Science Leadership Academy Learn · Create · Lead

American Government - Laufenberg

Public Feed

Blog#2

From my previous blog post, I mentioned that the S.167 - COPS Improvements Act of 2009 bill is related to my lobbying topic. Senator Herbert Kohl is the sponsor of the bill. He is a Democrat from Wisconsin serving his 4th term. Kohl is one of the United States’ wealthiest politicians, owning his own family business.


Someone in my city that represent me is Mayor Michael Nutter. He is Philadelphia's third black mayor. Nutter was a councilman of the city's 4th Council District, that included the neighborhoods of Wynnefield, Overbrook, Roxborough, Manayunk, East Falls and parts of North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, and my area, West Mount Airy.

Mayor Nutter shares the same interest as I do. I want to have the city of Philadelphia safe place. He supports having Philadelphia declare a "Crime Emergency" in certain areas of Philadelphia. This involved stationing more officers in needed areas of Philadelphia, limit the ability to gather on public sidewalks, impose a curfew for all residents, and limit the ability to travel in certain areas.

Be the first to comment

Blog#1

I am lobbying for more police officers to be dispatched around public transportation, schools and around urban areas. On my way to and from school I travel a good distance and I really don’t see police officers in the area. My motivation for investigating and influencing public policy is to see crime decreased and safety increase. I’m sure that victims of crime, parents that want safety for their children, supervisors of recreation centers and teachers at school who care about their students would support my lobbying idea. An opponent to my lobbying idea would be who ever is in charge of the city finances. I don’t think the city would support me.


The S.167 - COPS Improvements Act of 2009 is a bill related to my lobbying topic. Its a “bill to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to enhance the COPS ON THE BEAT grant program, and for other purposes.” This law does support my lobbying topic. I want to have more police patrolling the city, especially around public transportation. The law that mentions, "to increase the number of officers deployed in community-oriented policing" is perfect.

Be the first to comment

Creative Freedom in the Classroom: Blog 3

#3
Arlene Ackerman’s Imagine 2014 district improvement plan aims to “[revise] language arts, math, science, and social studies curricula to be more integrated, rigorous and relevant in preparing students for college and careers in the 21st century.” This past year, the district identified new literacy and math programs, and plans to institute new English and Math curriculums for 2010.
I haven’t been able to find the details of these new curriculums. A powerpoint presented to the School Reform Commission outlining the goals of Imagine 2014 lists raising test scores and increasing the number of “predicative assessments” as goals for 2011. A focus on test scores means that teachers have to spend more time teaching to the test and less time teaching creatively to the interests of their students. “Predicative assessments”, I believe, is just another term for more testing.
It’s clear that Arlene Ackerman holds the most power regarding my issue, but I think Larry Farnese has the power to approach her. He certainly is involved in getting education funding for the state.
Be the first to comment

Creative Freedom in the Classroom: Blog 2

#2
In my district (the first senatorial district), senator Larry Farnese is most involved in education reform. He’s on the state senate education committee, and he’s working with State representative Curtis Thomas to establish five new technical and vocational schools in the next five years. He is also partly responsible for increasing education funding by 250 million dollars.
Larry Farnese is a democrat and advocate of public education. His grandfather served on the Philadelphia school board. He’s sponsored programs on behalf of the Sister Cities Young Artist Program at the Moore College of Art and Design, as well as Italica Arts and Education. He attended Villanova University for undergraduate school and Temple University for Law school.
I think Farnese will take interest in my cause. He’s clearly invested in public education, and he cares about art programs, which suggests that he values learning as an end to itself. (Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but it’s possible.) He’s also is willing to spend money on education.
My district representative is Babette Josephs is an advocate for public school, and for charter schools in particular. She strongly opposes giving tax money to religious schools. She’s voted for special education funding, and is strongly in favor of the public school system.
Be the first to comment

Creative Freedom in the Classroom: Blog 1

#1
I’m advocating for a flexible curriculum that gives teachers more creative freedom in the classroom. Currently, teachers are hindered by a restrictive curriculum that directs not only the content of each class, but how the content should be taught. Teachers aren’t able to tailor their classes to the individual needs and interests of their students, and they aren’t able to experiment with teaching methods. I’ve heard stories about dozens of teachers who would be willing to teach at public schools if only they could teach without the guiding hand of the school district. Instead, they go to private schools.
In public school, teachers often receive “Routine Cards” that dictate the details of each lesson. Students are frequently given standardized Benchmark tests designed to make sure that teachers remain on track.
Be the first to comment

Violence In Philadelphia

"It's nothing you can do. It's never gonna change, that's the way life is in Philadelphia."- A.J., Masterman High School student who was attacked.

    I am lobbying to change the amount of violence in the Philadelphia community.  I am interested in trying to change the way that violent events in Philadelphia are handled. There isn’t many things being done to reduce violence in Philadelphia, besides the occasional events to turn in illegal or old guns for money. These events normally receive a positive turnout. There should be more events like this more often. Innocent children lives are cut too short due to guns being in the hands of the wrong people and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We need more things for the youth to do and more events for them o be a part of that your average teenager in Philadelphia would enjoy. To solve violence in Philadelphia, it would take a very long time simply because such a drastic change could not happen over night. I would like to attempt to remove guns from the streets of Philadelphia. Right now my solution is undecided.

 

    As a teenager growing up in south west Philadelphia. I have lost several friends due to violence. Even though some of the deaths don’t effect me directly it is still devastating. There was an article discussing teen deaths due to violence in Philadelphia.The rate of teen deaths in Philadelphia is on a rise and there isn’t enough being done at the city level.

The teen violence is getting out of control in December there was an attack on Asian teens at South Philadelphia high and nothing was being done about it several stories were written about this issue.

Who is Helping?


    There are several supporters but it still seems like there isn’t enough being done. There is only so much council members who are mentioned in this article can do. There are several organizatons assisting . One organization was started and funded by a councilman Dwight Evans, the  is a organization which I was a member of which is A blue Print for A Safer Philadelphia. This anti- violence organization mission states “The Blueprint for a Safer Philadelphia Initiative is a 10-year community-based violence prevention initiative with the goal of eliminating all youth homicide in Philadelphia by the year 2016. State Representative Dwight Evans created The "Blueprint" by securing $16 million in state funding and bringing a number of key partners to this historic effort.”

Violence In Philadelphia Statistics



- http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/pa/philadelphia/crime/?gclid=CNuStaSWwqQCFd9n5QodXDULjA
Pending Legislation On Violence

The state supreme court ruled on Philadelphia's gun ordinances on June 11, 2010.
These laws basically state:

• The city is allowed to force its citizens to report a lost or stolen gun within 24 hours.
• Police are allowed to seize guns from those “considered to pose a risk to themselves or others.”
• Those subject to a protection-from-abuse order may not own a firearm within the city.
• Need to purchase more than one gun a month then you can.
Be the first to comment

Lobbying Against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

DADT Blog Post #3

For Blog #1, click here
For Blog #2, click here
For Blog #4, click here

To say that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a hot topic in today’s politics would be an understatement.  It seems that every time you log onto the New York Times, or CNN an article related to the policy is front page news.  Whether it’s the recent filibuster, the current injunction, or the lame-duck session push, DADT is on everyone’s mind.  According to a recent Washington Post survey, the American public’s disagreement with the policy has drastically increased over the last 17 years.  When the policy was first enacted, 44% of Americans were against it.  Now, that number has risen to 75%.  Politicians are taking notice.  In fact, earlier this year, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 with an amendment allowing for the repeal of DADT, but in the Senate, Democrats have failed in the face of Republican opposition.  

dadt1
Public opinion on DADT repeal (Religioustolerance.org)

While most Republicans are not necessarily against the repeal, all are waiting for the Pentagon’s release of its report on the effects that a repeal would have on the military.  The report is scheduled to come out December 1st, but parts have already been leaked.  The survey of hundreds of thousands of military personnel and families concluded that allowing homosexuals to serve openly would not hurt military readiness, a fear that many hold.  These findings have the potential to sway at least 10 senators, including moderate Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.  Both hope for a more open debate after the report is released.

The biggest hurtle, by far, is Senator John McCain, the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee.  He insisted that a study was needed before he could approve of the bill.  Now that the study has been completed, he is still stalling, stating "Once we get this study, we need to have hearings. And we need to examine it. And we need to look at whether it's the kind of study that we wanted.”  It appears that McCain will do everything in his power to hold off the vote until after the lame-duck session ends.  With his position in the committee, this is not an impossible feat.

However, despite his opposition, there are major allies.  Secretary of Defense Gates recently expressed that he would like to see DADT repealed by the end of the year, which was a very bold statement, as it went against the views of many senior commanders.  Despite recent inconsistencies, President Obama still supports repeal, even calling Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) last Wednesday to reinforce his stance and demand a vote in the coming weeks.The urgency is felt by all parties involved. Currently Democrats hold 57 seats, which will fall to 53 in January.  Since cloture has already failed once with the larger majority (the September 21st vote was 56-43), it will be near impossible to convince at least 7 Republicans to change their vote after the lame-duck session.  For this reason, Sen. Carl Levin plans to hold a hearing in the Armed Services Committee in early December.  Though the date is not yet set, a rapid hearing is imperative to the success of a DADT repeal.

Two national lobbyist groups are heavily involved in this process.  The Human Rights Campaign, which works to eliminate discrimination against the LGBT community, and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an organization focused solely on DADT, are constantly pressuring the Senate.  They encourage citizens to call, write and visit their senators to demand repeal.

Screen shot 2010-11-21 at 5.56.31 PM
Advertisement on HRC.org

Locally, Equality Forum, based in Philadelphia, “undertakes high-impact initiatives and presents the largest annual national and international GLBT civil rights forum,” among other goals.  They host events throughout the area and while not currently involved with DADT, they would not be opposed to it.  Given their local and national presence, they would be a great ally in increasing public outcry for repeal.  This demand is needed to encourage Pennsylvania’s senators Specter and Casey to not only vote “aye,” but to proactively push for a vote.

Be the first to comment

Inhumane Acts Post #1

For my lobbying project, I will be trying to expand the seriousness of human trafficking. There are no bills that are currently passed in the united states that protect the rights of women and children who are soled as sex slaves. My ultimate goal is to help the current senator Christopher Smith  pass that bill.

My motivation for this is being surrounded by girls who have been rape victims. Just the thought that they didn’t have the opportunity to say no, then to keep it hidden so long really repulses me.  The girls I knew, some of them were tricked into their situations and some of the people they knew. Alike, these are the occurrences that happen during trafficking.

The supporter for this cause is Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. I will be going up against the federal government that is having issues with supporting the bill being past. Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 is being led by Hillary Clinton and she is apart of the 10th annual trafficking report. She discussed issues and things to help stop these things from occurring  

Its happening across the Globe and the U.S is aware of it. What bothers me, is that its not being stopped as fast as I would like. If we could a force, something similar to NATO to dig these people out, I believe that it would make a significant difference.

              

Be the first to comment

Inhumane Acts Post #2

INHUMANE ACTS

Rep. Chris Smith is the representative that produced a bill for human trafficking in different country’s. He created the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (P.L. 106-386) in his 1999 -2000 term.  According to “chrissmith.house.gov” Smith currently serves as Ranking Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Africa and Global Health Subcommittee.  He does not support abortion and that is a difference that we do not agree upon. He believes “ Abortion hurts women's health and puts future children subsequently born to women who aborted at significant risk. At least 102 studies show significant psychological harm, major depression and elevated suicide risk in women who abort.” His statement is true, but I believe that people must be concerned about the life of the mother. Her life that she was accustomed to is now altered. Teens who are in this situation will not be able to live the life as they choose and two lives gets destroyed if the mother gets no support. 

                   

Mr. Smith serves in the 4Th district of New Jersey which included county’s Mercer County Burlington County, Ocean County and Monmouth County. He has been a main supporter for stem cell research which is grand. The Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 which established a nationwide program for ethical research and treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. That landmark law was reauthorized in September 2010 for another five years - chrissmith.house.gov 

Be the first to comment

Violence in Schools- Lobbying Assignment #3

Recently an article was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the increase of school violence, and the steps that need to be taken in order to solve this growing problem. Over the past year or so, the issue has received a lot of attention from media because the problem became racial. With the violent attacks towards Asian students at South Philadelphia High, the flaws of the Philadelphia School District were put on display for the entire country to see. A policy is already in place for students in order to decrease violence. Programs that will heighten children’s tolerance for different races and sexualities are hopefully going to change this problem. In an the same article (linked above) Michael Johnson, a science teacher at Germantown High School states, “The policy is wonderful… The implementation is missing." Meaning that even though the policies are there, the district, teachers, and even student fail to enforce it. This problem could possibly stem from the recent cut of the Office of Safe Schools Advocate, which was eliminated in August 18, 2009. According to the National School Safety and Security Services website, “While the State claimed the cuts were for budgetary reasons, Stollsteimer [monitor of school crimes and violence in Philadelphia Schools.] alleged the cuts were due to his advocacy and unwillingness to not document failures by the school district to report school crimes.

Some key players in this issue are the names we hear in Philadelphia all the time. Officials such as, John Street (when in office), Chaka Fattah, Paul Vallas, and 150 community leaders were said to have pledged to increase the saftey of schools in Philadelphia back in 2004.

The Pledge:

We, the public officials and active citizens of Philadelphia, entrusted with "securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," pledge to work together and with our youth leaders to combat violence in our schools and to build safe and supportive neighborhoods for young people throughout the city.

Even though Street is no longer is office, this pledge to uphold the safety in schools was taken 6, almost 7 years ago but at yet the violence in out schools has increased.

From doing this research it seems as though my main job is to get these officials back on track with their plans. It seems as though they have forgotten about the problems in school, because of the small policies they put in place but did not truly enforce. Issues such as money, health care, and the recent elections have totally taken the attention away from our schools and their lack of safety. It is time now to bring it back.

Some recent hearings on school violence were held back in January. There were 11 hearings with more than 125 testimonials from activist, city leaders, student, and parents. The topics of these hearing were of coarse about the South Philadelphia incidents. Other then those hearing there haven’t been any recent hearings about the violence, which I hope to change soon

Work Cited Page

Sachdev , Nina. "The School District Needs the Feds to Tell Them What to Do?!." Philly Now 1 Sept 2010: 1. Web. 22 Nov 2010. <http://blogs.philadelphiaweekly.com/phillynow/2010/09/01/the-school-district-needs-the-feds-to-tell-them-what-to-do/>.

Trump, Ken. "School Crime Reporting and School Crime Underreporting." National School Saftey and Security Services. National School Safety and Security Services , 2009. Web. 22 Nov 2010. <http://www.schoolsecurity.org/trends/school_crime_reporting.html>.

Graham, Kristen. "City panel says hearings on school violence heard of problems and also promise Read more: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/20101117_City_panel_says_hearings_on_school_violence_heard_of_problems_and_also_promise.html?page=1&c=y#ixzz164fHQiCF Watch sports videos you won't find anywhere else." Philadelphia Inquier 17 Nov 2010: 1. Web. 22 Nov 2010. <http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/20101117_City_panel_says_hearings_on_school_violence_heard_of_problems_and_also_promise.html?page=1&c=y>.

Be the first to comment