Shawn Rux took over as principal of MS 53, a New York City middle school, last year. At the time, 50 or 60 kids were absent every day. You could understand why they stayed away: The school was chaos.
Twenty-two teachers had quit, the entire office staff had quit, and hundreds of kids had been suspended. The school was given a grade of F from the city’s department of education.
“It was in a bad place,” Rux says.
Rux decided he needed to create incentives for kids to come to school. Incentives that were more obvious to middle-school kids than, “If you come to school you’ll be better off 20 years from now.”
He handed out raffle tickets to anyone who showed up to school on time. One of the prizes was an Xbox. And he threw in an element of randomness: The first kids in line when the doors opened might get 20 tickets.
It worked. Kids started showing up early.
“It was … like, ‘Get out of my way, I’m trying to get into school,’ ” Rux says. “It was nice.”
Rux also created his own currency. He called it Rux Bux. Teachers hand them out when kids are well behaved. They can be traded in for school supplies, or special lunches. A sixth-grader named Wander Rodriguez is trying to save up 5,000 Rux Bux — enough for a personal shopping spree with Rux.
The principal also stands outside school every morning, greeting the students as they show up. This recognition is another, subtler incentive to come to school.
“I like this school,” Wander Rodriguez says. “They treat me like home, they treat me nice, they always give me stuff. … They always say ‘hi’ in the mornings.”
The school went from an F to a C. Daily attendance went up to over 90 percent. Then the hurricane hit.
The school is in Far Rockaway, Queens — one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. Some kids’ homes were destroyed. One student who stayed at home through the storm told a teacher, “My apartment complex was in the middle of the ocean.” Rux’s car was destroyed. The first floor of his house was flooded.
After the storm, after school started up again, Rux’s goal was to get attendance back to 90 percent. Every day, his staff texts him the attendance numbers. The day I visited last week, 89.2 percent of students attended school. Close, but not close enough for Rux.
The storm has been tough on everyone, he says. But that’s no excuse. Kids have to be in school.
not going to see this man in no news nowhere
Oh, treat the kids like human beings instead of livestock and they end up wanting to be there? That’s a novel idea. I love this!
República Dominicanaesta pasando una serie de conflictos entre las autoridades y el pueblo, estos últimos se han lanzando a las calles durante esta semana para que eliminen la reforma fiscal (La reforma fiscal busca aumentar los impuestos para organizar la economía del país ya que hay un déficit presupuestario que heredamos de los 8 anos de gobierno de Leonel Fernandez, lo mejor es que se gasto mucho dinero en el gobierno de Leonel, pero el pueblo no sabe en que lo gasto, ES OBVIO que Leonel se llevo todo el dinero para necesidades personales de los funcionarios. Otro punto a destacar es que el pueblo se pregunta: Para que subir los impuestos si todos sabemos que los funcionarios se lo van a robar?!)
Hoy estuvo en la televisión Leonel Fernandez para hablar sobre los gastos del del presupuesto nacional, y lo que dijo fue pura palabrería y no respondió las grandes preguntas que tenia el pueblo sobre los gastos realizados durante su gobierno. Esto despertó la ira del pueblo, quienes con velas y ropa de negro, en luto por la situación del país, salieron a las calles en protesta pacifica para hacerle recordar al gobierno que no somos idiotas y no nos dejaremos enganar. Todos se dirigieron a FUNGLODE para hacer la protesta, y cuando una MUJER fue a colocar la vela en las aceras de FUNGLODE uno de seguridad pateo la vela y toda la cera callo en la cara de la mujer. De milagro no le ocurrió nada pero esto no deja de ser violencia.
ESTO NO VA A QUEDAR ASÍ, ESE HOMBRE DEBERÍA ESTAR PRESO. NO DEBIERON PROTEGERLO POR EL MAL QUE HIZO, DEBIÓ HACERSE RESPONSABLE. EL MUNDO DEBE DE ENTERARSE DE LO QUE PASA AQUÍ EN MI PAÍS UNA SITUACIÓN NO MUY AGRADABLE Y SE SIENTE LA FURIA DEL PUEBLO AL GOBIERNO QUE EN CUALQUIER MOMENTO EXPLOTAREMOS A TODA LA PRESIÓN ECONÓMICA QUE HEMOS AGUANTADO DURANTE SIGLOS.
Greatest corruption scandal in the Dominican Republic is happening right now.
International and local press remains silent.
After a mandate characterized by rampant estate spending, politicians getting lavish houses and cars, pensions of about USD$12,500 a month for top party officials for four years of work while still having a thousand of dollars government job in another position (Minimum wage is a little over $200), crazy salary hikes, blatant clientelism and tax evasion, millions and millions in government money to fund the official party’s presidential campaign, and many other things, the party ends and the people have to pay the bill.
The congress has approved a fiscal reform that basically screws the people, raising taxes in general and taxing basic food items, as well as small internet purchases that were one of the few ways to circumvent the abusive local retailers (You’d have to pay double the online price + shipping for basically anything).
This problem isn’t solved by taxing, it’s solved by making those responsible pay. Not a single politician has been put in jail or even tried, even those for whom there is incontrovertible evidence of ghastly instances of fraud and corruption. Today the reform was approved by a government controlled Congress in just 19 minutes with no room for debates. Dissenting congressmen were silenced and not given the opportunity to speak. A student was killed during riots in the state university and it’s believed to be the first of several deaths in the near future.
All because a central figure named Leonel Fernandez, until 84 days ago the President of 12 years, personally controls all of the State Powers: Government, Congress and Supreme Court. He also controls most of the media, so even the fourth state is under his power. It’s ironic since countries like Canada gave him an award as Statesman of the Year and named him “the Oracle of Santo Domingo” all because he let a canadian-based gold mining corporation named Barrick started raping the land and destroying the environment of the island. The people have had enough and we need your help, Reddit.
Let us help make some noise so the eyes of the world get turned on our small country.
** 1st picture: Thursday November 8, 2012 | A medical student named William Florián Ramírez (21) got shot by a police officer during a protest against the fiscal reform. He was carried that way.
As Youth Leaders at Sociedad Latina, we spent Columbus Day learning and talking about what actually happened when Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas. In school, we’ve all learned that Columbus is an American hero. But as we got older, we started to learn a different story. Columbus actually led many horrible, violent acts. We feel that it’s wrong to celebrate Christopher Columbus, a man who represents the enslavement of our ancestors. We are proud to be part of Sociedad Latina, because it stayed open on Columbus Day, when our schools closed, and used the day to talk with us about our own culture.
The truth is when Columbus landed in the Dominican Republic and Haiti around 1492, it wasn’t North America, it wasn’t India or China, and it wasn’t a good thing for our ancestors. Columbus saw the indigenous people, the Taino, as lesser beings and primitive, and he claimed the land for Spain and began using some of the natives as slaves. He also killed off huge numbers of the natives in fear of retaliation and by spreading disease. Columbus spread Catholicism throughout Hispaniola, forcing the Taino to abandon their gods and believe in one singular god. This led the Tainos to begin mass suicide; they knew their lives would never be the same under Spanish rule, which was more painful than death for some.
Columbus Day falling within Latino Heritage Month is a chance to learn the truth behind Columbus’s legacy and the history of our ancestors. They’re not in the history books, but the Taino were great mathematicians, astrologers and leaders. Learning the history of our ancestors has us more determined to make something of ourselves and to encourage others to learn the real history. We need to change this holiday to recognize the people who fought for our traditions and freedom throughout history, even those fighting right now.
As youths who have struggled to find our place in two different communities, we know “Latino” can be hard to define. Sometimes we feel like we live double lives, lost among two cultures, trapped “in the middle.” It’s difficult to find the balance between being Latino and living in a mostly white country. During Latino heritage month, we celebrate strong Latino leaders and try to educate our community about our history. Sociedad Latina teaches us to be strong leaders and to bring our concerns to the school committee and others. This year we will be asking Boston Public Schools to implement a multicultural curriculum, so we have the chance to see ourselves in our books and learn the true histories of our people. We all need to pass the word to our friends and to share what we were never taught in history class. Like Sociedad Latina does, shouldn’t our schools spend this day teaching students about Latinos and people that helped us in the past, not about a man who led a group of people to near-extinction?
Almost three years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, 370,000 people are still living in the tent camps that became their homes.
Now, some have lost even that. Haitian officials say that 18,000 families living in tent camps have been rendered homeless by Hurricane Sandy, which has killed 52 there since making landfall last week.
The number of casualties may continue rising, as aid workers have found 86 new cases of cholera just in the earthquake survivor camps of capital city Port-au-Prince. A cholera outbreak that began after the quake has killed an estimated 7,400 since October 2010.
In the video above, desperate camp survivors describe life after Sandy. “No one has brought anything to help us,” one man says. “It is though no one knows we exist.”
“We are hungry, things for me are bad, our tarp is torn,” a woman tells the camera. “It’s misery.”
A young woman says she no longer has a place to sleep as her bed has been soaked. Because no one appears to have built drainage into the camp, the tents are filled with standing water. “I couldn’t sleep last night and I really wept,” she says, describing a night of attempting to bail water out of her tent.
“After Tropical Storm Isaac in August, these stocks have not been replenished,” an aid worker warned Reuters when asked about diminishing food and water supplies. “What we’re doing is scraping the bottom.”