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Education & Labor Archive

Moving Forward, Ideas Matter | Commentary

As the dust settles after the midterm elections, it is clear that voters across the country sent a strong message that they have had enough of partisan gridlock and inaction in Washington. And now the hard work begins – turning to the future and to the ideas that will move our nation forward.

Service Members, Spouses and Veterans Often Need a New Kind of College Education | Commentary

When the newly elected Congress convenes, it will consider two seemingly unrelated issues: funding a new military involvement in the Middle East and reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, which governs student aid.

Retired Military Leaders: School Nutrition Supports National Security | Letter to the Editor

I applaud Melinda Bonner’s efforts to make healthier school meals work in her district (Congress: Don’t Turn Back the Clock on Healthy School Meals, Roll Call, Dec. 4). As a retired general from Alabama, I would like to add that improved school nutrition is also important for our future national security.

Murray Announces Intent to Take HELP

Patty Murray confirmed Friday that she plans to succeed Tom Harkin as the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee next year, where she is expected to play a prominent role defending the health care law and trying to forge compromises on stalled education policy.

Workers Need More Than Canned Goods This Holiday Season: They Need a Raise | Commentary

Like communities across the country, Capitol Hill is pitching in for a time-honored tradition this holiday season: a canned food drive to benefit the local food bank. Stepping up to donate and volunteer are members of Congress, their staff and the Hill’s other major inhabitant — corporate lobbyists. This is also a popular time of year for elected officials to volunteer at food pantries and soup kitchens, and highlight the good work of private food assistance in their districts.

Let's Give Our Students a Chance to Compete in the Digital Age | Commentary

Across the nation, the powerful combination of broadband, affordable devices and increasing opportunity for cloud-based content is transforming education. Traditional teaching tools like blackboards and books are giving way to interactive digital content delivered directly to students’ devices. We have moved from a world where a connected computer lab down the hall was a luxury, to one where high-speed broadband delivered directly to the classroom is a necessity. Indeed, we have graduated into the digital age.

Congress Can, and Should, Address Student Loan Debt | Commentary

More and more jobs today require at least some type of higher education, whether it’s a four-year degree, an associate’s degree or a certificate from the local community college.

Congress: Don't Turn Back the Clock on Healthy School Meals | Commentary

When it comes to obesity, my home state of Alabama is usually the bearer of bad news. Only 10 states have a higher childhood obesity rate than we do and only seven states have a higher rate among adults. Our rankings are even worse when we talk about causes of obesity and related health conditions — we have the highest rate of adult diabetes in the nation.

FBI Database Is Anything but a Gold Standard for Employment Screening | Commentary

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners applauds Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., for their commitment to protecting vulnerable populations from predators through stringent background screening (“Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators: A Challenge With a Bipartisan Solution,” Roll Call, Nov. 17). We take issue, however, with their editorial in which they characterize the FBI’s fingerprint database as the “gold standard” for use in employment or volunteer screening. In reality, the FBI database is far from perfect and should never be regarded as the most reliable source for comprehensive and accurate background screening.

Labor Relations Board in State of Flux as Republicans Prepare to Take Over Congress

Even without the expected Republican deluge of oversight and appropriations riders, the National Labor Relations Board is in a period of turmoil.

GOP Strategy on Labor Issues Remains Hazy

The new Republican-controlled Congress is expected to take a pro-business approach to labor issues, including trying to rein in what GOP leaders consider an activist National Labor Relations Board and perhaps blocking some of its decisions.

The Midterm Elections: What Do They Mean for Accreditation? | Commentary

The midterm elections are over and the question for higher education and accreditation is: What will the change to Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate mean going forward? Will we have a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act any time in the next few years? If so, what will it look like? If not, what will this mean for the academic community?

Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators: A Challenge With a Bipartisan Solution | Commentary

Families all over America rely on after-school programs, summer camps and other youth-serving institutions to get their children involved in activities that enrich their lives and help them grow up to be healthy, productive adults. Sadly, these programs can also be a vulnerable target for child predators who hope to gain access to their next victims under the guise of seeking employment or volunteer opportunities. To keep our kids safe from predators, child-serving organizations must be equipped with access to the most robust criminal background checks available — the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators -- A Challenge With a Bipartisan Solution

Families all over America rely on after-school programs, summer camps and other youth-serving institutions to get their children involved in activities that enrich their lives and help them grow up to be healthy, productive adults. Sadly, these programs can also be a vulnerable target for child predators who hope to gain access to their next victims under the guise of seeking employment or volunteer opportunities. To keep our kids safe from predators, child-serving organizations must be equipped with access to the most robust criminal background checks available — the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

Jobs Gains Ease Wage Pressure -- on Congress

The gradually building recovery in the labor market may be one reason for the lack of urgency on Capitol Hill for action on the minimum wage.

Ballot Actions Only Sharpen the Divide on Minimum Wage

The strong support voters showed in the midterm elections for increasing the minimum wage reinforced the idea of broad popular support for raising the wage floor and led Democrats to revive their calls for a higher federal minimum.

Sen. Durbin: Right Issue, Wrong Focus | Commentary

For some years now, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, has waged a war against for-profit colleges and universities. More than almost any member of the United States Congress, he has targeted these institutions of higher learning with the goal of regulating them heavily or putting them out of business altogether.

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.

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