Category Archives: Education

Supreme Court Ruling Turns Separation of Church and State Into ‘Constitutional Violation,’ Warns Sotomayor

“We are witnessing one of the most extreme Supreme Courts in modern history rewrite the most basic social commitments of our society,” said the head of one of the nation’s largest teachers unions.

By Julia Conley  Published 6-21-2022 by Common Dreams

United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaking to attendees at the John P. Frank Memorial Lecture at Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. in 2017. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday warned that the court’s right-wing majority had further eroded the nation’s bedrock laws separating church and government when it ruled that Maine must include religious schools in a state-run tuition program.

“Today, the court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation,” wrote Sotomayor in the minority’s dissent of the 6-3 decision. Continue reading

Share Button

The volunteers risking their lives to secretly educate Afghanistan’s girls

Nine months on from the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, teenage girls remain deprived of their right to education

By Deepa Parent  Published 6-3-2022 by openDemocracy

Matiullah Wesa and other PenPath volunteers travel around Afghanistan teaching children Photo: PenPath

In 2002, when Matiullah Wesa was a teenager, the Taliban burned his school. It was this, he told openDemocracy, that led him to dedicate his life to ensuring other children in Afghanistan can get an education.

Wesa is the co-founder of PenPath, an NGO that works to reopen closed schools in the country’s rural areas – from the Spin Boldak district in Kandahar to Helmand province – and has so far educated more than 57,000 children. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Madness’: Ohio GOP Passes Bill to Arm Teachers

“We aren’t trusted with the books we choose, but somehow we’re supposed to be trusted with a gun in school?” asked one teachers’ union leader.

By Julia Conley  Published 6-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Minnesota March for Our Lives in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 24, 2018. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

With Democrats decrying the proposal as “madness,” Republican state lawmakers on Thursday pushed through House Bill 99, which would allow school districts to send teachers and other staff to school with firearms.

The legislation, which Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he “looks forward to signing,” would let school employees carry guns to school after undergoing just 24 hours of training. Continue reading

Share Button

Call Embraced for Prolonged Student Walkout Over Nation’s Refusal to Act on Guns

“How can we expect them to walk into the firing line every day?” asked one group in support for the proposal.

By Julia Conley  Published 6-1-2022 by Common Dreams

March for Our Lives in Manhattan, New York City, in March 2018. Photo: Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons/CC

As 21 families in Uvalde, Texas hold funerals for the 19 children and two adults who were killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School last week, gun control advocates are grappling with the question of what it will take to stop gun violence, with some proposing that students and teachers hold the largest school walkout yet—one in which they would refuse to return to school until lawmakers pass far-reaching reforms.

With summer vacation approaching, Gal Beckerman wrote at The Atlantic Tuesday, “students should refuse to go back to school” in the fall without the passage of an assault weapons ban—a law which existed in the U.S. in the past and whose expiration correlated to a rise in mass shootings, according to researchers. Continue reading

Share Button

Our global economic system is broken. Are we headed for a mass revolt?

How long can billionaires continue to amass wealth while the world’s poorest struggle to buy food?

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-28-2022 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: The Today Show

While it has long been blatantly obvious that the global economic model is not working for all, the rate of accumulation of wealth by a small minority is now breathtaking – if not totally obscene.

With the situation only being worsened by the economic impact of the Ukraine War – which has come on top of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – could we be headed for mass revolts sparked by a desperate need for change? Continue reading

Share Button

Millions More Kids Going Hungry Since GOP, Manchin Killed Expanded Child Tax Credit

“Even brief disruptions in access to food can have lasting consequences,” wrote the authors of a new analysis of worsening hunger among U.S. families.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 5-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: NBC 5

A new analysis out Friday confirms that the number of U.S. households with kids that report not having enough food to eat has surged in the months since corporate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined Senate Republicans in refusing to extend the expanded Child Tax Credit benefit beyond mid-December.

Data from the Household Pulse Survey (HPS), a nationally representative internet survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, shows that from April 27 to May 9, 15% of households with children reported food insufficiency—defined as sometimes or often not having enough food to eat in the past week. In early August, the percentage of families with kids that reported struggling with hunger was roughly 9.5%. Continue reading

Share Button

Texas GOP Governor Considers Challenging 1982 Ruling Requiring Free Public Education

The leaked opinion showing the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority is prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade “is an invitation to all manner of challenges to deeply rooted precedents,” said one critic.

By Julia Conley  Published 5-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas. Photo: World Travel & Tourism Council/flickr/CC

Days after rights advocates warned that the U.S. Supreme Court’s expected overruling of Roe v. Wade portends rollbacks of numerous rights for people in the U.S., Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said he wants to challenge a 40-year-old ruling that affirmed states must offer free public education to all children.

In a radio interview with right-wing host Joe Pagliarulo late Wednesday, Abbott discussed border security and agreed with the host’s claim that the children of undocumented immigrants place a “real burden on communities” when they attend public schools, as the Plyler v. Doe ruling required states to allow in 1982.

“The challenges put on our public systems [are] extraordinary,” Abbott said. “Texas already long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of the education program… And the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue about denying, or let’s say Texas having to bear that burden.”

“I think we will resurrect that case and challenge this issue again, because the expenses are extraordinary and the times are different than when Plyler v. Doe was issued many decades ago,” the governor added.

The Plyler case arose from a 1975 decision by the state of Texas to permit school districts to deny admission or charge tuition to undocumented immigrant families. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a class action lawsuit after Tyler Independent School District charged $1,000 per year to children who did not provide proof of American citizenship.

The case eventually was taken up by the Supreme Court and the justices ruled 5-4 that all children in the U.S. were entitled to free public education under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.

Abbott’s comments came two days after a draft opinion was leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court showing that the court’s right-wing majority voted earlier this year to overrule Roe, a move that would eliminate abortion rights for millions of women in states hostile to reproductive justice.

“The leaked opinion is an invitation to all manner of challenges to deeply rooted precedents,” said Tom Jawetz, former vice president of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress.

Abbott’s threat to the children of undocumented immigrants, said one healthcare advocate, exemplified the late comedian George Carlin’s summation of the anti-choice movement’s views on the rights of children.

“I can’t believe this has to be said, but ALL children deserve access to a quality public education,” said Gwenn Burud, a Democratic candidate for the Texas state Senate. “Unlike the other side, I understand what settled precedent means.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
Share Button

New Mexico Pilot Program Makes Child Care Free for Majority of Families

“We need federal dollars to make this happen everywhere in this country,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 5-2-2022 by Common Dreams

In New Mexico, families earning up to $111,000 per year are now eligible for a pilot program providing free child care. Photo: Grant Barrett/Wikimedia Commons/CC

With millions of parents across the U.S. forced to leave the workforce due to an inability to find affordable child care during the coronavirus pandemic, families making up to $111,000 per year in New Mexico are set to benefit from a pilot program that went into effect May 1 waiving all child care payments for more than a year.

Families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level are now eligible for the state’s child care assistance program. With the median household income standing at just over $51,000, the expansion of the program “will help A LOT of families,” said Washington Post reporter Casey
Parks. Continue reading

Share Button

Thousands of Sutter Health Nurses Stage 1-Day Northern California Strike

“We’re tired of being ignored and left without the resources we need to care for our patients,” explained California Nurses Association.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 4-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Nurses and healthcare workers at Sutter Health’s Solano Medical Center in Vallejo, California participate in a one-day strike on April 18, 2022. (Photo: California Nurses Association/Twitter)

Thousands of nurses at 18 Northern California Sutter Health hospitals and medical facilities on Monday began a one-day strike to protest what their union called the healthcare provider’s refusal to address “proposals about safe staffing and health and safety protections” amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 8,000 members of California Nurses Association (CNA)—a National Nurses United (NNU) affiliate—and CNA-affiliated Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union are participating in the action, according to NNU. Continue reading

Share Button

Legacy of Jim Crow still affects funding for public schools

School funding inequities persist along racial and economic lines.
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Derek W. Black, University of South Carolina and Axton Crolley, University of South Carolina

Nearly 70 years ago – in its 1954 Brown v. Board decision – the Supreme Court framed racial segregation as the cause of educational inequality. It did not, however, challenge the lengths to which states went to ensure the unequal funding of Black schools.

Before Brown, Southern states were using segregation to signify and tangibly reinforce second-class citizenship for Black people in the United States. The court in Brown deemed that segregation was inherently unequal. Even if the schools were “equalized” on all “tangible factors,” segregation remained a problem and physical integration was the cure, the Court concluded. Continue reading

Share Button