Friday, January 11, 2019

Fwd: Complete the BKS Challenge in 2019

------ Forwarded message ---------
From: Black Kids Swim <>


The Black Kids Swim Challenge!

Black Kids Swim needs your help to change the relationship between the Black community and the water.

Join us and start 2019 with a commitment to increase the number of Black swimmers.

Accept the Challenge


#1 Learn to Swim

According to USA Swimming, if a parent cannot swim there is only a 13% chance their child will learn how to swim. Visit your local pool or YMCA and sign up for lessons this month. You can always email for information on lessons and private instructors.  

Contact BKS


#2 Support Black Competitive Swimmers

Donate to the BKS Summer Swim Scholarship Fund.  Participating on a summer swim team is the perfect way for kids to fall in love with the sport of swimming.  Every summer BKS awards  scholarships for kids to join summer swim teams - help us to increase the number of scholarships we award in 2019.

Make a Donation


#3 Share BKS

Encourage families to consider competitive swimming as the sport of choice for their kids.  Strong swimmers have access to a wide range of educational and professional opportunities. Help us create more Black competitive swimmers! Forward BKS emails and share our social media posts with family and friends.



#4 Make a Purchase

Proceeds from sales in the BKS Store go to support young Black swimmers and all BKS activities.  Visit the BKS store and make a purchase for the swimmer in your life.  We have swim caps and hair care products specifically created for Black swimmers.

Shop Now

Thank You for Your Support
Happy New Year from Black Kids Swim!

© 2018 Black Kids Swim, LLC - All Rights Reserved.10 Cabot Road | Medford, MA | 02155


Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Fwd: Interesting comparables on the evil neoliberal concept

----- Forwarded message ---------
From: John H

In recent weeks I have been asked on a few occasions what I mean when I refer to neoliberalism and why is it I tend to disparage it in operation.  Therefore, in order to help clear up this perplexing question I have attached two articles.  The first is an account of the rise of the 'Yellow Vest' movement in France which discusses what happens to a society when political ideology of neoliberalism is imposed from above (and it always is imposed from above).  One of the best ways to understand neoliberalism is to watch how it operates and observe the consequences of its imposition.  This is fairly clear in the 'Yellow Vest' protests and it is quite similar to how it works here and elsewhere in the world.  This may be one of the most important movements how happening in the world.  It is in the line of watch what I do and not what I say examination of neoliberalism.

The second piece, for those of you who like detailed explanations, is by Dr. Philip Mirowski of Notre Dame University, one of, if not the foremost, experts on neoliberalism today.  It is fairly long, and should you take the time to read it, you will understand why it is that neoliberalism is so difficult to define in just a few well-chosen words. 

For what it's worth, my shorthand definition of neoliberalism is 'corporate communism'.  Parse that one out for a while.



Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Fwd: Meeting Announcement on cracker plant on January 15, 2019 at 7:00 PM at Sunnyhill

---- Forwarded message ---------
From: John H

Meeting Announcement

Allegheny County Chapter
Izaak Walton League of America


Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills (Sunnyhill)
1240 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228


The Allegheny County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America will be hosting a special presentation on the environmental consequences of the Shell Cracker Plant, and what can be done about it.

  • Matt Mehalik – Executive Director of the Breathe Collaborative and its communications platform, the Breathe Project.  The Breathe Collaborative is a coalition of local residents, environmental advocates, public health professionals and academics with a common commitment to advocate for the air the Pittsburgh region needs in order to be a healthy, prosperous place.
  • Patricia DeMarcoIWLA Member, Author: "Pathways to Our Sustainable Future – Global Perspective from Pittsburgh", Forest Hills Borough Council, 2016-2020.
  • Robert SchmetzerChairman of the Beaver County Marcellus Community / BCMAC . and Citizens to protect the Ambridge Reservoir.  CPAR. 
  • Terrie BaumgardnerBeaver County activist, Field Organizer for Clean Air Council, volunteer with Beaver Marcellus Community and Citizens to Protect the Ambridge Reservoir.
  • Thaddeus PopovichCo-founder Allegheny County Clean Air Now, Protect Franklin Park, Climate Reality Project.

Co-Sponsored by: the Harry Enstrom  IWLA Chapter (Greene County)

A major part of this event will be a discussion between audience activists, and the presenters.  Please join us for this excellent educational event.

A brief Allegheny County Chapter Membership Meeting will precede this presentation at 06:00 PM.

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you know that may be interested in attending this meeting, or joining the IWLA.

If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at

In Solidarity,

Mike Stout
Chapter President
Allegheny County Chapter
Izaak Walton league of America


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Fwd: Wishing you all Happy Holidays!

--- Forwarded message ---------
From: John H

As we head into the new year it is time for those of us hoping and working for meaningful changes to the neoliberal system of oppression now swarming over the world in a desperate attempt to save itself from its own internal contradictions, we must refocus on those issues which can be resolved and, for the most part this work must be done locally.  One of the not too surprising results of neoliberal generated inequality and effective disenfranchisement of majority populations is the ominous rise of right-wing populism in this country and throughout the world.  As this is happening the neoliberal mainstream media is attempting to liken right-wing populism with the rising populism of the left in an ongoing effort to discredit left activism.  This is a danger which we must confront vigorously and the first two attachments delve into this issue. 

The first excellent piece by Jim Kavanagh, The Polemicist, focuses on the populist rise of the 'Yellow Vests' in France and other European nations that are increasingly being strangled by European Union neoliberal economic and political policies.  The second article, by Paul Street, distinguishes between the two populisms and why it is important to continue to make this distinction clear in every venue possible.  The third piece, by Michael D. Yates, discusses why all elements of oppression engendered by neoliberal capitalism must be attacked firmly and uniformly in order to insure that those in opposition will not be divided and destroyed by differences of interests and perspectives.  These are all important issues to be considered and I urge you to begin the New Year by reading all of them.

With that, I wish you all the merriest of holidays and a fruitful new year!


Friday, December 21, 2018

Fwd: Superintendent Hamlet's Year in Review

----- Forwarded message ---------
From: Pittsburgh Public Schools <>
Subject: Superintendent Hamlet's Year in Review

Season's greetings to you and yours!
As the calendar year closes and the academic calendar nears its midpoint, I'd like to share with you some reflections on some of the milestones Pittsburgh Public Schools achieved in 2018. 

We are now in Phase Two of our Strategic Plan, "Expect Great Things." We continue our quest for transformational improvement through several key initiatives:
Innovation in Early Childhood: Thanks to a partnership with the Carnegie Science Center and the support of the Heinz Foundation, we expanded STEM opportunities for students with the opening of the first early childhood classroom located in a science center. Additionally, all early childhood classrooms in the district use technology. 
Achievement gaps: We have made progress in the achievement gap for African-American students, more of whom are graduating from high school (77.4 percent up from 64.3 percent). More third-grade students (45.5 percent) are reading at grade level today compared to three years ago.  
Improved access: We have implemented a pilot program at six schools to screen all second-grade students for eligibility in gifted programming, and all 11th graders will take the SAT for free on March 6. All sophomores and juniors took the PSAT for free on Oct. 10.  
New Corporate Partners: Corporate donations have enhanced educational opportunities for PPS students, such as an $11,000 donation of bicycle desks to elementary-age children at Pittsburgh Weil by United Healthcare in October and Sprint's 1Million Project, which gave 630 high school students a free mobile device and free WiFi service. 
Reduction in Suspensions: With the introduction of PBIS, restorative practices, and second grade suspension ban, suspension rates are down 35 percent compared to three years ago. 
Greater transparency: The State of the District report marks the first time PPS has shared a report that not only includes district-level results, but also graduation rates, detailed suspension information, and budget information. New District Data Dashboards with School-level results can be viewed at  
In addition to publishing the State of the District report online, I also shared this presentation around the city with many of you. My hope was to share some of our milestones while also soliciting your input on how to best enhance our efforts.
Over a six-month period, we convened a working group that included District staff, representatives from the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, The Heinz Endowments, and the Grable Foundation. In partnership with the National Institute of School Leadership, members of this working group studied high-performing educational systems in the United States and abroad. The group then learned the nine building blocks for a world class education system.

We've used the knowledge and skills of the working group to conduct research and planning to explore five key areas. Three of the areas are required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education's District Improvement Planning process, these include: 
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Gifted Education
  • Aligned Instructional Systems
  • New Teacher Induction and 
  • Job-Embedded Professional Development.
It is important to acknowledge that 2018 also brought its share of challenges to our District, particularly the tragedy at the Tree of Life synagogue in October. We felt these losses keenly and continue to work in support of one another as we seek to heal and find a path forward, both for our District and our city. 

As we close the book on this year, we embrace the promise of what lies ahead: a strong foundation for the future of our District and our students; a contract with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers that allows us to partner together in forging meaningful change; and ultimately, better outcomes for all our students and a brighter future for our city.

On behalf of Pittsburgh Public Schools, I wish you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year.

Dr. Anthony Hamlet 

Pittsburgh Public Schools
341 S. Bellefield Ave. | Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 529- HELP
Pittsburgh Public Schools | 341 South Bellefield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

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