Young receivers impress in first game with Steelers
By DAN SCIFO
Saturday, August 11
LATROBE, Pa. (AP) — Damoun Patterson knows a strong performance in his first preseason game won’t be enough to guarantee his future with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The rookie wide receiver feels he must continually prove himself to the coaching staff and his teammates — and he’s not the only young receiver who faces that challenge during training camp.
“I came in as a tryout guy, so I never knew what to expect,” Patterson said. “I think it’s all about attacking the game and staying hungry.”
James Washington, the Steelers’ second-round pick, has also been forced to prove his worth. Washington, who won the Biletnikoff Award as college football’s top receiver in 2017, is currently listed last on the Steelers’ depth chart and has regularly worked with the second-team offense.
“I’ll never ask people to be patient,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “I’ll ask them to work while they wait and he’s doing that. The opportunity is going to come, I’d imagine.”
Patterson wasn’t sure if he would receive an NFL opportunity in the spring, but the former Youngstown State standout overcame long odds to land in camp with the Steelers.
Patterson was invited to attend the Steelers’ three-day rookie minicamp on a tryout basis in May. There, Patterson impressed coaches enough to become one of just two of the 55 invited players to leave with a contract.
“(Tomlin) always says he doesn’t care how you got here, just come and be willing to make plays,” quarterback Josh Dobbs said. “If you do that, we have a spot for you. He’s done that, and hopefully he can continue to do that.”
Dobbs and Patterson connected for a 29-yard touchdown in Thursday’s preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Patterson celebrated the score with a flawless standing backflip.
“I’ve been doing (a backflip) since I was younger,” Patterson said. “That’s my specialty.”
Patterson said most of his teammates weren’t aware that he could land a standing backflip. Acrobatic feats aside, he led all receivers with six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles.
Dobbs isn’t surprised by Patterson’s success. He said the two connected on the same touchdown play while running the two-minute offense during spring workouts.
“He’s been doing that all camp, so I have a lot of trust in him,” Dobbs said. “He consistently runs by guys, he’s quick in and out of his breaks, he makes contested catches, and that’s what we were able to take to the field.”
The same can be said for Washington.
Washington made two catches in the preseason opener for 44 yards, including a heads-up 35-yard reception from former Oklahoma State teammate Mason Rudolph. Rudolph’s hard count drew Philadelphia defenders offsides, and he responded with a big play down the sideline to Washington.
“That’s a play where you have to push it down the field,” said Rudolph, the team’s third-round pick. “You don’t want to take anything short, being a free play. I gave him a chance, put the ball on his back shoulder and he made a great play.”
Big plays are the goal for both Washington and Patterson, and both realize they’ll need to make as many as they can.
“I want to continue to attack the game and continue to get better,” Patterson said. “I think I’ve been trying to find myself, making it known that I have the ability to play at this level.”
NOTES: WR Antonio Brown practiced Saturday for the first time since Aug. 1. … OL B.J Finney is out with a contusion sustained against the Eagles, while S Sean Davis (groin) and TE Xavier Grimble (thumb) both missed practice. Rookie S Marcus Allen also left Saturday’s practice early.
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Steelers backup QBs all impress in preseason opener
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
Friday, August 10
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Landry Jones, Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph can do the math.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have four quarterbacks in training camp. They’ll carry three at most into the regular season.
Translation: one of them will be out of a job when rosters are trimmed to 53 on Sept 1. The goal over the next three weeks for all three of Ben Roethlisberger’s backups is to make coach Mike Tomlin’s decision on which one to let go as tough as possible.
So far, so good.
Jones and Dobbs each threw for touchdowns in Pittsburgh’s preseason-opening victory over Philadelphia on Thursday night while Rudolph kept the offense moving throughout the second half.
Tomlin praised their respective play, noting they accounted for just one turnover — Dobbs’ interception — and overall efficiency after combining to complete 20 of 29 passes for 252 yards and the two scores.
“Largely they did a good job of taking care of the ball, and that’s important,” Tomlin said.
“The communication, and getting people lined up — I think maybe we only burned one timeout during the course of the game. So those are some of the things that you look for, first time out particularly when you’re talking about young quarterbacks in conjunction with other young people. And I thought they represented themselves well.”
Rudolph, a third-round pick in April, played the entire second half and while he spent a portion of it scrambling for safety behind an offensive line littered with third-stringers.
He lost a fumble that was recovered by a teammate — ball security has been an issue during camp — but also showcased what he can do when he hit former Oklahoma State teammate James Washington for a 35-yard gain on a free play after one of the Eagles jumped offside.
Rudolph, who finished 7 of 12 for 101 yards and led the offense to three Chris Boswell field goals, figures he should probably make looking for his longtime friend a priority going forward.
“I think throwing it to (James Washington) a little bit more could help,” Rudolph said.
“I still had a lot of clean plays, checked it down when I needed to, push the ball down the field. I think our offensive line did a great job all night opening up lanes for our young backs. I believe I had a great experience.”
Like Rudolph, Jones used a hard count to get a Philadelphia player to jump offside. While Rudolph turned it into a long gain, Jones turned his into a 72-yard touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
“That cadence is a weapon for us,” Tomlin said. “We’ve done it for a number of years now. It’s good to see the young guys do it.”
Dobbs hadn’t taken a snap in a game since the end of the 2017 preseason and likely needs to put together something special during camp to convince the Steelers to keep him. He rebounded from the interception by leading a near-perfect two-minute drill at the end of the first half. Dobbs completed 6 of 9 passes in taking the Steelers 75 yards, the last 29 coming when he stepped up in the pocket and threw a dart in the end zone to a leaping Damoun Patterson.
“Obviously, when you get to get more snaps with the football, the comfort level increases, so you’re able to go out there and just play football rather than thinking so much,” Dobbs said. “So it definitely felt good to get out there.”
The Steelers also got out of the game relatively injury free. Offensive lineman B.J. Finney — filling in while veteran Ramon Foster recovers from a hyperextended right knee — is dealing with a quad contusion.
Other than that, the AFC North favorites head into their final full week at Saint Vincent College healthy and eager to take another step forward next Thursday in Green Bay and with no real clarity yet in the derby behind Roethlisberger.
Considering the way all three reserves did in Philadelphia, there are worse problems to have.
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Who are the Sikhs and what are their beliefs?
August 9, 2018
Simran Jeet Singh
Henry R. Luce Post-Doctoral Fellow in Religion in International Affairs Post-Doctoral Fellow, New York University
Simran Jeet Singh does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
New Jersey’s first Sikh attorney general, Gurbir Singh Grewal, was a target of disparaging remarks recently. Two radio hosts commented on Grewal’s Sikh identity and repeatedly referred to him as “turban man.” When called out on the offensiveness of their comments, one of them stated, “Listen, and if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban and maybe I’ll remember your name.”
Listeners, activists and Sikhs around the country acted immediately by contacting the station to express their concerns. News outlets quickly picked up the story and the radio hosts were suspended.
Grewal is a practicing Sikh who maintains a turban and beard. Scholars and government officials estimate the Sikh American population to number around 500,000. Nevertheless for many American Sikhs, such experiences are not uncommon. As a scholar of the tradition and a practicing Sikh myself, I have studied the harsh realities of what it means to be a Sikh in America today. I have also experienced racial slurs from a young age.
The bottom line is there is little understanding of who exactly the Sikhs are and what the believe. So here’s a primer.
Founder of Sikhism
To start at the beginning, the founder of the Sikh tradition, Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in the Punjab region of South Asia, which is currently split between Pakistan and the northwestern area of India. A majority of the global Sikh population still resides in Punjab on the Indian side of the border.
From a young age, Guru Nanak was disillusioned by the social inequities and religious hypocrisies he observed around him. He believed that a single divine force created the entire world and resided within it. In his belief, God was not separate from the world and watching from a distance, but fully present in every aspect of creation.
He therefore asserted that all people are equally divine and deserve to be treated as such.
To promote this vision of divine oneness and social equality, Guru Nanak created institutions and religious practices. He established community centers and places of worship, wrote his own scriptural compositions and institutionalized a system of leadership (gurus) that would carry forward his vision.
The Sikh view thus rejects all social distinctions that produce inequities, including gender, race, religion and caste, the predominant structure for social hierarchy in South Asia.
Serving the world is a natural expression of the Sikh prayer and worship. Sikhs call this prayerful service “seva,” and it is a core part of their practice.
The Sikh identity
In the Sikh tradition, a truly religious person is one who cultivates the spiritual self while also serving the communities around them – or a saint-soldier. The saint-soldier ideal applies to women and men alike.
In this spirit, Sikh women and men maintain five articles of faith, popularly known as the five Ks. These are: kes (long, uncut hair), kara (steel bracelet), kanga (wooden comb), kirpan (small sword) and kachera (soldier-shorts).
Although little historical evidence exists to explain why these particular articles were chosen, the 5 Ks continue provide the community with a collective identity, binding together individuals on the basis of a shared belief and practice. As I understand, Sikhs cherish these articles of faith as gifts from their gurus.
Turbans are an important part of the Sikh identity. Both women and men may wear turbans. Like the articles of faith, Sikhs regard their turbans as gifts given by their beloved gurus, and its meaning is deeply personal. In South Asian culture, wearing a turban typically indicated one’s social status – kings and rulers once wore turbans. The Sikh gurus adopted the turban, in part, to remind Sikhs that all humans are sovereign, royal and ultimately equal.
Sikhs in America
Today, there are approximately 30 million Sikhs worldwide, making Sikhism the world’s fifth-largest major religion.
After British colonizers in India seized power of Punjab in 1849, where a majority of the Sikh community was based, Sikhs began migrating to various regions controlled by the British Empire, including Southeast Asia, East Africa and the United Kingdom itself. Based on what was available to them, Sikhs played various roles in these communities, including military service, agricultural work and railway construction.
The first Sikh community entered the United States via the West Coast during the 1890s. They began experiencing discrimination immediately upon their arrival. For instance, the first race riot targeting Sikhs took place in Bellingham, Washington, in 1907. Angry mobs of white men rounded up Sikh laborers, beat them up and forced them to leave town.
The discrimination continued over the years. For instance, when my father moved from Punjab to the United States in the 1970s, racial slurs like “Ayatollah” and “raghead” were hurled at him. It was a time when 52 American diplomats and citizens were taken captive in Iran and tension between the two countries was high. These slurs reflected the racist backlash against those who fitted the stereotypes of Iranians. Our family faced a similar racist backlash when the U.S. engaged in the Gulf War during the early 1990s.
The racist attacks spiked again after 9/11, particularly because Americans did not know about the Sikh religion and conflated the unique Sikh appearance with popular stereotypes of what terrorists look like.
In comparison to the past decade, the rates of violence against Sikhs have surged since the election of President Donald Trump. The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the U.S., estimated earlier this year that Americans Sikhs were being targeted in hate crimes about once a week.
As a practicing Sikh, I can affirm that the Sikh commitment to the tenets of their faith, including love, service and justice, keeps them resilient in the face of hate. For these reason, for many Sikh Americans, like Gurbir Grewal, it is rewarding to maintain their unique Sikh identity.
The Conversation US, Inc.
Opinion: Strengthening Career and Technical Education
By Laura Jimenez
The president recently signed into law the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. This bill updates the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, the primary federal law governing career and technical education, and provide more than $1 billion to fund school-based technical training programs.
Unfortunately, states are ill-positioned to maximize the potential of this law to train the next generation of the American workforce.
High-quality, modern career and technical education, or CTE, programs are the premiere college- and career-readiness programs, providing both technical training and hands-on learning experiences for students to practice and develop cross-cutting skills that all employers value. Given their importance, completing CTE courses in high school should be a requirement for every student.
Yet too often, CTE is considered an after-thought rather than a critical piece of a high-quality K-12 education. For example, participating in CTE programs is optional in all but five states to receive a high school diploma, according to our analysis. This way of thinking reinforces the unnatural separation of college-readiness from career-readiness (and valuing one over the other).
The concept of college- and career-readiness is too often abstract; let’s put this concept in context from the student’s perspective: An entry-level dental assistant, for example, would need to know advanced human biology to qualify for her job. And, it is hard to imagine her being successful at work if she is not also able to put patients at ease when they sit in the dental chair. To do so, she needs cross-cutting skills like communication, problem-solving and empathy.
Or, imagine a college freshman tasked with leading a group project successfully keeping the group on task without knowing the course concepts and how to advocate, collaborate and manage deadlines.
Therefore, college- and career-readiness encompasses both the knowledge and skills that qualify students for the next step and the knowledge and skills that ensure they will complete their chosen pathway to a career where they can advance and support themselves.
This preparation for both college and a career is more critical now than ever. While in the past a high school diploma might have led to a middle-class job with strong worker protections, today workers with just a high school diploma often only qualify for minimum wage, on which they can afford to live in only one of 12 U.S. counties. By 2020, 65 percent of jobs require some sort of education beyond just a high school diploma, so advanced training beyond a secondary education is a necessity, not a luxury.
College- and career-readiness is also a matter of equity. Data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics show that workers earning minimum wage are disproportionately young women working in the restaurant industry in the South.
Yet, our 50-state review of state high school graduation policies finds that students in most states can complete their education without ever having to take a CTE course. Only four states require students to take even a single CTE class. Only one state requires students to take three CTE courses. Fourteen states make CTE courses optional. A few states offer students the option to earn a career pathway diploma and these require students to take several CTE courses in the same field.
This lack of emphasis on CTE for the vast majority of students flies in the face of the evidence. Research shows that students who take three or more courses in CTEare more likely than their peers to graduate and are prepared for the type of further study that leads to an industry-valued certification. These students also achieve the same, or higher, life outcomes as college-goers.
Studies also show that students who take a rigorous 15-credit college-ready course sequence in high school that includes advanced math, lab science, English composition, U.S. and world history, and foreign language, have better life outcomes regardless of college enrollment.
That’s why states should move beyond the false choice of either college preparation or career readiness. Schools should prepare all students for both options through an 18-credit college- and career-ready course sequence that leads to a meaningful high school diploma.
Of course, the purpose of school is more than training the future workforce. It should also be the pathway through which students learn the knowledge and skills to reach their full potential as informed, engaged citizens. To get there, students must be exposed to a wide variety of possibilities and a well-rounded education that allows them to identify potential career pathways and then receive training through high-quality CTE programs that are adequately funded.
Providing states adequate resources for high-quality CTE is a start. While the federal investment in CTE pales in comparison to its cost, the investment reflects a down payment on the future. States must leverage this investment by ensuring that career and technical education is an integral part of the high school experience for all students. Only then will every student truly be empowered to choose the future that they want for themselves.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Laura Jimenez is the director of standards and accountability at the Center for American Progress. She wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Parents Encouraged to Visit ChildCareSearch.Ohio.gov to Find Before- and After-School Care
Aug. 13, 2018
With many children heading back to school this month, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and Ohio Department of Education (ODE) remind parents to visit ChildCareSearch.Ohio.gov when searching for before- and after-school care for their children. Families can search for child care providers by county, city, zip code, program type and Step Up To Quality rating. Step Up To Quality is Ohio’s five-star tiered quality rating and improvement system, which recognizes programs that exceed minimum health and safety standards and promote children’s learning and development.
“Finding high-quality child care is one of the most important choices parents can make,” said ODJFS Director Cynthia Dungey. “It also can be one of the most difficult choices. ChildCareSearch.Ohio.gov can help make it easier. Parents can use it to find highly rated child care in their area, including home-based care, school-based care and care at child care centers. They can view past inspection reports for programs they’re interested in and then visit those programs to see firsthand whether they’re right for their children.”
“High quality before- and after-school care can expand upon the learning and growth that happens during the school day,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. “ChildCareSearch.Ohio.gov is a great resource for parents to find high-quality programs in their neighborhoods and see important information that helps them make the best decisions for their children.”
Programs listed at ChildCareSearch.Ohio.gov serve children of all ages, including infants and preschoolers. All child care programs in Ohio serving more than six children – or more than three children under age 2 – must be licensed. ODJFS and county departments of job and family services are responsible for licensing and inspecting nearly 3,000 family child care homes and more than 4,000 child care facilities throughout the state. ODE is responsible for licensing school-age child care programs operated by public schools, educational service centers, community schools, boards of developmental disabilities and chartered nonpublic schools.
Both ODJFS and ODE programs may participate in Step Up To Quality. Starting in 2020, all programs that provide publicly funded child care must participate in Step Up To Quality.
About the Ohio Department of Education
The Ohio Department of Education oversees the state’s public education system, which includes public school districts, joint vocational school districts and charter schools. The Department also monitors educational service centers, other regional education providers, early learning and child care programs, and private schools. The Department’s tasks include administering the school funding system, collecting school fiscal and performance data, developing academic standards and model curricula, administering the state achievement tests, issuing district and school report cards, administering Ohio’s voucher programs, providing professional development, and licensing teachers, administrators, treasurers, superintendents and other education personnel. The Department is governed by the State Board of Education with administration of the Department the responsibility of the superintendent of public instruction.
About the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services manages vital programs that strengthen Ohio families. These include job training and employment services, unemployment insurance, cash and food assistance, child care, child and adult protective services, adoption, and child support services.