Nancy Carlsson-Paige: The Error of Killing Play in Kindergarten

Diane Ravitch's blog

Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an expert on early childhood education, has been an outspoken opponent of the trend to push academics into kindergarten, and even preschool.

In this post, she explains how play has been banished from many kindergartens by the misguided belief that starting academics early will close the achievement gap. It doesn’t help kids of any origin. The children hurt most by this pressure are children of color.

She writes:

Soon many of our nation’s young children will be starting school for the first time. What they will likely find is something dramatically different from what their parents experienced at their age. Kindergartens and pre-K classrooms have changed. There is less play, less art and music, less child choice, more teacher-led instruction, worksheets, and testing than a generation ago. Studies tell us that these changes, although pervasive, are most evident in schools serving high percentages of low-income children of…

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Q&A | Does Islam prescribe any punishment for Blasphemy?

The Muslim Times


Question: Does Islam prescribe any punishment for Blasphemy?

MUST READ – Mistakes & Misunderstandings of Muslims: Qur’an says: Apostasy is Not Punishable In Islam

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Steven Singer: Are Unions the Enemy of School Reform?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Steven Singer writes here about the corporate reformers’ war against teachers’ unions. In the comfortable, well-heeled world of hedge fund managers, they have every right to lead the fight to reform the public schools, but the unions do not. The unions don’t care about kids; teachers don’t care about kids. Only hedge fund managers really truly care about kids. Why should teachers or their unions have anything to say about their working conditions or their pay? Are they just greedy and selfish. So what if teachers earn less that the hedge funders’ secretaries?

Singer says the battle over the future of public schools has reached a critical juncture. The corporate reformers have lost control of the narrative. They want to hide behind benign names, like “Families for Excellent Schools,” hoping to hoodwink the public into thinking they are the families of children who want charter schools, when in fact…

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​Silphie, a giant form of the flowering daisy plant that can grow 10 feet high may become the favored fuel of Germany’s biogas industry.


The plant with small yellow flowers whose Latin name is Silphium Perfoliatum is known as Silphie in German. It’s sometimes called the Cup Plant or Indian Cup in the U.S., where it is native. Field experiments show it has advantages over maize, since it’s a perennial that comes up every year for two decades without replanting.

The industry group representing 9,000 biogas plant owners in Germany said Silphie, which is in the same family as the daisy, has the potential to reduce costs for green energy producers who now use maize. The industry makes gas from renewable sources like plants that can be burned to make electricity.

“Maize is an extremely good resource, but people feel intimated by this big plant — it doesn’t help…

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Foreclosure crisis worsens in Massachusetts, spurring cries of state inaction

Livinglies's Weblog

By Shira Schoenberg |
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on August 24, 2016 at 6:00 AM, updated August 24, 2016 at 6:07 AM
 The effects of the Great Recession may be receding, but many Massachusetts homeowners remain underwater. The number of foreclosures is rising, and that trend is expected to continue.

The reason, experts say, is a backlog of old foreclosures that were stalled due to a state law that are only now proceeding. But advocates for homeowners say the state is also not doing enough to help struggling homeowners.

Elyse Cherry, CEO of Boston Community Capital, which invests in affordable housing in low-income communities, was part of a 2014 task force that made recommendations to state government to address foreclosure impacts. “The fact that they haven’t been implemented at all speaks to the current interest of state government in terms of dealing with it, and the fact that as a country…

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Kenya: Madness of being drunk – KWS ranger kills partner, injures boss

African Press International (API)

CHARLES WANYORO -1 | Alhamisi, Agosti 25, 2016

A Kenya Wildlife Service ranger went berserk and shot dead his colleague and injured his boss at Mwea National Reserve on Tuesday.

Corporal Liban Kune is said to have disagreed with his boss when he shot dead Constable Joseph Nyaga, a driver, in a drunken rage.

He then gave chase and shot his boss, the reserve warden, Richard Njoroge Muiruri, in the head before running off into the bush.

The slain officer was shielding his boss when he was fatally wounded.

Mr Muiruri, 56, had tried to escape but the officer, who many described as a sharpshooter shot him in the head.

The warden is admitted at Embu Tenri Hospital where he is said to be responding well to treatment.

After shooting the two, the assailant quickly loaded his rifle started firing indiscriminately.

He then fled into the game reserve while carrying…

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To Settle SEC Case, Government Pays Itself $100,000

Livinglies's Weblog

Former Fannie Mac CEO reaches agreement that places no restrictions on future work

Former Fannie Mae chief executive  Daniel Mudd reached a “settlement” with the Securities and Exchange Commission in a crisis-era case it filed against him. The deal, filed on Monday, requires essentially nothing of Mr. Mudd.

The settlement includes a $100,000 payment—to be paid by Fannie Mae, which already pays its profits to the U.S. Treasury because it landed in government conservatorship in 2008. “One could see this as the government paying itself $100k to end the case,” Mr. Mudd said in an email.

The settlement also included no restrictions on Mr. Mudd’s future work, an “unprecedented” win, according to Mr. Mudd’s lawyer, James Wareham.

It is a remarkable end to a high-profile set of lawsuits the agency filed in 2011, when it sued six executives of the mortgage giants…

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How Jordan’s crisis resilience model is reshaping humanitarian response

The Muslim Times


The Syria crisis, which has displaced some 11.3 million people, has exposed the cracks in the conventional humanitarian relief system. And for neighbouring countries like Jordan that host the majority of refugees, it is widening pre-existing cracks in public service systems and infrastructure.

Following the general elections in September, debates in the new Parliament will often be coloured by these challenges, central as they are to social and political stability.

But with political support, the crisis also presents opportunities to strengthen national systems, particularly in energy and water, where pressures are acute.

Last year, a consortium of international organisations launched the Moving Energy Initiative to look specifically at how energy might be more sustainably delivered in situations of protracted displacement.

Our global assessment found a distressing picture of short-term and inadequate energy provision that is expensive, dirty and damaging to health.


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President Uhuru signs Bill capping bank interest rates – saving Kenyans from banks’ exploitation

African Press International (API)

OBED SIMIYU -1 | Jumatano, Agosti 24, 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law a Bill capping bank interest rates at 4 per cent above the Central Bank Benchmark Rate, currently at 10.5 per cent.

The law will regulate applicable rates to bank loans and deposits thereby capping the interest that banks can charge on loans and deposits, President Kenyatta said in a statement to newsrooms on Wednesday.

The President said he had consulted widely and had learnt that Kenyans were disappointed and frustrated by the insensitivity of the banks.

“These frustrations are centred around the cost of credit and the applicable interest rates on their hard–earned deposits. I share these concerns,” said the President.

He said banks had previously dodged and blocked the introduction of the law, with the rates continuing to shoot-up.

Mr Kenyatta’s action comes even as banks made concerted efforts to prevail upon him not…

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There’s just one country other than the Vatican where divorce is illegal — and some want to change that

The Muslim Times

Image (1) vatican-city-e1378891564558.jpg for post 185609 Vatican City

Source: Los Angeles Time

What do you do when you find yourself in an unhappy marriage but live in a country where there is no divorce?

You go on Facebook and hope to find others like you.

“I didn’t have anyone to talk to,” said 45-year-old Maviv Millora. “I was sure there were others like me who wished there was divorce in the Philippines, I just had to find them.”

After being married for more than 20 years, Millora separated from her husband in 2011. Since then, it’s been a vicious cycle of survival. She supports the two youngest of her four children with her earnings as an English teacher. She cannot claim child support since she is still technically married, but she also can’t afford the considerable legal costs of separation proceedings.

Online, she found Divorce Advocates of the Philippines, a Facebook group of more than 5,000…

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