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The story behind the killing off of public education in New Orleans, with public schools replaced wholesale by charter schools:

This video is the first in a series, from the New Orleans Education Equity Roundtable and the Schott Foundation.

(Via Diane Ravitch)

Continue reading below the fold for more of the week's education and labor news.


  • Corrupt Ohio charter school is closing:
    The superintendent of the VLT Academy, a charter school of 600 some students, was making $140,000 per year; her daughter was making $92,000 per year for data entry; and her husband was making $62,000 in addition to running his company that performs the charter’s janitorial services, under a highest bid contract, for $323,000 per year. The family was receiving nearly $1,000 per student for central office duties and cleaning.
  • "School deserts" hit Chicago's black neighborhoods.
  • Sabrina Joy Stevens explains why teacher tenure is important:
    It is still the case that tenureless teachers risk being fired for speaking out against cheating, marrying the person they love, and getting pregnant, among other things. A profession that already sheds up to half of its ranks every five years can hardly afford these losses, and neither can the children and communities they serve.

A fair day's wage

  • The Massachusetts Nurses Association says it has enough signatures to get two measures on the Massachusetts ballot. One would set nurse-to-patient ratios, and the other would require financial transparency for hospitals receiving tax money, as well as capping hospital profits and CEO salaries.
  • This would be good riddance to bad trash: American Apparel's board is ousting sleazebag company founder and CEO Dov Charney, a famous sexual harasser among other things.
  • Republicans, led by Rep. Eric Cantor, have tried to limit overtime pay. Senate Democrats are trying to expand overtime:
    Echoing a similar move by President Barack Obama, a bill introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and eight other Democrats on Wednesday would make far more Americans eligible for time-and-a-half pay on hours worked beyond 40 in a week. The legislation would accomplish that by limiting the exclusions that have helped carve a growing share of workers out of overtime protections.
  • According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the Walmart truck driver who injured a limo van full of comedians, including Tracy Morgan, had been driving for 13 hours straight.
  • Here's a look at how phased retirement for federal workers has stalled out since passed in 2012:
    The broad outlines are these: Employees can partially retire and draw on half of their pensions while continuing to work part time. OPM issued draft regulations more than a year ago that said participants would need 20 years of experience and have to be eligible to retire immediately. And they would need to spend at least 20 percent of their time mentoring their successors or other employees.

    But would-be retirees are anxiously awaiting other details: Will agencies limit the number of employees in an office who can participate? Will the government cap the number of years someone can work part-time?

    Rules to implement the law were on a fast track under former OPM Director John Berry. But a December 2013 deadline came and went.

  • Support for a $15 minimum wage in Chicago is building among aldermen.
  • The minimum wage in Washington, DC, takes one of its scheduled steps on July 1, going from $8.25 to $9.50 on its way to $11.50. But DC Working Families is trying to get an initiative on the November ballot that would raise the minimum wage to $12.50 by 2016.
  • How a plan to reduce the Social Security Administration workforce dramatically would affect Social Security recipients:
    Self-service checkout may work at grocery stores, but it's not the right model for an agency tasked with determining complex retirement and disability benefits for tens of millions of Americans each year. Do they really expect grandpa to hop on his iPad Mini to apply for benefits and get all his questions answered?

    Most of the individuals contacting SSA for help are elderly, disabled or indigent. Many others are active seniors who simply are overwhelmed by the complicated maze of laws, regulations and policies pertaining to retirement benefits. They deserve and expect face-to-face interaction with skilled employees who can ensure they receive all the benefits they are owed.

  • New Jersey state Senate passes Made in America legislative package.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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