GW Establishes Program to Bring more STEM Teachers to High-Need Schools


May 20, 2017

 

https://gwtoday.gwu.edu/gw-establishes-program-bring-more-stem-teachers-high-need-schools

by GW Today

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GW Establishes Program to Bring more STEM Teachers to High-Need Schools

Scholarships will contribute to two years of college tuition in exchange for teaching after graduation.

A new program at the George Washington University will offer science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors the opportunity to receive teacher training and scholarships for agreeing to teach in high-need school districts across the country after graduation from GW.

The new initiative is made possible by a grant through the National Science Foundation and the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. The five-year, $1.5 million grant will begin at the start of the 2017-18 academic year and is expected to assist more than 25 students total with $20,000 per year toward the cost of tuition and teacher training in their junior and senior years.

Once students complete the GWNoyce program, they will be prepared to apply for licensure with the D.C. public school system, which would make them eligible to teach in 48 states.

“Producing high-caliber secondary math and science teachers for high-need schools is essential to support our nation’s increasingly STEM-driven economy,” said Larry Medsker, research professor of physics and director of GWNoyce. “This work on behalf of our high-need communities aligns well with the GW mission statement goal of improving the quality of life in D.C.”

Dr. Medsker said the program will be particularly strong because it will recruit students who are already studying STEM-based fields and offer them courses, workshops, seminars and service projects to prepare them to be teachers in high-need schools.

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It also will offer preparatory stipends and projects for freshmen and sophomores who are interested in applying to the program, in conjunction with activities offered by the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, GWTeach, a separate GW undergraduate program that prepares STEM majors to become teachers, and a new partnership between GWTeach and the Smithsonian Science Education Center.

Because of these additional offerings, the program is expected to reach more than 500 GW students by 2022.

High-need schools are defined as having at least one of the following characterizations: high percentage of individuals from families with incomes below the poverty line; high percentage of secondary school teachers not teaching in the content area in which they were trained to teach; or high teacher turnover rate. These school districts can be found in urban, suburban and rural settings.

“The GWNoyce program will enable our students to more easily transition into STEM teaching in high-need schools, a cause that is critical to meeting the needs of colleges, graduate schools and ultimately our nation’s STEM workforce,” said Ben Vinson, dean of the GW Columbian College of Arts and Sciences where GWNoyce is housed. “The goal of the GWNoyce program is a timely one and aligns with our vision for an engaged liberal arts, one that will bring our education and research to a new level of excellence.”

The GWNoyce program also will create a new relationship with Northern Virginia Community College, Loudoun Campus, allowing students accepted into the program to transfer to GW for the start of the junior year. The scholarship will help ease some of the financial burdens in pursuit of their bachelor’s degrees. The program is expected to create new opportunities for Virginia students interested in studying STEM fields at GW.

 

When Giants Fail


May 8, 2017

When Giants Fail

What business has learned from Clayton Christensen.

ASEAN Chair and President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte to meet Donald Trump


May 1, 2017

Today's WorldView

by Ishaan Tharoor

ASEAN Chair and President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte to meet Donald Trump in Washington DC

Over the weekend, the White House announced that President Trump had invited President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines for a visit to Washington, following what was deemed a “very friendly conversation” over the phone between Trump and his counterpart in Manila.

Despite the close ties between the United States and the Philippines, the move surprised Trump’s critics and allies. In his 10 months in power, Duterte has become one of Asia’s most controversial leaders. He has presided over a vicious drug war that has seen thousands killed by extrajudicial hit squads — encouraged, say critics, by Duterte’s explicit orders. Last week, a Filipino lawyer filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court, accusing Duterte and 11 other Filipino officials of mass murder and crimes against humanity. (Duterte has shrugged off the filing and said it will not deter his campaign.)

The complaint takes into account the killings of 9,400 people stretching back to 1988, when Duterte became the Mayor of the southern city of Davao and began making his reputation as a tough guy willing to do anything to crack down on crime. “The situation in the Philippines reveals a terrifying, gruesome and disastrous continuing commission of extrajudicial executions or mass murder,” read the complaint. An estimated 8,000 people have been killed since Duterte became President last summer (2016).

None of this seemed to faze the White House. In the readout of the phone call, the only mention of Duterte’s astonishing record of violence seemed to be a positive one. It said that the two leaders “discussed the fact that the Philippines is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs, a scourge that affects many countries around the world.”

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus did his best to evade the thrust of the question when asked on ABC’s “This Week” if human rights were no longer a concern for the Trump Administration.

“Absolutely not,” responded Priebus. “It doesn’t mean that human rights don’t matter, but what it does mean is that the issues facing us, developing out of North Korea, are so serious that we need cooperation at some level with as many partners in the area as we can get.”

Mourners carry the coffin of a person shot dead by unidentified gunmen north of Manila on April 8. (Francis R. Malasig/European Pressphoto Agency)

Mourners carry the coffin of a person shot dead by unidentified gunmen north of Manila on April 8. (Francis R. Malasig/European Pressphoto Agency)

The importance of securing strong Filipino support in dealing with North Korea is highly debatable. But administration officials indicated that the overture to Duterte may be part of a broader and much-needed mending of fences.

“The White House statement could be seen as implicit support, but perhaps is better understood as offering common ground for engaging with Duterte,” said Natalie Sambhi, a Research Fellow at the Perth USAsia Center in Australia, to The Post.

U.S.-Filipino relations took a turn for the worse last year, Duterte’s first in office and the final one for Barack Obama.

“The relationship between the United States and the Philippines soured under President Barack Obama, who criticized Duterte’s bloody war on drugs,” reported my colleagues. “Not one to take criticism lightly, Duterte snapped at Obama on a few occasions, telling him to ‘go to hell’ and, at one point, using the Tagalog phrase for ‘son of a bitch’ or ‘son of a whore’ when addressing the then-U. S. president. In September, Obama canceled a meeting with Duterte, whom he called a ‘colorful guy.‘ ”

(Obama is hardly the sole target of Duterte’s notoriously salty language: He used similar words for Pope Francis, too, and has sparked global headlines with rape jokes, admiring references to Adolf Hitler, boasts about mass killing and an insistence at one point that he would eat the livers of suspected terrorists. Even Trump was on the receiving end: “Donald Trump is a bigot, I am not,” Duterte told the Associated Press last year.)

The tensions saw Duterte publicly drift toward China. In a speech in Beijing last year, he told his Chinese audience that “I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow.” He has inked billions of dollars of deals with China, Japan and other countries in the region. As my colleague Emily Rauhala wrote earlier this year, Duterte is playing an opportunistic game, wooing all whom he can as part of a new “independent” foreign policy. But, as Rauhala noted, his efforts fly in the face of public opinion and the country’s political establishment, which largely backs the United States and is wary of Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea.

Duterte is shown the way by Chinese President Xi Jinping before a signing ceremony in Beijing in 2016. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press)

Duterte is shown the way by Chinese President Xi Jinping before a signing ceremony in Beijing in 2016. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press)

The other lens through which to view Trump’s invitation to Duterte is that of the American President’s apparent penchant for strongmen. While the European Union called for an investigation into the referendum last month that conferred vast new powers upon Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump was the first Western leader to congratulate Erdogan on his victory. He also hosted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, a coup-plotting former army man whose regime carried out a ruthless crackdown on Islamists and dissidents. No matter the geopolitical scenario, Trump seems to have a genuine affinity for men of action who brook little dissent.

“If Duterte were not immune as Head of State, he would be barred from admission into the United States,” noted John Sifton, the Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, in an emailed statement. “Existing U.S. laws and policy prohibit visas and entry to persons against whom credible allegations of gross human rights abuses have been made.”

Sifton goes on: “The invitation is an abomination, just as Trump’s invitation to Sissi was an abomination, and although his personality traits would seem to make it impossible, Trump should be ashamed of himself. By effectively endorsing Duterte’s murderous ‘war on drugs,’ Trump has made himself morally complicit in future killings.”

Najib Razak has no interest in Electoral Reform


April 16, 2017

Najib Razak has no interest in Electoral Reform–Should he?

by Teck Chi Wong

http://www.newmandala.org

Mr. Teck Chi Wong, a former journalist and editor with Malaysiakini.com, is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy.

Malaysia’s enthusiasm for electoral reform is arguably at its lowest point, after being high on the tide in the past 10 years as reflected by successive Bersih gatherings from 2007 to 2016.

But electoral reform is now more important than ever, particularly after the 1MDB scandal. If the authoritarian and corrupt political system is not overhauled, it will seriously impede the country’s ability to achieve high-income status in the long run.

In Malaysia, growth is never purely about the market. The state has been, and still is, playing important roles in steering and managing the economy. In fact, Malaysia was regarded in the 1990s as one of the successful models of the ‘development state’ in East Asia, which through learning and transferring resources to productive sectors had successfully industrialised the country and lifted many of its citizens out of poverty.

These East Asian developmental states, including Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, shared some common characteristics. Many of them (except Japan) were authoritarian regimes in the 1970s and 1980s. But all of them were strong in facilitating policies and learning from others for growth.

On top of that, being authoritarian also helped these countries to stabilise their political landscape and therefore create a business environment which encouraged foreign investment to flow in. However, in Malaysia, it came at a tremendous and bloody price: the racial riots of 1969.

Key to this development model is the quality of the state. But it is difficult for these authoritarian regimes to maintain or improve their quality in the long run. Authoritarian order means that a lack of appropriate checks and balances for those in power leaves the system susceptible to corruption. At the same time, social and economic development gives rise to new needs and demands of accountability and integrity from the publics. As a result, political and social tensions emerge.

The East Asian developmental states approached this problem differently. Both South Korea and Taiwan had since democratised in 1980s and 1990s. Intense political competitions subjected those in power to greater checks and balances, and therefore reduced the most blatant forms of corruption.

Singapore, meanwhile, is an outlier. Despite not much progress in terms of democratisation, the city state has been outstanding in eliminating corruption. Many would point to the tough law and the high salaries of politicians and civil servants for the reason behind low corruption in the country. But exactly how Singaporean leaders could be disciplined despite no strong institutional checks and balances is still subject to debate, although this could possibly relate to their strong desire to guarantee Singapore’s survival in the international market and the region.

Image result for Corrupt Najib Razak and Zahid Hamidi

Zahid Hamidi, Keruak and Najib Razak–Patronage and Corruption is rampant in Malaysia today

Malaysia is stuck in the middle. Not only is it in the middle-income trap, but it is also wrestling between authoritarianism and democracy. The quality of its institutions, including its cabinet system, parliament and judiciary, has been on the decline and they cannot mount any effective checks and balances against UMNO, the dominant ruling party. Resultantly, corruption and patronage are widespread in the government.

This has serious implications for the economy, particularly when the country is seeking to leave the middle-income trap. To entrepreneurs, rent-seeking is simply more profitable, as reflected by the fact that most of the wealth of Malaysian billionaires is created in rent-heavy industries, like banking, construction, housing development and resources.

All of these forces are embodied in the recent 1MDB scandal. Although Prime Minister Najib Razak is accused of embezzling billions of public funds and the scandal has rocked investor confidence, no institutions can hold him accountable and no amount of public pressure can force him to step down. As long as Najib is controlling UMNO, his position is solid, as opponents are eliminated from the government and the party. Zahid Hamidi knows this well since Hishamuddin Tun Hussein has been appointed as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department to hold him in check.

If there is one lesson we can learn from South Korea and Taiwan, that would be democratisation can help to change the underlying political structure and strengthen the quality of the state. Through intensified political competition and appropriate checks and balances, the public can put more pressure on those in power to be more accountable and focus on economic development.

Image result for president park is impeached

In fact, the difference between South Korea and Malaysia is particularly stark now that Park Guen-hye, the former President of South Korea, was impeached. This happened just within months after the corruption scandal involving Park’s best friend erupted in October last year.

In Malaysia, the overhaul in political structure over the long run must be achieved through electoral reform, which includes making the Election Commission independent and reducing gerrymandering and malapportionment. As long as the electoral system is not changed, UMNO can remain in power by holding onto its support bases in rural areas. The recent controversies surrounding redelineation process just again highlight the need for reform.

To many, for Malaysia to regain its shine after the 1MDB scandal, Najib must go. But that would be just a tiny first step on a long journey to reform and democratise its political and administrative institutions.

 

Right-Sizing the Malaysian Civil Service?


February 27, 2017

Image result for din merican

Note: Yes, Tan Sri, to civil service reform or right sizing (as you call it) but it requires political will. First let us remove top civil servants who are only good at buttering up corrupt politicians. Both the Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa and Secretary-General to the Treasury Irwan Siregar, for example, should be asked to go on retirement followed by incompetent senior servants (the deadwood) who should be replaced by a new corp of civil  servants  chosen for their competency and courage to speak to power.

Image result for Incompetent and corrupt Najib Razak

Is this the face of a reformer? Look elsewhere, Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff.

Next, open up the civil service to all Malaysians, not just Malays and then stop recruiting Malay graduates who are not employable elsewhere and finally, disband Cuepecs since this union is an obstacle to any reform.

I bet you Najib Razak is not the man who is likely to take tough action against civil servants since they form the backbone of UMNO’s political support.

So let us not talk about right-sizing the civil service when we know the Prime Minister will not undertake civil service reform since his political survival is at stake. We are a failed state with a dysfunctional political system and a civil service which is performing sub-optimally.–Din Merican

Right-Sizing the Malaysian Civil Service?

by Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim @www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT: There have been a lot of emotional reactions from Cuepacs and Perkasa about my statement regarding the oversized civil service. Perhaps the sensitivity is due to the fact that the civil service is mainly Malay and Malay dependence on the civil service for employment is very high.

Image result for tan sri mohd sheriff mohd kassim

The right-sizing of our civil service through a voluntary separation scheme is badly needed. There are ways of doing it in a humane and caring manner.

First, the government can start with retraining of redundant employees by giving them free courses on skills development: computers, English, basic accounting, corporate law, etc – all the skills needed to make them employable in the private sector.

I am sure once the employees get these skills, many would like to leave as soon as they reach optional retirement age. The government employees will self-separate.

It should be noted that there are thousands of civil servants, where both husband and wife are in the government service. In many cases among the lower level categories, one of them is doing part-time business like selling kain, tudung, kuih, religious books, etc, to earn more money. They probably have business ambitions but cannot afford to leave the government, because they have no capital.

Imagine if an offer is made for a voluntary separation package of RM40,000 for 20 years of service. The chances are one of them will take the package, while the other one will continue to work in the government until retirement to enjoy the medical benefits for the whole family. Thus, the government is helping the Malay wife or husband to become an entrepreneur, a genuine one because they have a track record.

Voluntary separation schemes, like those in the private sector, cannot be forced upon because it is illegal to terminate a worker who has not done anything wrong and has been a loyal employee.

Automation can replace human labour

The scheme should affect those whose functions are no longer needed because automation can replace human labour and because, with technology, there is no more need for sending letters or face-to-face service – ie the human-intensive work is no longer relevant in 21st Century Malaysia.

In the banking sector, there is no need to go to the branch for transactions. That is why banks are closing down their branches and terminating their employees.

Image result for The Malaysian Civil Service

Malaysian Civil Servants pledging to serve the corrupt UMNO regime led by Malaysian Official No. 1.

I believe the government can also look at closing down completely, or partially, certain offices and branches without affecting the quality of service. The redundant civil servants should then be deployed to other functions or retrained to prepare them for the separation scheme.

While the government right-sizes redundant civil servants, it will have to continue to recruit those that are needed for specialized expertise in the fields of finance, economics, research, medicine, education, science, environment, law, etc. This should be encouraged as the civil service must continually upgrade the quality of its staff.

The government should be focusing more on quality, rather than quantity, because this is the way to increase productivity and efficiency in the civil service.

We should have a much smaller administrative service to support the functioning of government ministries and departments. This can be achieved by decentralizing and empowering of authority to reduce the multi-layer approval process.

A lot of progress has been made in recent years to improve the counter delivery services in several departments, with the use of technology and the simplification of procedures. Logically, there should be less need for manpower and the redundant staff can be offered voluntary retirement with an attractive compensation package.

If it takes some years for the government to recover the heavy expenditure of the separation scheme, then it is worth it. We can hope that with smaller government, the economy as a whole will become more efficient and with dynamism and growth in private sector activities, the government will collect more taxes to recover the cost of the separation scheme.

I believe the government should start planning a right-sizing program of the civil service now, so that it can be done in a proper manner, rather than wait until there is a financial crisis, at which time government employees will be retrenched without justice for all their years of loyal service. This has happened in Greece, as I mentioned previously.

Tan Sri MOHD SHERIFF MOHD KASSIM, a former Secretary-General of the Treasurer, is a member of the G25 Group of Eminent Malays.

Recommended READ by Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2017/02/24/change-the-way-top-civil-service-appointments-are-made/

Teuku Adnan: A Referendum for Kuala Lumpur too?


February 7, 2017

Tengku (Teuku) Adnan’s Folly: Taking on Penang

COMMENT: I have a simple message for this corrupt Fake Royalty, Teuku Adnan and that is leave Penang alone. Stop diverting our attention from Kuala Lumpur. Nurul Izzah has said enough about his track record as Federal Territories Minister. I have nothing substantive to add except to say that our national capital is a snake pit of corrupt viper like officials led by Teuku Adnan. Georgetown in contrast is a well-managed and attractive place for all visitors.–Din Merican.

Read this:

http://www.penang.ws/penang-attractions/placevisit.htm

A Referendum for Kuala Lumpur too?

by Nurul Izzah Anwar, MP@www.malaysikini.com

 

Image result for Penang Panoramic View

Penang’s version of Hollywood’s Rodeo Drive, Penang Road is arguably the most important thoroughfare on the island. A mixture of nouveau-riche and quaint heritage, it runs the length from Lebuh Farquhar in the north, to Jalan Gurdwara in the south – near the Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR tower) – at the junction of Macalister Road. Brightly lit, Penang Road is divided into four main sections and it’s thoroughly tourist-friendly with walkways and plenty of plants.

Malaysia’s Dynamic, Smart and Gutsy Member of Parliament, Nurul Izzah Anwar

MP SPEAKS: Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has said that the notion to add a federal territory in Malaysia is simply a suggestion that “requires proposal, referendum and approval at national level.” It goes without saying that Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and even Putrajaya should then have been accorded the same level of decency when they were put under the government’s rule.

In addition to a referendum for Penangites, would Tengku Adnan also consider holding one for KLites? For a variety of reasons, residents of KL have long called Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) ability to govern into question.

For one, DBKL’s mismanagement has led to rampant corruption. Just last year, the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigated DBKL project management executive director who was eventually charged with 18 counts of corruption, including accepting bribes and assets estimated at RM4.4 million.

Editor’s Pick
 

Secondly, DBKL is incompetent in developing KL in a sustainable manner. Throughout the years, DBKL has permitted developers such as Amona Group and IJM Land to encroach upon Bukit Gasing, one of Kuala Lumpur’s last remaining green lungs.

On the contrary, residents who have surfaced their concerns – the risk of landslides, overcrowding, traffic congestion to DBKL are often dismissed for profit-making purposes, at the expense of KL’s environmental sustainability.

Thirdly, DBKL has failed to provide KL’s low-income residents a decent standard of living. Low sanitation and maintenance standards, in addition to illegal leasing are among the foremost problems of PPR housing in KL, while DBKL itself is also struggling with mounting levels of unpaid rent.

Tengku Adnan’s promise to provide affordable homes to Penangites by virtue of transferring Penang to the clutches of the federal government will prove to be nothing but an empty promise.

Before Tengku Adnan commences a referendum in Penang, consider also polling the residents of KL of the city’s performance under the federal territory jurisdiction.

Contrary to Tengku Adnan’s claim that a federal territory would prevent the oppression of citizens – Malay or not, for decades, residents of KL have only experienced poor city planning and development, coupled with the government’s negligence towards their welfare.

Ku Nan’s abysmal track record

Throughout his four years as the Federal Territories minister, Tengku Adnan has proposed and implemented many policies that have caused much public distress.

In 2013, Tengku Adnan proposed a hike in annual property assessment rates that ranged between 100 and 250 percent of the previous rates which elicited much public furor, before capping the rates between 10 and 25 percent their existing annual rates.

In 2014, he heartlessly banned soup kitchens within a 2km radius of KL city centre because “(soup kitchens) just encourages people to remain homeless and jobless”.

This year, his proposal to ban kapcais from KL also met with much dissatisfaction from KLites.

Keeping Ku Nan’s many hare-brained proposals in mind, we must take extra precaution when evaluating the merits of his suggestion that the state of Penang be left under his ministry’s jurisdiction.

Undemocratic model of governance

Over the years that the BN government reigned over KL in the guise of a federal territory, the rights of KLites have been plundered with impunity. Corruption depleted public coffers, while irresponsible planning lowered standards of living.

Through the 2013 general elections, nine out of 11 parliamentary constituencies in Kuala Lumpur were won by opposition lawmakers. Yet, the mayor of Kuala Lumpur is not only unelected, but also appointed by none other than our Federal Territories Minister and UMNO lawmaker, Tengku Adnan.

In addition, Kuala Lumpur does not even have its own state government. Despite having one of the largest budgets among all states and federal territories in Malaysia, the people of Kuala Lumpur have to surrender financial control to the whims and fancies of an Umno politician like Tengku Adnan.

Ironically, members of parliaments who were elected to represent the concerns of KLites have little say in decision-making, and are subjugated to the mayor, who in turn, reports to Tengku Adnan.

As such, the conversion of Penang from a state to a federal territory is just an excuse for the government to put opposition territory under BN’s malicious control. Now, Tengku Adnan is mustering the audacity to coerce the opposition into relinquishing its governance of Penang when 10 out of 13 parliamentary constituencies in the state have decidedly elected opposition lawmakers in the 2013 general elections.

Clearly, we must not allow BN’s undemocratic practices to oppress other regions in Malaysia.

Tengku Adnan’s proposal to categorise Penang as a federal territory, as opposed to retaining the northern region’s autonomy as a state is dubious at best – and authoritarian at worst. Politically motivated proposals as such flies in the face of public interest, and will only be implemented to fulfil the blind ambition of power-hungry BN politicians.


NURUL IZZAH ANWAR is Lembah Pantai MP and a graduate of John Hopkins University.