Species tree of a recent radiation: The subfamily Delphininae (Cetacea, Mammalia)

first_imgLineages undergoing rapid radiations provide exceptional opportunities for studying speciation and adaptation, but also represent a challenge for molecular systematics because retention of ancestral polymorphisms and the occurrence of hybridization can obscure relationships among lineages. Dolphins in the subfamily Delphininae are one such case. Non-monophyly, rapid speciation events, and discordance between morphological and molecular characters have made the inference of phylogenetic relationships within this subfamily very difficult. Here we approach this problem by applying multiple methods intended to estimate species trees using a multi-gene dataset for the Delphininae (Sousa, Sotalia, Stenella, Tursiops, Delphinus and Lagenodelphis). Incongruent gene trees obtained indicate that incomplete lineage sorting and possibly hybridization are confounding the inference of species history in this group. Nonetheless, using coalescent-based methods, we have been able to extract an underlying species-tree signal from divergent histories of independent genes. This is the first time a molecular study provides support for such relationships. This study further illustrates how methods of species-tree inference can be very sensitive both to the characteristics of the dataset and the evolutionary processes affecting the evolution of the group under study.last_img read more

Wolf Administration Announces Reduction in Standardized Testing (Round-Up)

first_imgLike Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf By: Eryn Spangler, Press Assistant SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Education,  Round-Up,  Schools That Teach,  The Blog Harrisburg, PA – Yesterday, Governor Wolf joined Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, education advocates, and educators at Susquehanna Township Middle School to announce a reduction in PSSA standardized testing.“As I have traveled the commonwealth on the Schools That Teach tour, I have heard from parents, students and educators concerned about the amount of time devoted to taking standardized tests,” said Governor Wolf. “This reduction will ease the stress placed on our kids, and will allow students and teachers to focus more on learning than on testing. This change should also reassure parents that we’ve listened to their concerns about over-testing.”The Pennsylvania Department of Education worked with stakeholders to address the concerns of teachers, students and parents, and complete a reduction in PSSA testing by 20 percent for grades three through eight.Take a look at the coverage: WITF: Shorter standardized tests coming to PA public schools“This change will allow students and teachers to focus their classroom time on getting the education they need, rather than preparing for one exam,” [Governor Wolf] said…”We’re not reducing–we’re preserving, in fact–the effectiveness for measuring student progress,” Wolf said. “We understand the accountability issue, we understand the need for understanding how we’re doing in educating our children.”Philly.com: Gov. Wolf announces plan to reduce test-taking time for Pa. studentsThe State Department of Education plans to reduce one math section and one English section in the Pennsylvania System for School Assessment exams, which students take in grades 3 through 8. That should reduce the amount of time students spend taking the test by an average of 20 percent to 25 percent, depending on their age, meaning 93 minutes less for math and reading exams, according to the department.Lehigh Valley Live: Pa. students to spend less time on state tests this year“There is no doubt that reducing the actual time students spend taking state tests is good for our students,” said Dolores McCracken, of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. “Gov. Wolf today reaffirmed what educators have been saying for a long time – that too much emphasis on standardized testing interferes with teaching and learning.”The Intelligencer: Bucks, Montgomery school administrators pleased with shorter PSSA test“Anything that provides more instructional time in the classroom is going to directly benefit all of our students,” Central Bucks Superintendent John Kopicki said. “Reducing the amount of high-stakes assessments is definitely a positive step.”TribLive: Western Pa. educators welcome Wolf’s call for less state testing“This is certainly a step in the right direction,” Greensburg Salem School District Superintendent Eileen Amato said by email. “While accountability is important,” continued Amato, “it is also important to realize that standardized tests have a narrow purpose to that end. We are happy the conversation is moving towards expanding the state’s view of assessment to look at student learning through a much wider lens.”The Times: Wolf’s cut to PSSA testing draws applause from all corners“The fact you’re testing less gives you more of an opportunity to teach,” said Aliquippa School District Superintendent Pete Carbone, who acknowledged the reduced testing time “lightens the load a little bit” when it comes to the stress felt by students. “A third- or fourth-grader should not feel pressured that they have to score advanced or proficient on a test,” Carbone said. “School should be an enjoyable place for them to learn and to want to learn.”Citizens’ Voice: Changes coming to yearly state tests“Reducing the amount of time testing on PSSA is to be applauded,” Wyoming Area Superintendent Janet Serino said, adding she is hoping for “the realization that the PSSA is only one form of assessment and should not be overwhelming to students, teachers or parents.”The Morning Call: Pennsylvania cutting student PSSA test questions, teacher prep time for examsThe changes, which begin this spring, should reduce the eight hours of testing time about 20 percent in PSSA math and English exams in grades 3 through 8. Depending on the school, that would give teachers at least an extra day and a half for regular classroom instruction.Associated Press: Gov. Wolf: Standardized test changes to lessen test-taking time[Governor Wolf] said the changes are being made in response to concerns from parents, teachers and students about the amount of time they must dedicate to taking standardized tests…The Wolf administration said it hoped to make additional changes to further lessen the disruptiveness that federal mandated standardized testing can produce.center_img Wolf Administration Announces Reduction in Standardized Testing (Round-Up)   SHARE  TWEET August 15, 2017last_img read more

NBA free agency rumors: Lakers eyeing shooters Danny Green, Seth Curry

first_imgThe Lakers will have plenty of star power if they can sign Kawhi Leonard and play him alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but to give those three room to operate, the franchise is hunting a pair of sharpshooting free agents to help space the floor.Two targets for Los Angeles include former Leonard teammate Danny Green and former Trail Blazer Seth Curry, according to Fox Sports. NBA free agency rumors: Lakers likely to sign Andre Iguodala after Grizzlies buyout Knicks address missing out on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving: ‘We continue to be upbeat and confident’ “Obviously, I want to maximize on the dollar, but I also want to maximize on the situation. I know I’m not an All-Star or star player, but I want to be remembered as a great role player who won a lot of games and leave my mark in the league.”It seems unlikely Green would get top dollar in Los Angeles if Leonard signs on and eats up the remaining cap space the Lakers have. However, he would certainly get a chance to win a third title. NBA free agency 2019: 3 takeaways from eventful Day 1 Kawhi to Lakers rumblings getting stronger & stronger. Iguodala likely to join Lakers after Memphis buyout. Danny Green & Seth Curry in Lakers’ scope. Lakers offered Rondo vet minimum & 24 hours to decide. Lakers on verge of building powerhouse.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 1, 2019Green is fresh off a championship run with the Raptors and told Hoops Hype he’s looking for two things during this free agency cycle — a chance to win and get paid.“For me, my biggest thing, my biggest mantra, is winning. I want to be in a situation where I can play, be effective and win,” Green said. “I want to be in an organization that is a contender, so I’m looking at a lot of places that have a really good foundation. … Related News Green, 32, had an effective lone season in Toronto averaging 10.3 points on 46.5 percent shooting from the floor and 45.5 percent from 3-point range. He dealt with a bit of a shooting slump in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bucks but bounced back in the NBA Finals with 16 made 3-pointers in the six-game series.Other potential landing spots for Green include the 76ers, who need to replace JJ Redick after his reported signing with the Pelicans, and the Raptors if they convince Leonard to run it back in Toronto.Curry doesn’t have the same track record of success as Green, but he’s four years younger and likely won’t command as much money. He averaged 7.9 points per game last season and shot 45.0 percent from behind the 3-point line.last_img read more

Sunday Blog: Questions abound concerning the hirings at USD 353

first_img“NepotismThe superintendent shall make reasonable efforts to determine whether a candidate for employment is related to a board member or an administrator of the district.  If a candidate is related to a board member or administrator, the superintendent will make this fact known to the board.Except in an emergency, the board will not employ anyone who is the father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, step-son, step-daughter, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law of any board member.This provision shall not apply to any person who has been regularly employed by the board prior to the adoption of this policy or to any person who has been regularly employed by the board prior to the election or appointment of a new board member to whom the person is related.Supervision LimitationsNo employee shall directly supervise or be responsible for any portion of the evaluation of his or her father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, step-son, step-daughter, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law.” To me, the KASB recommendation is left to a lot of interpretation. Notice in paragraph two of the policy recommendation that “the board will not EMPLOY anyone who is a father, sister… of a board member”. In paragraph four, it states “No employee shall directly SUPERVISE or be responsible for any evaluation of his or her father, mother…”That says to me the KASB did not address nepotism directly — unless you are related to a school board member — giving schools plenty of leeway on the subject. They just don’t want spouses to evaluate each other’s job performance.So the Wellington School Board did not violate any KASB policy recommendations by hiring both Hatfields to both positions. But the board should make it prohibitive that Adam can evaluate Carmen’s job performance.My guess is the KASB did not directly address nepotism because in smaller school districts where there are about five people living in town, it’s impossible to put restrictions on husband and wife teams because those positions don’t get filled otherwise.Still, USD 353 is large enough that nepotism should be a consideration.I spoke with a source involved with school administration, who told me one of the job requirements of a high school counselor is to act as a mediator between a potential administrator-teacher conflict. For example, let’s say Wellington implements a lacrosse program. Let’s say the principal tells the lacrosse coach he has to play his son or he will get fired by the school board.A counselor in that situation would be asked to step in and settle the issue as an objective bystander. It’s a checks and balance system within the confines of the school district. If a husband and wife are principal and counselor then you very well will lose that checks and balance.My source then said the job evaluation of Carmen Hatfield at USD 353 is going to be tricky.  Even if Adam can’t evaluate Carmen directly, then who will? That is part of the duties of the high school principal, as well as principals in each building across the school district. The evaluation could be moved to the vice principal who has yet to be hired. But that is dicey because the principal also evaluates the vice principal.My source then thought the USD 353 would probably go with someone in the USD 353 central office like Adams or Larry Roth. But that becomes an issue because neither one of them are in the high school building on a full time basis.“It is going to make it a sticky situation, regardless of how they handle it,” my source said.Again, this is not an anti-Hatfield issue. If Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt rose from the dead to run the Wellington school district, there would be serious issues with having one serve as the principal and one as the counselor.Ultimately, the Hatfields themselves are placed in a vulnerable position and will incur more public scrutiny because of the nepotism situation.•••••The second concern is the lack of interviewing process, which to me is more baffling.When principal Adams was hired two years ago, the Wellington School Board advertised the position for a couple of months and spent a considerable amount of time hiring the best available candidate for the job. Wellington received a plethora of applications and interviewed three candidates – all who were serving as administrators elsewhere.This time, after Jerry Hodson resigned as curriculum/technology director, the hiring of Adams and Hatfield came simultaneously in the same meeting. There were no interviews or advertising of the vacancy of the high school principal position.The issue isn’t hiring within. The issue is the board disallowed the opportunity of others, who may have wanted to apply for the principal position.From an appearance standpoint, the board could have freed itself from public condemnation by opening up the application process even if it was only a month. If the intention was to elevate Hatfield all along, fine. But this way the board members could have said “he’s the best available candidate for the job.”Instead, the immediate hiring of Hatfield reeks of croneyism – even if that may not be the case.Follow us on Twitter. Commentary by Tracy McCue — It is obvious speaking with many people at various high school graduation parties throughout the community last weekend, there were concerns with the hirings made by the USD 353 school board.Two weeks ago, the board hired Dale Adams, the current high school principal as the curriculum/technology director. It then elevated Adam Hatfield from vice principal to head principal at WHS. This occurred a month after hiring Hatfield’s wife Carmen as a high school counselor to replace John Gifford.The two most common questions were:1) Does the USD 353 have a nepotism policy?2) Does the board have to at least advertise the position of high school principal before hiring someone?Personally, I have no qualms with the hiring of Adam and Carmen Hatfield to their respective positions. They have served the school district well for the past two decades. Who am I to judge their qualifications, or the hiring process since I am not part of the inner workings of the school district?But the issue isn’t the Hatfields, as it is nepotism.I do vaguely remember as a news reporter at the Wellington Daily News, writing a story about a nepotism policy adopted by the school board in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Unfortunately, I can’t find that article or whether it is within the confines of a school board policy handbook.I’ve heard conflicting reports from school employees whether USD 353 still has such a policy. Some have told me Wellington once had a nepotism policy in place in which two people from the same family could not be fellow teachers in the same building but not administrators. Others say, Wellington currently has none on the books.While a local nepotism policy is in question, the Kansas Association of School Board has addressed nepotism in a set of policy recommendations sent out to state school boards in June 2013. It states:center_img Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (19) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +17 Vote up Vote down Huh · 324 weeks ago Have you heard the song: They’re just good old boys. You raise some good questions. Report Reply 0 replies · active 324 weeks ago +24 Vote up Vote down Allen Ludden · 324 weeks ago There is definitely a problem with the school board and their hiring and their over all decision making. Everything they do just seems shady. Report Reply 1 reply · active 324 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down Fred · 324 weeks ago You are targeting on the Hatfields, but look at others in the district. Board memeber – wife, Activities Director – wife. Let’s address the whole issue… of nepotism. Report Reply 1 reply · active 324 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down VOTE NO SKLBOND · 324 weeks ago Sounds like a whole lot of someones are double dipping the system. GRRRRRRRRRRR. Report Reply 0 replies · active 324 weeks ago +19 Vote up Vote down crusader pride · 324 weeks ago Fred I don’t think Tracy is targeting the Hatfield at all. He raises some good points. The activities director does not supervise his spouse and Bob White is elected. But the question is who supervises Carmen? Adam? I don’t think we should suspect them of any wrong doing as Adam is a stand up guy who did not ask to be put in this situation. But the situation exsists just the same. The real focus should be on the hiring practice. Why was the position of principal and counselor not advertised? Why was the position of curriculum director not advertised? So the look of as some say “good old boy system” raises eyebrows and leaves some with another reason to distrust this board and administration. Report Reply 0 replies · active 324 weeks ago +23 Vote up Vote down bystander · 324 weeks ago The board did a terrible job in transparency. It isn’t unusual for an asst. principal to be promoted, but there are always interviews. The most disturbing fact here is the appointment of Mrs. Hatfield to counselor with absolutely no experience and not interviewing other qualified candidates from inside and outside of the district. It isn’t what you know in USD 336, it’s who you know! Report Reply 0 replies · active 324 weeks ago +9 Vote up Vote down WHS_Grad · 324 weeks ago Two years ago when the previous vice principal left, where was the posting for the vice principal position? Yes, the principal position was posted, but the vice principal position could never be found. I checked the Wellington Daily News, the USD 353 website, emails within USD 353, and kansasteachingjobs.com on a daily basis. Then Mr. Hatfield was announced as the new vice principal of the high school. This is not the first time that a position has been filled in this district without a job posting by the local school board. Report Reply 0 replies · active 324 weeks ago +18 Vote up Vote down sucolover · 324 weeks ago Surely Bob White excuses himself from discussions and votes on matters that would effect his wife, and therefore his family? On the other hand, this IS the Wellington BOE and we all know they make up their own rules as they go along. Very unprofessional group. Report Reply 0 replies · active 324 weeks ago +17 Vote up Vote down omws · 324 weeks ago Here’s an idea: Open positions for interview and be honest in hiring. Adam Hatfield is taking a lot of shrapnel he more than likely does not deserve thru no fault of his. Same for Mr. Adams, although he doesn’t really have the qualifications…..yet. Who pays for those? Carmen Hatfield? Complete buffoonery that really confused the hiring for that position. Are you telling me the board hired someone who hadn’t even completed the education requirements for the position without interviewing anyone else? Shame on this board. Report Reply 1 reply · active 323 weeks ago +18 Vote up Vote down Guest · 324 weeks ago Think it could make for a very difficult situation for some students, to have a counselor who is the principles wife. Including the fact that Mrs. Hatfield has had no prior experience as counselor. Report Reply 0 replies · active 324 weeks ago 12Next » Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more

Meat Shortage Expected due to Coronavirus

first_imgThis comes as Tyson Foods prepares to close its largest pork plant in Iowa tomorrow after a coronavirus outbreak.The company is warning “millions of pounds of meat” will disappear from the supply chain as the pandemic forces more processing plants to shut down. Food experts are warning consumers about a meat shortage in just two weeks. They say only big box retailers will likely get enough, leaving shelves empty at grocery stores. last_img