Monday, November 11, 2019

DACA Goes To Supreme Court

DACA BEFORE SCOTUS: The Supreme Court tomorrow morning will hear oral arguments over the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program . The high court will debate whether it can review President Trump's decision to phase out work authorization and deportation protections for 669,000 Dreamers who were illegally brought to the U.S. or overstayed a visa as children. 
DACA, which was established in 2012 as an executive-branch program by former President Barack Obama, provides deportation relief and work permits to Dreamers brought to the United States as children. Trump, arguing that DACA would not withstand legal challenges, moved to phase out the initiative in September 2017. But federal courts blocked the decision. 
"All eyes will be on Chief Justice John Roberts when the court hears arguments Tuesday," Mark Sherman reports for the Associated Press. "Roberts is the conservative justice closest to the court's center who also is keenly aware of public perceptions of an ideologically divided court."
He points out that Roberts sided with the high court's four conservatives on upholding Trump's travel ban and it's four liberals in rejecting the administration's move to add a citizenship question on the census. "His vote could be decisive a third time, as well," Sherman writes. Read more on Washington Post

Friday, November 08, 2019

Chile Awakens

Chile Awakens
BY
Last week, in response to a four-cent rise in the price of the metro fare, mass protests fed by dissatisfaction with thirty-plus years of post-Pinochet neoliberal consensus erupted in Santiago and then across Chile. In response, students organized mass fare dodging, the government escalated with heavy police presence, and mass protests ensued. The right-wing government of President Sebastián Piñera reacted swiftly and severely, imposing a state of emergency and toque de queda (curfew), a legacy feature of the 1980 Chilean constitution deeply reminiscent of the most turbulent days of the military dictatorship.
The youth of Chile, and in particular students, have been at the forefront of popular resistance, not just in the present moment, but as far back as the mass mobilization of students in 2007 and 2011 against privatization and the for-profit education system. These earlier mobilizations led to the formation of the Frente Amplio (or “Broad Front”), a broad left electoral coalition composed of distinct left parties and social movements whose principal aim is to challenge the neoliberal consensus.
Collapse of the Neoliberal Consensus
Despite its reputation as a relatively wealthy Latin American country, Chilean society is deeply divided between the rich and poor. Income inequality is worse in Chile than in any other OECD nation. Meanwhile, public services ranging from the pension system to water remain privatized — as much a legacy of the Pinochet years as the 1980 constitution and the state of emergency.
“Economically, Chile continues to do the same thing it’s been doing for twenty years, namely following an extractivist model, which relies heavily on copper but also has to do with forestry, fisheries, etc.,” explains Emilia Ríos Saavedra, a Revolución Democrática (a member party of Frente Amplio) militant and city councilor in Ñuñoa, a suburb of Santiago. “This creates a tension and a feeling of helplessness where the political system cannot respond. There is no capacity on the one hand, and on the other hand, the political and economic elites, above all, are not capable of thinking about the larger needs of the country.”
As the center-left coalition that led Chile through the transition to democracy failed to address the growing crisis caused by the economic policies of the Chicago Boys who collaborated with Pinochet in the 1980s to dismantle Chile’s social democratic legacy, their popular support has collapsed. In the 2017 presidential election, the right-wing billionaire who introduced consumer debt to Chile, Sebastián Piñera, was elected.
See more: 

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Chicago Teachers Didn’t Win Everything, But They’ve Transformed the City—And the Labor Movement


Rebecca Burns
November 1, 2019
Working In These Time

Chicago teachers and staff returned to the classrooms Friday after more than two weeks on strike. Their walkout lasted longer than the city’s landmark 2012 strike, as well as those in Los Angeles and Oakland earlier this year.

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike also lasted long enough for the season’s first snowstorm to blanket thousands of teachers and staff who surrounded City Hall Thursday morning to demand Mayor Lori Lightfoot agree to restore missed instructional days as a final condition of their returning to work. After a few hours, the union and the mayor arrived at a compromise of five make-up days—a move Lightfoot had resisted until the eleventh hour, despite the fact that it’s a standard conclusion to teacher strikes.

Over the course of an often-bitter battle, CTU and its sister union, SEIU 73, overcame a series of such ultimatums from the recently elected mayor. Before the strike, Lightfoot had refused to write issues such as staffing increases or class size caps into a contract at all. Following a budget address last week, Lightfoot vowed that there was no more money left for a “bailout” of the school district. But a tentative agreement approved by CTU delegates Wednesday night requires the school district to put a nurse and social worker in every school within five years and allocates $35 million more annually to reduce overcrowded classrooms. Both unions also won pay bumps for support staff who have made poverty wages.

Yet these substantial gains still fell short of what many members had hoped to achieve, given that they were fighting for basic investments already enjoyed by most suburban school districts—investments that Lightfoot herself had campaigned on this spring.

“It took our members 10 days to bring these promises home,” CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates told reporters after an agreement was reached over instructional days. “But I want to tell my members: They have changed Chicago.”

Race, Borders and Belonging


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Chicago Teachers Union Members Win Their Strike

CHICAGO — More than 300,000 public school students prepared to return to school as Chicago leaders on Thursday announced an end to an acrimonious teachers’ strike that lasted 11 days, the longest here in decades, and turned life upside down for families across the nation’s third-largest school district.
In the end, the clash between the teachers and Chicago’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, appeared to have brought mixed results. The city agreed to spend millions of dollars on reducing class sizes; promised to pay for hundreds more social workers, nurses and librarians; and approved a 16 percent salary increase over the coming five years. But not all union members were satisfied; a vote to approve a tentative deal was noticeably split, and some teachers wanted to press on to seek steeper reductions in class sizes, more teacher preparation time and aid for special education. New York tTimes. 



Chicago Teachers Union members voted Wednesday to approve a tentative five-year contract in a tight vote, but they say they will remain on strike until the mayor agrees to make up the days lost due to the strike.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot plans to hold a press conference at 9:45 p.m. to respond, but from the beginning she has said she didn’t want to make up the missed days.
Under the tentative agreement, the teachers union got the school district to agree in contract language that over five years it will add a nurse and a social worker in every school. They also got the school district to promise to hire a host of other staff, including lots of special education case managers and homeless coordinators.
It also won $35 million to reduce overcrowded classrooms. 

Chicago Teachers Striking for the Common Good

common good
Chicago educators and school staff in their third week of striking. They’re showing how unions can use the power of picket lines and public pressure to fight for more than wage increases.

The twenty-five thousand educators of the CTU and 7,500 school workers represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 want their new contracts with the Chicago Public Schools to commit in writing to increased resources; more nurses, counselors, and other support staff; class size caps; limits on school privatization; affordable housing assistance; and more.

The traditional bread-and-butter issues of wages and benefits are important in this strike, especially for the poorly paid paraprofessionals of both unions whose average annual salaries are low enough that their children qualify for free and reduced-price meals when they go to school. But the CTU and SEIU are using this strike to demand answers to bigger questions, too: what will it take to achieve education and social justice? And how can unions use the power of picket lines and public pressure to help get there?

This broader vision for labor is often called “bargaining for the common good.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Bilingual Opportunity



California’s Bilingual Opportunity: Supporting Students’ Home Languages


Across California’s K-12 classrooms today, millions of students arrived to school with an invaluable asset: the ability to speak a language other than English.

However, due to many factors, California has not prioritized quality bilingual programs for these students and many of them do not become literate in their home language.

See our latest fact sheet to learn more about the benefits of leveraging students' language assets in our schools and workplaces. This is the first in a series of three fact sheets by Senior Analyst Jonathan Kaplan and Research Associate Aureo Mesquita looking at opportunities policymakers have to help the state's bilingual students achieve biliteracy.



Share the Budget Center's latest report on Twitter!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Chicago Teachers Remain on Strike

UNIONS
CHICAGO TEACHERS REMAIN ON STRIKE: The 25,000-member Chicago Teachers Union, on strike since Oct. 17, is set to miss another day of school, and Chicago Public Schools will remain closed. Teachers have been striking for reduced class size, nurses and social workers in schools, among other things.
CTU on Sunday told Chicago Public Schools that it would not reach a deal and will head into an eighth day of striking. This will be the longest teachers strike in Chicago since 1987, when the teachers strike lasted 19 days.
 
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