Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Alternative Sources for Teachers

Today there is available a resource for teachers that is not being utilized. This resource is widely used within the business community but it is not recognized in the academic community. This resource involves people who are trained to teach specific courses for their respective business organizations. They regularly teach their cohorts. and help them understand the details of specific subjects or programs. This resource is I believe is underutilized in the academic community. People without degrees are generally not recognized as qualified teachers. Many of these people would be interested in becoming involved with the academic system of our country. They are however, not allowed to do so. Bringing the experience of the business environment into the classroom is important. This provides the opportunity to help students better understand how specific subjects play a part in society.

People who often train in the business environment often do not have any recognized degree that would qualify them to teach. This does not mean that they are not capable of teaching. Degrees are a wonderful thing and teachers who have them for their specific subjects are great for our schools. However, having a degree does not guarantee that an individual is capable of teaching to students in a classroom environment. Earning a degree does not provide the hands on experience of a teaching environment unless it is part of the program. Not having a degree should not automatically reject a person from being qualified to teach.

I feel there are many individuals in our society without degrees that have both the experience and capability to teach specific subjects. Many have been trained for certain subjects or have the experience through positions they have held. They should be given the chance to teach if they have the desire to do so. While there may be some programs to become certified as a teacher, I feel many do not offer the recognition for the experience and/or training an individual has acquired through work experience.

In summary I would like to make the statement again that having a degree does not automatically mean that you have the capability to teach a subject. You may have the knowledge but being able to put that knowledge to use in teaching others is an important factor in being a teacher. I would also like to add that not having a degree should not deter academic organizations from recognizing individuals that have the experience and/or capability to teach specific subjects. If individuals have the desire to teach and the capability, then they should be given the chance. Our academic community would be better in providing experience from our business environment and help to make a connection from the classroom to society.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Blocking of Votes on Amendments in Congress

The practice of legislatures both state and federal of blocking votes on amendments to bills before the House of Representatives or Senate is a practice that should make voters angry. The representatives or senators have the right to have their amendments placed before the full Senate or House of Representatives. Denying proposed amendments does not allow the process to work for all the constituents of the applicable senator or representative. Granted there are times when the submitting amendments to bills being generated are an attempt to water down the original proposed bill. This kind of action by any senator or representative does not serve their constituents best interest. They are there to make sure that the interest of their constituents and/or our country is best served.

The process of submitting amendments to proposed legislation should not have limits. This right as discussed above is where senators and representatives have a right to place an amendment to legislation that is being processed. This right includes the right of a vote by the entire legislative body to which they belong, not just a committee. The process should be specific and the rules followed for all proposed amendments. Denying actions by representatives and senators to propose amendments violates their rights and duties in their respective offices. Proposed amendments should not be rejected simply for the reason that the committee disagrees with the content. Within reason, amendments should be limited if it can be determined that the amendments are an attempt to water down the overall purpose of the original piece of legislation. This can be hard to determine in some cases. One example where amendments may be restricted is where they are intended to be applicable to only a specific segment of society such as the district to which the representative or senator is serving.

Senators and Representatives should only propose amendments to legislation that add value and/or is in the best interest of their constituents and our country. Any proposed amendments should be to add value and/or clarify vague conditions contained in the original. Many times when legislation is written subjects are not covered that are important to the content and success of the legislation. This, I believe, is the purpose of having amendments to legislation. Amendments should enhance legislation.

To summarize I would like to add that any senator or representative who proposes amendments to legislation should consider if they are adding value. They should not be an attempt to dilute the legislation. If amendments do not add value, then they do not deserve to be recognized. This statement is made without restriction to party affiliation. Amendments by any party should be reviewed on the basis of merit not because a party not in power does generate them. This is the only way a senator or a representative can truly serve the best interest of the public they serve.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Integrity of Senate Confirmation Hearings

Recently the nominee for the office of UN ambassador resigned after a year waiting for an up or down vote to be confirmed. Integrity of the Senate confirmation hearings, in my opinion, is lacking. The committee is only responsible for asking questions of nominees regarding his/her qualifications for the position and duties of the office. Once these questions are completed the Senate must forward the nomination for a vote by the full Senate accepting or rejecting the nominee for a specific position. All nominees should be treated fairly by the Senate in their confirmation hearings. It is not the responsibility of the committee to determine the acceptance or rejection of a nominee. This action is the responsibility of the full Senate. The example of where the UN ambassador nominee never reached the full senate for a vote shows a lack of integrity or at the least the perception of this critical principle.

In my understanding of the process the President nominates people to various positions which must be confirmed by the Senate. The latest situation with the resignation of Mr. Bolton for the position of UN ambassador shows that the process must be changed. It is fitting to have senators from both parties ask specific questions relating to the duties of the position for which they are nominated. However, that is all the committee should do. It should be up to the full senate not the committee to make a determination of acceptability. Every person nominated for a position for which the senate must hold confirmation hearings has a right to have an up or down vote. The current situation with the present process does not provide a method to make sure that an up or down vote by the full senate is generated. This must be changed.
An example of the way senate confirmation hearings should take place is the confirmation by the full senate of the new Secretary of Defense. The senate held confirmation hearings and asked questions relating to the position. After the hearings were concluded the nomination was presented to the full senate which confirmed the new Secretary of Defense. In the case of the UN ambassador this did not take place and should have. I feel that party politics played a role in the UN ambassador nomination not being submitted for an up or down vote. We lose qualified individuals in positions as a result of confirmation hearings that only ask questions and does not present the nominee for a full senate vote.

In summary the confirmation hearings that are presently held in the senate needs to establish integrity principles to make sure that an up or down vote is received by all nominees. If these are the present requirements of the process, then they need to be followed. Integrity in governmental proceedings such as the senate confirmation hearings is important and the public deserves to have their senators and representatives treat any of the nominees with the respect they deserve. Playing party politics, which is the perception I have is unacceptable. Every person who is nominated for an office needs to be assured that appropriate questions are asked relating to their position. Senators should not try to impose their views through questions regarding the requirements of the position. If a person is qualified to hold the position then they should be presented to the full senate for an up or down vote. It should not take months for this cycle to be completed. The hearings need to be held in an efficient manner. The more time spent on the process takes away focus on other issues. It also, I believe is a waste of taxpayer money in not conducting the hearings efficiently and timely. We constantly talk about cost efficiency in government yet time is wasted in the present senate confirmation hearing process

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Integrity and Ethics on the Internet

Integrity on the Internet is a topic of wide discussion today. There are many sites on the Internet which have the qualities of integrity within them. However, there are many sites which do not. To have integrity within a site on the Internet the owner and/or webmaster must display certain qualities. The qualities discussed below are not all inclusive but are a sample of the type of characteristics that should be displayed. The characteristics discussed are only meant to be indications of integrity. The discussion is not meant to imply that sites without the characteristics below do not have integrity only that they should be more carefully examined. All sites should be reviewed for having integrity before you decide to use the information and/or services posted.

One of the most important things a sit must have is method of contacting the webmaster or owner. This aspect is important for communication between the site and the visitor (s). This method should be easy to find and easy to use. Sometimes a site has a broken link, a visitor needs more information or has a question about the information provided. Sometimes this involves or should involve validating the source of the information if it is not readily apparent. A site that has a method of contact wants to receive information from their visitors.

Visitors can aid the site owner/webmaster in maintaining the integrity of the data. This can be accomplished by asking questions if there appears to be errors in the information such as accuracy or completeness. Responses to visitors are important if a site is to maintain an appearance of integrity with evidence that they care about the accuracy and reliability of the information provided. Another characteristic is where information is posted but the webmaster or owner does not give the proper credit to the source. Sources of information should be properly identified. This can be an important factor if a visitor wants permission to use the material. The holder of the copyright must grant permission to use the material under the terms identified on the site or the site of the copyright holder. A link should be provided to the source of information if a visitor wishes to use it.

Proper credit must be given for posted information for a site to maintain its integrity, completeness, accuracy and reliability of the information. Giving credit is not enough. When I post articles of other writers, I provide the source and a link to contact them for additional information or questions. I have obtained permission to use other writer’s articles on my site and I have identified the source and a method of contact.

Another important factor is the collection of data collected by the webmaster or owner for tracking visitors and their information. The data collected and how it is used should be identified upfront to the visitor (s). I have a statement on my site that indicates the type of information that is collected and how the information is used. This will help to make the visitor more comfortable in visiting knowing the data that will be collected and how it will be used.

There are other characteristics which comprise the concept of integrity on the Internet. The discussion of the characteristics above is only an indication of how important integrity is when it applies to the Internet. Any owner of a site must assure that information posted is accurate, complete and reliable. The owner or source of the information must also be questioned or validated before posting. Checking sources before posting information will only increase the integrity perception of the site and the information.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Integrity in Organizations Handling Foster Care

The organizations which handle the placement of children in foster homes must perform their duties with integrity. The responsibilities of any organization public or private must take their responsibilities seriously. The children of our society are vulnerable and it is the duty of society to protect them. Foster care programs must have the resources to adequately protect the children under their jurisdiction.

The procedures in place must have detailed requirements for monitoring with requirements for verification of the care they are receiving. This means that when employees visit foster care homes or organizations, they must physically see the children for which the care is being monitored. There should also be regularly scheduled and unscheduled visits. Having unscheduled visits allows workers responsible for monitoring foster care being provided allows verification of what is actually taking place. Regularly scheduled visits may not provide the true situation of the care being provided. Children can have a clean appearance on regular scheduled visit but unannounced visits would provide verification of the real environment that foster care children are receiving.

Some of the conditions that public and private organizations must consider in placing children in foster care facilities are:

Is there adequate supervision available for the number of children already in the care of the home or organization being considered in which to place children?

Has there been a background check on the home or organization to validate the acceptability of the persons to be involved with the children in their care? There should be conditions identified upfront that will not support placement of children in the care of those who may harm them or not provide adequate care.

Are the facilities being considered for placement of children in the foster care program adequate to provide quality care?

Are the employees or owners of any home or facility evaluated for acceptable character traits the capability of providing quality care for any foster children that may be placed within their control?

Government facilities or entities must validate organizations being used to aid in the placement of children in foster care. The items to consider are:

Are their adequate resources in place for monitoring the level of children being considered or already under their jurisdiction to properly monitor the care being provided to the children?

Are the employees adequately trained in the methods required for monitoring the care of foster children?

Are there requirements to physically see the children when visits are accomplished?

Are their adequate evaluation criteria in place to validate organizations for the quality of care and monitoring of children in the foster care program?

Have procedures in place been reviewed for acceptability for organizations being used by government entities responsible for foster?

The process of placing children in foster care can be a time consuming process. The decision should not be taken lightly. Care must be exercised to assure that children are not placed in an environment which has the potential of not providing adequate quality of life conditions.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Integrity in the Performance of Parole Board Functions

The function of parole boards is a critical aspect in overseeing the process of releasing criminals from prison. This process must be accomplished with integrity and concern for the public which has been victimized by the criminals before the board. Everyone in prison has the right, within the boundaries established, to be heard before a parole board for possible release after a period of time. The parole board must take into account the details of the crime and the potential for harm to the public if a prisoner is released.

There are many crimes which have been so devastating to the victims that the criminals in prison should not be granted parole. However, it does not mean that they do not have the right to be considered for parole.

Parole boards must consider the possibilities of paroling individuals who may go out and commit the same type of crime or another and be back in prison. Parole boards must act with integrity and compassion when reviewing criminals for possible parole. When making a decision to parole an individual compassion for the victims of the crimes connected with the criminal before they should be involved in the decision. Many times the criminal is given priority in determining the granting of a parole without considering the victims of the crime.

These boards are not the only responsible organization within the criminal justice system. Judges, the court system and legislatures are involved in the process of making criminal pay for their crimes. Judges must set sentences within the boundaries of the law and legislatures must make sure that adequate laws are in place to require minimum sentences for specific types of crimes. Crimes that are devastating both to the victims and the communities in which they occurred should require that a minimum amount of time should be served.

Parole boards must look at the nature of the crime and the type of requirements imposed on the criminal before them in the determination to grant parole. Examples are those that commit crimes that have a devastating impact on the lives of their victims or their communities. One example is where fraud is committed against our older generation by taking their money with no real hope of increasing their investment. Another is where people are building homes but are not paying the subcontractors involved in the process.

In summary parole boards must apply compassion for the victims of crimes associated with the individual they are considering for parole. All criminals have a right to have a hearing for possible parole. However, judges and the legislatures, where applicable, must establish minimum sentences for specific crimes which have devastated their victims and their communities. Judges with options within the established laws must consider the element of compassion for the victims of a crime. Compassion is something that I feel has not been used within the current legal system in focusing on the victims. Integrity applies to this segment as the right decisions must be made with regard to criminal behavior and the impact on the victims. Victims need to be considered more when establishing sentences and the consideration of granting a parole.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Personal Integrity

Personal integrity in today’s environment is a trait that must increase. Individuals make up companies and the integrity of a company or organization is affected by the integrity or the lack of it in their employees. When we perform our assigned tasks we must do so with the intentions of doing the best job for which we are capable. This involves not only following the policies and procedures but assuring all our work and its content has integrity principles within it.

We as individuals in our job descriptions have tasks, duties and responsibilities. We must take these requirements seriously. The company or organization for which we work is dependant upon us for completing our assigned duties and responsibilities. The effort and the results of completing these requirements must be done with a quality effort. This involves not only the quality of the work but the content as well. It is imperative that any information that we generate must be complete, accurate and reliable. This also involves the tasks of being honest. If we create data or information that is not honest the decisions made from this data will be flawed based on incomplete or inaccurate information.

Performing less than our full potential causes inefficiency and increases cost. This in turn increases the cost of operation and may cause a rise in price for the product or services that are being provided. This in turn could cause a reduction in market share and thereby be a threat to the job we are occupying

Again we as individuals must look at our duties and responsibilities seriously. We must provide a high quality performance of our duties. The evidence of completing our assigned tasks must be accurate, complete and reliable. Decisions are made by management of companies and organizations based on our job performance. These decisions can affect the security of our position. This statement is made simply because if the quality of our job performance is lacking, it reflects upon the security of the organization and can be perceived by the public as lacking a quality product or service. We as individuals can help to project a positive image of the company we work for to the public. Providing a positive image through our work can help to gain respect in the public’s opinion of the products and services being produced. This has potential of increasing market share and thereby provides more security for the position we hold.