I want to end for now this discussion of education with a focus on COMMUNITY EDUCATION. Community education back in the 1960s and 70s saw lots of community events held at public schools, community centers, libraries, and people's homes discussing the politics of the day----for Democrats---that was progressive social democracy----womens, labor, disabled, veterans, and civil rights. People packed schools in the evening to debate all of this. Community center hours were booked for groups wanting to meet to educate on their views on politics of the day. Flash forward to today----none of these venues encourage and may not even allow political discussion or debate. Two years ago I went to a few public K-12 schools in Baltimore asking the principals and VISTA people to organize after-school events to discuss EDUCATION POLICY----GIVING THEM A LIST OF BILLS BEING PROMOTED BY BALTIMORE POLS PRIVATIZING EDUCATION. Not one dared allow education policy debate in a public school.
Baltimore has deliberately closed any discussion of public policy to only captured venues that deliberately seek to limit all discussion to targeted talking points. WE WILL LET A PANEL FRAME THE QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED AT THIS PUBLIC FORUM we hear over and over. If you go outside the panel's canned questions----they rush to take you out of the gathering. You have 2 minutes generally---not enough to set the groundwork for your comments. Whether the organization sponsoring these events----the people on these panels-----or the Baltimore pols pretending to give voice on an issue---IT IS DESIGNED TO CAPTURE OPEN DISCUSSION ON PUBLIC POLICY.
Below you see what Cindy Walsh for Mayor of Baltimore wants to build on a local level to bring political primaries and general elections back to grassroots and take the power of capture from larger venues. The political history of CAUCUS has been used for Presidential elections or as we see here----Congressional caucuses used to create committees joined by support of a political view on policy. What we want to do in Baltimore takes away all the rules and procedures making this a technical process and simply adopt the concept of having multiple community meetings in homes to invite candidates to talk to a dozen or so citizens in that community---and have several of these in different homes in each community during the course of a few month primary election season.
NO CORPORATE FUNDED NON-PROFIT OVERSEEING THESE EVENTS----NO POLITICIAN OVERSEEING THESE EVENTS----NO PANEL OF 'SPECIALISTS ON POLICY' DECIDING THE QUESTIONS----OPEN DISCUSSION OF PUBLIC POLICY.
This happens informally in white communities in Baltimore as with the current BERNIE SANDERS HOME ELECTION EVENTS. We need this structure to become formal in all communities and if candidates do not come to these grassroots venues ready for open discussion---YOU KNOW NOT TO VOTE FOR THEM AND THE COMMUNITY NEEDS TO RUN PEOPLE THAT DO ATTEND THESE MEETINGS.
WHAT IS A CAUCUS?
The term caucus apparently comes from an Algonquin word meaning "gathering of tribal chiefs," and the main crux of the caucus system today is indeed a series of meetings.
Main article: Congressional caucus
Another meaning is a sub grouping of officials with shared affinities or ethnicities who convene, often but not always to advocate, agitate, lobby or to vote collectively, on policy. At the highest level, in Congress and many state legislatures, Democratic and Republican members organize themselves into a caucus (occasionally called a "conference"). There can be smaller caucuses in a legislative body, including those that are multi-partisan or even bicameral. Of the many Congressional caucuses, one of the best-known is the Congressional Black Caucus, a group of African-American members of Congress. Another prominent example is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, whose members voice and advance issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, including Puerto Rico. In a different vein, the Congressional Internet Caucus is a bipartisan group of Members who wish to promote the growth and advancement of the Internet. Other congressional caucuses such as the Out of Iraq Caucus, are openly organized tendencies or political factions (within the House Democratic Caucus, in this case), and strive to achieve political goals, similar to a European "platform", but generally organized around a single issue.
Caucuses within liberal organizations
Among American left-wing groups, a caucus may be an openly organized tendency or political faction within the group.
I want to emphasize my intent is not to follow the modern use of the CAUCUS as regards replacing primary elections. My intent is to use the CAUCUS to build a structure in communities that take away power at the top of city/state politics and brings it back to the communities WHERE IT BELONGS. The article below speaks of rules and procedures that would not relate to my construct. We simply want several families willing to open their homes in each community to however many people with whom they are comfortable---hopefully allowing for differing opinions---and then allow those families to ask the questions they want answered. These gatherings would include open discussion of public policy BEFORE AND AFTER politicians arrive with the expectation that politicians would be part of these discussion---NOT CONTROLLING THEM WITH LONG DIATRIBES.
Rotating families and homes each month gets more and more people involved in public policy discussion and feeling they have more control over the election primary.
INCUMBENT CANDIDATES MAY NOT COME----AND THAT WILL TELL THE COMMUNITY FOR WHOM NOT TO VOTE.
Incumbents in Baltimore are used to election formats that have them simply popping in to churches or non-profit meetings and simply saying whatever they want and that's it. If questions are allowed the time limits do not afford discussions of issues.
What’s the difference between a caucus and a primary?
by Dave Roos
Every four years, television news crews from New York to Los Angeles set up camp in the frigid cornfields of rural Iowa. The Iowa Caucuses, held in early January, represent the first chance for regular Americans from both major political parties to show support for a presidential candidate. The national press covers every minute of pre-caucus excitement as presidential hopefuls spread out across all 99 Iowa counties to shake hands at local diners and give stump speeches in elementary school gyms.
As the earliest event of the primary election season -- you know, the free-for-all that determines the nominees in each party -- Iowa serves as a bellwether of national sentiment, helping to launch or sink candidacies and separate the wheat from the chaff -- or in Iowa's case, the corn from the husk. But what exactly is a caucus? And how is it different from a primary?
Caucuses and primaries are the two ways in which the Democratic and Republican parties choose the delegates who will attend the parties' national conventions. The national convention is where the delegates officially choose the party's nominee for the presidential race.
Primaries offer a relatively straightforward way of assigning delegates to the national convention. Voters from each party cast their vote for one of the candidates on the primary ballot. Like the general presidential election, primary voting is done on an assigned day at an assigned polling place. Voting is private and anonymous. Depending on the state's rules, delegates are either distributed in proportion to the amount of votes received by each candidate (known as a proportional primary), or all delegates are given to the candidate who gets the most votes (called a "winner take all" primary).
Caucuses, on the other hand, are far from straightforward. (Interestingly, before the 1960s and 1970s, most states chose their delegates through caucuses, not primaries.) For one thing, caucuses aren't exclusively for presidential elections. In addition, caucuses were traditionally held every two years so that local members of each political party could meet, discuss the issues of the day, and help to shape the political platform of the state and national party [source: Redlawski et al].
How do caucuses and primaries function today? Find out on the next page.
What Clinton and Obama neo-liberals are doing is killing all public avenues to political discussion along with Republicans. The FEDERAL IRS election laws make clear------non-profits can only participate in elections by including all candidates in a race---they cannot harm any one candidate with exclusion. Back in the 1980s and 1990s during Reagan/Clinton----AND BEFORE THIS----attacks on equal opportunity for all candidates required by FCC election laws resulted today with media being allowed exclusion from this right due all candidates in a race. Media of course takes this exclusion from equal opportunity for all candidates to an extreme today by openly censuring any candidate it wants from having any time on media----THAT IS WHAT MARYLAND DOES----AND BALTIMORE MEDIA ESPECIALLY. Media does have to give equal opportunity---BUT THEY DO NEED TO GIVE OPPORTUNITY TO ALL CANDIDATES IN WAYS THAT DO NOT HARM A CANDIDATE'S CAMPAIGN.
Now we see Obama and Congressional neo-liberals doing the same to IRS election laws giving equal opportunity by creating all kinds of exceptions with non-profits---saying non-profits don't need to allow all candidate and policies be heard-----BUT THIS DOES NOT HOLD TRUE DURING ELECTIONS---ONLY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. These are called political action non-profits. Baltimore Education Coalition is a political action coalition pushing Michelle Rhee privatization education policy. These non-profits are capturing all political discussion on public policy and have leadership that controls discussion as much as politicians with panels----they capture email and phone lists of like-minded people-----and are often funded by the rich to capture public policy discussion.
CLINTON AND OBAMA ARE SUBPRIMING ALL ELECTION LAW PROTECTION FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL CANDIDATES DURING PRIMARY ELECTIONS BY CREATING EXEMPTIONS THAT ARE THEN MISUSED.
This is why having a structure of grassroots caucuses in place during primaries circumvents this control and opens public policy discussion to everyone.
Organizing For Action | | Non-Profits & Political... my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/gpgf33
Non-Profits & Political Campaign Activity (Meeting)
A lawyer will discuss IRS rules and guidelines that govern non-profit political activity. Forum is geared toward churches and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. If you are a member of a church, sorority, fraternity or non-profit organization and want to ensure that your organization is operating within legal limits in regards to political campaigns, this presentation is for you.
Types of Advocacy Groups
501(c) Groups — Nonprofit, tax-exempt groups organized under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code that can engage in varying amounts of political activity, depending on the type of group. For example, 501(c)(3) groups operate for religious, charitable, scientific or educational purposes. These groups are not supposed to engage in any political activities, though some voter registration activities are permitted. 501(c)(4) groups are commonly called "social welfare" organizations that may engage in political activities, as long as these activities do not become their primary purpose. Similar restrictions apply to Section 501(c)(5) labor and agricultural groups, and to Section 501(c)(6) business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards and boards of trade.
527 Group — A tax-exempt group organized under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code to raise money for political activities. These groups are typically parties, candidates, committees or associations organized for the purpose of influencing an issue, policy, appointment or election, be it federal, state or local. Such organizations can raise unlimited funds from individuals, corporations or labor unions, but they must register with the IRS and disclose their contributions and expenditures.
Hybrid PACs (Carey Committees) — A Carey committee is a hybrid political action committee that is not affiliated with a candidate and has the ability to operate both as a traditional PAC, contributing funds to a candidate's committee, and as a super PAC, which makes independent expenditures. To do so, Carey committees must have a separate bank account for each purpose. The committee can collect unlimited contributions from almost any source for its independent expenditure account, but may not use those funds for its traditional PAC contributions.
Political Action Committee (PAC) — A political committee that raises and spends limited "hard" money contributions for the express purpose of electing or defeating candidates. Organizations that raise soft money for issue advocacy may also set up a PAC. Most PACs represent business, such as the Microsoft PAC; labor, such as the Teamsters PAC; or ideological interests, such as the EMILY's List PAC or the National Rifle Association PAC. An organization's PAC will collect money from the group's employees or members and make contributions in the name of the PAC to candidates and political parties. Individuals contributing to a PAC may also contribute directly to candidates and political parties, even those also supported by the PAC. A PAC can give $5,000 to a candidate per election (primary, general or special) and up to $15,000 annually to a national political party. PACs may receive up to $5,000 each from individuals, other PACs and party committees per year. A PAC must register with the Federal Election Commission within 10 days of its formation, providing the name and address of the PAC, its treasurer and any affiliated organizations.
Caucusing in the classroom means more than students organized by teachers-----it means schools open up for the community to organize these election primary public policy discussions. This article shows what is critical in fostering this ethos-----we must have our students engaged in every avenue of this process.
Then we take this process home to communities where parents foster this same ethos in the neighborhood. It can start with political primary events and then grow into regular public policy discussion throughout the year. As important as having people over for open and free discussion of public policy is recording both on video and handwritten notes these discussions......given people allow themselves to be recorded. Creating a flyer distribution from these events is simply having the dozen people attending commit to making copies and distributing just on their streets where to go for the video----and including the thoughts and feelings of those attending.
If we allow names and contact information be shared then people can reach out for like-minded people to create more community PUBLIC ACTION.
Candidates in an election should want to join these talks and SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO DIRECT THESE TALKS.
Caucusing in the middle school classroom
Caucusing enables students to practice the elements of responsible citizenship, including persuasive writing and speaking.
By Pamela Myrick and Sharon Pearson
Caucus data sheetA sample data sheet is provided here.
In a democracy, delegates are selected through caucus groups to represent their constituents. Undergirding caucusing is the premise that, in a democracy, citizens should be informed decision makers. Students can put this same premise into action in classroom caucuses. They can investigate an issue, form an opinion, and make a decision, selecting individuals to represent their views in a class-wide caucus. In doing so, students are practicing the tenets of responsible citizenship.
Caucusing in the classroom works best when it focuses on issues that interest students and that evoke a range of passionate student response. Under these circumstances, the caucus provides an engaging forum for students to share their ideas, discuss their opinions, validate information, and form a position on thought provoking and challenging current issues. Should students be required to wear uniforms? Is urban sprawl endangering the environment? Should there be random drug testing at school? By selecting topics that students are interested in, providing opportunities for students to develop deeply informed opinions, and allowing students to discuss their findings in a caucus setting, teachers can introduce students to the idea of the political caucus while also encouraging responsible and informed political engagement and civic pride.
Preliminary research and setupResearch portfolios Caucus groups are formed after the students have researched both sides of an issue. We have our students compile their research in research portfolios. Not only have students recorded data, but they also have included personal reflections on each article. Researching and reflecting is a process enabling the students to develop their point of view. Basic research requirements for the portfolio should include a minimum of five sources for each student. However, the teacher should be aware of student levels and modify the requirements.
Forming caucus groups The teacher initiates the grouping by posting two charts. The issue is listed at the top of each chart. One chart is labeled "pro" and the other "con." Based on their opinions, students sign either the pro or con chart. Giving students choices in their learning — in this case, by selecting their own groups — helps them to become vested and self-motivated individuals. In the process, a positive climate for learning is established reinforcing both academic and social skills
In order to facilitate the caucusing process, teachers should designate the size of each caucus group. For example, in a classroom of twenty-eight students, seven caucus groups may form. Of the seven groups, three could be pro and four could be con. If student opinion is unbalanced, it is also acceptable for five to be pro and two to be con. In fact, it may be somewhat of a challenge for the two groups to persuade others of their opinion! Flexibility is the key.
Student activities and assessmentCaucus data sheet In caucus groups, students share their research portfolios to identify the most compelling arguments to support their point of view. Selecting the most compelling evidence, students organize and record their information on a "Caucus Data Sheet."
Each student will replicate the data sheet on his or her notebook paper. The number of rows on the data sheet is dependent on the amount of information. Students work collaboratively, and so the source, date, supporting facts and details will be the same for each student in a group. However, the explanation of the data should vary. Supporting facts and details need to be relevant to the issue. The explanation should reflect the student’s understanding of the research and its correlation to the stance.
The data sheet serves as a plan for writing a persuasive essay and a tool for evaluation.After completing the data sheet, students will have a framework that organizes their thoughts and information.
Persuasive essay Each student in the caucus group then writes a persuasive essay based upon the data sheet plan. After essays have been written, students meet again in the same caucus groups and share their essays.
Collectively, the students in each group choose the most compelling evidence in their essays and draft one persuasive speech. Whatever media students use (word processing or pencil and paper), all students should share a responsibility in the writing process. After the final document is completed, every student in the caucus group should have a copy of this collaborative speech. Students then self select a speaker from their caucus group to present to the entire class.
When you have a Democratic city hall operating behind closed doors as regards public policy----AS WE DO IN BALTIMORE----you know you do not have REAL Democrats----the democratic party platform is nothing but protecting political freedoms and speech. We must move away from political machines-----from political non-profits-----and bring our election primaries into the homes of citizens in all communities. In order for this to work----people must be committed to OPEN AND FREE discussion as long as it is not offensive. Dividing on party lines-----Democrat vs Republican can occur during the election season but maybe these community caucuses could be open to all during the year!
'Even with the exemption, there’s an intent behind that law: to let sunshine into government, to let the public see their representatives in action. The council is on the wrong path. It shouldn’t be doing its work in private just because it can'.
Public interest is 'promoted' by closed door discussions? REALLY? These open door policy laws allowing closed door activities correspond to Clinton neo-liberalism and these privatization policies of public private partnerships which are not in the public interest. Since then all avenues of public policy discussion has followed----until now, incumbent pols are being allowed to simply say what they want with no meaningful dialog with voters.
City Council Dems like their doors closed
November 16, 2012
Schenectady City Council Democrats excluded the council’s lone non-Democratic member, public and press from two recent meetings where important decisions about “public” business were made. Although they’re allowed to hold these so-called political caucuses under the state open meetings law, they violated the law’s spirit and showed disrespect for the public by doing so.
Some history is in order here. The open meetings law has had an exemption for political party meetings or caucuses ever since it was adopted in 1976. But courts, noting the law’s broad language favoring openness wherever possible, limited the exemption to such things as party business and agendas. If the party, either majority or minority, was to discuss public business, the meeting had to be open, the courts said.
In 1985, everything changed after the state Assembly was threatened with a lawsuit for denying a reporter access to its political caucuses. The Legislature quickly passed an amendment to the open meetings law giving itself and local legislative bodies the right to discuss even public business in closed-door conferences or caucuses. It said that the public interest was promoted by “private, candid exchange of ideas and points of view among members of each political party concerning the public business to come before legislative bodies.”
But even then, the Appellate Division in a 1991 decision said that a line could be drawn between “candid discussions” among party members and “the conduct of public business.” We’d venture to say that in a city like Schenectady, where one party is dominant, the decisions made in party caucuses — especially when those decisions are adopted the next day with minimal discussion, as they were with two important budget votes in recent weeks — effectively constitute the conduct of public business.
Do you support the Schenectady City Council's approach to discussing public issues in closed-door caucus sessions?
See the results.
Judging by the reaction at Tuesday’s regular council meeting, the public is not happy about this turn of events. But that doesn’t matter to the Democrats, who will hold caucuses regularly in the future, according to council President Denise Brucker.
Or maybe it depends on what the meaning of “is” is. Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo told us in a recent letter to the editor that these closed-door meetings, where no one but the Democrats are in attendance, aren’t “secret” meetings, because a) the law allows them and b) secret to her means "slimy people slinking through dark alleys to avoid being detected."
And Councilman Carl Erikson said what really matters is how he voted, not the debate or discussion that led to his vote. But if that were the case, why have an open meetings law at all?
Even with the exemption, there’s an intent behind that law: to let sunshine into government, to let the public see their representatives in action. The council is on the wrong path. It shouldn’t be doing its work in private just because it can.