While Ohio and a few other states have established statewide
voucher systems, the voucher movement has generally been moving forward
more incrementally through privately-managed charter schools and what
are known as "virtual charter schools", online teaching programs
combining aspects of home schooling with corporate privatization.
While these facts are unlikely to change the minds of rightwing
legislators looking to hand out slices of the education spending pie to
their corporate sponsors, progressive legislators can use them to stand
up against the privatization agenda and push for the education reforms
that really help children learn:
Better early education, including guaranteeing free pre-K for all
More equitable funding for poorer districts in states
Smaller class sizes for all students
Professional development and better retention of teachers, especially in poorer districts
Accountability that is more than a mandate to "teach to the test"
Following the 2000 election, everyone saw just how flawed an election
could be. In 2004, even without the same closeness, America witnessed
other problems including extremely long waiting times to vote: a sign
that America was no longer even preparing for moderately high turnout
elections. Meanwhile, one state was chugging along, doing just fine.
Since the invention of the Internet, net neutrality has been a
fundamental operating principle of the networks that maintain it -- all
content is equal. Whether an Internet user wants to read an
advertisement from ExxonMobil, an email from MoveOn, or a blog run by
their neighbor, the decision about what to access has belonged to users
and the network has responded equally to all requests.
45.8 million Americans, or 15.7 percent of the population, lacked health insurance
in 2004-- a number that is rising as more employers drop coverage for
their workers. However, many states are taking action to reverse these
trends and move towards the goal of providing health care for all
Americans. This issue of the Stateside Dispatch gives an update on some
of those initiatives.
Fully aware that their anti-worker policies are anathema to most
Americans, corporate conservatives often posture and position
themselves on worker issues to avoid bearing the full brunt of the
backlash from their noxious positions and to try to fix blame on their
opponents, who really are working for the common interest.
Hard-pressed to find something to do less popular than sell-out for
campaign contributions or outsource port operations to foreign
governments, the U.S. Congress is now considering a bill to gut state food safety protections.
Efforts to advance an anti-labor agenda died in recent weeks in both Indiana and Kentucky
when workers and their allies in statehouses rallied opposition to the
proposals. So-called 'right-to-work' legislation was brought up in both
states. In Indiana, legislative leadership had indicated they wouldn't bring it up for a vote, but a representative moved it as an amendment.
Hard work led to an overwhelming defeat of the measure 65-31. Union
leaders who helped lead the victory said that number overstates their
support. Once legislators realized that they were going to lose and
look bad, many of them switched their votes to the winning side.