staff hammered incumbent Repub Gov. Rick Perry for his record on education, but not before White himself went positive with his own plan, outlining five points at the National Council of La Raza's annual conference yesterday. It’s heartening see a border state Democrat standing up to vicious right-wing lies about Latinos and La Raza, especially with so many running the other way after the administration’s Arizona lawsuit. Thank you, Bill “Backbone” White. This from White’s campaign:

White hammered incumbent career politician Rick Perry on recent revelations of the Texas Education Agency's Enron-style accounting on school accountability measures.

"They decided to cheat, and then once caught cheating they failed to acknowledge responsibility and accept accountability. They counted failing scores as passing," White said. "How can you teach individual responsibility to students, or emphasize the importance of parental responsibility, if the state's CEO and his appointees don't accept responsibility? How can you hold teachers, principals and school boards accountable if accountability does not start at the top?"

"Pretending that schools are improving, rather than actually improving them, has been a pattern in Texas during the last decade under this governor," White said, citing Perry's failure to account for the actual dropout rate and his veto of a bipartisan bill that would have expanded early childhood education.

"The choices confronting Texas are very stark and very plain. Will the state with one out of every ten Americans in public schools set a goal, tell the truth about where we are and where we want to be, and act to educate its younger population that is largely Hispanic? Will we, as did generations before us, act on the fact that young Texans are our greatest resource, or will we simply pretend they are? Will we plant for a future with great abundance, or will we forgo that hard work and live off our harvest?" White asked.

Perry spoke at an education event today, and White’s spokesperson Katy Bacon fired back in a press release: "Does Rick Perry think it's acceptable that Texas ranks 49th out of 50 states in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma? That SAT and ACT scores are lagging while college tuition rates have skyrocketed 93 percent. Only a career politician would try to brand this as success, accountability and preparing the workforce for the future."

La Raza? Education? A tie in the polls? The chance to bump up of secessionist Rick Perry ahead of redistricting? Support Bill White now at our ActBlue page.

Learning to Listen to Farmers

Cross posted from Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

At the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension at Cape Coast University in Southern Ghana, learning takes place not only in classrooms, but also literally in fields  and farms all over the country. As part of a program to improve agricultural extension services, extension officers are working with professors to find ways to improve food production in their communities. The extensionists, who are already working with farmers, are selected by the Ministry of Agriculture and the University from all over the country to train at the University to help them better  share their skills and knowledge with farmers.

The program was started in the early 1990s after the Ministry of Agriculture found that its' extension workers were not communicating well with farmers, says Dr. Okorley, a  Cape Coast professor. The goal of the program, according to Okorley, is "to improve the knowledge of front line extension staff." Because the educational background of many extension workers is "limited" (many don't have the means to attend college) says Okorley, they "couldn't look at agriculture holistically."

But the university is helping change that problem. Students learn how to engage with farmers and communities by learning better communication skills. And they are trained to properly diagnose problems, as well as come up with solutions.

After attending a year of classes on campus, the students go back to their communities to implement what they've learned in Supervised Enterprise Projects (SEPs). The SEPs give the student-professionals the opportunity to learn that particular technologies, no matter how innovative they might seem in the classroom, don't always "fit" the needs of communities, says Dr. Okorley. The SEPs also help them implement some of the communication skills they've learned in their classes, allowing them to engage more effectively in the communities where they work. Instead of simply telling farmers to use a particular type of seed or a certain brand of pesticide or fertilizer, the extension workers are now learning how to listen to farmers and help them find innovations that best serve their particular needs. "One beauty of the program," according to Dr. Okorley, "is the on-the-ground research and experimentation." He says "it allows the environment to teach what should be done."

They have plans to scale up and improve the program by developing a "technology village" that will allow students to try out different technologies or practices before taking them back to their villages. And they hope to engage women in the program-currently, there are no female professors or students in the program. In addition, they're hoping to incorporate a value chain approach in the curriculum, helping extension workers and farmers alike find innovative ways to add value to and improve the quality of crops.

Listen below to Professor Festus Annor-Frempong discuss how the University is helping improve agriculture in Ghana and to Peter Omega, a former student, talk about his work with farmers in his community.

Thank you for reading! As you may already know, Danielle Nierenberg is traveling across sub-Saharan Africa visiting organizations and projects that provide environmentally sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty.  She has already traveled to over 18 countries and visited 130 projects highlighting stories of hope and success in the region. She will be in Burkina Faso next, so stay tuned for more writing, photos and video from her travels.  

If you enjoy reading this diary, we blog daily on Nourishing the Planet, where you can also sign up for our newsletter to receive weekly blog and travel updates.  Also, please don't hesitate to comment on our posts, we check them daily and look forward to an ongoing discussion with you.

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