Sunday, September 20, 2020

St. Maarten, August 5, 2020 - With the decision by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport to reverse its previous decision  to implement in-class education as per August 10th, the aforementioned factions  consider it pivotal that the Minister expounds on these decisions as well as the steps going forward. In explaining his previous position to re-start in-class education, the minister had listed a number of factors, critical to the success of in-class education as well as the role of stakeholders in this process.

It would appear from the suddenly announced change back to on-line education by the Minister, that  conditions and factors to successfully and safely revert back to physical in-class education are not in place. Despite its own plans, the Education Ministry has had to also contend with the recent surge of Covid-19 cases, that continues to mount.

This calls for an even closer monitoring of the plans and steps to revert back to in-class education for our students and calls for strict coordination with the Health and Economic Affairs ministries.

Since the request for this meeting was submitted by the 3 factions, Parliament has been provided with the “Sint Maarten’s Plan for Education Continuity Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic”.

While such a plan is surely welcome, the application of these guidelines and the required resources are key factors in returning to some degree of normalcy and continuity. Whichever route is taken for the foreseeable future, be it in-class, online or a combination of these two, we  have to  assess how best to confront the challenges in collaboration with not only the education policy makers, but equally so with parents, teachers and students.

There is also another important link in managing education and that is the wellbeing of our students abroad in these uncertain times. How do we assure that these students are provided with support and guidance, if required?

The UD, USP and PFP factions  wish to note that  their request for a meeting has resulted in an urgent meeting on the state of education with the Minister of ECYS on Thursday, August 6, 2020  to address the following agenda points:

1.Decisions regarding the opening of the school year 2020/2021 per August 10, 2020 and the preparedness of schools to start the schoolyear.

2.St. Maarten students abroad in general and those traveling to the Netherlands this week in particular.

ATLANTA (AP) — Rapper and actor T.I. has settled civil charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that he helped promote a fraudulent cryptocurrency. T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, agreed to a civil settlement with the SEC that was announced Friday. He is paying a $75,000 fine and agreeing not to sell or market similar securities for at least five years. Harris got into trouble, the SEC said, because he used his social media accounts to promote FLiK, falsely claiming to be a co-owner, and asked an unnamed actor and comedian to also promote FLiK, providing language calling it T.I.’s “new venture.” The SEC says both of those moves broke federal laws against selling securities without registering with the SEC. The charges against Harris were part of a larger enforcement action against others including film producer Ryan Felton, who faces wire fraud and other charges in a 28-count indictment unsealed Wednesday.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Legal advocates are lining up on both sides of actor Bill Cosby’s appeal as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court prepares to review his 2018 sex assault conviction. Cosby was the first celebrity to go on trial in the #MeToo era, and his appeal could resolve lingering questions about how the cases should be tried. For starters, the high court will try to clarify when other accusers can testify against a defendant — and when the additional testimony amounts to character assassination. Public defenders in Philadelphia, in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in Cosby’s appeal, noted that courts have given conflicting guidance on the issue.

NEW YORK (AP) — The Council of Fashion Designers of America gave its top fashion awards on Monday to Gabriela Hearst for womenswear and Kerby Jean-Raymond for menswear. The two designers led a group of winners that the CFDA said was the most diverse in the 39-year history of the awards. It was the second honor in two days for Jean-Raymond, the prominent Black founder of the Pyer Moss label, who was also named Designer of the Year by Harlem’s Fashion Row in a virtual ceremony on Sunday. The CFDA winners also included Telfar Clemens, who won the accessories award, and Christopher John Rogers, who won for American emerging designer. All four were first-time winners.

NEW YORK (AP) — There’s a scene in a new documentary about Paris Hilton, where the so-called socialite is speaking with former classmates from a Utah boarding school. They joke about how on her reality series “The Simple Life,” Hilton pretended to be clueless over many things— including how to perform any sort of manual labor. One bluntly described it as “some straight-up (expletive),” as they all laughed. “I don’t think you had like a high-pitch voice back then,” was another observation. None of this is a surprise to Hilton. What’s revealed in “This is Paris,” which debuted for free Monday on Hilton’s YouTube channel, is that the ultra-glam, baby-talking young woman whose standard line was “that’s hot,” was a manufactured caricature not just for fame but self-protection, too.