Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Charter Corruption

Charter School Corruption Strikes Again
By Jim Vail
Special to Mychinews.com

Disgraced former UNO dir. Juan Rangel and his equally disgraced sponsor Rahm Emanuel.

The disgraced UNO Charter Schools once again hit the headlines this past week after expense accounts revealed that officials racked up $60,000 restaurant bills and big-time travel expenses.

All on the tax payer’s dime.

The Chicago Sun-Times forced the United Neighborhood Organization Charter group to open its books and reveal what it was spending its money on. UNO, like many charter schools, has resisted transparency by arguing they are a private entity.

Yet when it comes to educating children they are a public school.

The UNO Charter network mishandled millions of dollars in public money when it handed big construction contracts to two brothers of a top UNO officer which forced the director Juan Rangel to resign in disgrace.

Rangel had served as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s election campaign manager the first time he ran.

The amazing fact is that while the state has no money today, House Speaker Mike Madigan helped sponsor a $98 million state grant about seven years ago to this corrupt charter empire.

UNO has some big friends. They even opened charters in New Orleans.

UNO and Rangel’s spectacular fall mirrored former Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett who pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks.

Rangel and Bennett were merely two minority faces helping the business class dismantle public education and force privatization via closing schools (Bennett) and creating loosely-regulated charter schools (Rangel).

When it comes to supporting charter schools, which pay teachers less, overemphasize testing and are less regulated, both Chicago dailies have been enthusiastic cheerleaders.

While the Chicago Tribune editorials have always supported creating more charter schools in the city, the Sun-Times did sound a note of caution when the charter craze hit the city about 10 years ago.

They warned in an editorial to not give Aspira any charter schools because the director was called out for awarding his non-profit organization contracts while he served on the Roberto Clemente High School local school council.

The Aspira Charter School corruption scandal hit the headlines about eight years ago when the school was hit with a federal lawsuit for strip searching its female students.

CPS told the media that it happened because they couldn’t regulate charter schools like regular public schools.

The former director Jose Rodriguez, who was rumored to be called the godfather of City Hall during the Daley regime, did the same thing as Rangel did – rack up high-expense accounts and take regular trips to Puerto Rico, all on the taxpayers dime.

How’s that for deregulating the schools like we deregulated Wall Street.

Rodriguez and Rangel made more money as charter directors than the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.

That tells you who is more powerful.

Until their corrupt ways hit the mainstream media that was supposed to shield them.

I am a CPS teacher and wrote for Substance News. I first started to expose charter school corruption when I interviewed many teachers and students who told me all about the shenanigans happening. Crazy expense accounts that had nothing to do with education, a revolving door of teachers and principals, out-of-control classrooms, etc.

The parents at the first Aspira Charter Middle School that was supposed to be a regular public school in Albany Park started a blog about all the problems.

They said the $25 million newly-built school was run by incompetent administrators where gangs had almost free run of the school and teachers who questioned their labor practices were literally driven out in orchestrated witch hunts.

UNO and Aspira played a big role in politics because they could round up buses filled with voters and agitators. It was pay back to award them lucrative charters until the gig blew up.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Delegates Vote Yes April 1st

Chicago Teacher Delegates Vote for One-Day Strike
By Jim Vail
Special to Mychinews.com

The delegates voted 486-124 for a one day "job action" Strike. United we must be!

A majority of Chicago teacher delegates voted for a one-day strike on April 1st in which 486 voted in favor and 124 voted against (full disclosure I am a teacher delegate).

The vote was a testament to the popularity of Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. Despite a controversial vote in which many teachers for the first time were actively questioning the union’s strategy at the special house of delegates meeting March 23, the majority of teachers lined up to back the leadership.

“This is never going to be easy,” Lewis told the delegates. “The internal workings of the union don’t need to be in the Tribune.”

Several delegates reported that their schools were not in support of a one-day strike because teachers wanted to go on a “real” strike in which they will stay out until a new contract is agreed upon.

Other teachers expressed concern that the leadership did not communicate the idea of a one-day strike to the teachers which had led to a lot of confusion by calling it a “job action.”

A testament to the CTU was the display of real democracy in which the delegates debated and voted on an action that directly challenges the power structure.

The CTU leadership said the strike, while originally planned to protest a 7% pay cut after Chicago Public Schools threatened to eliminate the pension pickup but backed off, was about the lack of revenue, and the need for the state legislature to fund the schools with progressive taxation making the rich and stock traders pay up.

So far CPS has refused to go after the banks or bondholders who are being paid penalties and exorbitant interest rates on borrowing costs. Instead, they are demanding teachers and schools take a big hit.

“On April 1st it’s foolish to do nothing,” CTU VP Jesse Sharkey told the delegates. “I said buckle up your seatbelts, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

The CTU lawyer said that there is actually no precedent on ruling on the legality of such a one-day strike action during negotiations. The one-day strike is technically based on an unfair labor practice when the board of education took away teachers’ annual raises.

A number of delegates who said they would vote in favor of the one-day strike said cutting the schools budgets and laying off teachers necessitated the action.

Most delegates who spoke against the measure did say their teachers would support the union should it decide to picket and not report to work.

“We go out together and we come in together,” Lewis said.

So April 1st there will be no classes and teachers will be picketing outside their schools before heading downtown to a rally for state funding in the afternoon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Why Are Children Forced to Take an Unproven Test?
By Jim Vail
Special to MyChiNews.com

A post I shared on Facebook said it best, “Why are we supposed to differentiate our instruction for children and then give them standardized tests?”
And give them the new Common Core standardized tests that most children failed in Illinois and throughout the country last year.
A growing number of parents and students who want to opt out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or PARCC test led to a bill that passed the Illinois House last year that would give parents a formal way to opt out of such standardized tests.
Some schools in Chicago led fights to opt students out of the tests despite threats from CPS.
A large number of parents in New York forced the education reform Governor Andrew Cuomo to push back the Common Core tests after more research is done.
According to Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post, more than 100 education researchers in California have called for an end to high-stakes testing, saying there is no “compelling” evidence that the Common Core State Standards will improve the quality of education or close the achievement gap, and that the tests lack “validity, reliability and fairness.”
“The California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education, a statewide collaborative of university-based education researchers, recently released a research brief describing concerns with the Common Core standards and the assessments being given to millions of students in California and other states around the country this spring,” Strauss wrote in her March 16 article entitled,  “Education researchers blast Common Core standards, urge ban on high-stakes tests.”
According to Strauss, researchers from universities like Stanford and UCLA say the Common Core high-stakes tests, pushed by billionaires like Bill Gates and Eli Broad, actually harm students.
“Although proponents argue that the CCSS promotes critical thinking skills and student-centered learning (instead of rote learning), research demonstrates that imposed standards, when linked with high-stakes testing, not only deprofessionalizes teaching  and narrows the curriculum,  but in so doing, also reduces the quality of education and student learning, engagement, and success. The impact is also on student psychological well-being: Without an understanding that the scores have not been proven to be valid or fair for determining proficiency or college readiness, students and their parents are likely to internalize failing labels with corresponding beliefs about academic potential.”
The Chicago Teachers Union has been calling for less onerous testing and passed a resolution to abolish the Common Core tests. The union said that such unproven tests are used to close schools and fire teachers rather than pinpoint areas of academic weakness that need improvement.
The report out of California noted that these standardized tests would hurt graduation rates. A tentative contract agreement between the CTU and the Chicago Public Schools, which has not been agreed on yet, stated schools could only be closed if graduation rates fall.
The students who get hit even harder are the “low achieving students, minority students, and female students,” the report stated.
The Obama administration has pushed the Common Core with Race to the Top, using federal tax dollars to implement these standards. However, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump echoed many conservatives by stating he would abolish the Common Core and give states the final say on education.
Many said that the Common Core standards, while endorsed by the governors association, were written and pushed by conservative think tanks with little input from teachers.
It is truly amazing the number of tests children have to take today. I spoke to a bi-lingual teacher in the city who said his third-grade students take the NWEA MAP test three times a year, the Teaching for Reading Comprehension test three times a year, the ACCESS bi-lingual test which can take up to a month, and now the PARCC test, which schools will start administering in the upcoming weeks.
While the PARCC administrators decided to cut the test by 90 minutes, it is still a week’s worth of testing.
How much instructional time is lost to testing?
The Post article further cited concerns that the new assessments “lack basic principals of sound science, such as construct validity, research-based cut scores, computer adaptability, inter-rater reliability, and most basic of all, independent verification of validity.”
The majority of students who took the tests last year failed (low proficient), and predicted a 90% failure rate for English Language Learners (who make up 22% of CA public schools) in California, the research stated.
“The tests have not provided adequate accommodations for students with disabilities and English-language learners.”

The other concerns include the cost of the test. While cutting back on school budgets to fund more teachers and instructional materials, the costs for implementing the Common Core tests are high. In addition to signing contracts with testing companies like Pearson, the computer-based assessment costs are also high for schools, including upgrading equipment, bandwidth and technical support.
Illinois had earlier signed a four-year $160 million contract to administer the PARCC exam.

“In practical terms, this means that standardized testing has taken precedence over other priorities such as class-size reduction, quality teacher training and retention, programs in the arts, adequate science and technology equipment, and keeping neighborhood schools open,” the report stated.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Teacher Fired for Poem

By Stephen Wilson

(Moscow, Russia) ----- Aleksander Bivshev, a German teacher, was fired and forbidden from teaching in his profession for two years. The reason for his dismissal was not incompetence at his work or committing crimes but simply writing a politically inspired poem which some people found 'disagreeable'! On the 13th of July, 2015, Kromski court found Bivshev guilty under part one, article 282 of the Legal codex, of 'Inciting hatred or hostility'. He was sentenced to do some corrective work, had his notebooks confiscated and was forbidden from working at his school for two years. 

               The case against him was based on writing poetry in support of 'Ukrainian patriotism' of an extremist nature. Anyone who read statements against Aleksander Bivshev, might misconstrue him as some kind of terrorist or extreme
fanatic. However, the main sentiments expressed by his
poetry was opposition to Crimea coming under Russian state control.

               Bivshev could never have predicted that writing a few poems on a computer would land him in such hot water. It appears that some people read them, complained to the headmaster of the school, who then decided to support legal action against the teacher.

               Bivshev stated that: "When experts came from Moscow to study the poems, they  came to the conclusion there were no signs of extremism.

               "And those experts are highly qualified specialists: two doctors of science and an academic. Afterwards, they sent the poems to specialists at a centre of Criminology in the Orlovskoi region. There they had two experts - one with less than experience of a year and no knowledge what so ever. They found me guilty of extremism ...

               "Even the local police who took my finger-prints also thought the case against me was sloppy. They frankly expressed this''.

               Despite carrying out such an unprofessional legal case, the prosecutors and lawyers against him were promoted. For example, an assistant - procurator was promoted to prosecutor in a neighboring district.'

               Although the teacher only narrowly escaped imprisonment, the authorities have not stopped hounding or persecuting him.

               Brivshev has complained that he had problems transferring money via the bank or post and his bank accounts were blocked. The authorities have even attempted to prosecute him on a law which forbids financing terrorism under a law number 115-f3. When last August a drunk person threw a petrol bomb at the city procurator's office, the police came to his apartment and took away his old and new notebooks, which kind people from all over the world had donated to him. 

               "They confiscated my whole  library of books from my home.

                In general, the predictions of Ray Bradbury have been fulfilled in "Of the most well read people in the World'', lamented Brivshev.

                Brivshev claimed that the headmaster has been encouraging former colleagues and acquaintances to shun the teacher.

                He claims that a teacher at Kromskoi school of art was summoned by his head and asked why he was still meeting Brivshev. "You have been seen several times speaking to Brivshev".  "What should I do? Avoid him by crossing over to the other side of the street?' She answered : "Yes, namely this!".

                However, from an historical perspective, the misfortune of Brivshev is hardly unprecedented and not so astonishing against recent events and attempts to attack works of art, burn books and generally forbid the performance of plays by Chekhov in theatres as well as the school Curriculum.

                An Orthodox priest, Father Artemi, is calling for certain short stories by Chekhov, Kuprin and Bunin, to be
banned from the school curriculum on the basis such works encourage suicide, the break up of the family and adultery. This is despite the fact that those works are not moral tracts or a defence of adultery but simply a depiction of an unfolding drama. There is no preaching or didactic function in any of those works. It is illogical to claim that depicting something is the same as condoning!

                From this perspective, 'Anna Karenina' should also be withdrawn as a set book in Russian state schools.

                In Russia, a poet is not only a poet. He can sometimes be viewed as a philosopher or a prophet. In this case, Bivshev has had the misfortune to be falsely smeared absurdly, as a 'terrorist'.

                During the years of repression, poets such as Nikolia Gumilev were executed by the Communists under what historians now agree were 'false charges'. Osip Mandelstam was arrested and sent to prison for lampooning Stalin and Pavel Florensky another poet, was imprisoned and executed.

                A return to this era would represent a lapse into the barbarism of a new dark ages. As school teachers we are supposed to encourage people to write poetry. Putting teachers in prison for writing poetry is hardly going to inspire school students.

                They will become so scared that they will stutter, stammer and or stifle playing with words.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Bernie & Teachers

What Do Teachers Unions Think of Bernie Sanders?
By Jim Vail
Special to MyChiNews.com

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was endorsed by CORE.

The leadership caucus of the Chicago Teachers Union debated and then decided to endorse Bernie Sanders for US President.

The Chicago Teachers Union has not yet made an endorsement for president.

Hilary Clinton just narrowly beat Sanders in the Illinois primary this week after Sanders showed ads with activist principal Troy LaRaviere and said how glad he was to not get Mayor Rahm Emanuel's endorsement.

While the mayor quietly endorsed Clinton, she smartly never mentioned Emanuel's name in public.

The Coalition of Rank and File Teachers or CORE - headed by CTU President Karen Lewis – made an interesting decision to endorse Sanders because its parent union the American Federation of Teachers AFT based in New York endorsed Clinton.

So while the CTU leadership party backs Sanders, who is running on a solid populist vote to demand the rich and powerful pay which runs in line with the fiery rhetoric of the teachers union, the AFT is sending Chicago teachers emails and other communication to back Clinton for president.

“Equal pay isn’t just a concept,” states AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Getting paid less than men for doing the same job is a reality most women face – and that’s not ok. Hillary Clinton has a plan to change that; that’s one reason we’re with her.”

When it comes to politics, the unions almost always line up with the democrats, whether they are neoliberal democrats like Mayor Emanuel, or machine democrats like Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

However, this presidential campaign has burst open a system that has been further widening the income gap as the 1 percent keep getting richer at everybody else’s expense.

Many see Republican front runner Donald Trump as not only an anti-immigrant, racist politician, but also a populist who opposes the free trade agreements that have devastated the working class when jobs move overseas.

Clinton, the democrat, approves of these trade agreements.  

Sanders, also playing the populist, has railed against the billionaire class and called for taxes on the rich, health care for all and free higher education.
But the unions, like businesses, want to back a winner.

The CTU endorsed Obama even though Obama’s educational policy entitled Race to the Top did even more harm to public education and teachers unions than his Republican predecessor George Bush. Obama fought for more charter schools and less union rights, and more onerous standardized tests.

Sanders said in a recent Chicago stop that he was happy to not get Emanuel’s endorsement because he closes schools and serves big-money interests.
But so did Obama who the AFT and CTU supported.

Sanders has picked up some union endorsements. Unfortunately, his star seems to be fading as money and politics continue to intertwine and dominate the Democrat party.

That could mean the sole populist left in the presidential race is the one everyone hates, yet more and more are voting for.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One Day Strike?

CTU Delegates Must Decide on One-Day Strike Action
By Jim Vail
Special to MyChiNews.com

CTU President Karen Lewis needs to think about the strike.

The Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates will decide March 23 if the teachers will walk out of school on April 1st in a one-day strike in which CTU members will not work but rather picket their schools and then go downtown to rally.

The CTU is saying “Shut it Down” to protest the lack of state funding and making teachers and public schools pay while the banks and rich do not.

“We’re calling for mass demonstrations,” CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey told the Chicago Sun-Times.

What is not clear is how the teachers see this one-day action.

Several high school and elementary school teachers are questioning if a one-day action will do the job. Teachers are ready to strike, once the negotiations have failed, and the deadline is met.

There are also high school and elementary teachers who support this one-day strike action.

The debate will be lively at next week’s delegates meeting, and a testament to democracy in the 28,000 teachers union.

The CTU lawyer told the corporate media that the one-day strike is legal because it would be based on an “unfair labor practice” charge that the district failed to pay annual raises based on experience and credentials.

However, in an email to teachers, the CTU said the mayor and governor will say the strike is illegal, as the mayor did in 2012, and that Gov. Bruce Rauner controls the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board which rules on the unfair labor practice charges.

“The only sure thing is that when we take our destiny into our own hands, we have more control over the outcome. They cannot replace 28,000 educators. When we are united and build strong alliances, there is little they can do to stop us.”

The CTU said they are hoping “tens of thousands” of parents and children, university students and many others in the city affected by the budget impasse will be downtown to show support for school funding.

CPS said any one-day strike is “illegal” because the fact-finding is still on-going during negotiations, and told the media it is looking at its options to stop the one-day action.

Confusion for teachers, including myself who is a delegate at a school on the southwest side, resulted from the fact that the union has not called this a strike, but rather a “one-day job action.”

“This is a one-day job action to protest inaction on our contract, bad-faith bargaining by Chicago Public Schools and the lack of funding for our schools,” the CTU email to teachers stated. “The date for an action like this must be officially set by the House of Delegates.

Negotiations continue and the union leadership believes that massive actions like this one scheduled will put pressure on the city to settle favorably for the teachers and public schools.

However, the most powerful action will be the strike if negotiations fail.

But a strike depends on many factors, including whether or not CTU President Karen Lewis is serious about settling before walking off the job for a possibly much longer time period. Of course, that also depends on CPS.

“If we must strike to settle our labor contract, that strike will last as long as necessary to win a fair contract,” the CTU further stated. “But our April 1 job action is to send a message – to (Schools CEO Forrest) Claypool, (Chicago Mayor) Rahm (Emanuel) and Rauner – that we are fed up with their bad faith policies that shortchange our students and educators.” 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Refugee Crisis

By Stephen Wilson

The Syrian refugee crisis has become an explosive political all over the world!
(Moscow, Russia) -- In many Russian folk-tales, the hero setting out on a quest, always 'goes for a long time or a short time', 'high or low', and  'a long distance or short distance to 'a certain land'. All the references are always vague inexact and indefinite and time and space assume such a surreal dimension as to appear 'unreal'. And in one tale, Prince Ivan and the Firebird, the hero reaches a crossroads confronting him with four inescapable and uneviable choices: Go this way and wolves will devour you, go this way and you will freeze or get hungry, go that way and you 'll fail, and go
back and wolves will eat your horse.

               This folk tale reminds you of the plight of so many refugees, in Russia and all over Europe. Whatever choice they make in travelling, they face an intense predicament; go one way they face hunger, another way fences, another cold and another; to go back, be bombed or persecuted.

               The unfolding dramatic flood of refugees into Europe appeared so unanticipated that it took on the aspects of a dream. Thousands of refugees were landing, recovering then trampling off all over Europe.

               According to the International Organisation For Migration, there are over a million refugees in Europe and the United Nations estimates that a further 850,000 refugees are expected to reach Europe soon.  This seems to be a conservative estimate. A survey in 2015, put the figures of refugees of Syria in September 2015 at 7.6 million and many are attempting to get to Europe.

               Whereas in 2013, 60,000 braved the Mediterranean sea, in 2014 it reached 219,000 and in 2015, 322,500. Approximately 3000 may be dead and missing.

               What has been the European response to this crisis? In recent days it has been to close the borders leaving 42,000 stranded in Greece, as well as to close a refugee camp in Calais, which they call 'the jungle', as if refugees are not human beings.

               Most countries are attempting to evade responsibility by shifting the weight of the problem on to another country making a mockery of the whole concept of a united Europe. More outspoken refugees have raised placards with the words: 'Where is our freedom? Where are our human rights?'

               The proposed deportation of refugees back to countries such as Russia, or Syria, almost certainly means 'death ' of a sort.

               The sheer ignorance about the plight of refugees, perpetuated by some parts of the media  seems so  childish, and crude that one wonders at the incredulity, deep prejudices and ignorance of people.

               Despite the fact that the vast majority of refugees are worn out, sick and desperate women and children, they are described as 'potential terrorists', 'criminals' , 'rapists' and 'spongers'. Even a channel such as Euro-News labels refugees, 'migrants', misleading viewers into believing those refugees just arrived in Europe for purely economic reasons. Yet there is a crucial distinction. Refugees are fleeing because of a real threat to their lives from either carpet bombing, the government of Islam, and the Syrian 

government itself.


               What do Russians think of this crisis? Many Russians claim that Europe, along with America, created the refugee problem. American, British and European war planes have been carrying out thousands of sorties which has led to the innocent deaths of many civilians in not only Syria, but Afghanistan. During the Arab Spring, the American and British military forces helped overthrow the Libyan government and Russians keep reminding the west about the invasion of Iran in 2003. Even Trump, an extreme   Republican, accused the Foreign Secretary of fostering failed
states all over the Arab world. Then the Russians did what they had been criticising the Americans for; bombing and killing innocent civilians and forcing them to flee as refugees from more towns.

               Nevertheless, some Russians I met are puzzled as to why they have sent planes to bomb Syria. "I don't understand why we are getting involved in a new war in Syria? What has this got to do with us?" one manager at a food company in Moscow told me.

               Although some surveys indicate that most Russians sympathise with the refugees, (61%), as in Europe and America, there is much antipathy to refugees. In fact, many Russians told me that Europe has been too soft on the refugees and should summarily repress, imprison or carry
out mass deportations. An economist called Alexi, told me : "I think the German chancellor Merkel has gone mad. I mean posing with a Syrian child, in front of cameras will entice more refugees to come to Germany. It would be like Putin posing with a child from Chechnya, which would be tantamount to political suicide. I visited Germany on a business trip and heard how the Germans were not too happy with Merkel's attitude to refugees."

               A school boy told me, "To hell with those refugees. They should all be deported".

               It is interesting to note that part of Trump's popularity in Russia may be explained by his hard-line attitude to refugees and migrants.

               A more thoughtful Russian language teacher who works at a kindergarten told me, " I don't see how it is possible to technically mass deport all those refugees from Europe, back to where they came from. There are just so

               Nevertheless, sound reasons have been presented for offering both migrants and refugees the right to not only asylum but work. Firstly, Europe is dying and there are huge shortages of labour  brought about by an abundance of elderly. Over the past decades, Europe is becoming a place of old people and there are less younger people to take care of them. 

               Secondly, Europe lacks many badly needed talents, skills and drive which the refugees have in abundance. However, perhaps this is besides the point.

               Of course, the main consideration for granting refugees a place is humanitarian as it is the natural and normal thing for any decent person to do.

               Though many Russians have criticised the response of the European state to the plight of refugees, the response to the refugees during the war in Ukraine was far from commendable. The vast majority of refugees could not obtain even application forms for applying for status, never
mind residential rights. In fact, we interviewed refugees who claimed they were being charged exorbitant fees for residential rights which should legally be granted free of charge. The city of Moscow practically refused to allow
refugees to take up accommodation or work within the city. As a result, many refugees were living 'illegally' in Moscow. So you have an absurd situation, where Russians were living illegally in Russia!  Now if the Russian state treats its own  people, who are refugees, shamefully, then it is hardly         surprising to find recent cases of Syrians being detained in camps and being threatened with deportation. Only the last year, a Syrian family who turned up in Moscow with a legitimate passport and visa were denied entry into Russia on the spurious grounds that their passport issued by a Syrian embassy, was false. They were forced to retreat
into the transit zone of an airport where they fell gravely ill.

               Russian officials were on the brink of deporting three Syrian refugees until the European Court of Human rights ordered the Russians to free them and receive compensation for ill treatment. The court concluded that Russian officials had violated articles 2 (the right to life) and 3 (prohibition of Torture and of inhuman or degrading 


               However, there are some Russians who are holding up a torch for the refugees. What is more, their efforts have paid off. This newspaper previously reported that civil assistance, had successfully fought and secured the rights of refugee children to a school education which had     previously been denied at some schools by order 32.

               Recently, I heard of a story where a young school girl of 15, Amal Azzudin, from Glasgow, helped release her school friend who had been detained in a detention centre following a dawn raid of her family. All it took was for Amal and six of her classmates to petition and campaign for her release.

               The detained family were Roma from Kosova and were threatened with deportation. But the Scottish authorities backed down after many Scots rallied to support their release! 

               Amal Azzudin has grown up and currently works at the Mental Health Foundation, where she raises awareness of the fragile mental health and well-being of many refugee women. She stated, " I'm very interested in the whole asylum system and how that works, and I think that's what I want to do now ... But eventually I hope to have my own charity and
help everyone, not just asylum seekers", states Amal  Azzudin, a campaigner and human rights activist originally from Somalia.

               With activists such as this in countries such as Scotland, Russia and all over the world, there is still hope.