Community Issues

How Does Orange County Compare to Philadelphia’s School District Budget?

Every county is experiencing the downfalls of budget cuts from the US Department of Education’s deductions. Although the budget cuts in Orange County, FL are expected to increase in 2014 a reported $70 million dollars, there may be other locations that are under worse circumstances.

For instance, the urban school district of Philadelphia, PA has been having major trouble with grabbing hold of the funds needed to fill the gap of a $304 million dollar budget deficit.

This year, the Obama administration gave 45 million dollars meant for the debt forgiveness of Philadelphia. Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania had been holding the release of the 45 million until Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union agreed to take a 10-20 percent pay cut.

The debt of the Philadelphia district has resulted in nearly 4,000 layoffs in teachers, administrators and staff. It is encouraged for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to agree the requirements of Gov. Corbett so that 1,000 employees of the district can be rehired.

This info-graphics below shows the comparison between Philadelphia County and Orange County:

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 3.37.01 AM Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 3.36.29 AM

In comparison, the Orange County school district is a suburban location that is much more fortunate than Philadelphia. According to Fine Arts Coordinator of Orange County, Scott T. Evans, Orange County has at least one teacher in each school across the county. Philadelphia statistics say that one in four schools do not have a full time music teacher.

Unlike Philadelphia, Orange County was able to enact a one percent property tax increase to support budget cuts from the US Department of Education. Philadelphia, on the other hand, tried to enable a proposed $2 per-pack-tax on cigarettes, which was the plan of the city’s Mayor Nutter.

Healing through the Arts

(HEART program promotional video. Provided by Save The Children.)

Save the Children is an independent organization that serves to educate and enlighten children across the world through education. These children may suffer from disease or be in poverty and in desperate need of help.

A new education program from Save the Children, entitled HEART, Healing and Education through The Arts, targets “children trapped in the cycle of extreme poverty or facing an emergency need our help…”

The HEART program uses a new approach of educating children through the power of artistic expression, using music, drama, dance, drawing and painting. Some children in the HEART program may have never had the chance to be involved in any type of art form or art expression. The HEART program helps many underprivileged children to overcome distressing situations.

Donate to Save the Children today. You can make a difference. There are various ways to give and help the children of the world who are in need.

School children in El Salvador learn how to take precautions against trafficking, using materials from Save the Children. Photo Credit:  Save the Children.

School children in El Salvador learn how to take precautions against trafficking, using materials from Save the Children.
Photo Credit: Save the Children.



Justice Rallies for Trayvon Martin Continue Around U.S.

Organized rallies arose all around the USA this past week and weekend, protesting the verdict after a jury of six women found George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin last Saturday, July 13, 2013.

After the verdict was read last Saturday, protestors continued to rally outside the courthouse where the trial was held in Sanford, FL.

The crowd chanted, “Shame, shame, shame, shame…” after hearing the verdict and seeing Zimmerman walk out of the courthouse, across the hallway.

It was reported that over 100 cities across America held rallies and protests in the wake of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was slain by Zimmerman back in February 2012.

Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Orlando, Miami, New York City, Brooklyn, San Diego, Oakland, Los Angeles—these were only a few of the named cities that participated in these rallies supporting Trayvon Martin and his family.

This past Wednesday on July 17, a peace rally was held in Orlando, FL. Protestors marched from Lake Eola in downtown Orlando to the Orange County courthouse. Organizers of the rally spoke to the crowd through a megaphone on the courthouse steps. They encouraged everyone to stay peaceful and that there will be justice to come for Trayvon Martin.

Shayan Modarres, one of the organizers of the Orlando rally, said that he thought it was a great turn out. “Everyone was peaceful, we demonstrated peacefully. In two days to have this many people come out and support the movement, I think that’s amazing. And this is only the beginning, we’re going to keep the momentum going and we’ll do more and more.”

“We just want people to know we’re not going to relent, we’re not going to quit, we’re not going to give up. We’re going to keep the momentum going and we are not going to move on,” Modaress continued to say.

Celebrity singer and DJ Solange Knowles organized a peaceful rally in downtown Brooklyn at Borough Hall on July 14. The singer tweeted, “seeing & gathering with people today/tonight all for the same fight helped to restore my faith in humanity…”

Superstar couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z attended a rally in New York City with thousands of other people on Saturday morning, July 20. Rev. Al Sharpton, community activist, commented on speaking to the star-couple before the rally. Sharpton said, “Jay Z and Beyoncé said they didn’t want to speak and they didn’t come for a photo op.”

Sharpton continued, “Jay Z told me, ‘I’m a father. Beyoncé is a mother.’ We all feel the pain and apprehension – the laws must protect everybody, or it doesn’t protect anybody. We do not come from hate, we come from love of children.”

Justin Jones was one of the rally organizers in Oakland, CA. Jones just recently graduated from Hercule High School and is 17-years-old—the same age that Martin was when he died.  Jones said he did it to encourage and reach out to other young people in the East Bay area.








George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty in Trayvon Martin Death

In Sanford, FL, a jury of six women found George Zimmerman not guilty in the charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin on Saturday night.

The jurors, whose identities were kept secret, deliberated for 16 hours over the duration of two days. Court officials announced that there was a verdict yesterday evening at 9:47pm.

Zimmerman was showed no expressive reaction as the verdict was given.  After the verdict was read aloud, he shook hands with his lawyer a smiled for a split-second.

Martin’s family was not inside the courtroom; their lawyer, Ben Crump, quickly walked out of the courtroom afterwards.

Crowds rallied outside the courtroom and continued to protest after the verdict was given. Emotions surged through the crowd as many Martin supporters felt that justice was not served in the court’s decision.

Martin, a 17-year-old black male, was found dead on February 26, 2012 walking on the way home to his father house, Tracy Martin, in Sanford, FL.

Sanford police waited 46 days to arrest Zimmerman; the delay in his arrest also led the public to suspicions of racism.

1 2