Daily News/Blog Posts

Filmmaker Robert Greenwald Tells Truthout How the Koch Brothers Endanger Democracy and Our Health . BuzzFlash at Truthout first got to know Robert Greenwald when he and Earl Katz, who is now chair of Public Interest Pictures, were trying to get a film about the theft of the 2000 presidential election, "Unprecedented," off the ground. That was over a decade ago (4/12)

NYT Unloads on Scott Walker: The Wages of Ideology. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is struggling to fight off a determined effort to replace him in an extraordinary recall election scheduled for June 5. The original reason more than 900,000 Wisconsinites signed petitions to get him out of office was his signature on a bill that stripped most public employees of their collective bargaining rights (4/12)

Walker's snotty weak campaign start reflects his real personality. . The one benefit Scott Walker will see from the recall election, will be the dilution of protesters at his many stops throughout Wisconsin. It will be hard to keep up with him (4/12)

Mitt Romney's 'Women for Romney' surrogate is not for equal pay for women in Wisconsin. As he shakes the Etch A Sketch, Mitt Romney is trying hard to boost his appeal among women, after fully embracing the war on women just to keep up with Rick Santorum (4/12).

Walker flees Wisconsin people, Hides with Charlie Sykes. Even though everyone deserves to know exactly when Scott Walker first knew about the secret e-mail system run out of Walker's county executive office during his 2010 campaign for governor, don't look for a town hall question-and-answer session or a press conference on the topic (4/12).

Walker sends out conspiracy theory lackey to stall FBI “John Doe” investigation that continues to boil. It’s been pretty obvious that the database holding signatures of those who signed the Walker recall petition are becoming more about McCarthyistic techniques to make it a black list proving that the signatory is not a sucker for Walker (4/12)

Republican "War On Women" Is Not A Left-Wing Invention. The Dane County Democratic Party (web site) hosted a Gubernatorial Candidate Forum at the Concourse Hotel in Madison featuring Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette and Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (4/12).

Paul Ryan's Cynical Catholic Claims. Following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Graeme Zielinski in response to claims made by Paul Ryan to justify his radical budget (4/12).

Struggling Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble Tops in Waste of Taxpayer Dollars For two men who pound their chests as fiscal conservatives, Wisconsin Reps. Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble certainly can blow through hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money in no time flat. And, for seemingly no return (4/12).

Mitt Romney’s Campaign on Whether Romney Supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: ‘We’ll Get Back To You On That.’. On a press call this morning, Mitt Romney’s campaign was asked if Mitt Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Their response to the question was, “We’ll get back to you on that.” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate released the following statement on the Romney campaign’s initial failure to take a position on pay equity for women (4/12).

No War on Women in Wisconsin?. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 202, essentially a reversal of Wisconsin's Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (Act 20), into law on April 5, 2012, more than a month after the bill was passed (4/12).

Wendy's is the 6th Firm to Say It is No Longer a Member of ALEC. Wendy's International, the parent company of Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburger, is the sixth corporation to say that it is no longer a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the past week (4/12).

George Zimmerman faces second-degree murder charges for death of Trayvon Martin. Prosecutors Wednesday charged a neighborhood watch guard with second-degree murder in the killing of an unarmed US black teenager that sparked nationwide anger amid suspicions it was racially motivated (4/12).

John Mellencamp informs Gov. Scott Walker of his liberal beliefs. Liberal rocker John Mellencamp wants Gov. Scott Walker to know he supports collective bargaining and union powers and says Walker should be aware of that before using his song "Small Town" on the campaign trail (4/12)

4 Ways the Big Banks are Still Screwing Homeowners — And How They're Fighting Back. Here's how the banks are still doing exactly as they please when it comes to homes. But there's hope (4/12).

Meet the Rising Republican Star Who Would Love to Punch Hillary Clinton in the Face In case you haven't noticed, Wisconsin's been fraught with untenable political tumultuousness since one-man Human Centipede Scott Walker was elected governor. He's bullied teachers, attacked gay couples' hospital visitation rights, signed a repeal of Wisconsin's equal pay law, and rolled back sex education to an innocent time when kids thought storks brought babies (4/12).

Ryan's Recycled "Tipping Point" Scare Tactic Divides Americans, Hides Hypocrisy. . Have you seen the Paul Ryan headline yet? "Ryan says U.S. at financial and cultural 'tipping point'" Hmm, that late breaking headline sounds really familiar. Oh my gosh, here’s that same story as summarized so perfectly by Dana Milbank way back on March 20th (4/11).

For what you do, no bud for you. Bud Selig is the commissioner of major league baseball. The lords of the game pay him an enormous salary to do very little. Very little. Selig has a chair at the University of Wisconsin history Department. How did that happen? (4/11)

Republican "War On Women" Is Not A Left-Wing Invention. Right-wing media are claiming that a Republican "war on women" is "phony" and "invented" by the left to distract attention from issues such as the economy and gas prices. But Republicans throughout the country have indeed pushed a plethora of legislation during the past few years that would result in limiting women's reproductive rights, access to health care access, and access to equal pay; moreover, right-wing media themselves launched a bullying campaign against Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke after she testified in favor of expanded contraception coverage. (4/10).

GOP Panicking on John Doe Criminal Probe . One Wisconsin Now sent letters today to 9 current Wisconsin State Senators asking them to revoke their membership in the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The Senators would join the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and corporations like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Intuit and Kraft who earlier announced they've pulled their support. The letter also asks that the nine refund the tax dollars that were used to purchase ALEC memberships on their behalf (4/11).

What is going on? If you need to know what’s wrong with American conservatism in the early 21st century you have only to look at their view of the Girl Scouts. You would think that legislatures would want to honor the 100th anniversary of an organization like the Girl Scouts but empowering women isn’t exactly what the patriarchal GOP is about (4/11).

Russell gets new lawyer in Doe case. Timothy Russell, the former Scott Walker aide facing felony embezzlement charges, has a new lawyer with Republican leanings. The attorney is Dennis Krueger, a former state prosecutor who recently joined Milwaukee attorney Michael Maistelman's law office. Krueger pops up in court records as one of Russell's lawyers as of Friday, the same day another lawyer -- John Birdsall -- withdrew (4/11).

Democrats question legality of running as a 'fake' candidate. Undaunted by claims that running as a fake Democratic candidate in the recalls constitutes criminal election fraud, six such candidates filed paperwork Tuesday to run in the May 8 primary (4/11).

UWM professor predicts Scott Walker will be GOP's VP choice. UWM Political Science Professor Mordecai Lee is making a bold prediction for the Republican VP candidate: Scott Walker. (4/11).

Paul Ryan's Cynical Catholic Claims. Following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Graeme Zielinski in response to claims made by Paul Ryan to justify his radical budget (4/11).

A little word game for the Fake Democratic Candidates... . Let’s see if the illegal and unethical electioneering by the Wisconsin Republican Party will stand up to a little test I came up with (4/11)

List of Bills Walker Signed Into Law Last Week. It's been well documented for some years now that abstinence based education *increases* the number of teen pregnancies AND that when you tell teenagers the truth about sex, as they do in Europe, not only do you get fewer pregnancy, you actually get fewer teenagers having sex in the first place (4/11).

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March 2012
Broader, bolder' strategy
to ending poverty's
influence on education

Make poverty historyWhile it might seem encouraging for education and civil rights leaders to assert that poverty isn't an obstacle to higher student achievement, the evidence does not support such claims. Over 50 years, numerous studies have documented how poverty and related social conditions - such as lack of access to health care, early childhood education and stable housing - affect child development and student achievement.

The research never suggests that poor children are incapable of learning or that poverty itself should be regarded as a learning disability. Rather, research suggests that poor children encounter obstacles that often adversely affect their development and learning outcomes.

To ignore this reality and make bold assertions that all children can achieve while doing nothing to address the outside-of-school challenges they face is neither fair nor a sound basis for developing public policy, as I wrote in a recent issue of the Phi Delta Kappan Magazine.

Despite compelling evidence that education policy must at least mitigate the harmful effects of poverty on student achievement and child development, most state and federal policies have failed to do so. However, there is growing awareness among a number of educators, mayors, and policy advocates of the need to do so based on the realization that a great deal can be done to counter the effects of poverty on children's lives and their education. Mitigation is not the same as solving a problem, but it's nonetheless an important strategy.

In Newark, N.J., for example, the Broader, Bolder Approach (BBA) reform plan is developing a comprehensive school reform strategy.

Operating in seven schools in Newark's Central Ward (six kindergarten through 8th-grade schools and one large comprehensive high school), BBA has introduced school-based interventions that are responsive to the issues and challenges. BBA is working to:

The BBA strategy draws on research that suggests a more comprehensive approach is needed to increase academic outcomes for poor students and to improve schools that serve them. Specifically, the BBA strategy aims at combining research-based education strategies with school-based social services, after-school programs and interventions to increase the capacity of schools to respond to issues that are endemic to the social and environmental context, such as the need for health, nutrition, jobs and safety.

The BBA strategy is based on the theory that improving the schools could spur economic development and improve the quality of life for a greater number of residents. Though this proposition has never been tested at such a large scale before, the theory behind BBA is based on the recognition that education is both a cause of many of the problems that plague the city and a potential solution.

BBA seeks to transform schools by creating a series of strategic partnerships between schools, businesses, universities, hospitals, local government and an array of neighborhood-based service organizations.

The BBA strategy also seeks to change how urban public schools typically serve low-income children of color and their families. In many low-income urban communities, complacency, low expectations, disorder and dysfunction are endemic to the public schools. In such schools, failure has been normalized, and change often seems impossible.

American policy makers and reformers must be willing to accept the obvious: School reform efforts can't ignore the effects of poverty on children's lives or on the performance of schools. We need a more holistic strategy, one that enables schools that serve the most disadvantaged children to meet their academic and social needs so that they can overcome a track record of failure.

As promising as it is, the BBA strategy can't do this by itself. It must be combined with state and federal reforms that promote enriched learning environments, that make it possible to attract and retain excellent teachers, and that create clear criteria for accountability of all stakeholders in the education process - educators, parents and students.

Written by Pedro Noguera, Peter L. Agnew professor of education at New York University and Valerie Strauss, writer for the Washington Post -The Answering Sheet. Reprinted with permission

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