Archive for October, 2012

Amadeus

Posted: October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

Amadeus

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The Education Initiative

Posted: October 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

Fighting for education

Activist Craig Morgan is pursuing change, in an effort to improve the environment around him and following his parent’s paw prints.

Morgan’s parents Pam and Joe Morgan were members of the original Black Panther Party for Self-Defense group. Whether it’s in direct reaction to problems pitted around him, or the influence of his family members, the 38-year-old, Sacramento State alumni, is creating change.

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was an African-American, revolutionary organization, established in 1966 by founding members Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.

Influenced from the ideals of Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Karl Marx, Che Guevara and Mao Zedong, among other prominent revolutionary figures in history, the Black Panther Party sought out to fight back against racial injustices as well as take care of their community.

“The problems I see, nobody is doing anything about them,” said Craig Morgan. “I have a long line of history; a lot of my family was Black Panthers. I come from Oakland,[California] my roots are very political.”

“If you don’t get up and so something about things you see that are going wrong, no one else is going to stand up for your rights,” said Morgan.

The education initiative is a program in place where million dollar corporations get taxed and the money is essentially placed back in to schools, all the way from kindergarten, through high school. According to Morgan, Nevada is rated 50th currently in rankings in regards to lack of funding.

“Most of the things I’m involved in have to do with schools, taxing people who make an outrageous amount of money who still pay the 14% that normal people make. The schools need money, the administrations are not doing what they need to do with the money,” said Morgan.

According to information outlets such as Education Finance Statistics Center and the Federal Education Budget Project, Nevada for decades now, is the recipient of mediocre financial assistance for public schools.

Nevada’s plan for funding education was created in 1967, when the U.S. Census said the entire state’s population was 436,000 or roughly about the same as Washoe County today.

Based on a report by Mark Robison of the Reno-Gazette Journal, University of Reno Nevada Professor of education and finance Deborah Verstegen, claims it was a different world and you could grow and prosper with a limited education.

“To look at 49th or 50th for funding and 49th or 50th for achievement, I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to see that there’s a relationship between funding and outcomes — the inputs are low and the outputs are low,” Verstegen said.

Nevada Department of Education and fiscal services, has a list of all the schools in the state, as well a record of all of the funding, or lack thereof as well. “The schools need money, the administration is not doing what they should with the money, this initiative will ensure money is appropriated to the schools,” said Morgan.

Back in 2011, the Nevada legislature created a panel to meet in between sessions called the “Committee to Study a New Method for Funding Public Schools.” Private money was used to commission a study on how to fix Nevada’s education funding, but may not be a viable long-term problem solver.

“The changes that I’m trying to see I haven’t really seen yet, but we are making progress,” said Morgan.

Along with the education initiative petitioners, there is a group (Parent Leaders for Education) which is a non-partisan, all-volunteer organization composed of parents, concerned citizens, educators, community leaders and business owners who advocate for public education and who vote.

“It’s really hard to pass any kind of petition or any law, when no one wants to stop and conversate and sign a petition. That’s the problem right now, everybody is straight forward they have blinders on,” said Morgan.

“If it doesn’t have to do with you personally in your life, if you don’t take the time to look at it and you have people like me and millions of people and you haven’t even taken the time to look at it and you vote.”

Whether people realize the severity of the situation remains to be seen. But it seems problems will still persist unless the community decides to get involved.

“People don’t even know what a petition is nowadays. Nobody pays attention, that’s sad,”  Morgan alluded to.

“The people that need to come out is us, we are governed by the people for the people. But we are leaving it up to the legislature and the president and we complain about it, instead of us getting out there making a change and making a difference.”

That’s all it takes, with many people speaking as one we saw that through the million man march, which showed unity. If we all worked together and we all spoke on things that we want we would have those things. But no one does that, and they have all the power. A lot of people are scared to talk.”