L.A. school board into power, not into teaching kids

first_imgTHE Los Angeles Unified School District is like what Voltaire remarked of the Holy Roman Empire – neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. L.A. Unified is unified only in its recalcitrance and immaturity. Should we have higher expectations of the Board of Education of the LAUSD than for the average junior high student? In a word, probably. However, we should learn to live with disappointment. From the start of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s efforts to bring order out of the chaos of the LAUSD, the board has acted in an offensively defensive manner, nixing any efforts at cooperation or consensus. Meanwhile, members have been threatening to use our money to take the mayor and the state Senate, Assembly and governor to court. Is this about the education of our children or is it about power? Both the board members’ method of picking a new superintendent and their pick answer this question. This decision is about power – their power – and the kids be damned. The timing of Romer’s retirement and the picking of a new superintendent before the mayor could assert his veto authority were clearly intentional. The board was determined to make its pick without consultation or cooperation with Villaraigosa. This was a conscious effort to stick it to what is, in their view, the meddlesome mayor. To the board, Villaraigosa is a problem to be vanquished, and not a partner in getting the best education for our kids. In case anyone doubts that among the reasons for picking a military man was to stick it to Villaraigosa, board member Mike Lansing remarked with unbecoming glee that they had found someone who “could go toe to toe with the mayor.” Very mature and professional, Mike – a promising start that promises nothing but trouble for our kids, power remaining with the board and bureaucracy, and the mayor frustrated at every turn. Spokesmen for the board claim that the conflict with the mayor played no role in its timing. Is there anyone who believes this? And if the board is, uh, let’s say, “dissembling” (it’s so much nicer than “lying” and more accurate than “misspoke”), given the legal doctrine of “false in one, false in all,” should we believe any of their claims? Retired Navy Vice Adm. David Brewer III is clearly a good man with a distinguished military background. He is, however, free from being prejudiced by any information, tradition, experience or context. By picking someone not from the “educational establishment,” the board can claim that it is seeking fresh eyes and a new way of working with our immense district. This is nonsense. Board members seem to have looked for someone with no experience in education and no experience working with unions – from teachers to builders to service workers. Board members were looking for – and have found – someone who will not be able to get up to speed for a couple of years. He will not know how things actually work – when they do work. Nor will he know why things don’t work. In that time, as Brewer is learning, the board and the bureaucracy will retain their perks and their power. And perhaps their most important power will be to manage Brewer’s learning. The ability to interpret the information is where real power lies. As Brewer is learning what the board wants him to know, our kids will be stuck under the same regime that has so clearly failed them. In going for a military man, instead of the model of former Colorado Gov. Romer, the board moves away from politics, which is the “art of compromise,” and toward one of top-down authority. The military model has worked so smoothly with postal workers, I’m sure we can all eagerly look forward to how well this will play with the teachers. Personally, I don’t know if giving power to the mayor is a good idea. It may be a bad idea in general, but with this particular mayor’s experience, passion and charisma, it could work out – if given a chance. But a chance is something that the board has no interest in giving, and power is something it has no desire to share. Sharing is one of those social skills that schools are supposed to teach. One might think that it would not be expecting too much for the board to model the desired behavior. This may be a trifle obvious, but many in the business of education seem to have missed it: The business of education is educating our children. It is not about power or blame. It is about being grown-ups and putting the kids first. The L.A. school board’s process and priorities in making this ill-timed pick reveal for all to see that power, not education, is at the top of its agenda. What a waste of a good man in Brewer. What a missed opportunity for cooperation. What a shame for our children. Jonathan Dobrer is a professor of comparative religion at the University of Judaism in Bel-Air. Write to him by e-mail at jdobrer@adelphia.net.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Free, expert, hands-on help for SMEs

first_img25 August 2008A Dutch organisation is offering to help small and medium enterprises in South Africa, by providing the free services of retired managers willing to transfer their knowledge and experience to local entrepreneurs.PUM Netherlands Senior Experts is an organisation funded by the Dutch government and Dutch employers’ organisation VNO-NCW to assist small- and medium-sized enterprises in some 80 countries around the world.PUM receives requests for assistance in every stage of the managerial process, from administration to finance, automation, production, marketing, technique and a wide variety of specialist fields.It has assigned experts to advise firms in just about every sector of industry, including construction, textile, metal and wood processing, chemicals and agriculture.“This organisation has about 4 000 retired ex-managers working unpaid for them, willing to transfer their knowledge and experience to smaller companies in development countries,” senior PUM expert Jan van der Vleuten told SAinfo last week.According to PUM, their experts do not receive a salary, but are driven by enthusiasm and a desire to make a contribution and meet the challenge of improving the lives of people in far-off countries.Long-term employment creationThe organisation gives particular attention to medium-sized companies in sectors that are experiencing growth, as they have the highest chances of creating employment in the long term.“Sustainable economic growth in developing countries cannot be achieved if it does not benefit the poor,” the organisation’s website states. “Because industrious small and medium-sized firms play the most significant role in creating new employment, PUM grants preference to local companies.”“These companies also make the greatest contribution towards improving socio-economic conditions.”Practical helpVan der Vleuten further explained that practical, on-site help would be given to those companies that displayed potential, but lacked business experience and also did not have enough capital to hire independent external advisors.“It may also be that they want to export their products and need good advice on European product rules and regulations,” he added.Visits by experts usually last between 10 to 15 working days, after which the PUM experts give entrepreneurs suggestions on what improvements they can make to their businesses.Most often, follow-up visits are necessary, during which the PUM expert returns to evaluate how plans have been proceeding. Sometimes plans are amended, and at other times new suggestions are made instead.“PUM promotes long-standing relationships and frequent contacts between experts and clients,” the organisation says. “Many PUM senior experts continue to advise their clients after their return to the Netherlands.”South African projectsPUM South Africa representative Laura van der Merwe told SAinfo that applicants for assistance would have to be small to medium-sized firms operating for at least two years, have between 10 and 1 000 employees, and have a turnover not exceeding R500-million per year.In addition, the participating client must agree to pay for the expert’s accommodation and food expenses during the duration of the project, as well as for transport to and from the business premises.PUM has offered advice in a wide variety of fields, including agriculture, transportation, hospitality and tourism, education and training, mining and manufacturing, business development and related services, waste removal and corporate cleaning, and the sale and distribution of medical devices.PUM experts oversaw a total of 56 projects in South Africa in 2007, including the following:The management of a glass factory estimated that its loses in glass waste were approximately 30%, while an out-dated product range led to declining exports to neighbouring countries.Two PUM experts analysed the entire manufacturing process and trained staff in the latest glass-blowing techniques. In a follow-up visit, the experts focused on refining the company’s product range, which resulted in an increase in exports.A group of farmers’ wives involved in agro-processing wanted their dried vegetable and soup products improved, and a PUM expert was brought in to make recommendations on improving the production process and making use of centrifuges to dry the produce.Together with the kitchen staff, a number of new products were developed, like new soup recipes, flower teas and several kinds of mixed vegetable chutneys. Staff were also trained to sell their produce to local schools as a meal soup, and to present their products on outdoor markets using the motto “From Garden to Table”.Since its start in 2003 as a black economic empowerment operation, a South African dairy farm and vineyard continued to book losses as both workers and management of the 116-acre farm lacked practical experience.An incoming PUM expert made recommendations regarding the reduction of feed cost, the production of own silage, better irrigation systems, pregnancy control among the herd, and breeding, all of which have been met with measurable results, including the doubling of milk production per cow.A South African bulk-transport company with 40 trucks felt the need for a more professional business approach and approached a PUM expert to help.The expert made recommendations about a framework to calculate costs per kilometre, about the reduction of damages, a system for managing the trucking fleet, and also prepared a drivers’ handbook.A South African micro-credit organisation experienced pressures owing to their expansion into other African countries with its micro-credit products, and approached PUM to help them out.To confront the growing pains experiences, two PUM experts first examined the organisation, and then proposed various changes to the management, as well as suggesting changes to streamline both lending operations and company management.Local small and medium sized enterprises that want more information on the PUM initiative, and to find out whether they can qualify for assistance from the organisation, can contact PUM South Africa representative Laura Van der Merwe at 011 674 2854, 083 427 5151 or by e-mail.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

“Siri, Why Are You Such a Data Hog?”

first_imgWith each new iteration of Apple’s iPhone, we expect to see the addition of new features like speedier processors and better cameras. What isn’t necessarily expected is that each subsequent device will consume way more data than its predecessor. But, in fact, this is the case. The iPhone 4S uses about twice as much data as the iPhone 4 and three times the data than the iPhone 3G, according to a new study by Arieso. What causes the 4S to hog so much data? Just ask Siri. Every time you tap the button and ask Siri a question, it eats up about 63 KB on average, according to detailed testing done by Ars Technica. Sure, that’s a modest amount of data, but if you use Siri frequently, it adds up over the course of a week. Even local tasks like setting an alarm or adding a reminder use some data, since Siri bounces requests off of Apple’s servers before executing them. Naturally, those types of queries take up less data. More Web-reliant requests like searches can use closer to 100 KB apiece. At the end of the month, it may not be enough to blow your data cap to smithereens, but it can add a good dozen or two megabytes. The news that our smartphones are getting more data hungry comes at an inconvenient time, just as carriers are getting less generous about doling out those bytes. Sprint is now the only carrier offering unlimited data for smartphone users, and even that plan reportedly has its limitations. As smartphone usage has exploded, charging customers based on their data usage has become a way to both maximize revenue and keep congested networks under some control. Regardless of the handset, data usage in general has been on the rise for the last few years thanks to the proliferation of devices, popularity of video and our increasing propensity to keep our digital stuff stored in the cloud. Tags:#Apple#mobile#news#web john paul titlow The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementcenter_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts last_img read more

Nehalem-EP just a heartbeat away – 3D Advanced Medical Visualization Demo

first_imgWith the Nehalem architecture-based processor server/workstation launch just around the corner, customers are demonstrating how quickly they can take advantage of the performance afforded to them by our newest processor. One recent example was a Philips* CT demonstration of a beating heart at the major European IT show, CeBit*.  According to the Philips demonstration, they were able to render the human heart twice as fast using our upcoming Nehalem workstation processors as compared to the previous generation Intel® Xeon® processor 54xx series.  Check out the beating heart demonstration video in this link using our Nehalem architecture-based workstation processor.For those of us with no medical background,  3D imaging is a tool enabling doctors to visualize the human body without invasive tools.  The patient is scanned, data is acquired, and a 3D model is assembled and they are able to show what going on in the human body without touching it.  CT tools are able to produce thousand of pictures or slices per second.  This results in large datasets that take time to process.  Software running on a server or workstation processes this vast amount of data to generate detailed 3D images and then can be interpreted by medical staff.   The primary challenge is managing large datasets generated by large volume acquisitions while speeding time to diagnosis.The heart is a particularly challenging to visualize using CT scanning.  It is a very fast moving organ, with little control over its movement because is involuntary, and the heart needs to be frozen in time to get accurate anatomical picture.  Another challenge for volume rendering is high level image quality necessary so that anatomical structures of the heart can be depicted in an accurate way.One interesting aspect of Philips CT solution is that image rendering takes place in the in the CPU which means that the performance of their solution is not restricted to by the memory available on a graphics card and is not slowed down by transfer of data between the CPU and the graphics card.  The Philips’ rendering software is multi-threaded and is able to take advantage of Intel advances in multi-threading /multi-core processing technology and software optimization tools for best performance improvements.I believe Philips’ demonstration is just one example of how Nehalem architecture-based processors will provide meaningful advances in 3D visualization, not just in medical fields, but other areas such as manufacturing and digital content creation.Jimmy Leon*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.last_img read more

Past failures spur Adamson coach on

first_imgPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netThere are facets in life that humans tap into to give them that extra kick of motivation, and for the head coach of Adamson Pep Squad it was the losses when he was still a student-cheerleader that spurred him on.Jeremy Lorenzo,  a wide-eyed member of the Pep Squad from 2007 until 2012, was never able to step into the podium of the UAAP cheerdance competition in those five years.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH No disappointments for UP despite failing to get podium finish LATEST STORIES For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. The Fatted Calf and Ayutthaya: New restos worth the drive to Tagaytay And those setbacks were what kept his fire burning, inspiring him to coach Adamson into cheerdance glory when the Pep Squad captured the gold in the Season 80 edition.“My motivation really were the winless experiences, being a loser during my college life,” said Lorenzo in Filipino Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe closest Lorenzo got to a medal when he was still student was when Adamson finished fifth in 2007, 2008, and 2011.Adamson hit rock bottom in 2010 and 2012, Lorenzo’s final collegiate year, when the Pep Squad finished dead last at eighth. Malditas save PH from shutout View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. After 30 years, Johnlu Koa still doing ‘hard-to-make’ quality breads So when the opportunity to go back to his alma mater as a coach came his way, he never hesitated and kept all those pent up frustrations to use as his tinder to light the fire in his pupils.“When I was given the opportunity to apply as the coach for my school, I remembered all those past losses as motivation,” said Lorenzo whose Adamson Pep Squad scored 663.50 points out of 800. “My inspiration was my frustration from the years I experienced all those losses.” Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MRT 7 on track for partial opening in 2021 Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READlast_img read more

Bhupathi-Tipsarevic knocked out of Wimbledon

first_imgThe Indian-Serbian pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Janko Tipsarevic were knocked out of the Wimbledon tennis championships, as they lost in straight sets in the first round of the men’s doubles on Thursday.Bhupathi-Tipsarevic went down to Austrian Jurgen Melzer and Swedish Robert Lindstedt 3-6, 3-6, 2-6 in an hour and 15 minutes.The Austrian-Swedish pair got off to an aggressive start, serving two aces and winning 12 out of 14 first serve points. The pair also broke their opponents twice in both occasions to take the first set 6-3.The second set saw the Melzer-Lindstedt pair showing off their skills even better than the first set as they won 15 out of 16 first serve points and broke their opponent once in four occasions.Seven aces served in the set made it difficult for Bhupathi-Tipsarevic to comeback into game. Melzer-Lindstedt took the set 6-3. Bhupathi-Tipsarevic never looked to make a comeback into the match as the pair failed to break their opponent or score crucial points. Melzer-Lindstedt took best advantage and broke their opponents twice in both occasions to take the third set 6-2 and the match and thus enter the second round.Melzer-Lindstedt next face the Australian pair of Lleyton Hewitt and Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round.last_img read more