Tag Archives: Texas

‘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

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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

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‘No Time to Waste’: New Nationwide March For Our Lives Protests Set for June 11

“Together, we rose up four years ago. One million of us demanded change. We built a movement. We voted for new leaders. And the gun deaths increased. Now is the moment we march again.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-26-2022 by Common Dreams

March For Our Lives student protest for gun control St. Paul, Minnesota March 7, 2018. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

Four years, over 100 school shootings, and more than 170,000 U.S. firearm deaths after the first March For Our Lives rallies in 2018, the student-led gun control advocacy group announced Wednesday that it would stage a new nationwide day of protest on June 11 following Tuesday’s Robb Elementary School massacre in Texas.

“Together, we rose up four years ago. One million of us demanded change. We built a movement. We voted for new leaders. And the gun deaths increased,” March For Our Lives tweeted. “Now is the moment we march again.” Continue reading

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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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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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‘Worse Than Texas’: Extreme Anti-Choice Bills Advance in Multiple States

“These attacks on our rights are coordinated and connected,” noted Planned Parenthood Action.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 3-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Reproductive rights defenders march during the Rally for Abortion Justice in Washington, D.C. on October 2, 2021. (Photo: Kisha Bari/Women’s March/Twitter)

As anti-choice policymakers across the country seek to severely restrict reproductive freedom—and as the fate of Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance pending a looming U.S. Supreme Court decision—Republican lawmakers in at least four states this week advanced bills banning or limiting abortion access.

The Idaho Legislature on Monday became the first in the nation to approve a bill modeled after a Texas law that empowers citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks. Continue reading

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‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Linked to 11% Spike in US Gun Homicides: Study

Researchers say the state-level laws “should be reconsidered to prevent unnecessary violent deaths.”

By Kenny Stancil, Published 2-21-2022 by Common Dreams

About 1000 people filled the Minnesota capitol rotunda in 2018 to demand stricter gun control laws. They protested against “stand your ground” and “permit-less carry” laws and demanded stricter laws on guns such as a ban on assault rifles. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

So-called “stand your ground” laws are associated with hundreds of additional homicides each year in the United States, according to new research conducted by public health scholars, who say that these laws “should be reconsidered to prevent unnecessary violent deaths.”

Published Monday in JAMA Network Open, a peer-reviewed medical journal, the study compares homicide trends in roughly two dozen states that enacted stand-your-ground (SYG) laws between 2000 and 2016 with patterns from 18 states that didn’t have such laws during the study period. Continue reading

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California Bill Would Allow Citizens to Enforce Assault Weapon Ban

“If Texas can use a law to ban a woman’s right to chose and to put her health at risk, we will use that same law to save lives and improve the health and safety of the people in the state of California,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 2-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Gavin Newsom speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday endorsed legislation that would allow private citizens to enforce the state’s ban on assault weapons.

California’s new bill mimics a Texas law empowering private citizens to enforce the state’s draconian abortion ban by suing anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Continue reading

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Just 6% of US House Seats Expected to Be Competitive Thanks to Rigged Maps

Gerrymandered congressional districts come alongside a wave of GOP voter suppression laws.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 2-17-2022 by Common Dreams

A ‘Vote Here’ sign outside an election polling place at Woodbury City Hall in Woodbury, Minnesota during the 2020 general election. Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/CC

In a major blow to the democratic principle that lawmakers are accountable to voters who can remove them from office, the vast majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are becoming non-competitive—a trend that critics say threatens to exacerbate GOP extremism as incumbents in solidly red districts shift further right to fend off more reactionary primary challengers.

Several months into the decennial redistricting process, 335 congressional districts have been redrawn as of Thursday. Just 27 of them are considered competitive—meaning neither Democrats nor Republicans have an advantage of more than five points—according to FiveThirtyEight. Continue reading

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