Talk of Entebbe

Money, Money, Money...Where are You?

Posted by kingdom on June 24, 2012

Well, how time is flying, especially in summer vac here in San Diego. Greetings from Talk of Entebbe.

Last week we touched on how the economy is affecting education, and this effect will continue as our thread. And now that most kids (students) are holiday-making here, the economic sequeeze is felt even more.

Jobs Scarce

Latest reports say most teenagers, used to working during these 3 summer months (June-August) of no school, this time are finding no work. That means parents, many of whom were re-trenched (laid off) themselves, will have to not only find money to give to the kids but also find ways to keep them busy so they do not act wild.

Home Schooling

Here is another piece I find interesting: That  2 million children are being homeschooled in America. This means parents decided that instead of sending them to public (government) school or private school, they would rather teach them themselves. How is that for confidence in the US education system? A report made news last Friday that these homeschooled students have better scores in math, languages (for instance French, Spanish, Latin, English), science and other subjects overall tested on State examinations (think of these as UNEB) than those attending public or private school. Two years ago, only 800,000 students were homeschooled.

Two Million Immigrants Now Working: Update

I told you about the blanket "amnesty" issued by the President without consulting parliament (Congress), thus granting 2 million people 30 years old or younger work permits irrespective of how they entered the United States. The good news is that so far, apart from the expected reaction by those opposed to the permits, nothing out of the ordinary has happened. There are rumours, though, that some pro-permit groups are organizing to rub it  in by having floods of these immigrants overwhelm computer system by showing up in thousands the same day at immigration office for the work permits. Oh well.

Stock Exchange

Last Thursday was not good news economically. The stock market wiped off the books lots of investors money -- to a steep 250 points. Don't ask me what the points mean, all I know is that the news media reports such drops as news that indicate the economy is still in recession and Americans are still searching for work without success.

Sodomizer Found Gulity

In case you would like to get an update, the gentleman (well, he was until now) who sodomized young boys he was coaching in American football at Pennsylavania State University has been found guilty of 45 of the 48 cases. Mr. Jerry Sundsky faces life sentence when the judge bangs the hammer on the table next time he is brought from jail where he was returned Friday. His face was reported expressionless at the "guilty" announcement, nor did he make any statement.

Teachers to Return to Work

Now, I would like to conclude with some good news.  Thursday came the relief to almost 1500 San Diego teachers who had received re-trenchement notices beginning the next school year in September. Well, they were all called back to duty, although they would loose pay by working  a little bit fewer days. Students would not study fewer days, however, because the system is set up that when a regular teacher is absent a substitute part-timer is called in.

At this point, I am running off to check out a sewing machine. If it is a good buy, we could add a professional sewing course at KMI. Who knows!

Untill next time. May God bless you and your family. May God bless Uganda and bless the USA.

Sincerely, K. Lwanga, Principal & Writer.


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Holiday-Making, Vac., and Everything Else Inbetween

Posted by kingdom on June 18, 2012

Hello my friend, greetings again from Talk of Entebbe.

This newspost was due yesterday, Sunday June 17. I got exhausted after schools got their vac, and thought "Oh, well, the beauty of having no advertising on the blog is you don't feel as much pressure..."  But in any case, apologies.

Holiday-making for the elementary to high school students in San Diego just started last Tuesday. More than 6,000 graduated from middle school to high school ("O" level-"A" level). At the time of writing, I have no information as to how many would go to college (university). Naturally, there was a sigh of relief for the students.

At my school, about 200 kids "promoted" from 5th grade (P7) to middle school, and a fitting ceremony was held, even Marine officers came marching and it was a nice addition.

For your information -- and hoping not to sound confused -- please take note that San Diego Unified School District has two modes of schooling: Traditional (students vac till first Monday in September) and Year-Round (these vac for one week only and are to be back to school on Wednesday the 20th). You go comprehend that!

On a side note, I heard that the leading university here, University of California San Diego, graduated 4000. I thought  about where all these would find work....

California Teacher of the Year

Do we have a "teacher of the year" award in Uganda? Well, here California has chosen Michelle Apperson for 2012. But to underscore how tight the economy is, she was served a notice of re-trenchment shortly after getting the award. Reason: Others have been teachers longer than Michelle, and although she is teaching better than them,  money is not there to keep her working.

Student Ordered Beaten in Class

In Texas, a teacher (I guess she got so angry) pulled an elementary school kid from the seat, lined up 24 of fellow classmates and they took turns hitting the student. Allegedly the student was "bullying" (teasing, harrassing) others. Obviously, teacher has been suspended and charges may be filed.

Football Coach Raping Students

One of the hottest stories going is out of Pennsylavania State University. A long-time coach, Jerry Sandusky, an older and (until now) respected gentleman, is accused of taking advantage of 10 boys he was helping out in American football. This, according to charges, happened for more than 15 years and with suspected knowledge of some authority, university and police. Sandusky  is alleged to have sodomized the boys in bathrooms, showers, hotel rooms. The coach is a married man, but this did not stop him from taking the boys to home and carrying out his act while his wife was inside the house. Sandusky is arrested, but he stands by his innocence.

Fires in San Diego

It is  summer in America, a time when some states expect wild fires that burn acres of brush and bush. Here is San Diego it can become worse, as it did just a few years ago, burning dozens of homes to the ground, displacing people, closing schools and highways for weeks. As I write, the fires are breaking randomly, the latest is threatening to close schools (that are back in session already) and the power-generating plant.

President Orders Work Permits

As you may be aware, in America parliament (Congress) is respected by the president. So, the big surprise came Friday when The President, without consulting Congress, ordered the immigration department (Department of Homeland Security) to issue work permits to anyone who has been here at least 5 years and is younger than 30 years. The public was taken unaware as well. President says these individuals were brought here without their permission by parents or relatives and should not be "punished" for that. The debate, as you may expect, is hot over this issue especially given that economy has not recovered since 2008 and more than 20 million Americans are unemployed through no choice of theirs. Making the employment puzzle bigger, millions have just graduated.

Petrol A Little Down

Some relief has come around just as holidaymakers get ready to enjoy the summer. A gallon (convert into litter) of petrol [called gas here] has reduced by about Shs.650; from Shs.10,3333 to Shs.9689 ($4.15 to $3.89). Kids here start driving at age 14 (with an adult in the front passenger seat), and by age 17 or thereabouts can drive by oneself,  Many own their own cars bought through savings by working during summer vacs or evenings after school and weekends (well, some get car gifts from parents or relatives). So, the price drop is a relief to the students and parents.

Have I talked too much today? Let me know.

I hope to keep the date next Sunday with more news.

Till next time, God Bless Uganda. God Bless America.

C. Kakeeto-Lwanga, Principal & Writer


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Choosing a School in America

Posted by kingdom on June 10, 2012

Hello, how are you today? Pleased to write this third news post to you in Talk of Entebbe from San Diego, California.

The headline to this blog is a little misleading, you see in American public education untill university [called college here] there is really no such a thing as choosing a school to attend. You can have choice if you can afford to send your child to a private school, many of them managed by the Catholic Church and other religious organizations. Cost: Average $10,0000.00 a year.

So, for the average parent, your only choice is the school in your school district.

Each area of so many people, for instance Makindye in Kampala, has what they call a school district. Since everyone in American has an address one way or the other, for instance on a telephone or electricity bill, or a receipt from the landlord for paying rent, it is not a very big problem to verify where you live. Imagine your bill reading: Sofia Nsibirwa, 10011 Makindye Rd., Kampala.

So, if you live within Makindye area, your child has to attend Makindye schools --  even if the school standard is not what you admire -- and you cannot choose to go to Nakawa. And the way this is ensured is when you apply for a place, the first thing you show is "proof of residency".

It is not uncommon, though, to see a parent look surprised when they are told  "Sorry, this is not your area school." "But I live just two houses away..." "Well madam, I don't dispute that but the school district map shows your area school is Kawafu for primary, Makindye Junior for "O" level, and Salama High for "A" level, see this..."

As you may expect,  Americans got fed up and they started what is called charter schools more than 10 years ago. A community, if well organized, can band and start a charter school. Many of the schools are very selective, but most can very much take in any student [for money reasons of course]. With charter school education, you may live in Makindye and have your chilld go to school at Kisubi.

Public schools are actually what we call government schools in Uganda.

There are many proponents and opponents of charter schools. They take away money from public schools, one side argues. No, they create competition and therefore improve educaiton, counters the charter side. If you are in a hurry to make judgment you may conclude that either side is fighting for a bigger slice of the pie: both charter and public schools get money from the State depending on how many students they enrol. The more students, the more money, of course, and the school district gets the money and distributes it to both its own schools as well as to charters.

Where do states get money from? The American taxpayer. Mostly property taxes, which actually is money forcibly collected from anyone who owns any size of house, apartment, business building anywhere. For ever. If you are familiar with "busuulu", this is that times 10,000.

Guess what, it is 9 p.m. here in California. Got to go to bed, because I'm up by 5 a.m. Monday morning. We are alll looking forward to "summer break" which starts Tuesday the 12th. Teachers and students are very upbeat; they look forward to enjoying the sun, the beach, berbecues for at least two months of holiday. With my job, I think I will be working until June 22nd. Then what do I do for the two months?

Till next time. God Bless you and our country Uganda. God Bless America.

K. Lwanga, Principal and writer.





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Yes Graduation 2012 Is Here!

Posted by kingdom on June 3, 2012

Well, how are you?

I am very pleased to be writing to you again from California. Thank you for reading Talk of Entebbe.

This Sunday in San Diego, the weather has been a little cold for June, but to be truthful a lot of students (or kids as commonly referred to here) have mostly one thing on their mind: Graduation. Funny, I'd say, that graduation is offered to all kids (even kindergarten), but I guess if you have the money you can do whatever you please with it. Don't we do the same in Uganda now?

Anyway, San Diego Unified School District (the 8th largest in the US), is full speed on the graduation train. I got an opportunity last week to work on "assembling" about 150 graduation certificates for kids promoting from the 5th grade. Their ceremony is, I think,  next Tuesday the 12th.

The certificates say just something simple, like This Student Has Completed all Requirements and Promoted to the 6th Grade.

But, boy, do the certificates look nice! Each has two pictures: a group picture of the graduating students grouped by classroom, for instance Room 13 with 25 students, each certificate has the group picture. The second picture is of the certificate recepient in graduation gown, diploma folder in hand, and the proclamation of having promoted to the 6th grade. I told myself: If I could I'd have KMI diplomas look the same. (With your picture on diploma who could forge it? What do you think?)

Unfortunately, some students won't promote or graduate, because they did not do well. But for those who are promoting at the school where I worked last week, they look so happy if I knew how to insert a picture in this news post, I woud show you exactly how they look...but...well, very soon I will learn.

Before I let you go, I hope you bear with me because my news post is just warming up, am learning more about how to do this job better. But, for today I'll stop here.

Wishing you the best. By the way, I still remember the topics I promised last week: Teacher and staff re-trenchment, economy in a downslide. Will definitely cover those, and lots more.

Thank you. May God bless you, your family and our country Uganda. May God bless America.

Till next Sunday.

Sincerely, K Lwanga, Principal and Writer


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Graduation for American Pupils

Posted by kingdom on May 5, 2012

Welcome to our first news blog. The title of this news blog post is Talk of Entebbe.

I am writing this from San Diego, California, on a Sunday morning just before I go to church. And, to tell you the truth, I am doing it as a test...have been putting it off for weeks since first week of May [that's why you see the original publication date as May 5] until I decided "so be it, am doing it today..."

You will be getting news on education and education-related topics from The United States, mostly San Diego and California. Feel free to post comments whenever you're touched by some topic.

On this particular Sunday morning, the 27th of May, 2012, the hot educational topic in San Diego is graduation. All elementary, middle-school, and high schools are graduating next month. Actually graduation ceremonies have already started. So, imagine the excitement!

When you come to think about the organization it takes to have more than 200 schools have successful ceremonies, majority on the same day, then you understand how thorough and well-organized the education system has to be.

Hot topic number two: Budget cuts, staff and faculty losing jobs due to "re-trenchment" (lay-offs), elections in November. Economy in serious, serious, reverse-gear.

Talk of Entebbe will look into those issues, from time to time, next time...

For now, I have to go. To church. Hope all is well with you. Greetings to our people in Uganda.

Till next time.

God bless you all! K. Lwanga, Principal and writer

[By the way, being the first news post, I am sure you'll understand that mistakes can be made. In future blogs, mistakes will become fewer -- until they are no more!]


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