The first Tlingit language immersion program has ended after a week of activities in Sitka.The Sitka Sentinel reports that things wrapped up Saturday for the 63 language speakers that traveled from across Alaska, Canada and the lower 48 to attend the workshops.Program organizer Heather Powell says there are only about 100 Tlingit speakers total.Participants made traditional drums, performed plays and puppet shows of Tlingit legends and discussed correct pronunciation, vocabulary and structure.Most activities were in the Mt. Edgecumbe High School student union building. Language teachers were paired with learners for most activities. The group played bingo entirely in the Tlingit language on Thursday.The Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Sealaska Heritage and Sitka Native Education Program have helped create the immersion program.
Logo of SuicideIran has executed a “defence ministry contractor” convicted of spying for the US Central Intelligence Agency, semi-official news agency ISNA reported Saturday.”The execution sentence was carried out for Jalal Haji Zavar, a contractor for the defence ministry’s aerospace organisation who spied for the CIA and the American government,” ISNA reported, quoting the Iranian military.ISNA said he was convicted by Iran’s military court and that he was executed, at an unspecified time, at the Rajayi Shahr prison in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran.The agency did not say when Zavar was arrested, noting however that his contract with the defence ministry had been terminated during the Iranian year 1389 (March 2010-2011).He was identified as a spy by the defence ministry’s intelligence unit, ISNA said.During the investigation the suspect “explicitly confessed to spying for the CIA” in return for money, ISNA said, adding that “documents and espionage devices were found at his house”.Zavar’s ex-wife was convicted of “involvement in espionage” and is serving a 15-year jail sentence, the agency said.The report comes days after Iran said it had dismantled a “new” US spy network in the country linked to the CIA, amid escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington.In what it termed a “wide-reaching blow” to US intelligence, state news agency IRNA said on Tuesday that Tehran had carried out the operation in cooperation with “foreign allies”, without naming any state.Tensions between Washington and Tehran flared up after Iran, on Tuesday, said it shot down a US “spy” drone which violated its airspace — a claim the US denies — near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.In response, the US was ready to carry out a military strike against Iran.President Donald Trump said Friday the United States was “cocked & loaded” to strike Iran but pulled back at the last minute as it would not have been a “proportionate” response to Tehran’s shooting down of the unmanned drone.The downing of the drone came after tensions spiked between the two countries following a series of attacks on oil tankers the US has blamed on Iran.
Share President Donald Trump’s budget proposal to provide federal tax money for private-school scholarships is getting pushback from an unconventional source: groups known for promoting school-choice initiatives.The plan promoted by Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos widened a divide in the school-choice movement and brought swift condemnation from people who support more competition for public schools in the form of charter schools but oppose sending tax money to private institutions.“I think it’s an affront to the American dream,” said Jonah Edelman, CEO of the pro-charter group Stand for Children, which planned to align with a frequent adversary, one of the nation’s largest teachers unions, to oppose the plan.The administration’s budget proposal sets aside $250 million for the scholarships. That’s a tiny sliver of the $4.1 trillion spending plan released Tuesday, but if approved it would mark the first time the federal government has helped pay private-school tuition for K-12 students.The budget also calls for $1 billion for a new program encouraging school districts to give parents options in choosing a public school for their children. And it increases grants for charter schools.Trump has said he eventually wants federal school-choice programs to expand to $20 billion a year.“This administration understands that educational choice is an essential component to ensuring every child can access a quality education,” said Tommy Schultz, spokesman for American Federation for Children, the school-choice advocacy group headed until last year by DeVos.She and the group support using public money to help parents pay tuition for private schools, including religious ones, through vouchers or tax credits. The tax credits would go to parents who qualify based on their income or to corporations that provide private-school scholarships.Critics say the approach will divert money from public schools that need it.They find it especially objectionable because it’s on a short list of spending increases in a plan that otherwise cuts the Education Department’s budget by 14 percent. Trump’s budget proposal reduces funding for after-school programs, arts education and college work-study programs.“Under the guise of empowering parents with school choice,” the administration’s budget “would hurt the very communities that have the most to gain from high-quality public school options,” Eli Broad, a Los Angeles billionaire and major proponent of public charter schools, said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Public school choice cannot come at the expense of all public school families and students.”An AP data analysis published earlier this month found that Broad and DeVos were among about four dozen wealthy Americans who have largely funded the school-choice political movement.The contributors have generally fallen into two camps — those who support public charter schools and those who promote both charters and private-school vouchers. They have worked together to pass school-choice initiatives in the past and generally have butted heads with teachers unions.DeVos’ elevation to education secretary and her push to funnel public money into private schools have caused a split that became more apparent after this week’s budget release.Edelman of Stand for Children said his group is coordinating with teachers unions to oppose vouchers. An official at the American Federation of Teachers said the union is working with Stand for Children on the issue. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the partnership has not been announced publicly.In its own effort, the largest teachers union, the National Education Association, said it expected members and other supporters to send 20,000 emails Tuesday to the Department of Education denouncing the private-school scholarship program.“Vouchers do not work and they take scarce funding away from public schools — where 90 percent of America’s students enroll — and give it to private schools that are unaccountable to the public,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said in a statement Tuesday.Shavar Jeffries, president of Democrats for Education Reform, another pro-charter group that often differs with teachers unions, said he wants to focus on stopping the education cuts in the budget proposal and that his group also is open to working with teachers unions. He said only a small number of children are likely to benefit from any voucher program.Derrell Bradford, executive vice president of 50CAN, an advocacy group that favors many forms of school choice, said the voucher proposal championed by Trump and DeVos is worth fighting for.He said he’s not troubled by the cuts elsewhere in the education budget because he sees the spending plan as a starting point for discussions and does not expect Congress to keep all the cuts the administration proposed.
Houston Rising is a coalition of more than a dozen community based groups fighting for the city’s low income population. They hope that by joining forces they can be more successful in helping those less fortunate.On Saturday they held a public hearing at the Finnigan Park Community Center. Marvin Odum, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s recovery czar, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, State Senator Sylvia Garcia, along with other officials attended the hearing.Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/18145621/Video-1.mp400:0000:0000:31Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The hearing’s topic was equity in recovery efforts. Brien Straw / Houston Public MediaJennifer Pena (right) isn’t confident. She cleans houses but lost 60 percent of her business because of Harvey.Jennifer Pena isn’t confident. She cleans houses but lost 60 percent of her business because of Harvey. She says FEMA denied her claim for reimbursement for furniture lost to the storm because they had no value prior to Harvey. She tries hard to overcome poverty but feels she’s getting no help.“When you’re poor you’re poor and you’ve just got to live with the circumstances and it shouldn’t be like that,” she says, unable to hold back tears.Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/18150318/Video-2.mp400:0000:0006:38Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Retired Marine Ronald Eugene Magic agrees. He’s living off $735 a month he gets from the Marines. After three moves to find a dry place in Crosby to wait out the hurricane, he’s back in East Houston. “You cannot help somebody if you telling them, “Hey I’m gonna do this,” and you don’t,” Magic says.Brien Straw / Houston Public MediaMarvin Odum, the Mayor’s recovery czar, thinks this is the chance for those who feel overlooked.With low income housing already in short supply in Houston, available housing is much worse following Harvey. But Marvin Odum, the Mayor’s recovery czar, thinks this is the chance for those who feel overlooked, needed. Odum says, “In every respect this is an opportunity to do things better than they were before. Period.” Share