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Education & Labor Archive

Want to Bring Together Congressional and College Leaders? Propose a College Rating System | Commentary

It was a just a year ago that a hurricane hit higher education. It was formed in the Office of the President and named “College Rating System.” It is on a path that means heavy rains in fall 2014 and even heavier rain and gale force winds in 2015. The aftermath will continue into 2018, when the results of the rating system are tied to federal student aid. Why create such a system? What data are to be used? How will it work?

Poll Finds Little Support for Federal Role in Education

Americans are increasingly uncomfortable with the current federal role in public education, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The McDonald's Case: Matching Labor Law to Workplace Reality | Commentary

McDonald’s is now responsible for labor law violations committed in its restaurants — even if the store is owned by a franchisee.

Raising the Bar for Student Success | Commentary

For the first time in our history, American students have crossed the 80 percent high-school graduation rate threshold, remaining on pace to reach a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020. To succeed in today’s economy, earning a high school diploma is a necessary first step, not the end goal. Yet too often, the path to a diploma is not rigorous enough to prepare our graduates for their next steps. America cannot compete globally if 20 percent of our team isn’t at the starting line, and still others are not prepared for success in college or their careers.

Survival of the Fittest From Paid Sick Days | Commentary

New York City workers as of the end of last month are now able to start using their earned sick leave. Since April, New York City workers in all but the smallest firms have able to earn up to five paid sick days a year to care for themselves or an ill family member. It is estimated that about 1.2 million workers will be able to take sick leave for the first time beginning July 30. Nonetheless, a staggering 41 million Americans remain without access to basic paid sick leave protections.

NLRB Stacking the Deck Against Small Businesses and Employees | Commentary

Behind every small business is a story of entrepreneurial vision and risk taking. All startups are a daunting endeavor. That’s why the franchising model was created — to help launch new businesses, leveraging resources from successful nationally recognized companies to individual operations.It’s a model that has worked well for decades — franchisors grow and expand their brand-reach while franchisees realize the dream of starting their own business.

Union Rules Vary From State to State

Each state sets its own laws regarding teachers unions, and the laws vary widely, not only on whether teachers may be forced to pay union dues. They vary on whether and on what issues a union may collectively bargain and whether unions may call strikes.

Bringing the Classroom to Court: The Battle for Teacher Protection

Two sets of lawsuits currently moving through the courts have the potential to upend the way teachers unions operate, first in California and potentially across the country.

Pension Predators Continue to Prey on Seniors | Commentary

The Government Accountability Office recently released the details of its monthslong undercover investigation into companies targeting and preying on retirees with so-called pension advance schemes. Run by scammers a rung below payday lenders, these companies market to financially distressed retirees and trade their future pension payments in exchange for a lump-sum cash transfer.

'Fair Workweek' Is Latest Ploy to Organize Retail, Restaurant Employers | Commentary

On Tuesday, top Democrats and a who’s who of labor activists unveiled the latest attack on American businesses. Joined by Reps. George Miller, D-Calif., and Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., a confederation of labor groups and their activist allies known as the Center for Popular Democracy launched the benevolent-sounding “Fair Workweek Initiative.” The effort is being led by Carrie Gleason — a longtime activist organizer with deep ties to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union — and purports to ostensibly win “predictable, stable, transparent schedules” for workers. The real goal of this campaign, however, is to support full-fledged union organizing drives within the restaurant and retail industries.

How Congress Can Fix the Student Debt Crisis | Commentary

As Congress works to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and strengthen student loan policies, the challenges are daunting:

Education Official Who Left Under Ethical Cloud Returns to Washington | Commentary

My organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, recently requested information from the Department of Education and the University of California system about the role former Education official Robert Shireman — and the organization he heads, California Competes — are playing in the development of education policy. CREW believes Shireman’s coziness with Wall Street short sellers, and his overall indifference to playing by the rules, should make government officials wary of working with him.

We Need Affordable Child Care for Working Families | Commentary

Our children deserve the best care and education possible, but working parents in Chicago and across the country face a frustrating lack of access to affordable, quality child care. At a time when many families need two incomes just to make ends meet, quality child care is an absolute necessity and one of the biggest financial burdens working families face.

Congressional Baseball Is More Than a Game | Commentary

In the three years I’ve pitched in the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, I’ve put these numbers up: 1.7 ERA, 34 K’s, 10 hits allowed, and a WHIP of 0.8571 in 21 innings pitched. These are numbers I am looking to improve upon in this year’s contest.

After Failing to Renew Unemployment Insurance, Congress Is a Culprit in Foreclosure Crisis | Commentary

In the immediate aftermath of the nation’s 2008 foreclosure crisis, Congress played a constructive role in keeping Americans in their homes. Lawmakers supported loan modification programs and sweeping financial reforms, and — while many rightfully demanded more action — these efforts eased the effects of the crisis.

PBGC Premium Increases Punish the Good Guys | Commentary

Here we go again. The insatiable Highway Trust Fund needs replenishing and, as CQ Roll Call’s David Harrison reported June 13, “House Republicans now are looking at another round of ‘pension smoothing’ combined with another increase in premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which guarantees the pensions of workers with defined benefit retirement plans.”

Let's Focus on Access, Cost and Speed to Improve Higher Education | Commentary

In the lexicon of acronyms, there is one that stands apart as not only wise, but politically savvy. KISS, which stands for “Keep it simple, Simon,” is credited as a U.S. Navy design principle in the 1960s. KISS is based on the principle that most systems work best if they are kept simple — common sense, but critical.

FCC Should Focus Broadband Internet Improvements on Rural Communities | Commentary

In the late 1800s, when wagon trains were traveling westward in America, they had a saying: “You don’t move ahead by leaving some behind.”

Unemployment Extension Vital for Long-Term Jobless | Commentary

Last December, House and Senate Republicans uniformly said they would not consider an unemployment insurance extension unless there was a bipartisan compromise that was fully paid for, contained some unspecified reforms to the program and created jobs. In early April, after three months of negotiations and numerous false starts, they got just that: The Senate finally approved a bipartisan bill that met every one of those demands, while paying benefits through the end of May.

Making Student Success a Priority in Federal Policy | Commentary

As the nation strives to meet the growing need for talent to drive today’s knowledge economy and democratic society, more and more Americans agree that increasing postsecondary attainment is critical. Business, union leaders, governors from both parties and President Barack Obama, agree that higher rates of college-level learning are needed — both to ensure the nation’s progress and to enhance the lives of millions of individual Americans. The political will for postsecondary attainment is there and growing, but it’s up to Congress to capitalize on it, creating federal policies that make student success in higher education a national priority.

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