Panel analyzes school choice debate

first_imgPanelists examined the growing movement to allow families to choose their child’s school Tuesday night in a discussion on school choice titled “To Choose or Not to Choose.” The panelists included director of teacher formation and education policy at the Alliance for Catholic Education, John Schoenig, who said he wanted to emphasize the importance of staying true to intentions. “I would imagine that the perspectives on what education reform means in the first place is as varied as the number of people in the room. I don’t like giving advice, but I do like contradicting myself, so I’ll tell you this: It’s very important that you find ways to decouple, divest, separate … your purpose and the means to get to your purpose, to effect social change,” he said. Schoenig said the focus of the movement should be to provide children with the best education possible. “We too often allow ourselves to get too tied to the methods to get our things done. What is the purpose you believe in? What you’ll find, if you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll say your purpose is making sure that every child has an equal opportunity at education. But your means to get there may change,” Schoenig said. Maria McKenna, senior associate director of education, schooling and society at the Institute for Educational Initiatives, spoke about the many changes that have occurred over the past 40 years in regards to early education. “To get us situated in the landscape, 40 years ago looks so different than today. In the 90s, we made this choice that one of the ways we’re thinking about leveling that playing field is that we’re allowing these kids to go to schools that weren’t operated by the school district,” McKenna said. The change came from a state level due to certain revelations, Schoenig said. “In 1990, we came to a place where we realized that maybe the state doesn’t need to operate all of the schools it regulates or funds, it’s not that far to say that it doesn’t have to have to operate any school it funds,” he said. “The entire landscape had changed into a choice-based marketplace. It’s probably here to stay, and now it’s about trying to figure out how to best deal with it.”“The idea of having options, and equating that with a market-based system, is not necessarily a bad thing,” McKenna said. Notre Dame MBA student Steven L’Huereux spoke on his experience working in New Orleans as an educator in one of the worst-performing areas of Louisiana.“For the last four years, I’ve been working in charter schools down there. We had to enroll 550 brand new students, and at that point, there was no common application for all the schools. They would have to travel to a school, fill out the form and it was really difficult,” L’Huereux said.  To solve this problem, the recovery school district centralized the process through the OneApp, a system designed to streamline the application process, he said. “Now, you can rank the schools in terms of which ones you wanted to attend. Regardless of where these students lived, they could apply to any school that participated in the OneApp,” L’Huereux said. This influx of options has afforded children with more options than they were allowed 40 years ago, according to Schoenig.“Take the inner city closest to your home and imagine being a marginalized child living there. In almost every one of those inner cities, those children have many, many more options to choose than they did 40 years ago,” Schoenig said.Schoenig said education is more than a policy or a social change issue. “If today’s conversation is about choice, it’s not really about any of that other stuff, it’s about human dignity,” he said.  “If you think about marginalized children and families in that city and the things they have to decide, the choices they have to make. All of the choices you make every day, to go across the way and get Starbucks or to get coffee from elsewhere, these aren’t choices these families can make. The effect of educating by zip code is to deny people the access to choice that we used to have.”Tags: #SCOP, ACE, school choicelast_img read more

Read More →

Armed Forces Initiate Operation Ágata 6 Brazilian Ministry of Defense

first_imgBy Dialogo October 11, 2012 On October 9, the Brazilian Ministry of Defense initiated a new military operation to combat border crimes. A headcount of 7,500 troops – equipped with fighter planes, combat helicopters, patrol boats, and armored vehicles – was deployed to patrol the area of 4,216 kilometers along the borders with Bolivia and Peru. Operation Ágata 6 is coordinated by the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces and should last for two weeks. According to the Joint Staff, military troops will be present in four states: Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Rondonia, and Acre. The area includes regions from the city of Corumba (Mato Grosso do Sul) to Mancio Lima (Acre). Before initiating the activities, the Brazilian government, through the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, informed the Bolivian and Peruvian governments about the mobilization in the region. “We also invited the neighboring countries to send observers”, stated Defense Minister Celso Amorim, who advocates more cooperation from South America in matters of defense. Amorim stated that the sixth edition of Operation Ágata concludes the large-scale border security activities for 2012. “We must execute three new mobilizations in 2013, aiming to bring the presence of the Brazilian State to the border area,” explained the defense minister. To cover the extensive area, the operation will mobilize a significant military apparatus. In total, they are using about four F-5 fighters, six A-29 aircraft, ten helicopters, two unmanned aerial vehicles , 14 Navy speed boats, 40 Army ships, seven patrol boats, two hospital ships, in addition to tanks and armored vehicles. Approximately 7,500 troops from the Military commands of Campo Grande and the Amazon, in Manaus, are part of the operation frontline. The logistical apparatus that supports these troops creates jobs for another 10,000 men in areas such as transport, health, and food industries. Parts of the troops are dedicated to performing civic and social activities, supporting underprivileged communities. Operation Ágata 6 will also be backed by 10 ministries and 20 governmental agencies that will elevate the total personnel count to approximately 8,000 professionals. State and municipal public sectors such as Military and Civil Police, and municipal guards, were also mobilized to take part in the operation. According to the chief of the Joint Staff, General José Carlos De Nardi, the Military apparatus increases the sense of safety among the population and inhibits illicit activities that may go beyond drugs, weapons and contraband. For each edition of Operation Ágata, there is an increase in the participating organisms, which contributes to bringing robust results for the operations. In all three editions last year, for instance, the seizures included 20 trucks, 59 motorcycles, 332 kilos of marijuana, 19.5 kilos of cocaine, and eight tons of explosives. In 2012 however, during Operation Ágata 5 alone, 268 inspections were performed in vessels and in 41,301 light vehicles. Approximately 880 kilos of marijuana and cocaine were seized, besides 11,730 kilos of explosives. According to Major General Ricardo Machado, chief of the Joint Staff Joint Operations, the Military presence along the border shows the criminal organizations that the government is alert to what happens in each region.last_img read more

Read More →

Marvel at the Rick and Morty Total Rickall Cooperative Card Game

first_imgYou can watch Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty in a group if you want to enjoy all the sitcom science fiction animated goodness with friends, but the games that have been created for the show have, until now, been solo affairs.The web-hosted Rick and Morty’s Rushed Licensed Adventure is a point-and-click adventure game, the app Pocket Mortys is an ever-expanding Pokémon clone that doesn’t offer any PvP option, and the Rickstaverse Instagram game can be navigated in the app using only your thumb. That’s about to change with the release of The Total Rickall Cooperative Card Game, a Rick and Morty licensed game by Cryptozoic based on the season two episode of the same name.I don’t know if any of you guys are real… new Total Rickall party game this year. #rickandmorty #adultswim #NYTF pic.twitter.com/N2tcsGBwUp— Cryptozoic (@Cryptozoic) February 13, 2016In the episode, an alien parasite hides in the memories of the main characters. Out of each flashback of a pleasant memory comes a new animated character and, before Morty discovers the solution and the laser-blasting carnage begins, there are over fifty different parasites, which we cataloged here.The Total Rickall Cooperative Card Game, as its name suggests, is meant to be played with two-to-five players. There are two modes of play: normal mode where all the players are working as a team to find the parasites, and advanced mode where some players have a secret alliance with the parasites. Cryptozoic took cues from the episode and translated it into a card game that roughly echoes the plot and themes. In the advanced mode, for instance, players receive a character they feel a great bond with (think how much Jerry loved Sleepy Gary even after he knew Gary was a parasite), and that dictates if they are playing on the side of the parasites or the humans.You know how card games are played, right? Decks and rounds and stuff! Let’s break this down a bit so you know what you’re getting into and how the game relates to the episode. There are three types of cards: action cards, identity cards, and character cards. You’ll be getting a lot of all three:The action cards are the ones the “real” players have in their hand, and they have text on them describing how they should be played. They’re one of three colors that match the character cards. The character cards are one of the wacky characters from the Rick and Morty episode, each one with a color bar that is either green, blue, or red. The identity cards dictate if a character is real or a parasite. The object of the game, like it is in the episode, is to shoot all the parasite characters and, if you can, avoid shooting any real characters.In the episode, Morty realizes that the parasites can only create good memories. That means anyone who had bad memories associated with them were real. A card game based on drudging up bad memories of your friends doesn’t sound very fun, so Cryptozoic latched on to the theme of “memory” and made the age-old card game memory part of The Total Rickall Cooperative Card Game.A sample setup for the character and identity cards.Notice that the identity cards and character cards aren’t paired. That’s because they’re going to be dealt out into a grid with the identity card face down and a character card on top of it. Certain action cards will let you peek at the identity card under a character, but other action cards can reshuffle the character cards, mixing everything up again. At the beginning of each turn, a new identity card is added to the grid and a new character card is placed on top of it until the game is over or all identity cards are in play. Memory!After you’ve set up your starting characters, each player gets three action cards. At the start of each turn, every player chooses an action card to play and places it face down. They immediately draw another action card. The cards are turned over simultaneously and the actions are resolved clockwise from the first player.The action cards only work on characters of the same color (if they are color-coded) and all are Rick and Morty references. Shooting characters you think are parasites is a big part of the game, and anyone who remembers the tragic shooting of long-time family friend Mr. Poopybutthole knows that Beth is the Smith with the quickest trigger finger. As such, the Beth card is the simplest way to shoot. Its text reads: “Shoot a [color] Character.” Where [color] would be green, blue, or red. Flip the identity card from the memory grid: if it says parasite, yay! If it says “real,” you have to put it face up in a “fail pile” to the side. If you shoot four real characters, you are out of the game.Some action cards are more specific than being a Smith character, some are devised from lines spoken in the episode. There’s one that’s pulled from Mr. Poopybutthole’s fateful last line before being shot, it’s called “Is There Something Wrong, Beth?” The card, like the ending of the episode, is diabolical: “If this card is in your hand, you must play it as your next card. Shoot a [color] Character.”The game doesn’t have to be ended by shooting absolutely all the parasites, because that would make it a game of chance. In standard mode, if more than 50% of the players agree that all the cards left on the table are real, the identity cards are flipped over. If they all say real, the players win! If a parasite survived, the players lose.Advanced mode has another layer to the endgame called “The Dinner Table,” because that’s where the family gathers in the episode before Beth shoots Mr. Poopybutthole. Starting with the first player and going clockwise, each player has to decide if any of the remaining player-bonded characters are parasites. Basically, the game ends with a tense conversation where you contemplate shooting your friends. As with standard mode, when everyone’s done, the remaining identity cards are flipped up, and if everything reads “real” you win.The game’s true variable of play is cooperation, and it’s one that Cryptozoic can only control so much. If one of your action cards allows you to peek at an identity card, you’re not supposed to let the other players see the identity card. The game also says that one player dictating what action cards should be played is against the rules. You can, however, share with the group what you saw when you peeked, but you have to do it verbally (and in advanced mode, you can lie).Advanced mode is the way to go once you get the mechanics of how the game is supposed to be played. Unless you’re playing with much younger players who don’t want to learn the extra rules. The standard mode is fun, but advanced mode adds higher stakes to the game than a team exercise in chance. A large party playing standard mode can increase the number of possible action cards in players’ hands fairly quickly if the luck of the draw is on their side. Advanced mode means that when a game goes bad, it could be luck or you could be poisoned from the inside.Also, you’re going to shoot more real people in advanced mode because of the variety of ways the secret parasite players can manipulate the action cards. Because Jerry is so confused in the episode that he thinks he’s actually a parasite, the Jerry card getting played in a game really makes things confusing. Here’s the text: “Shuffle the Identity cards of all [color] Characters in play, and then redistribute them. Then choose a player to draw a card.” On one hand, the memory for a color gets screwed up, and on the other hand a player gets an additional action. Playing it doesn’t necessarily tip the hand of the player’s identity card, but it certainly doesn’t help the game go faster in most cases.Considering the “Totall Rickall” television episode ends with the Smith family killing everything they can only remember loving unconditionally, advanced mode’s Dinner Table end phase makes sure everyone has a lot of time to be paranoid about all the cards a character played through the game. There will be words, and some of those words will be lies.Click here to buy the game from Cryptozoic.Overall, Cryptozoic has done a smash-up job with adapting an episode of an animated television series into a card game. Though they also produce the physical cards for Adventure Time’s Card Wars — a game that was actually in the Adventure Time show and not trying to emulate an actual plot. Linking a plot device that centers around memory and paranoia to a card game that borrows rules from memory (the game) and triggers paranoia totally (Rickally) works.Now, the long wait begins for Cryptozoic’s next Rick and Morty licensed game: Rick and Morty Mr. Meeseeks Box O’ Fun A Game of Dice and Dares! You better believe that one’s gonna lead to some crazy party moments.last_img read more

Read More →