Category Archives: Education

‘Absolutely Absurd’: Tennessee GOP Advances Concealed Guns for Teachers

“We should not be afraid to send our kids to school, but extremist lawmakers are hellbent on expanding the gun lobby’s guns everywhere agenda and putting our kids at risk,” said one state campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-10-2024 by Common Dreams

Moms Demand Action members protest a Tennessee bill to arm teachers on April 9, 2024. (Photo: Moms Demand Action Tennessee/Facebook)

Gun control advocates, including families of mass shooting survivors, condemned Tennessee Senate Republicans for a 26-5 vote along party lines on Tuesday to advance legislation allowing teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms in public schools.

“Since the devastating shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville last year, the [Tennessee] Legislature has had the opportunity to take meaningful action on gun safety,” said Moms Demand Action executive director Angela Ferrell-Zabala. “Instead, they have chosen to ‘debate the safety of their communities’ behind closed doors in a process that has often excluded their constituents and their own colleagues.”

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Rwandan genocide, 30 years on: Omitting women’s memories encourages incomplete understanding of violence

A father is searching for his missing child using ICRC assistance during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Photo: British Red Cross/flickr/CC

By Anneliese M. Schenk-Day, Ohio State University. Published 4-5-2024 by The Conversation

The eruption of violence that Rwanda experienced beginning on the evening of April 6, 1994, continues to haunt the central African nation 30 years on – it has also changed the country’s gender dynamics.

The genocide resulted in hundreds of thousands of men being killed, with many more fleeing the country or being incarcerated. It left a previously male-centered society with hundreds of thousands of female-headed households. Of course, women were also subjected to the violence itself, with many killed and between 250,000 and 500,000 raped in the three months of genocide.

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Alabama Republicans Try to ‘Criminalize Librarians Simply for Doing Their Jobs’

“Not only is this wrong, it’s also unconstitutional. You are not protecting children; you are protecting extremists who are trying to dismantle the very foundations of my country.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-3-2024 by Common Dreams.

Banned Books Week installation on the second floor of Kennedy Library at Cal Poly on Monday, September 24, 2018. Photo: Kennedy Library/flickr/CC

The Alabama Library Association and other critics on Wednesday called out the state’s Republican policymakers for pushing a new bill that opponents warn will unfairly jail librarians and have a chilling impact on collections.

House Bill 385, introduced Tuesday by state Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-43) and 30 other legislators, says that “under existing law, certain obscenity laws do not apply to public libraries, public school libraries, college libraries, or university libraries, or the employees or agents of any such libraries.”

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US Pariah Status Grows as Finland Resumes UNRWA Funding

“Collectively punishing millions of Palestinians over allegations concerning a few individuals is never acceptable,” said one campaigner. “Other E.U. member states must follow.”

BY Brett Wilkins. Published 3-22-2024 by Common Dreams

An UNRWA staffer holds a traumatized Palestinian baby in Gaza on March 13, 2023. (Photo: UNRWA/Facebook)

As the United States doubled down on banning funds for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, Finland said Friday that it would resume contributions to the lifesaving organization in an implicit rebuke of unsubstantiated Israeli claims—reportedly extracted via torture—that staff members were involved in the October 7 attacks.

Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio announced during a press conference that the country’s €5 million ($5.4 million) annual contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) would be reinstated, with 10% of the funding reserved for “risk management.”

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Biden 2025 Budget Would Offer ‘Welcome Relief,’ But Not Enough

One expert said that enacting his reforms “will begin to reverse the 40-year one-way ratchet of falling taxes for the wealthy and corporations and instead invest in workers and families.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 3-11-2024 by Common Dreams

Photto: U.S. Secretary of Defense/flickr/CC

On the heels of delivering the latest State of the Union speech and signing a package of funding bills, U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday unveiled his budget blueprint for fiscal year 2025, a proposal praised by congressional Democrats and progressive advocates who want him to go even further.

The $7.3 trillion budget comes as the divided Congress is still sorting out funding for the current fiscal year. Given those divisions—and that the Republican House majority is already advancing its own budget resolution for the fiscal year that begins in October—the Democratic president’s plan is widely seen as a statement of priorities going into the November election.

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Florida House Republicans Advance Bill to ‘Deny the Legal Existence’ of Trans People

“Rest assured that the passage of this discriminatory bill would have a detrimental and real-life impact on the trans community,” said one Florida ACLU leader.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 3-1-2024 by Common Dreams

Capital Pride Parade in, Washington, DC 2018. Photo: Ted Eytan/CC

The ACLU of Florida on Friday led condemnation of a bill passed by the Republican-controlled lower chamber of the state Legislature that “seeks to deny the legal existence of transgender individuals by requiring individuals to identify as their sex assigned at birth instead of their gender on their driver’s licenses and ID cards.”

Dubbed the Trans Erasure Bill by opponents, H.B. 1639 passed by a vote of 75-33. The ACLU notes that the legislation “also requires health plans to cover the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy and creates additional obstacles for health plans to cover gender-affirming care.”

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Childcare Crisis Grips US as IRS Chief Says Wealthy Tax Dodgers Cost $150 Billion a Year

“If we can afford to spend over $1 trillion on tax breaks for the top 1% and large corporations making record-breaking profits, we can afford to provide working class families with the childcare they desperately need.”

By Jon Queally. Published 2-25-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Learning Policy Institute: Laura E. Hernández/CC BY-NC 4.0

A survey of early childhood educators and caregivers released Sunday shows the post-pandemic collapse of federal funding is fueling a national crisis for young children and their families as centers suffer and out-of-pocket costs soar.

The findings of the survey—titled “We Are NOT OK” and put out by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)—resulted from questions posed to over 10,000 professionals in the early childhood education sector.

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Record 50 Million Children Now Displaced as Wars, Climate Crisis Rage

“When children lose their homes, they lose almost everything: their access to healthcare, education, food, and safety,” one advocate said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 2-20-2024 by Common Dreams

Children in the area of Shangil Tobaya, Sudan. Photo: United Nations Photo/flickr/CC

The 10 biggest global crises—including Israel’s war on Gaza—forced more than 10 million children to flee their homes in 2023.

That figure likely puts the total number of displaced children at more than 50 million, a new record, Save the Children said in an analysis published Tuesday. The number of children displaced worldwide has also more than doubled from around 20.6 million in 2010. While the number of displaced people overall reached a record 114 million in October 2023, children are being pushed from their homes at an even faster rate than adults and face unique vulnerabilities.

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Under Pressure From Angry Students, GOP Gov Reverses on Federal Summer Meals Funding

“It only took literally everyone in the entire state telling him that he was being a monster,” said one political scientist, “for him to do the absolute easiest thing and feed hungry kids.”

By Julia Conley. Published 2-13-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: USDA/Public domain

As the deadline rapidly approached for state governments to accept federal funds for summer food assistance for children, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen announced Monday that conversations with students from around the state had convinced him to take the funding—leaving just 14 Republican-led states still refusing the aid.

At a news conference, the GOP governor—who previously said he didn’t “believe in welfare” and would be forgoing $18 million for the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) program—said he had changed his mind after “an evolution of information” about how young people across Nebraska would be affected by his decision.

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20+ NGOs Condemn ‘Reckless’ Decision to Cut Off UNRWA Aid

“Countries must reverse these funding suspensions, uphold their duties towards the Palestinian people, and scale up humanitarian assistance for civilians in dire need in Gaza and the region.”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 1-29-2024 by Common Dreams

UNRWA school in Rafah, Gaza in 2009. Photo: ISM Palestine/flickr/CC

More than 20 humanitarian aid organizations on Monday condemned the decision by the United States and a growing list of nations to suspend funding for the United Nations agency that provides vital services to Palestinians suffering through a genocidal Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

Following Israeli claims—reportedly extracted from Palestinian prisoners in an interrogation regime rife with torture and abuse—that 12 of the more than 13,000 United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) workers in Gaza were involved in the October 7 Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel, the United States and nine other nations cut off funding to the largest humanitarian aid organization operating in the besieged coastal enclave.

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