Tag Archives: Education

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).
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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

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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

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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

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1,100+ Banned Books Across 26 States: Report Shows ‘Shocking’ Censorship

“What is happening in this country in terms of banning books in schools is unparalleled in its frequency, intensity, and success,” said the director of PEN America’s Free Expression and Education program.

By Jake Johnson  Published 4-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Enokson/flickr/CC

A report published Thursday by the free expression group PEN America details an “alarming” and unprecedented surge in book banning across the United States, with 86 school districts in 26 states prohibiting more than 1,100 titles in classrooms and libraries over just the past eight months.

Titled Banned in the USA, the report finds that districts representing 2,899 schools with a combined enrollment of more than 2 million students banned 1,145 unique book titles by 874 different authors, 198 illustrators, and nine translators between July 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. Continue reading

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‘This Law Will Not Stand,’ Say Equality Defenders as DeSantis Signs ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “has damaged our state’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place for all families,” said one rights advocate. “Worse, he has made schools less safe for children.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 3-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Community leaders, parents, kids, doctors, lawyers, assemble in front of the White House to protest the non-science based policy of segregating LGBTQ children in public schools based on the schools’ determination of their gender identity. Photo: Ted Eytan/CC

Rights advocates on Monday said they will continue to fight against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attacks on LGBTQ+ families after the Republican governor signed the so-called Parental Rights in Education bill that’s come to be known as the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” proposal.

After DeSantis signed the bill Monday, standing at a podium with a sign reading, “Protect Children,” the law will go into effect July 1. Continue reading

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‘A Win-Win-Win’: Analysis Shows Sweeping Benefits of BBB’s Childcare and Pre-K Proposals

“This isn’t just a problem for families—it’s holding businesses and our economy back.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 3-21-2022 by Common Dreams

A daycare in Portland, Oregon. Photo: Fotos_PDX/flickr/CC

The childcare and universal pre-K provisions included in a $1.75 trillion package passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in November would hugely benefit not only families but also the American economy, businesses, and state governments.

That’s according to a report published Monday by the Century Foundation (TCF) and Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) as the Build Back Better (BBB) package remains stalled in the evenly split Senate due to Republicans and a few right-wing Democrats. Continue reading

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‘Release the Dough’: Minneapolis Teachers Strike for First Time in More Than 50 Years

“We’re on strike for safe and stable schools and systemic change,” said the leader of the local teachers union.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 3-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Becky Pringle/Twitter

The Minneapolis teachers’ strike entered a second day Wednesday as union representatives and district officials resumed negotiations over smaller class sizes, improved student supports, and better pay.

In addition to demanding caps on class sizes and counselors in every school, the union is seeking higher starting salaries for educational support professionals (ESPs) as well as “a 12% salary increase for first-year educators and 5% increase for second-year teachers,” the Star Tribune reported. Continue reading

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Students Rally Against ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill at Florida Capitol

“Restricting discussion of queer people and erasing our identity within public schools will only exacerbate the pre-existing issues that LGBTQ+ youth face,” said one student protest organizer.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 3-7-2022 by Common Dreams

Students and their supporters rallied at the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee on March 7, 2022 as the state Senate began debating a so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. (Photo: MoveOn/Twitter)

Students, teachers, and supporters from across Florida flocked to the state Capitol in Tallahassee on Monday ahead of a state Senate debate of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill opponents say will have “devastating consequences” for LGBTQ+ youth.

As students and supporters chanted “we say gay” in downtown Miami before boarding buses Sunday night for the eight-hour trip to the state capital, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told WSVN that “it’s shameful what’s going on in Tallahassee.” Continue reading

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Day of Action for Biden to ‘Pick Up the Pen’ and Cancel Student Debt Announced

“We’re going to the Department of Education on April 4th to force Biden to cancel student debt,” said the Debt Collective.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 2-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Progressive organizers on Monday announced an upcoming day of action to pressure President Joe Biden to use his executive authority to wipe out $1.8 trillion dollars in student loan debt.

On the RSVP page for the protest—scheduled to take place on April 4 at 12:00 pm ET at the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C.—the Debt Collective explained that “debtors and our allies are taking action to say: Pick up the Pen, Joe. Cancel student debt for all 45 million Americans.” Continue reading

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