Tag Archives: Research and Development

President Obama Features Paid Leave In State of the Union Address


Dear Friend,
Yesterday was a thrilling day for working families, A Better Balance, and the entire paid leave movement in the United States! In the past few months, we have shared with you an incredible number of work-family victories, including the passage of 4 new paid sick time laws (which A Better Balance worked on) in November’s election. The momentum is clearly continuing into 2015! In his State of the Union address, President Obama featured the need for paid leave laws in the United States and pointed to the success of the issue in the November election.
A Better Balance is currently drafting and providing legal support on paid sick time bills and paid family leave bills in dozens of states across the country. The President’s call for a nationwide paid sick time law, his pledge to provide support through his budget for state paid family leave programs, and his spotlight on the need for workplace leave will provide an incredible boost to these campaigns and our organization’s work.
"Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. . . . So I’ll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own. And since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last November, let’s put it to a vote right here in Washington."

A Better Balance’s Co-Presidents, Sherry Leiwant and Dina Bakst, released the following statement last night on the President’s remarks:
“A Better Balance applauds President Barack Obama for shining a national spotlight on paid family leave – and the idea that Americans cannot be financially secure unless our public policies support their ability to care for their children and families – in tonight’s State of the Union address. 
Ten years ago, A Better Balance was founded as a legal advocacy organization to address the problems caused by the failure of our public policies to keep up with the changing workforce and the needs of families. The proliferation of new laws we have written in states and cities around the country guaranteeing workers paid sick time for themselves and their families, paid family leave and an end to pregnancy discrimination are proof that better policies are possible and will work.
Tonight the President makes it clear that this is a national problem that requires national solutions – so that families are not left with impossible choices between caring for their loved ones and meeting their basic financial needs.  And we pledge to work harder than ever to ensure that those policies become a reality for all American families.” 
On our blog, we provide more information on the President’s specific proposals. To learn more about the paid sick time wins that President Obama referenced last night, check out our webpage on the issue and our comparison chart of paid sick time laws in the United States.
As we continue to fight for paid leave laws and policies, you can help! Stories are crucial to informing public officials of the need for paid leave. If you have a story about your need for paid sick time or paid family leave, or if having paid time off to care for your family (especially if it is leave provided under one of the laws we’ve helped pass) has made a difference for you, please share your story with us! And if you work in New York State and would like to support our ongoing campaign to pass a paid family leave insurance law, please add your name to our petition.
Thanks for all you do to support our work.
The A Better Balance Team,
Sherry, Dina, Phoebe, Jared, Elizabeth, Risha, Morenike, Rachel, Jake, Molly & Lynn

Republicans who will retire


Noracism

by Jaxon

There’s no place for racism in this day and age — especially not in our State Capitol.

Yet on Februrary 26th, at a meeting of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, State Senator Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside said: “The poor are more likely to commit crimes, and colored most likely to be poor.”

Later he doubled down on his offensive language, clarifying “that’s not just the negro.”1

Can you believe it? Not only is this language incredibly offensive, it’s spreading the worst stereotypes about people of color.

And here’s the irony: People of color make up the majority of Jim Honeyford’s district. With attitudes like these, how can he truly understand and fight for the people he’s supposed to represent?

While voters across the state immediately demanded that Honeyford leave office, his Republican leadership remained silent. Not a peep.

Even worse, instead of proving that there is no room for the attitudes of Jim Honeyford in their party, Republicans turned and blocked a vote on the state Voting Rights Act THE VERY NEXT DAY. This simple bill is targeted to address unfair aspects of our elections system — breaking the stereotypes and ignorance perpetuated by people like Jim Honeyford.

Republicans need to understand that it’s 2015, not 1965, and they cannot condone this behavior within their party.

Join us in demanding Republican Majority Leader Mark Schoesler and State Senate leadership ask Senator Jim Honeyford to step down.

These students were in Olympia on Friday to call for Jim Honeyford to resign

Saturday was the 50th anniversary of the Selma march, where 600 brave souls risked their lives and marched for the right to vote.

While we celebrate how far we’ve come, we are reminded by Republican leaders how far we still have to go.

The Yakima Valley – and our state – deserve better. It’s time to open the door to a new generation of leadership.

Send a message to Senate Republicans. Add your name and tell them to call for Jim Honeyford to resign today.

In solidarity,

Jaxon

http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/03/05/21834324/republican-state-senator-caves-to-pressure-apologizes-for-clueless-racial-comments

Strengthening Our Children’s Futures


By

Principles To Guide The Reauthorization Of Federal Education Policy

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) into law to ensure all kids, no matter their family’s income level, zip code, or background, receive an education that gives them an opportunity for success. Since then the legislation has gone through changes, but at its core it maintained a federal role in education that focuses on promoting equity and ensuring that disadvantaged students receive the resources needed for a quality education.

The latest version of the ESEA, more commonly known as No Child Left Behind, has been long overdue for reauthorization, and it looks like this year Congress may actually take action. There is no question that NCLB is outdated and broken, but it must be changed in a way that puts students first. In that light, the Center for American Progress has joined with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to highlight key principles that should be included in the new version of the law.

Far from outlining a complete set of recommendations for the reauthorization of this critical legislation, these share principles are rather a statement of what good education policy should be in some of the core — and controversial — areas of debate. They are intended to encourage Congress to work together on a bipartisan basis to improve the legislation. And the hope is that, with these shared principles in mind, new federal policy will ensure that all students — and especially those who have traditionally been the most disadvantaged — are prepared to compete in a global economy.

Below is a summary of the shared principles that CAP and AFT have released, and click here to check out the full statement.

  • Address funding inequities to improve teaching and learning;
  • Give parents and communities useful information about whether students are working at grade level or are struggling, and allow teachers to diagnose and help their students. This means maintaining the federal requirement for annual statewide testing in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school;
  • Disaggregate assessment results by subgroups, including race and income level, and use these assessment results to identify where learning gaps exist;
  • Provide a system of multiple measures for accountability and relieve some of the unintended pressure of tests on students;
  • Design accountability systems intended to identify and target interventions for schools with large achievement gaps or large numbers of low-performing disadvantaged kids;
  • Raise the bar for entry to and through the teacher pipeline including at least doubling the investments for states and districts to elevate the teaching profession and support educators.

BOTTOM LINE: The goal of federal education policy should be to prepare future generations for success and ensure that disadvantaged students have access to the resources they need. With the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind under consideration, now is a critical time to make necessary changes to strengthen our education system. These shared principles should serve as a guide to doing so — our children deserve no less.

Ferguson bias


just another rant …

beaseedforchangestickersGREEN

Ferguson is back in the news and most of the media whether from the states or overseas describes Ferguson as an “embattled city” has also had some positive changes happen since that DOJ report.

This report not only informed America that a small town has been under control, it has been used as a revenue source and subject to search seizures stops while driving ,shopping, walking for just being black. Ferguson is 67% black 85% cited and those residents make up 93% of all arrests. However, their police department is about 96% white and if you listen to the Mayor or police officials their excuses are that far and few Blacks apply, or are not qualified to be on the force.  The DOJ report in my opinion validated what residents were saying after Mike Brown was killed, some say has been going on for years possibly decades lest we include comments about other “Ferguson’s” all over our country is obviously disturbing. It is now our 21st Century reality that comes from fear, politicians who get votes from fear mongering and a learned behavior culture that should be followed and reformed as the DOJ report suggests even if this scathing report comes from outside authorities. Yet, after watching the press conference, the viewer gets the idea that the information from that DOJ report is devastating, brutal and based on fact though Ferguson officials appear to be acing like they are going to stall or shove immediate changes to the back burner. We all saw Mayor Knowles reaction and it may have been a natural response by folks in leadership or those in positions of power, but the longer they wait to implement change the tougher it will be to hold his title even if folks have been leaving or supposedly fired. This finding by the DOJ was validating and clearly just the beginning as real change will take elections that replace the problem and get those into office that will have the courage to diversify Ferguson. They need leaders that create solutions, take responsibility and  not run or hide from it.  Finding out that some of these people in leadership positions will be paid for a year is offensive. I object to paying people who clearly ignored, avoided, closed their eyes or participated quietly if those emails were sent out in-house only with racial slurs or bias is on the backs of those leaders in the police department.

Anyway, I was checking my email looking at blogs when a blogger exercising their 1st amendment rights seemed to have sparked a response from me and as stated on their blog ~~ feel free to respond and that response is below …

This is just my opinion and quite possibly it has some ill feelings attached, but maybe you should re-read your entry because you constantly state that you only know what is being reported yet you write.

“In my mind’s eye I can almost envision some backward baseball cap vigilante thinking to himself/herself that he or she was taking the appropriate action required to “Take Murica Back.”

I hope folks know that what gets reported can be subjective and while there are several reports from Wednesday are that the shots came from across the street, which they say were almost a block down, behind and away from where the peaceful protestors were. It was also reported that police drew guns within seconds on what seemingly were peaceful protestors even while there was “agitation” prior to the shooting and quite possibly “outside agitators.”  We all need to be reminded that this is also something that has not occurred since August, which could very well mean someone from the outside was at it again and or it could have been a resident. I want to make sure you know believe me anyone who shoots at civilians and or police for no reason are guilty, but you have decided to tell your readers what that looks like and that is just wrong. Why, because we do not know if the shooter/vigilante had a backward baseball cap yet. Unfortunately, this seems to be code for “black male” and if that assumption is wrong, I would definitely stand corrected.  I was taught to know, that not all white folks are bad, racists , wear White Hoods, feel like overseers, slave owners or as if what’s needed is to put absolute control over a community that is over 67% Black 85%cited and 93%arrested fined and has been the police/town revenue …fundraiser since who knows how long