Saturday, May 30, 2009

Family Feud Leads To Shootout Leaving 5 People Shot

Nothing to see here folks, California is a concealed carry state and everybody appears to have their papers in order... Could violence like this be coming to Peoria? Family fueds are popping off in neighborhoods all over town. Everyday PPD are answering calls for people fighting in their yards.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Long term effects of the Accelerated Reader Program

From a report entitled "Does Accelerated Reader Work?"

None of the studies included long term follow-up data telling us if children continue to read after the incentive system is no longer in place. This is crucial in light of McLoyd's finding (McLoyd, 1979) that the use of rewards inhibits subsequent reading.

McLoyd (1979) asked second and third graders to read from "high interest" books under three conditions: a "high reward," "low reward" and "no reward" condition. In the high reward condition, children were promised a reward that they rated the most highly out of six presented.

In the low reward condition, children were promised a reward that they rated the least highly out of six presented (Accelerated Reader can be considered a high reward system, because children can exchange points for a wide variety of prizes).

It was explained to the children that the reward would be granted if they read up to a marker in the text (indicating 250 words), and that the experimenter was interested in their opinion of the book. Rewards were not mentioned to the children in the no-reward condition; rather, they were simply asked to read up to the indicated place in the text and to then give their opinion of the book. The reading sessions lasted for ten minutes. (McLoyd also included a group reading from "low interest" books; I consider here, however, only the high interest group, children reading a book that they rated the most interesting out of six books presented to them. This group is of the most interest to us, because it reflects what is or should be the case in sustained silent reading and in most reading management programs.)

Both rewarded groups read only what they had to in order to get the reward, barely going beyond the 250 word maker. The no-reward readers went well beyond this point; they were engaged in reading about twice as much than the two rewarded groups, and read more than twice as much.

Robbins and Thompson (1991) did a separate study of seven low-achieving readers who participated in their incentive program. For at least four of the seven low-achievers, the incentive program had no lasting effect. One low-achiever, Walter, continued reading after the program ended (p. 67), but Timmy, "didn't do much reading ... once the summer reading program ended" (p. 65). Octavious earned all his points in the first few weeks, then his reading "slowed considerably" (p. 71). Sann "found little time for reading and library visits ... as the summer ended" (p. 73)." The incentive program clearly had no impact on Jason, who remained a reluctant reader (p. 69). Robbins and Thompson's analysis thus suggests that rewards do not "jump start" reading interest.

There is, thus, suggestive evidence that the use of incentives does not have positive long-term effects on reading frequency and enthusiasm. The studies reviewed here were short-term and the focus was on the impact of AR on reading achievement. If the amount of actual reading children do is the cause of their reading achievement, one could argue that long-term reading frequency is the crucial issue. Studies must ask whether AR contributes to a reluctant reader becoming an enthusiastic reader long after the program ends.

The results presented here strongly suggest that of the four aspects of AR, access to books, time devoted to reading, tests, and rewards, only the first two are supported by research. There is considerable evidence that providing access to books results in more reading and better reading and considerable evidence that providing time to read results in better reading. There is suggestive evidence that incentives do not promote additional reading in the long term. The AR research literature does nothing to change these conclusions.

Read the full report here...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Does it mean we are safe if it's not in the news?

As has been determined, by those of us who watch local main stream media, crimes in certain parts of Peoria some times go unreported. Along those lines, although I did not get it from any news report, if I heard correctly, Nick N Willey's in the Metro Center was robbed the other day...

62 days ago:

It was Tuesday, March 23, 2009, a much ballyhooed press conference; Peoria Police have announced that they have arrested four people suspected in the string of armed robberies that have plagued Peoria; the now infamous "... we are safer" comment as shown in the graphic above was made.

Here are the crime related items that were reported on by local mainstream media from March 24 , 2009 through today, Memorial Day, May 25, 2009. Are we safer?

Police Looking For Burglars
Monday, May 25, 2009 @04:07am CST
WMBD/WYZZ – Peoria police are looking into several overnight burglaries that happened on Monday. The first happened in the 7300 block of Knoxville Avenue.Police found the door of Specialty Healthcare propped open just before 1:00 a.m. It isn't clear what, if anything, was stolen.Officers are also looking for suspects after a house was burglarized in the 1000 block of State Street in Peoria county.
Man in Critical Condition After Being Shot by Officer
Monday, May 25, 2009 @04:02am CST
WMBD/WYZZ – Police responded around on 1:00 a.m. to the 900 block of Greenlawn Street where they found a man struggling with a woman. The man fled on foot when police arrived, he was pursued by an officer. During the chase, the man pointed a handgun at the police officer, who fired a single shot into the man's stomach.
Pair accused of punching man, shoving women
Posted May 24, 2009 @ 11:24 PM
Two Peorians were arrested Sunday morning after allegedly punching a man in the face and shoving two women as they were walking to their car in the Commerce Bank parking deck.
South Peoria man runs from men with guns
Posted May 23, 2009 @ 10:24 PM
A South Peoria man escaped an armed-robbery attempt Friday night. The man had just arrived at his home in the 1500 block of South Livingston Street about 10:55 p.m. when he saw two men walking toward him.
Man robbed at gunpoint while walking in East Bluff
Posted May 23, 2009 @ 10:22 PM
A man was robbed at gunpoint Saturday morning while walking in the East Bluff.
Two men held up at gunpoint in South Peoria
Posted May 23, 2009 @ 10:21 PM
A Peoria man and his friend were held up at gunpoint early Saturday in South Peoria.
Theft of compact discs, pork loins thwarted
Posted May 20, 2009 @ 08:32 PM
After stealing a bag filled with compact discs and four pork loins Saturday during separate burglaries, a thief abandoned his booty and fled when confronted.
Police: Woman strikes officer escorting her from burning home
Posted May 20, 2009 @ 03:26 PM
A house fire Tuesday night on Prospect Road left one resident jailed for allegedly striking police officers, and the State Fire Marshal's Office investigating a possible arson.
Woman shot in head expected to survive
Posted May 20, 2009 @ 03:13 PM
The Peoria woman who was shot in the head during an apparent domestic dispute early Tuesday morning was in considerably better condition by Wednesday, according to Peoria police.
... here...
13-year-old indicted in South Side Bank robbery
Posted May 19, 2009 @ 10:10 PM
A 13-year-old boy was indicted Tuesday by a Peoria County grand jury for allegedly robbing a South Side Bank branch last month at gunpoint.
Teen robbery suspect has another case moved to adult court
Posted May 19, 2009 @ 01:37 PM
A teen already charged as an adult for armed robbery now has more legal woes, as a juvenile court judge Tuesday ordered he be tried as an adult for allegedly attacking a counselor at the county’s juvenile detention center.
Police: Peoria woman shot in head in domestic fight
Posted May 19, 2009 @ 12:15 PM
A South Peoria woman was shot in the head during an apparent domestic fight early Tuesday in which a man was shot in the arm.
Property damaged by South Peoria gunfire
Posted May 18, 2009 @ 11:06 PM
Shots fired Sunday morning in South Peoria damaged two people's property.
Gunplay near Shop Rite leaves cars full of bullets
Posted May 18, 2009 @ 06:08 PM
Gunplay involving five men left the shoppers' cars with bullet holes shortly after 3 p.m. in the Shop Rite parking lot, 1823 W. Lincoln Ave.
Teen parents plead guilty to abusing infant son
Posted May 18, 2009 @ 01:14 PM
Two teenage parents pleaded guilty Monday to abusing their 5-month-old son, causing several rib fractures, fractures to the infant's leg and bruising.
Peorian indicted in double shooting
Posted May 17, 2009 @ 10:48 PM
A South Peoria man faces up to 30 years in prison for allegedly shooting two people in late March.
JS columnist arrested after alleged bar altercation
Posted May 17, 2009 @ 09:38 PM
Phil Luciano, Journal Star columnist and WMBD-AM radio personality, was arrested Saturday morning for allegedly striking two people at a West Peoria tavern.
Gunmen steal electronics, shoes from Peoria house
Posted May 16, 2009 @ 10:49 PM
Gunmen wearing white shirts over their faces broke into a South Peoria home early Saturday and demanded money from the resident's girlfriend. But apparently, they only made off with electronics and shoes.
Peoria police recover handgun after street fight
Posted May 16, 2009 @ 10:48 PM
Police recovered a handgun from a large street fight Thursday night but made no arrests.
Shipment of cigarettes stolen from gas station
Posted May 16, 2009 @ 10:48 PM
A burglar made off with more than $1,300 worth of cigarettes early Saturday from a North Peoria gasoline station.
Teen could get 21 years in robbery
Posted May 15, 2009 @ 09:58 PM
A 14-year-old North Valley boy faces at least 21 years in prison for his part in the armed robbery of the Downtown 66 gas station last fall.
Four people arrested in alcohol-sale stings
Posted May 14, 2009 @ 08:29 PM
Four employees were arrested Wednesday night for allegedly selling alcohol to minors during alcohol countermeasure enforcement by Illinois State Police throughout the area.
$25,900 in equipment stolen from repair shop
Posted May 14, 2009 @ 12:03 AM
Tens of thousands of dollars worth of tools and equipment were stolen from a car repair garage late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
Fast Break store on Galena Road robbed
Posted May 13, 2009 @ 09:33 PM
The Fast Break convenience store at 9327 N. Galena Road was robbed late Tuesday night.
Online tool maps city crime
Posted May 13, 2009 @ 04:03 PM
One of the latest innovations in law enforcement will enable Web users to check out crime trends in Peoria County.
Easily deterred gunman takes no for an answer
Posted May 13, 2009 @ 01:56 PM
A not-so-persistent robber was turned away from an attempted holdup Tuesday night. According to Peoria police, a male believed to be in his teens entered JJ's Fish and Chicken, 841 W. Main St., about 9:15 p.m.
Two Peorians face charges in shooting and carjacking
Posted May 12, 2009 @ 08:26 PM
Two people implicated in a shooting and carjacking last month were indicted Tuesday by a Peoria County grand jury.
Teen pleads guilty to firing shots during altercation
Posted May 12, 2009 @ 07:32 PM
A 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty Monday to charges he fired several shots at another boy during an apparent gang fight earlier this month.
No one injured in North Peoria apartment fire
Posted May 11, 2009 @ 06:39 PM
Fire did an estimated $550,000 in damage to a North Peoria apartment building Sunday night.
West Peoria man hit in head with gun outside bar
Posted May 11, 2009 @ 06:37 PM
A 23-year-old West Peoria man told a Peoria County sheriff's deputy he was struck in the head with a gun during an attempted armed robbery Friday night at Cams, 2510 W. Farmington Road.
Arson, robbery cases occupy grand jury
Posted May 10, 2009 @ 11:27 PM
A South Peoria man faces up to 30 years in prison after being indicted recently by a Peoria County grand jury for allegedly setting fire to his girlfriend's house.
12 apartments evacuated after North Peoria blaze
Posted May 10, 2009 @ 10:36 PM
Residents of 12 apartment units were evacuated late Sunday after a fire at a North Peoria apartment complex. No one was hurt.
Woman robbed in parking lot of Peoria apartment building
Posted May 09, 2009 @ 11:43 PM
A woman was robbed in the parking lot of her apartment building Friday. The victim told police she was getting out of her car to enter the building in the 4700 block of Knoxville Avenue at about 11:50 p.m. when a man approached her.
Peoria woman hit in head, robbed at residence
Posted May 09, 2009 @ 11:41 PM
A woman was robbed early Saturday at her residence in the 1600 block of Indiana Avenue.
Teen admits to planning to rob pizza delivery driver
Posted May 09, 2009 @ 12:20 AM
A Peoria teenager admitted Friday to conspiring with another teen to rob a pizza delivery driver but will avoid prison time as part of a plea agreement.
Pair rob Katie McButts bar and patrons Friday
Posted May 08, 2009 @ 08:02 PM
One shot was fired at the ceiling of a bar during a robbery early Friday morning.
Peoria already fully familiar with arson
Posted May 08, 2009 @ 07:51 PM
… Peoria firefighters are concerned about a rash of intentionally set fires.
Printing machine among damage at local business
Posted May 06, 2009 @ 08:03 AM
A fabric-printing machine belonging to a North Valley business sustained about $25,000 in damages between 6 p.m. Monday and 7:40 a.m. Tuesday.
South Peorian indicted in robbery-shooting
Posted May 05, 2009 @ 08:51 PM
A Peoria County grand jury on Tuesday indicted a South Peoria man on charges he shot a relative while trying to rob him last month.
Prosecutor drops shooting charges as 'charade'
Posted May 05, 2009 @ 08:48 PM
Saying she wanted to "end the charade," a Peoria County prosecutor dismissed charges against a man accused of shooting at his girlfriend after the victim refused to testify Tuesday.
Two indicted for alleged 'gas money' holdup
Posted May 05, 2009 @ 08:26 PM
Two area men were indicted Tuesday for allegedly holding up a man in Peoria's North Valley last month for "gas money."
Bond set at $300,000 for alleged teen bank robber
Posted May 05, 2009 @ 08:25 PM
Bond was set at $300,000 Tuesday for a 13-year-old boy to be tried as an adult for allegedly robbing a South Side Bank branch last month at gunpoint.
Robbery case could be transferred to adult court
Posted May 05, 2009 @ 08:14 PM
Prosecutors have filed a motion to transfer to adult court the case of a 15-year-old boy accused of robbing a hardware store last month.
Robbers get $1,500 from man hit with rifle butt
Posted May 05, 2009 @ 08:21 AM
Two men armed with rifles broke into a residence in the 900 block of West Howett Street at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday and took a reported $1,500 in cash from one of the occupants.
Sheriff's deputies agree to new contract
Posted May 04, 2009 @ 10:02 PM
Peoria County sheriff's deputies have a tentative four-year agreement that will give them pay increases each year.
Judge rules 13-year-old is an adult
Posted May 04, 2009 @ 08:18 PM
Calling the actions of a 13-year-old boy accused of robbing a South Side bank branch last month "very aggressive" and "menacing," a Peoria County judge ruled Monday the teen should be tried as an adult.
Candles left burning may have started trailer fire
Posted May 04, 2009 @ 07:00 PM
Candles left burning overnight may have been the cause of a fire early Monday at Kingspark Estates in Peoria County.
South Peoria man hit with rifle in home invasion
Posted May 04, 2009 @ 09:08 AM
A South Peoria man received a cut to his forehead from the butt of a rifle after two men stormed his home, police said.
Nobody injured in birthday-party gunfire
Posted May 03, 2009 @ 10:47 PM
No one was injured when at least two gunshots were fired at a group of people that had gathered for a birthday party.
Drug task force arrest leads to indictment
Posted May 03, 2009 @ 07:31 PM
A Peoria County grand jury indicted a North Peoria man on drug dealing charges that could send him to prison for up to 15 years.
Hit-and-run victim in critical condition
Posted May 02, 2009 @ 03:00 PM
The victim of an apparent hit-and-run was reported in critical condition Friday night at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.
Peoria man, girlfriend face child porn charge
Posted May 01, 2009 @ 10:10 PM
A South Peoria man appeared in Peoria's federal court on Friday accused of making sexually explicit videos with an 8-year-old child.
Inside: (1)
Peoria man pleads guilty to sending illicit photos
Posted May 01, 2009 @ 09:46 PM
A Peoria man faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Friday to sending obscene material to a Washington police officer who was posing as a 13-year-old girl.
District 150 bus monitor arrested
Posted May 01, 2009 @ 09:15 AM
District 150 campus police arrested a bus monitor Thursday morning for allegedly placing masking tape over the mouth of one student and on the neck of another last week.
23-year-old robbed of $500 in South Peoria
Posted Apr 30, 2009 @ 10:03 PM
A wallet containing $500 in cash was taken during a robbery Tuesday night in South Peoria.
Apartment fire leaves six people without homes
Posted Apr 30, 2009 @ 09:06 PM
Six people are without a home after a fire late Wednesday night in South Peoria.
Two more South Peoria fires likely arson cases
Posted Apr 29, 2009 @ 09:32 PM
Arson cases continue to pile up after two more fires that appear to have been intentionally set in South Peoria.
One business out of 15 caught selling to minor
Posted Apr 29, 2009 @ 09:23 PM
Alcohol countermeasure enforcement checks of 15 businesses in Marshall and Stark counties yielded one citation Tuesday night.
15-year-old captured after Ace Hardware robbery
Posted Apr 29, 2009 @ 08:38 PM
Police said they quickly captured a 15-year-old male after the Ace Hardware store at 120 W. McClure Ave. was robbed apparently at gunpoint on Wednesday morning.
Man accused of selling $155,000 in employer's tools, parts on eBay
Posted Apr 28, 2009 @ 09:46 PM
A Canton man faces up to 30 years in prison for allegedly taking tools and parts from his employer and selling them on eBay.
Thieves move cookware to silence their entry
Posted Apr 28, 2009 @ 09:15 PM
Thieves avoided detection while breaking into a Central Peoria house overnight Sunday by removing cookware hanging next to an open window.
Man at center of brutality case faces new charges
Posted Apr 28, 2009 @ 08:10 PM
Already at the center of an investigation of alleged police brutality, Bryce R. Scott now faces legal troubles in federal court that could mean he'll spend the rest of his life in prison.
Arson investigate in case of South Peoria house fire
Posted Apr 28, 2009 @ 08:04 PM
A fire Monday night at a vacant South Peoria home is being investigated as arson.
Three businesses report weekend break-ins
Posted Apr 28, 2009 @ 07:56 PM
Police are investigating three break-ins at businesses where burglars netted money, a laptop computer and liquor.
Arson suspected at Monday night house fire
Posted Apr 28, 2009 @ 08:35 AM
A fire Monday night at a vacant South Peoria home is being investigated as arson.
Lawyer: Baby was denied basic care
Last update Apr 28, 2009 @ 07:32 PM
Two friends of James Sargent implored him for weeks to get help taking care of his infant son. Every time, the answer was the same. "He always said that he would," said James Burge of his friend. "But it just never happened."
Trio indicted in Family Dollar robbery
Posted Apr 26, 2009 @ 11:18 PM
Three people face charges after being indicted for allegedly participating in the holdup of the Family Dollar store on Harman Highway last month.
Fire at vacant house considered suspicious
Posted Apr 26, 2009 @ 11:16 PM
The cause of a Saturday night South Peoria house fire is considered suspicious and remains under investigation.
Peoria man stabbed twice in the back
Posted Apr 26, 2009 @ 11:13 PM
Peoria man was stabbed twice in the back early Sunday morning. The man was drinking with a woman somewhere in the 700 block of Western Avenue just after midnight when they got into an argument, according to police reports.
Man shot during argument in South Peoria
Posted Apr 25, 2009 @ 11:24 PM
A man was shot Friday night in South Peoria. About midnight, a group of people was arguing when shots were fired from an unknown direction.
South Peoria fire causes $25,000 in damage
Posted Apr 25, 2009 @ 11:23 PM
A South Peoria fire caused about $25,000 in damage Saturday night but injured nobody.
Second suspect in carjacking, shootout arrested
Posted Apr 25, 2009 @ 11:22 PM
The second suspect in a shooting and carjacking Wednesday night has been arrested.
Details of police shootout emerge
Posted Apr 24, 2009 @ 09:53 PM
It started out with a fistfight and wound up with a person shot and another person trading fire with the police.
Sports utility vehicle pulled over after gun play
Posted Apr 24, 2009 @ 08:35 PM
Three gunshots struck a Jeep Cherokee on Wednesday night as it was speeding away from the scene of a fight in South Peoria, but both occupants escaped injury.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Show this video to the young thug in your life

For the full length video with a special message for the youngsters, click here...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The chaotic nature of the public school lottery

From the Mommy Files:

Over the weekend, our family went to dinner at some friends who live a few blocks from us on the Mission District-Noe Valley border. They wanted to show us their new kitchen countertops.

As my girlfriend Jamie (who requested that I change her name for this article) toured me through her small condo, she told me about additional renovations she and her husband plan to make. "We need to get this done in two years," she said, "before we put our place on the market and leave the city."

Two years?

Yes, in two years Jamie's son will be 4-years-old and she hopes to settle into a house in the suburbs before he starts kindergarten. Why?

"I can't deal with the San Francisco public school lottery system," Jamie says. "There's too much uncertainty and it sounds too stressful."

Lottery system?

Yes, you probably already know that if you want to send your child to a public school in San Francisco you have to play 'The Lottery'--though the San Francisco Unified School District prefers to call it a choice system because any student can apply to any school in the district.

Parents pick seven schools where they'd be happy sending their child and then turn their list into the district. Sounds simple, right?

Well, there's a catch. Around 80 percent of all families get one of their seven choices--a significant portion of those are awarded spots because they already have a sibling at the school. In other words, not everyone wins the lottery and many families end up on wait lists at their favorite schools or they opt for private or leave the city all together.

Why this chaotic mess? Rather than assigning kids to the schools closest to their homes, the district is trying to achieve a blend of students of different backgrounds throughout the city. In theory, it's a smart idea.

But my friend Jamie would rather move to the East Bay than go through this system.

Jamie knows the public schools in San Francisco are good--her husband went to Lawton, after all. She knows about the dedicated parents around the city who are working their butts off to improve their children's schools. She knows about Leonard Flynn, the lovely school a few blocks from her house with a diverse population and a Spanish immersion program. And she knows that if she moves back to Danville where she grew up, her family isn't going to get the same experience. She also knows--because I am always reminding her and I'm a huge advocate for public schools--that I love the S.F. public school where my 6-year-old daughter attends a Mandarin immersion kindergarten.

But Jamie also knows what I went through to get into that school. She's aware of how much time I took off from work to tour schools and develop my list of seven favorites. She listened to me cry when my daughter didn't get into any of them. She heard about all the fights I had with my husband when we were trying to decide whether or not to accept a spot offered by a private school. For two years, she dealt with my panic-stricken state as I made my kindergarten search for my daughter the focus of my life. (You can read about my travails in a recent article in San Francisco magazine.)

I tell Jamie that it was worth it and while I struggled, I also learned a lot and grew as a person. I tell her that the experience helped define my family's values as my husband and I realized that it's important to us that our daughter attend a school with children from varied backgrounds.

Jamie doesn't buy it. "I'm not doing it," she often tells me. "I know that it will make me crazy."

This is one of the problems with San Francisco's infamous Student Assignment System. It scares away people like Jamie. It makes them run for the East Bay Hills. It's not the only problem--and certainly not the biggest one. There are others--such as the fact that some of the schools aren't diverse. But for me, a neurotic Noe Valley mom, it's the problem that I hear about most. I have already lost many city friends to the lottery system--and maybe that's why I so badly want Jamie to stay.

Today, I'm going to be a guest on a segment on KQED radio's Forum show focusing on the Student Assignment System--tune in at 9 a.m. While I struggled with the lottery, I think going through it was worth it and I'm hoping I can encourage discouraged parents to charge on because there's almost always a happy ending. I'm also looking forward to hearing Jane Kim, vice president of the Board of Education, and Orla O'Keeffe, special assistant to the superintendent, talk about the upcoming Student Assignment System redesign.

What are my thoughts on the redesign? In short, I don't think the district should revert to neighborhood schools; we should avoid racial isolation. I believe that the intentions of the current system--to create diverse schools and close the achievement gap--are right-on and those should be maintained. Also the data shows that the majority of parents want some choice in the matter. But I'm hoping the district can make some tweaks that will make the process easier, less stressful, less time-intensive, and get people like Jamie to stay.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why would haters want a Hate Crimes Bill?

Rep. Steve King (R-Batshittia) introduced an amendment to the hate crimes bill calling for the term "sexual orientation" to exclude "pedophiles" even though the bill specifically defines sexual orientation as "consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality." Pedophelia, as everyone knows, is nonconsensual no matter who engages in it.

Not only was King insinuating the derogatory stereotype that homosexuals are pedophiles, but his amendment would've further validated this stereotype by writing it into the legal record. By the way, Joe the Plumber -- another very serious leader of the Republican Party -- advanced the same stereotype this week when he said that he'd never let his "gay friends" anywhere near his kids. Classy. Nevertheless, King making this kind of distinction is sort of like amending civil rights legislation with: "the term 'African Americans' shall not include anyone who rapes white women." It elevates a stereotype while denying one exists. Pretty slick -- in a creepy, sinister kind of way.

From the Huffington Post. Read entire article here...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Peoria – the proverbial tale of two cities. One tale is about a Peoria where the youngest member of Congress can thrive and be on the world stage by the age of 26; and the other tale is about a Peoria, that has produced a 13 year old bank robber – a throw away child (if the State’s Attorney is to be believed).

Deonte Moore is just the most recent example of the plague of gang/youth violence that we face daily. Gangs do not exist in a vacum. They are born out of an environment of poverty, lack of jobs, training, educational opportunities, and an absence of inclusion and spiritual engagement. We should be deeply disturbed that our Community has produced (and subsequently failed) Deonte Moore.

On February 13, 2009, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced H.R.1064 and S. 435, identical House and Senate bills to fund prevention and intervention programs that are comprehensive, community-centered and evidence-based efforts to combat gangs and youth violence. The Bill is called theYouth PROMISE Bill.

PROMISE stands for Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education and is sponsored by Representatives Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA) and Michael Castle (R-DE) as well as Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). In response to gang bills that emphasized suppression and incarceration over prevention and intervention, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va) introduced legislation that champions evidenced-based practices and provides an alternative approach for lawmakers looking for effective responses to youth crime and delinquency.

The Youth PROMISE Act builds upon evidence-based methods proven to reduce youth violence and delinquency at the community level. Under the Youth PROMISE Act, communities facing the greatest youth gang and crime challenges will come together – via a local council that includes law enforcement, community-based organizations, schools, faith organizations, health, social service, and mental health providers – to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies targeted at young people and their families to make our communities safer, reduce victimization, and help at-risk young people to lead law-abiding and healthy lives, free from gang and/or other criminal involvement.

The Peoria Community is rich with resources, inclusive of a superstar Congressman named Aaron Schock. What better person to get behind this Bill and push for it’s passing than Aaron Schock. After all the travesty that surrounds Deonte Moore is playing out right here in his home town. Congressman Aaron Schock should care about the passing of this Bill.

I encourage all readers of this blog to write Congressman Schock, tell him it is okay to support this important act. As a matter of fact we need to contact all Sentators and Representatives now and ask for their support of S. 435 and H.R. 1064. Go here to sign a letter.
Click below to view a Section-by-Section Summary of the bill, including a list of current co-sponsors. Section-by-Section Summary

Friday, May 1, 2009

One of the most inane conversations you will ever hear.

School Activity Fund Frauds: An Accident Waiting to Happen


The following article appeared in the Washington Post on November 9, 2007 (Student Money Vanishes, but Few Are Punished Activity Funds Are Often Plundered and Mismanaged by Adults):I have maintained for a long time that management of these funds was an accident waiting to happen.

As an internal auditor for Fairfax County Public Schools I observed firsthand the types of abuses that occur regularly in school activity funds. Despite reporting mechanisms such as independent audits that show control weaknesses many of the abuses are repeated year after year. This is in large part due to who controls the funds, lack of effective policies and procedures, and an overall position that these are not material to the financial statements and therefore do not warrant attention.

Across the United States millions of dollars are collected each year for student activity funds. These funds are under the direct control of the principal of the school. While the funds may seem immaterial (from several hundred dollars up to hundreds of thousands of dollars) when you consider the amounts collected by school district the number easily reach millions of dollars a year.

Student activity money is collected from vending machines, sporting events, bake sales and other activities approved by the school principal.

The funds are supposed to be used to promote the general welfare, education and morale of students through activities such as field trips, school publications etc.

The funds are the responsibility of the school principal.School districts are supposed to have policies and procedures covering the collection, safeguarding, and expenditure of school activity funds.

The funds should be audited each year by an independent accounting firm.

However the reality is that procedures for collection, safeguarding and dissemination are not always followed. Not all the money collected is recorded in the school's accounting system. Funds are not promptly deposited and are kept in insecure locations (unlocked desks) or safes with access by multiple personnel. Funds are spent for purposes other than the benefit of students.

School principals routinely give the responsibility for oversight of the funds to individuals not properly trained. Due to lack of internal resources (such as internal auditors) funds are not audited on a regular basis. Additionally the school districts external auditors may not even be aware of the funds available and therefore do not look at whether appropriate internal controls are in place.

read more here...

While at Fairfax County Public Schools I reviewed reports issued by an external auditor hired on a contract basis to review the school activity funds. The control weaknesses identified by the external auditor occurred year after year without little if any changes. In addition eventhough the State Education Department mandated that EVERY SCHOOL ACTIVITY FUND BE AUDITED EVERY YEAR, there was no requirement that the State Education Department be provided with a copy of the report. The cost to the County was over $250,000 and was borne by the taxpayers rather than being paid for by the Student Activity funds (over $40 million dollars collected).There needs to be greater oversight by school officials including internal auditors.

There should be minimum standards for individuals responsible for student activity funds. Additionally when problems are identified prompt action needs to be taken. The cost of independent audits or audit oversight for these activity funds should be be funded by proceeds collected.There are many public school districts where the internal audit department has responbility for auditing school activity funds. Unfortunately many of those same public school districts do not adequately fund internal audit functions to maintain effective oversight of internal controls for student activity funds or other school district operations.

What happened in the District of Columbia should be a wake up call for public school districts across the United States.