Tag Archives: Education

This year at the Supreme Court: Gay rights, gun rights and Native rights

The Supreme Court begins its newest session on the first Monday in October. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Morgan Marietta, University of Massachusetts Lowell

The Supreme Court begins its annual session on Oct. 7 and will take up a series of cases likely to have political reverberations in the 2020 elections.

Major cases this year address the immigration program for young people (“Dreamers”) known as DACA, the Affordable Care Act (again), and public money for religious schools.

Justices will also consider cases that involve several aspects of defendants’ rights: whether criminal convictions require a unanimous jury, minors can be given a life sentence and a state can abolish the insanity defense. Continue reading

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Trump Labor Dept Slammed for ‘Wholly Inadequate’ Overtime Pay Rule That ‘Leaves Behind Millions of Workers’

“Once again, President Trump has sided with the interests of corporate executives over those of working people.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-24-2019

President Donald Trump speaks at the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex in Monaca, Pennsylvania on Aug. 13, 2019.. Screenshot: YouTube

Labor rights advocates and progressive economists slammed the Trump administration after the Department of Labor announced Tuesday a final rule on overtime pay to replace a bolder Obama-era proposal blocked by a federal court in Texas.

“While the administration may be trumpeting this rule as a good thing for workers, that is a ruse,” said Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). “In reality, the rule leaves behind millions of workers who would have received overtime protections under the much stronger rule, published in 2016, that Trump administration abandoned.” Continue reading

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DeVos Threatens to Cut Funding for Middle Eastern Studies Programs for ‘Portraying Islam Too Positively’

“This is what a real threat to free speech on a college campus looks like.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-22-2019

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

Sunday marked a deadline for the University of North Carolina and Duke University to submit information to the Trump administration about the two schools’ Consortium for Middle East Studies, after the Department of Education accused the joint program of biases against Christianity and Judaism.

The DOE called on the schools to provide a list of events it is supporting in during the school year and a full list of courses it’s offering, claiming in a letter sent late last month that in the program, “there is a considerable emphasis placed on the understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.”
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‘Students Have Led and We Must Follow’: Thousands of Scientists From 40 Nations Join Global Climate Strike

“Students have led and we must follow—in defense of the scientific truths our colleagues have discovered over the decades, and of the planet we love.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-19-2019

March for Science – Earth Day 2017 in Washington DC. Photo: Amaury Laporte/flickr

More than 2,000 scientists on Thursday pledged to take part in the Global Climate Strike and week of action beginning Friday, joining the labor movement, Amazon workers, and teachers in refusing to allow children to carry the burden of securing the planet’s future by demanding climate action.

The scientists, who conduct their research in more than 40 countries, wrote in an open letter that “solid, incontrovertible evidence” supports climate campaigners’ grave concerns about the effect of uncontrolled carbon emissions on the planet. Continue reading

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Despite ‘Relentless’ Assault by Corporate America, Gallup Poll Shows Support for Unions at Near 50-Year High

“The labor movement has a powerful wind at its back. And we will carry this momentum into new organizing campaigns and our work in the 2020 elections.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2019

Union workers at a locomotive plant in Erie, Pennsylvania launched strike on Feb. 26, 2019. (Photo: United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America/Facebook)

Just ahead of the 125th anniversary of the creation of Labor Day as a national holiday, a Gallup poll published Wednesday showed support for unions among the American public is at a near 50-year high despite the best efforts of corporations and right-wing politicians.

The Gallup survey found that 64 percent of Americans approve of unions, up 16 percent from 2009. Continue reading

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‘Should Send Shockwaves Across the Nation’: Grave Warnings as McConnell Accelerates Right-Wing Takeover of US Courts

“Senate Republicans will stop at nothing to stack the courts with partisan judges who will push their radical agenda through at any cost.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-1-2019

Screenshot: CNN

The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed 13 of President Donald Trump’s lifetime judicial nominees this week, a major victory in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s years-long effort to reshape the nation’s courts and drag them further to the right for decades to come.

The breakneck speed with which McConnell has ushered young—and often unqualified—right-wing judges through the Senate confirmation process “should send shockwaves across the nation,” the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights tweeted Wednesday.

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‘Absolutely Disgusting’: West Virginia Senate Passes Bill That Would Ban Teacher Strikes

The Republican measure was condemned as “pure retribution” for the mass teacher strikes that swept the state last year

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-3-2019

Teachers, school service workers, and their supporters, including all the labor unions in West Virginia, rally at the capital on behalf of better wages for state workers, and demanding a fix for the state’s underfunded and broken PEIA health insurance programs in 2018. Photo: Rich McGervey/flickr

In a move that was widely viewed as an attempt to exact revenge for last year’s mass walkouts, the West Virginia state Senate on Monday passed a sweeping education bill containing a Republican amendment that would ban teacher strikes.

Fred Albert, president of the West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), called the GOP provision “pure retribution, retaliation.” Continue reading

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Senators Call for Disclosure of Perks and Fees Paid to Health Benefits Brokers

By Marshall Allen  Published 5-24-2019 by ProPublica

Health benefits brokers would have to reveal the fees and other enticements they’ve received from the insurance industry under bipartisan legislation proposed Thursday in the U.S. Senate.

The brokers are supposed to independently help employers select benefits for their workers. But a ProPublica investigation in February found that the insurance industry often uses undisclosed money and gifts to influence which plans the brokers favor. The payments and perks include healthy commissions, six-figure bonuses and exotic island vacations. Critics call the compensation a “classic conflict of interest” that drives up costs. Continue reading

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‘A Burning Indictment of Our Higher Ed System’: Commencement Speaker Pays Off $40 Million in Student Debt

Billionaire’s gift to nearly 400 graduating seniors of Morehouse College earned him praise—but also sparked criticism of the cost of education

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2019

Morehouse College commencement speaker and billionaire Robert F. Smith announced Sunday he is wiping out an estimated $40 million in student debt for nearly 400 graduates. (Photo: Morehouse College/Twitter)

Commencement speaker Robert F. Smith garnered widespread praise Sunday when the billionaire investor announced he will wipe out an estimated $40 million in student debt for Morehouse College’s nearly 400 graduating seniors—but the move also sparked intense criticism of the cost of higher education in the United States.

“Two things are simultaneously true about this story: 1. This is a very cool thing to do,” tweeted Current Affairs editor Sparky Abraham. “2. That this is so cool and necessary and has such a huge impact on the students’ lives is a burning indictment of our higher ed system.” Continue reading

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Fears for Roe V. Wade After Supreme Court Issues Decision Overruling a 40-Year Precedent

“Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next,” wrote Justice Bryer in dissent

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-13-2019

“Hard not to read this as a veiled warning about Roe v. Wade,” tweeted law professor Nicholas Bagley of the new ruling. (Photo: Phil Roeder/Flickr/cc)

The U.S. Supreme Court’s liberal justices sounded alarm on Monday after the court issued a ruling overturning a four decades-old precedent.

“Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next,” Justice Bryer wrote in his dissent (pdf), in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.

Some observers expressed fear one of the those cases could be Roe v. Wade. Continue reading

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