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Education & Labor Archive

Jobs Index Shows Dismal Outlook for US Workers| Commentary

This month, the first-ever global ranking of countries based on the quantity — and quality — of their jobs was released. The JustJobs Index uses empirical data to provide workers around the world with a simple answer to the question, “Where can I find the best job?” Unfortunately, the index only highlights just how much work the United States must do to improve the outlook for our workers — we didn’t even break into the top 20.

It's Time to Rethink Education Policy and Consider Pre-K Plus | Commentary

Democrats support universal pre-K because we recognize the value of early childhood education and want every child to have the benefit of it — not just the wealthy ones whose parents can afford to send them to private preschools. But a new report released earlier this month shows that “universal” policies aren’t actually doing a good job of helping the low-income children who need pre-K the most and get the greatest benefits from it. Instead, New York City’s recently-enacted universal policy is disproportionately benefiting middle- and upper-income children. University of California researchers found that the rate of expansion of universal pre-K slots is more than twice as large in zip codes where families earn more than the city’s average income than in zip codes home to families in the lowest income quartile. So while universal pre-K is a laudable goal, it may not be the best policy for the kids who really need it.

Growing Children, Shrinking Wages: How to Make Child Care Affordable for the Middle Class | Commentary

While 14 million American families have a child younger than school age, child care and preschool are quickly becoming a luxury only the rich can afford. Child care costs exceed nearly every other household expense, and for families with two or more children, child care costs exceed the median rent cost in every state. On average, families pay anywhere from $4,000 to $16,000 per year for a child care center, depending on the geographic location and the age of the child.

How the Government Is Funding Human Rights Violations | Commentary

With the new fiscal year less than a month away, Congress still hasn’t passed appropriations bills, leaving government agencies and departments reviewing orders they’ve already placed for goods and services. This trend is not new. Procurement officers are being asked to buy more with less time and less funding. This forces them to turn to countries and companies which can deliver goods in a quick turnaround time on a razor-thin margin, but have little to no respect for human rights.

The House Must Act to End Employment Discrimination | Commentary

From coast to coast, courts are taking action to extend equal rights to LGBT Americans. Unfortunately, back in Washington, the Republican-controlled House has extended its historic streak of inaction by continuing to allow employees to be fired simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

A Repair Plan for the Social Security Disability Insurance Program | Commentary

If our combined 40 years in Congress has taught us anything, it is that policymakers rarely deal with problems until the last possible minute.

As Education Costs Rise, Miss America Scholarship Program Leads Way | Commentary

For more than 90 years, the Miss America Organization has been a societal force for women, and for the past 70 years, the organization has been empowering them to achieve their dreams by providing an outlet for their education and talents.

Congress' Back to School Assignment: Fully Fund U.S. Education Research | Commentary

As America’s young people go back to school, we’ll hear lots of discussion about how “our kids need to know more.” As an educator, I would add that my colleagues and I also need to know much more about how to teach different children in different contexts.

For-Profit Colleges Educate the Military and Veterans | Commentary

Based on my experience as a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve and as a veteran of the Iraq and the Afghanistan wars, I feel that I have a deep understanding of what our service members, veterans and military families have sacrificed for this nation. This is why I am concerned that there is a concerted effort, on Capitol Hill and in the administration, to block access to for-profit colleges for active duty military and veterans.

Lawmakers Must Act Now to Prioritize Jobs and Protect Mom-and-Pop Businesses | Commentary

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its August Employment numbers on Friday, it is expected to reinforce the trend we’ve been seeing for months: The hospitality sector is one of the few bright spots in the economy. In fact, the data shows month-after-month growth, with numbers higher than they’ve been since June 2008.

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.

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