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Cities at Work: Progressive Local Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class

February 26, 2014 Comments off

Cities at Work: Progressive Local Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class
Source: Center for American Progress

“Cities at Work: Progressive Local Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class” is COWS’s (or the Center on Wisconsin Strategy’s) local government companion to the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s “States at Work: Progressive State Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class” report.

Our report is based on the practical experience and struggle of elected officials and advocates from around the country in moving their communities onto the “high road” of shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and efficient democratic government. Its goal is to arm progressive local elected leaders and advocates with a range of effective policies that, if adopted, would make a significant difference in getting on that high road. They will be able to use better democratic organization to add value, reduce waste, and capture and share locally the great benefits of doing both.

In the summary of their state report, our colleagues at the Center for American Progress Action Fund made a compelling case for why state and local governments need to take bold action to restore the middle class and ensure more access to it. The basic reason is that, over the past generation, American economic and political inequality has tremendously increased to the point that our status as a democratic society is severely threatened. In this summary of our report, we will assume the truth of that argument. Before getting to the particular policies we recommend for cities, however, we step back to argue that cities are a particularly important, and in many ways unique, solution to these and other social problems.

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A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink

January 14, 2014 Comments off

A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink
Source: Center for American Progress (The Shriver Report)

The most common shared story in our country today is the financial insecurity of American families. Today, more than one in three Americans—more than 100 million people—live in poverty or on the edge of it. Half of all Americans will spend at least a few months churning into and out of poverty during their lifetimes. This economic immobility and inequality is a systemic and pervasive problem that President Barack Obama recently described as “the defining challenge of our time.”

The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink reveals this national crisis through the eyes of women. In an era when women have solidified their position as half of the U.S. workforce and a whopping two-thirds of the primary or co-breadwinners in American families, the reality is that a third of all American women are living at or near a space we call “the brink of poverty.” We define this as less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $47,000 per year for a family of four.

Forty-two million women, and the 28 million children who depend on them, are living one single incident—a doctor’s bill, a late paycheck, or a broken-down car—away from economic ruin. Women make up nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers, the vast majority of whom receive no paid sick days. This is at a time when women earn most of the college and advanced degrees in this country, make most of the consumer spending decisions by far, and are more than half of the nation’s voters.

The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink focuses the conversation on what working women need now to be successful in today’s economy, where women are powerful, but also powerless. Identifying why that is, why it matters, and what we as a nation can do about it is the mission of this report. What women need now is a country that supports the reality of women’s dual roles as by far the majority of the nation’s caregivers and breadwinners. At its heart, The Shriver Report is a call to the nation to modernize its relationship with women in order not only to strengthen our economy, but also to make it work better for everyone.

No Place Like Home: Addressing Poverty and Homelessness in the United States

December 14, 2013 Comments off

No Place Like Home: Addressing Poverty and Homelessness in the United States
Source: Center for American Progress

While owning a home is the cornerstone of the American Dream, growing income inequality, coupled with an affordable housing crisis, makes maintaining stable housing a challenge for millions of Americans. In his book, Making Room: The Economics of Homelessness, Columbia University Professor Brendan O’Flaherty explains, “Although homelessness in the past was a phenomenon of economic depression, much of the rise in the new homelessness has occurred in relatively prosperous times.” Through his research, he shows that around the 1980s, “an increase in inequality and a smaller middle class, made it more difficult for poor people to acquire housing that had been formerly used by the middle class.” In fact, today, almost half of the homeless population in this country work but do not earn enough income to pay for housing.

When examining the availability of low-cost housing over time, the extent to which affordable housing is a barrier today becomes clear. According to the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness, there were 300,000 more low-cost rental units than low-income renter households in 1970—6.5 million units for 6.2 million households. By 1985, there was an affordable housing shortfall of 3.3 million units. By 2011, the affordable housing shortage reached 5.3 million units. Today, only one in four households eligible for rental subsidies actually receives assistance due to overwhelming demand, forcing many families onto lengthy waiting lists.

The State of Communities of Color in the U.S. Economy

November 5, 2013 Comments off

The State of Communities of Color in the U.S. Economy
Source: Center for American Progress

In 2010, communities of color comprised more than 36 percent of the U.S. population, but they are projected to be the majority of the nation’s population by 2043. As we rocket toward a more multiracial future, closing racial and ethnic gaps in earnings, education, and other requisite areas is imperative. While making these changes and addressing these issues will be challenging, what we stand to gain, both as individuals and as a nation, is enormous. In the recently published book All-In Nation: An America that Works for All, the Center for American Progress and PolicyLink present a road map for this equity-driven growth—a growth model that is inclusive, sustainable, and just and that ensures we grow together as a country, not apart. Analysis in All-In Nation shows that had we closed racial and ethnic gaps in 2011, average personal yearly income would have increased by 8.1 percent, tax revenue would have increased by $192 billion, and $1.2 trillion in gross domestic product, or GDP, would have been added to the U.S. economy, which would have benefited all Americans. What’s more, 13 million people would have been lifted out of poverty. That we could have—and should have—done so but did not speaks to the pressing need to reshape the conversation around equity in the United States.

Given the scope of what needs to be accomplished, every second counts. The economic downturn and financial crisis that occurred from December 2007 to June 2009, known as the Great Recession, upended domestic and world markets and decimated the global economy. Here at home, it negatively impacted the lives of millions of Americans, who saw their jobs disappear and their homes lost to foreclosure. We are currently in the fourth year of an economic recovery following the Great Recession, which began in June 2009, and the outlook continues to gradually improve, as economic growth is stabilizing and moderate job creation persists. That being said, America’s families, who have suffered for years from high and long-term unemployment, will remain in desperate need of stronger economic growth for a prolonged period in the foreseeable future.

Building an All-In Nation: A View from the American Public

October 23, 2013 Comments off

Building an All-In Nation: A View from the American Public
Source: Center for American Progress

It is an undeniable fact that the United States is becoming increasingly diverse, rapidly heading toward the day when there will no longer be any clear racial or ethnic majority in the U.S. population. Already, more than half of newborns today are children of color, and demographers predict that more than half of all youth will be of color before the end of this decade. As youth drive this demographic change, each generation is becoming more racially and ethnically mixed than the one before.

According to Census projections, by 2043, non-Hispanic whites will become a minority of our population. By 2050, they will be only 47 percent of the U.S. population, with communities of color combining to form a solid 53 percent majority. Hispanics will make up 28 percent of the population, up from 16 percent in 2010, and African Americans will make up 13 percent, about 1 percentage point higher than their level in 2010. Asians will make up 7 percent, up from 5 percent in 2010, and another 0.7 percent will be made up of American Indian/Alaska Natives, unchanged from their 2010 levels. Finally, multiracial individuals should double in size, from their current 2 percent of the population to 4 percent by 2050.

Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress and PolicyLink released All-In Nation: An America that Works for All—a comprehensive book analyzing these changing demographics and exploring policies to ensure that a more diverse workforce is prepared for the jobs of the future and that all people are in a position to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. The goal of the book was not only to stress the moral need to ensure greater opportunities for all people but also to highlight the clear economic benefits for the entire nation of reducing racial and ethnic disparities in education, employment, and other areas. As part of this research project and as a complement to the book, CAP and PolicyLink joined with the Rockefeller Foundation and Latino Decisions to assess how Americans view issues of rising diversity and policy proposals to better integrate these communities into the mainstream of American society and its economy.

Seeking Shelter: The Experiences and Unmet Needs of LGBT Homeless Youth

October 9, 2013 Comments off

Seeking Shelter: The Experiences and Unmet Needs of LGBT Homeless Youth
Source: Center for American Progress

In 2010, the Center for American Progress issued a landmark report on homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, youth. “On the Streets: The Federal Response to Gay and Transgender Homeless Youth” explored the drivers of homelessness among LGBT youth, the experiences they have on the street, and proposed federal interventions that could help address the epidemic of homelessness among LGBT children and young adults. Our goal here is to update that report, so we began with the same assumption as the original authors three years ago: Every child deserves a supportive and loving home. Unfortunately, our findings indicate that this is still not the reality for too many LGBT youth across the United States.

Over the past several years, there has been an increase in robust data collection from cities in all corners of the United States on the experiences of homeless youth, and many of these surveys and studies have observed and described the disparities experienced by LGBT youth in shelters and on the streets. There are also new service providers who have stepped up to serve vulnerable LGBT youth and help make their lives healthier, happier, and more stable. And more LGBT young people and adults who experienced homelessness as youth have come forward with bravery and candor to tell their stories. These new developments are encouraging, and help paint a more detailed picture of who LGBT homeless youth are and how they ended up out of their homes and separated from their families.

But LGBT youth continue to be disproportionately represented among homeless youth in our country, and their experiences of homelessness continue to be characterized by violence, discrimination, poor health, and unmet needs. Family rejection, harassment in schools, and the shortcomings of juvenile justice and child welfare continue to drive these elevated rates of homelessness. And all the while, federal funding for essential services to the well-being of these youth has remained stagnant. There is much more work to be done.

In this report, we once again explore who LGBT homeless youth are, how they become homeless, how their needs are being addressed, and what the federal government can do to eliminate homelessness among LGBT youth. In particular, we stress the following policy priorities that can assist in preventing homelessness among LGBT youth and change their lives for the better:

  • Reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act with LGBT-specific provisions.
  • Establish standards that protect LGBT youth from bullying and harassment in schools.
  • Support initiatives that strengthen families with LGBT children, and that promote acceptance and understanding between parents and children.
  • Disassemble the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • Initiate efforts to research LGBT youth homelessness and track demographic data on homeless youth that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

The State of Women in America: A 50-State Analysis of How Women Are Faring Across the Nation

September 26, 2013 Comments off

The State of Women in America: A 50-State Analysis of How Women Are Faring Across the Nation
Source: Center for American Progress

The role of women in the United States has changed dramatically over the past few decades. For one, more and more women have taken on new responsibilities outside the home by joining the paid workforce. While women made up only about one-third of the workforce in 1969, women today make up almost half of all workers in the United States. Women are also stepping up to lead the country; a record number of women ran for public office in 2012, and a record-high percentage of women are serving in Congress. In addition to making progress on issues of economics and leadership, women have made progress on health issues, which impact women’s personal well-being, as well as their economic security. Over the past few years, women have been able to end gender discrimination by big insurance companies and gain free contraception coverage because of the Affordable Care Act.

Despite women’s advancements, however, substantial inequalities remain. Although an increasing number of women are either the sole breadwinner for their family or share the role with their partners, women in the United States are paid only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. The pay gap is even larger for women of color. On average, African American women make 64 cents for every dollar that white men make. While 2012 was a watershed year for women in terms of getting elected to public office, women still comprise only 18.1 percent of Congress, despite making up more than half of the U.S. population. They also face challenges on health issues, as 2012 saw continued conservative efforts to erode women’s ability to make their own decisions about their health and well-being.

A deeper examination shows that disparities for women also exist among states. Women in Vermont, for example, make on average close to 85 cents for every dollar a man makes, while women in Wyoming make only 64 cents—more than 25 percent less than women in Vermont. On leadership, 15 states have no female elected leaders in the House of Representatives or the Senate. Lastly, while less than 10 percent of women in Vermont, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Massachusetts are uninsured, nearly 25 percent of women in Texas do not have health insurance.

A Disaster in the Making: Addressing the Vulnerability of Low-Income Communities to Extreme Weather

August 31, 2013 Comments off

A Disaster in the Making: Addressing the Vulnerability of Low-Income Communities to Extreme Weather
Source: Center for American Progress

On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy hit the northeastern United States and became the deadliest and largest Atlantic hurricane of the year and the second costliest in U.S. history after Hurricane Katrina. Heeding the lessons that emerged from the blundered response to Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, the federal government was quick to react to Sandy with Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, officials arriving throughout the region and President Barack Obama surveying the damage from the ground.

Despite the quick response, however, many low-income residents of the region continued to face dire circumstances. Many low-income elderly and disabled residents of New York City’s public housing complexes were stranded in their apartments for weeks after the storm due to elevator outages. Other residents remained in the high rises, despite having no heat or power, because they had nowhere else to go or no means of getting out of their neighborhood. In other parts of the region, low-income people were unable to make it to food stamp centers for assistance. The estimated cost of the destruction wrought by Sandy was $65 billion, with low-income households greatly impacted.

American Retirement Savings Could Be Much Better

August 20, 2013 Comments off

American Retirement Savings Could Be Much Better
Source: Center for American Progress

The personal retirement-savings plans that most Americans use, such as 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs, are unnecessarily costly and needlessly risky. But instituting another kind of retirement plan that combines the best elements of both defined-contribution and defined-benefit plans—such as the Center for American Progress’s proposed Secure, Accessible, Flexible, and Efficient, or SAFE, Retirement Plan, or the related USA Retirement Funds proposal from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)—could provide a more secure retirement at a far lower cost, according to a new analysis by the Center for American Progress.
These two proposals, also known as collective defined-contribution plans, improve upon the 401(k) model in a number of ways. As described in greater detail in a fall 2012 report, titled “Making Saving for Retirement Easier, Cheaper, and More Secure,” CAP’s SAFE Retirement Plan combines elements of a traditional pension—including regular lifetime payments in retirement, professional management, and pooled investing—with elements of a 401(k), such as predictable costs for employers and portability for workers. (see text box)
Our actuarial analysis finds that CAP’s SAFE Retirement Plan significantly outperforms both 401(k)s and IRAs on cost and risk measures. The results of our study are striking:

  • The SAFE Plan costs only half as much for workers. A worker with a SAFE Plan would have to contribute only half as much of their paycheck as a worker saving in a typical 401(k) plan to have the same likelihood of maintaining their standard of living upon retirement.
  • The SAFE Plan reduces risk dramatically. A worker with a SAFE Plan is nearly 2.3 times as likely to maintain their standard of living in retirement as a worker with a typical 401(k) account making identical contributions.

Disastrous Spending: Federal Disaster-Relief Expenditures Rise amid More Extreme Weather

April 30, 2013 Comments off

Disastrous Spending: Federal Disaster-Relief Expenditures Rise amid More Extreme Weather
Source: Center for American Progress

Superstorm Sandy devastated New Jersey, New York, and other areas along the eastern seaboard six months ago on October 29, 2012. It took at least 72 lives in the United States and caused nearly $50 billion in damages. Congress eventually provided $60 billion in disaster relief and recovery aid after weeks of deliberating and partisan bickering. These recovery efforts continue to this day.

Sandy was the worst natural disaster in the United States in terms of destruction and deaths since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, but it wasn’t the only one. In 2011 and 2012 alone, the United States experienced 25 floods, storms, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires that each caused at least $1 billion in damages. Combined, these extreme weather events were responsible for 1,107 fatalities and up to $188 billion in economic damages.

The Center for American Progress conducted an analysis and found that the federal government—which means taxpayers—spent $136 billion total from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2013 on disaster relief. This adds up to an average of nearly $400 per household per year.

Nearly all of this disaster spending was for relief and recovery from these and other smaller natural disasters. Most of these disasters are symptomatic of the man-made climate change resulting from massive amounts of carbon emissions and other pollutants in the atmosphere, which warm the oceans and the Earth. As climate change accelerates, so will federal spending on disaster relief and recovery, which will ultimately be paid for by taxpayers.

How Pay Inequity Hurts Women of Color

April 12, 2013 Comments off

How Pay Inequity Hurts Women of Color

Source: Center for American Progress

As a group, women of color earn less than their white female peers—a reality that means they need to work longer to earn the same pay as white women and then even longer to match the earnings of white men. The gender- and race-based wage gap affects families of color with long-term consequences that hinder wealth accumulation.

Women currently make up about half of all workers in the U.S. labor force and among mothers in the labor force the majority are either breadwinners or share that responsibility with a partner. In 2010, 13.1 percent of women in the workforce were black, 4.7 percent were Asian, and 12.8 percent were Latina. What’s more, these women of color are increasingly the breadwinners in their families—53.3 percent of black households and 40.1 percent of Latino households.

This issue brief will examine our nation’s gender-based wage gap and its racial overlay. It will look specifically at the long-term implications of the wage gap on communities of color and then suggest policy recommendations to narrow and eventually eliminate the wage gap to ensure equal work earns equal pay.

The Economic Benefits of Passing the DREAM Act

October 1, 2012 Comments off

The Economic Benefits of Passing the DREAM Act

Source: Center for American Progress

Until now, much of the debate surrounding the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act—a bill to provide a pathway to legal status for eligible young people who were brought here as children and who complete high school and some college or military service—focused on legal, ethical, and logistical concerns. But there are other important benefits of enacting the DREAM Act, most importantly the boost to the economy.

This report takes a close look at this economic perspective. We present an analysis to understand what would happen if the United States were to grant a pathway to legal status to an estimated 2.1 million eligible youth in our country by passing the DREAM Act. Overall, we find that the passage of the DREAM Act would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.4 million new jobs by 2030, demonstrating the potential of the proposed law to boost economic growth and improve our nation’s fiscal health.

More for the Money: A Bipartisan Approach to Realign U.S. Foreign Aid

May 14, 2012 Comments off

More for the Money: A Bipartisan Approach to Realign U.S. Foreign Aid
Source: Center for American Progress

The United States should be more selective about where and how it spends foreign assistance, according to the authors of “Engagement Amid Austerity: A Bipartisan Approach to Reorienting the International Affairs Budget” released today. The report, co-authored by John Norris of the Center for American Progress and Connie Veillette of the Center for Global Development, identifies four flagship ideas that would help reform U.S. foreign affairs institutions to better reflect national interests and reduce ineffective spending.

The report, which draws input from a senior-level, bipartisan working group of international affairs experts, includes a country-by-country analysis of where the United States spends its economic and security assistance.

What’s at Stake for Women if the Supreme Court Strikes Down the Affordable Care Act

May 4, 2012 Comments off

What’s at Stake for Women if the Supreme Court Strikes Down the Affordable Care Act
Source: Center for American Progress

Today the Center for American Progress released a new report examining the ways in which a Supreme Court ruling that strikes down the Affordable Care Act would not only undo decades of precedent but would also have a devastating effect on the health and well-being of our nation’s women.

Obamacare, as the health reform law is more commonly known, holds the promise of ensuring coverage of preventive and essential services for women, eliminating gender discrimination by health insurance companies, and making health insurance more available and affordable for women and their families.

“For women and their families, Obamacare is not a theoretical concept; it is a lifeline,” said Jessica Arons, author of the report and Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at CAP. “Attacks on Obamacare are attacks on women’s health and well-being. A ruling that strikes down the Affordable Care Act would not only undo decades of precedent; it would have a devastating effect on the millions of women who have already benefited from the health reform law and the millions more who stand to benefit from it in the years to come. Women have gained so much from Obamacare; they cannot afford to lose it now.”

Thanks to Obamacare, more than 45 million women have already taken advantage of recommended preventative services, including mammograms, Pap smears, prenatal care, well-baby care, and well-child care with no cost sharing such as co-pays and deductibles. Starting this August, millions more will be able to obtain contraception, annual visits with a gynecologist, screening for gestational diabetes, breastfeeding consulting and supplies, and screening for sexually transmitted infections, again at no extra cost.

+ Full Report

Voter Suppression 101: How Conservatives Are Conspiring to Disenfranchise Millions of Americans

April 7, 2012 Comments off
The right to vote is under attack all across our country. Conservative legislators are introducing and passing legislation that creates new barriers for those registering to vote, shortens the early voting period, imposes new requirements for already-registered voters, and rigs the Electoral College in select states. Conservatives fabricate reasons to enact these laws—voter fraud is exceedingly rare—in their efforts to disenfranchise as many potential voters among certain groups, such as college students, low-income voters, and minorities, as possible. Rather than modernizing our democracy to ensure that all citizens have access to the ballot box, these laws hinder voting rights in a manner not seen since the era of Jim Crow laws enacted in the South to disenfranchise blacks after Reconstruction in the late 1800s.
Talk about turning back the clock! At its best, America has utilized the federal legislative process to augment voting rights. Constitutional amendments such as the 12th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, and 26th have steadily improved the system by which our elections take place while expanding the pool of Americans eligible to participate. Yet in 2011, more than 30 state legislatures considered legislation to make it harder for citizens to vote, with over a dozen of those states succeeding in passing these bills. Anti-voting legislation appears to be continuing unabated so far in 2012.

Meeting the Infrastructure Imperative: CAP Proposes an Affordable Plan to Put Americans Back to Work Rebuilding our Nation’s Infrastructure

February 24, 2012 Comments off
Today, as lawmakers continue to debate infrastructure bills that inadequately meet the country’s needs, a new report released by the Center for American Progress proposes a plan to enable significant progress in bringing America’s crumbling infrastructure up to par. In addition to proposing a new level of federal investment and how to pay for it, the report outlines a set of critical reforms to how the federal government funds, prioritizes, finances, and plans for infrastructure improvements.
The paper, “Meeting the Infrastructure Imperative,” calls for increasing the nation’s infrastructure investment by $129 billion a year over the next 10 years, describes our country’s infrastructure spending needs by category, and details where the new investments should be focused.

Full Paper

Movin’ It and Improvin’ It! Using Both Education Strategies to Increase Teaching Effectiveness

January 29, 2012 Comments off

Movin’ It and Improvin’ It! Using Both Education Strategies to Increase Teaching Effectiveness
Source: Center for American Progress

Fueled in part by the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top program, a massive effort to overhaul teacher evaluation is underway in states and districts across the country. The aim is to ensure that evaluations provide a better indication of “teaching effectiveness,” or the extent to which teachers can and do contribute to students’ learning, and then to act on that information to enhance teaching and learning.

In October the National Council on Teacher Quality reported that nearly two-thirds of the states made changes to teacher-evaluation policies over the past three years, a stunning amount of policy activity in an area that had remained nearly stagnant for decades. Today 25 states require an annual evaluation of teachers—up from 15 two years ago—and 23 states now require evaluations to at least consider “objective evidence of student learning in the form of student growth and/or value-added test data.”

So far most of the public debate about such reforms focused on the technical reliability of the techniques being used to measure effectiveness, especially value-added estimates of teachers’ impact on student learning. Value-added measures rely on statistical models that examine the difference between the actual and predicted achievement of a teacher’s students given their prior test scores, demo- graphic characteristics, and other measures in the model.

But as states and districts actually begin to adopt policies to measure teaching effectiveness, another kind of debate is now raging: How exactly should school systems use the results of their new teacher-evaluation systems? More broadly, once states and districts begin to measure effectiveness, what kinds of strategies should they adopt to increase the amount of measured effectiveness in the teacher workforce over time?

Download this report (pdf)

Download the introduction and summary (pdf)

Good Government Investments in Renewable Energy

January 17, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Center for American Progress
Budget deficits drove the conversation in Washington in 2011 with the daily news dominated by government shutdown threats, the “super committee,” continuing resolutions, and arcane budgeting practices. Unfortunately, this left Americans convinced that government investments in the future are off the table because of large federal budget deficits that need to be reduced.
Americans were misled. As the Center for American Progress points out, the United States can balance our budget, reduce our long-term debt, and make key investments in our future all at the same time. CAP’s plan works toward a more vibrant economy where all Americans are better off and clean energy is an integral part of this future. Best of all, the investments that government needs to make are relatively modest and can be paid for by ending wasteful spending in the same energy sector.
There is no doubt that Americans need clean energy because it’s vital to our nation’s economic competitiveness, security, and health.
There is also no doubt that government will play an important role in making the transition to clean energy.
Why? Because the federal government always has been—and always will be—a player in energy markets. The federal government has made investments in energy for more than a century, by granting access to resources on public lands, helping build railroads and waterways to transport fuels, building dams to provide electricity, subsidizing exploration and extraction of fossil fuels, providing financing to electrify rural America, taking on risk in nuclear power, and conducting research and development in virtually all energy sources. There’s no reason that Washington should stop making new investments.

CAP Report Assesses Progress in Teacher Preparation and State Accountability

January 13, 2012 Comments off

CAP Report Assesses Progress in Teacher Preparation and State Accountability
Source: Center for American Progress

The Center for American Progress released a new report today that details the progress of the 2010 winners of the Obama administration’s signature Race to the Top education program. Titled “Getting Better at Teacher Preparation and State Accountability” by Edward Crowe, the report presents new information about the specifics of each state’s goals, activities, and challenges as part of their commitments to improve teacher education, and strengthen public disclosure and accountability of program performance.

The report describes the key findings in separate profiles of the twelve winners: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia. The paper cites examples where important changes are promised and seem likely to happen. It also notes weaknesses or areas needing improvement. An overview of the combined efforts of the states and the District of Columbia shows that:

  • Persistence in teaching by education program graduates will be disclosed publicly by five of the 12 winners. Only two states, however, will change their teacher-education accountability regulations and use programwide persistence rates for program accountability.
  • Six of the 12 winners will use data on job placement of teacher-preparation program graduates for public disclosure of program performance.
  • Only four recipients will publically report the percentage of each education preparation program’s graduates who attain advanced licensure.
  • Student-achievement outcomes will be used by all 12 grantees for public disclosure of teaching effectiveness of program graduates.

+ Full Report

Unaddressed Threat of Female Suicide Bombers

January 9, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Center for American Progress
In Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks at the launch of the Global Counterterrorism Forum in September 2011, she expressed the need to deepen our understanding of the process of radicalization and terrorist recruitment in order to undermine the appeal of extremism.
She’s absolutely right, but there’s still a gaping hole in the U.S. National Counterterrorism Strategy of 2011’s approach toward countering radicalization: the fact that terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban continue to exploit uniquely female motivations as a tool to recruit female suicide bombers to attack U.S. soldiers and international aid workers.
As the number of female suicide terrorists rises, it becomes increasingly important to acknowledge and address this threat to American lives and interests. Doing so would result in a more comprehensive counterterrorism strategy.
We outline the problem below as well as some of the factors that lead women to become terrorists.
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