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Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan Goes After Charters, High-Stakes Tests And School Segregation

Westlake Legal Group 5dacfc122100007a1b34a815 Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan Goes After Charters, High-Stakes Tests And School Segregation

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a sweeping K-12 education plan Monday, unveiling proposals designed to chip away at school segregation, beat back high-stakes testing and crack down on charter schools.

The detailed plan also seeks to equalize school funding between low and high-income areas and decrease the influence of police in schools. It proposes a new education grant program funded at a whopping $100 billion over 10 years — the equivalent of $1 million for every school in the country — for schools to use on programs or resources of their choice. Her plan would be paid for by a wealth tax on fortunes above $50 million.

In recent months, Warren’s views of K-12 education have been a source of source of speculation and scrutiny. Soon after announcing a run for the presidency, she unveiled an expansive college and child care plan. But she disclosed fewer details on her plans for K-12, touching on an opposition to charter schools and pledging to appoint a public school teacher as the U.S. secretary of education.

However, her newly released plan is extensive, taking direct aim at some of the most entrenched sources of inequality in K-12 education.

On the issue of school segregation ― a polarizing issue that even liberal politicians often shy away from ― Warren pledges to encourage states to use a portion of their federal funds on school integration projects. Under a Warren administration, the departments of Education and Justice will crack down on wealthier, whiter communities that try to break away from their more diverse school districts and hoard resources ― a phenomenon called school district secession.

“Broad public affirmation of the Brown v. Board of Education decisions in the 1950s and recent debates about historical desegregation policies have obscured an uncomfortable truth ― our public schools are more segregated today than they were about thirty years ago,” states the plan, titled, “A Great Public School Education for Every Student.”

Notably, Warren also pledges to “eliminate high-stakes testing.” High-stakes testing came to prominence during the Bush administration, after the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, which tied schools’ test scores to a series of carrots and sticks. The Obama administration continued to center high-stakes tests as federal officials encouraged states and districts to tie teacher evaluations to test scores.

Warren’s plan represents a stark departure from this line of thinking. She pledges to ban test scores as a significant determinant in personnel terminations, school closures and other “high-stakes decisions,” noting that “the push toward high-stakes standardized testing has hurt both students and teachers.”

The plan also sounds off on charter schools, one of the most controversial issues in education, by taking a hard line against them. Charter schools — public schools that are funded with taxpayer dollars but privately operated ―  were once a darling of both mainstream Democratic and Republican circles, but have faced increasing scrutiny from liberals in recent years. 

Warren pledges to fight to ban for-profit charter schools, which represent around 15% of the sector. But she also goes after nonprofit ones, promising to end a federal program that provides funding for new schools and opposing provisions that allow them to sometimes evade the same level of transparency and accountability as traditional public schools. The plan seeks to ban nonprofit charters that employ or outsource operations to for-profit service providers and calls for the IRS to investigate these schools’ nonprofit tax status.

“Efforts to expand the footprint of charter schools, often without even ensuring that charters are subject to the same transparency requirements and safeguards as traditional public schools, strain the resources of school districts and leave students behind,” the plan says. 

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who released his education plan in May, similarly took aim at charters in his plan, framing them as an issue of racial justice. His plan drew ire from some education reform groups that argued he was actually doing children of color a disservice.

“Senator Sanders is literally saying I’m going to stand in the schoolhouse door and prevent kids from going [to charter schools], like a segregationist,” Amy Wilkins, senior vice president of advocacy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, told HuffPost at the time. He is trying to “prevent kids, many of whom are low-income, or of color, from having a choice.”

Sanders, like Warren, also focused on curbing school segregation. Their plans stand in contrast to another Democratic nominee frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, who has historically supported programs that curtailed desegregation bussing.

Warren has framed public education as a deeply personal issue. She spent a short amount of time as a special education teacher when she was in her 20s, but said she left the classroom after being discriminated against as a pregnant woman.

Other aspects of Warren’s plan include quadrupling funding for Title I ― the federal program that provides money to schools with high proportions of low-income children ― as well as raising pay for educators, fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and helping to expand school employees’ collective bargaining power. She frames the recent wave of teacher protests around the country as a feminist issue, and she has pledged to enact a law that would make sure public employees can collectively bargain in each state. 

So far, “A Great Public School Education for Every Student” has garnered praise from the leaders of both of the nation’s teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. 

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan for our nation’s public schools would be a game changer for our public schools and the 90 percent of America’s students who attend them,” Randi Weingarten, the president of AFT, said in a statement. “Like so many of the other candidates’ education plans we have praised, this one is bold and thorough and lays out tangible steps and resources that are critical for all students to thrive.”

“What distinguishes this plan is that it is obvious it’s drawn through the lens of someone who has spent time as a teacher in a classroom,” Weingarten added.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Are those fake Lamborghinis and Bugattis sold online just about fun? Or is it fraud?

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Are those fake Lamborghinis and Bugattis sold online just about fun? Or is it fraud?

Eric Bonnette of Orlando is looking for someone who would want to buy his Bugatti replica, for much cheaper than you can get a real one. USA TODAY

Randy Morrow, a retired police officer in Tennessee, is selling what appears to be a sleek 2010 Lamborghini Murcielago for a “reasonable” price: $40,000.

It’s a great deal for a car that typically costs over $200,000 and has all the exotic details you’d expect from a luxury automaker. It’s aggressive-looking, with sharp angles and dramatic scissor doors. The coupe sits low and wide, and it has a candy-colored paint job. 

Only the car is not a real “Lambo.”

It’s what’s referred to as a “replica” or “kit car” among a niche community of auto enthusiasts who cobble together parts from various sources to construct imitations of head-turning sports cars and luxury vehicles. Building these faux cars is legal too, as long as you aren’t passing them off as the real thing or selling them in large numbers. 

Morrow opted to list the carbon copy on LamborghiniReplicas.com, one of many websites where unique replicas and luxury car parts await eager buyers who want the prestige of owning an exclusive ride without shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars. Replicas sell for as low as $20,000 and run up to six figures.

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These DIY vehicles are nothing new. In the early ’60s, companies like Fiberfab and other small-time operations would create Ford GT40 replicas using a Volkswagen Beetle’s chassis and sell the cars under a different name. By the ’70s, motorists could buy component parts to convert older models into unique classics. Today, many replicas are made using old Pontiac Fieros as a base.

Are kit cars harmful?

But as the kit cars crop up in online resale websites, the cottage industry of builders seems to be drawing more attention from the public, selective pushback from the automakers whose cars they imitate and criticism from car purists who just don’t seem to get that it’s all about fun.

“There are some people who feel that kit cars devalue the original cars,” and social media may be a magnet for them, according to Robert Ross, an automotive consultant for Robb Report magazine. “However, I don’t see too many legitimate owners of the real cars bad-mouthing or berating people who create the copies. It’s people whose comments are only generated to stir up animosity.”

Time to buy! Ultra-luxury car prices are falling

A physicist in Colorado and his son made waves when they spent $20,000 on materials and used a set of 3D printers to build a fully functional Lambo Aventador replica in October.

The father, Sterling Backus, told USA TODAY that since going viral, “there’ve been trolls on social media making flippant comments and saying things like, ‘This is stupid. What a waste of money.'”

He has no intention of selling the car once it’s done, but people have asked, Backus said.

These car hobbyists say that realistic knock-offs have become more valuable over the past several years as luxury car companies hunt down replica factories and pull body molds from auto shops.

Eric Bonnette, an entrepreneur who buys, builds and flips kit cars, posted a Craigslist ad in September advertising a 2012 Bugatti Veyron “replica” built on top of a 2002 Mercury Cougar V6 chassis. The listing included close-ups of the copycat car, a few details and a $125,000 price tag along with the owner’s contact info. 

Soon after listing the vehicle, Bonnette received dozens of text messages and emails from strangers saying “such heinous things like ‘man, you’re a loser. You’re a moron,” Bonnet said. He also received emails from angry purists saying, “Bugatti should sue you!”

Are replica cars legal?

Mark McKenna, a Chicago-based patent lawyer, said individuals who create personal clones of dream cars are less likely to face trademark lawsuits than people selling replicas in large numbers.

However, legacy car companies could still argue that the design, or a part of the design, is “substantially similar” to a design that’s patented, though these types of cases are rare and hard to prove.

“Doing it just for yourself on a one-off basis is probably not going to get detected and be pursued,” McKenna said. “The risk level is low because making one of them and not selling it is probably not very costly for designers.”

A 2015 bill gave “low volume manufactures” the legal authority to produce a limited number of replica vehicles so long as the inspiration car is at least 25-years-old.

Imitation vehicles become more troubling when creators or sellers try to pass off fakes as the real thing, or when they operate larger scale factories offering exotic car copies that cost little more than a Ford Focus.

Over the summer, police in Brazil shut down a factory that was producing fake Ferraris and what’s been dubbed “Shamborghinis.” The replicas were being sold for about $45,000 to $60,000 each. The company’s Instagram page remains active. 

An abundance of fake supercars with replica badges like those made in Brazil are much more threatening to car manufacturers than artistic enthusiasts who use kits and cobbled together pieces to build a look-a-like, experts say.

Still, legal replicas are sometimes shunned by the car community at large. For instance, there are reports that replicas were relegated to the sidelines at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a prestigious car show that happens every year in California.

Can fraud happen?

Although most backyard builders tend to have the best intentions, fraud and deception “certainly has happened,” according to Dave Kinney, a senior appraiser at USAppraisal, which assesses the value of collectible automobiles. 

“I call it the third-owner syndrome,” Kinney said. He said the first buyer of a replica typically knows the car is not authentic. “The first owner buys the car knowing completely legitimately what he’s getting into. The second owner possibly knows the same thing. But there could be a motivation for him to put up a Craigslist ad saying he’s got a 2011 Bugatti Veyron and he’s selling it for half a million dollars.”

Bugatti Veyron prices start at about $1.5 million. 

A spokesperson for Bugatti said that the luxury automaker appreciates the enthusiasm of people “going at any length to own or build a Bugatti replica as it shows the strength and attraction of the brand.”

Lamborghini said in a statement that it doesn’t “ intend to pursue criminal prosecutions against individuals” but warns that knock-offs don’t offer the same safety features as regulated cars.

As far back as 2000 sport-car makers have gone after body shops for selling multiple imitations of iconic cars without permission, while one-offs created by hobbyists were seen as flattery. 

In 2000, Ferrari launched a suit against an Oregon company for building replica sports cars and in 2013, Lamborghini sued an Alabama-based firm for creating Lambo mock-ups. 

History of car kits

Kit cars have been around for decades. But replicating modern sports cars may be a lingering phenomenon from the 80s and 90s, according to Ross. 

“As cars were really becoming more popular icons of status, and with brands like Mercedes Benz and Porsche producing more expensive and flamboyant cars, we soon saw the fabrication of fiberglass parts to emulate these,” Ross said.

Replicas were popularized because “all it took was a minimal expenditure for materials and a significant amount of labor,” Ross said.

Now the subculture of hobbyists celebrates their masterpieces by entering them in tradeshows or spotlighting their creations in community Facebook groups. They often use websites like Craigslist or platforms like Facebook Marketplace to buy, sell and trade parts.

How are replicas made?

There are several methods for taking an old, cheap car and fashioning it into something that looks powerful and fast. But it takes a lot of time and actual talent.

One of the most popular ways to clone a car is to build it using the chassis of a street-legal vehicle and a fiberglass shell inspired by high-end cars. The shell elevates the humdrum ride into a Lambo, Mustang or Camaro look-alike.

The Pontiac Fierro and Porsche Boxer are some of the most popular base models because the wheelbases and the engine placements are easier to build upon, said Bonnette, who said he has flipped several replicas over the internet. 

Other methods of building copycat cars include modeling the outer body using dimensions and photographs, or rubbing off patterns using 3D scanners, according to Kinney, the senior appraiser at USAppraisal. 

“Then, instead of getting the Lamborghini taillights you add some Hyundai tail lights that look like it,” Kinney said. “And you buy some headlights from a Ford or something along those lines and just put it together.”

Bonnette’s Craigslist listing expired with no buyer in sight. But he’s still hoping to sell the Bugatti Veyron replica, which he put thousands of dollars of work into.

Morrow said he’ll only sell his Lambo replica if he finds the right buyer, though he’s received some alluring offers to swap his replica for another.

“I listed it online to see what’s out there,” Morrow said. “But I’ve been eyeing the newest Corvette, so I may end up selling it to buy that.”

Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown. 

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2019/10/21/lamborghini-bugatti-knock-offs-populate-the-internet-is-it-legal/3931563002/

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Christians, Here’s How To Affirm Your Queer Friends

Westlake Legal Group 5d9f4c0e2100005009acc496 Christians, Here’s How To Affirm Your Queer Friends

I grew up in a tiny fundamentalist church where I was told every Sunday how evil “homosexuals” were. The pastor’s voice would shake with anger as he compared gay people to pedophiles. I knew I was gay, but any time I had thoughts about women, I instantly suppressed them ― though not before a wave a terror washed over me. 

“I’ll be interested in boys once I start college,” I told myself. “I’ll be interested in boys when I graduate. I’ll feel normal soon.”

Despite how hard I tried, heterosexual desire never materialized and instead I felt isolated and alone. When I first started dating women, I had panic attacks and nausea so severe that I threw up a few times a week.

Since coming out, I understand the importance of sharing my story and I share it so often that now the words tumble out easily. I share my story because I want people to know how damaging the religion can be and I want people like myself to feel less alone. When I tell my story, though, there is one response I receive often.

“I’m sorry that happened to you, but that’s not what real Christianity is.”

While my story of religious abuse is my own, it is not unique. In fact, nearly all of my queer friends have heard some variation of this phrase too, and although I’ve heard this phrase many times by now, it hurts every time. To say this to someone who has just shared their story with you is to look the other way while those of your faith abuse an already marginalized community. 

In fact, Christianity is dangerous to queer people. To pretend otherwise is ignorant at best. Reuters reports that LGBT youth who are raised in religious homes show a 52% increase in suicidal ideation. A study conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force showed that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Another study by the Albert Kennedy Trust shows that 45% of those homeless LGBT youth were homeless because of the rejection of religious family members. 

I recently had a conversation with a queer-affirming Christian friend about this very topic. She expressed how horrified she is by the ways in which Christians hurt the LGBTQ community. She admitted that she has used the “I’m sorry that happened to you but…” phrase before, too. She explained that she just wants her queer friends to know she is a safe person. 

While I appreciate the intent, the phrase has never once made me feel safer. In fact, the words have only ever made me feel worse. If the intent is pure then why exactly is the statement so hurtful?

Saying “I’m sorry that happened to you but that’s not what real Christianity is” is manipulative. Since “real” Christianity would never perpetuate such violence then how could that experience of religious trauma even be true? The phrase is almost a form of gaslighting: “A ‘real’ Christian would never do that to you. Are you sure that actually happened to you?”

This phrase is dismissive. When queer people share our stories of pain with Christians, it is understandable that they might become defensive. It is understandable that Christians feel guilty that their religion has hurt so many people. Refusing to take accountability, however, by using such a shallow excuse is not the solution.

Speaking over our voices by explaining that “real Christianity isn’t like that” silences the stories of queer people. This silencing only further empowers homophobic Christians who are literally silencing us through dangerous laws and policies. Instead of speaking over us, queer-affirming Christians should hear our stories and uplift our voices. 

This phrase is condescending and accusatory. It implies that queer people should have stayed in the church for longer ― that we should have tried harder to find “real Christianity.”

For many of us who grew up in the church, we knew exactly what mainstream Christianity thought about queer people. For years we tried to “pray the gay away.” Many queer people were shipped off to conversion therapy. Many became homeless. To suggest that we didn’t try hard enough to find “true Christianity” is unconscionable. For many queer people, choosing to leave the church is a matter of life and death.  

For those queer-affirming Christians who want to let their LGBTQ friends know that they are a safe person, there are different ways to express this without using this shallow cliché. 

Firstly, affirming 100% of our identities is crucial. So many of us are used to the homophobic Christians who use the “love the sinner; hate the sin” trope. Hearing instead that every aspect of our person is loved and valid is imperative. As a queer person, I can’t feel safe with someone who believes that I’m going to hell because my partner just happens to be a woman. 

Secondly, recognizing the pain that Christianity has inflicted on queer communities is important. Instead of expressing empty guilt and expecting queer people to assure you that you aren’t homophobic like other Christians, a real apology can go a long way. 

Thirdly, it is also crucial for queer-affirming Christians to hold other Christians accountable. Hearing our cisgender, heterosexual allies promise to stand up for us and then actually seeing them follow through is what real allyship looks like.

Like many of my queer friends who grew up in toxic religious environments, I am now in therapy. I was told for decades that my body was dangerous, that my desires were evil, that my core self was sinful. Christianity harmed me in a way that I will likely spend the rest of my life reckoning with. Therapy has helped me to rewire my brain to believe instead that I am enough. 

Despite it all, I still hold the belief that religion can be a beautiful thing. I hope, though, that Christians will stop telling me that they “aren’t like other Christians.” I am instead grateful for Christians who educate themselves and understand just how badly Christianity has harmed the LGBTQ community. I am grateful for Christians who believe us when we tell our stories and who help us amplify our voices. I am grateful for Christians who hold other Christians accountable. I am grateful for the Christians who provide me with safe and loyal friendships. 

Although Christianity is something I no longer follow, queer-affirming Christians play a crucial role in this moment in history. This month, the Supreme Court heard arguments on cases about whether queer and transgender people should be protected in the workplace by federal civil rights law.

With a conservative and Christian stacked court, it is entirely possible that the court will rule that LGBTQ people can be discriminated against in the workplace.

In an evangelical Christian-dominated country that seeks to disenfranchise queer people every single day, the role of LGBTQ-affirming Christians has never been more important. 

Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we’re looking for here and send us a pitch!

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan Goes After Charters, High-Stakes Tests And School Segregation

Westlake Legal Group 5dacfc122100007a1b34a815 Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan Goes After Charters, High-Stakes Tests And School Segregation

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a sweeping K-12 education plan Monday, unveiling proposals designed to chip away at school segregation, beat back high-stakes testing and crack down on charter schools.

The detailed plan also seeks to equalize school funding between low and high-income areas and decrease the influence of police in schools. It proposes a new education grant program funded at a whopping $100 billion over 10 years — the equivalent of $1 million for every school in the country — for schools to use on programs or resources of their choice. Her plan would be paid for by a wealth tax on fortunes above $50 million.

In recent months, Warren’s views of K-12 education have been a source of source of speculation and scrutiny. Soon after announcing a run for the presidency, she unveiled an expansive college and child care plan. But she disclosed fewer details on her plans for K-12, touching on an opposition to charter schools and pledging to appoint a public school teacher as the U.S. secretary of education.

However, her newly released plan is extensive, taking direct aim at some of the most entrenched sources of inequality in K-12 education.

On the issue of school segregation ― a polarizing issue that even liberal politicians often shy away from ― Warren pledges to encourage states to use a portion of their federal funds on school integration projects. Under a Warren administration, the departments of Education and Justice will crack down on wealthier, whiter communities that try to break away from their more diverse school districts and hoard resources ― a phenomenon called school district secession.

“Broad public affirmation of the Brown v. Board of Education decisions in the 1950s and recent debates about historical desegregation policies have obscured an uncomfortable truth ― our public schools are more segregated today than they were about thirty years ago,” states the plan, titled, “A Great Public School Education for Every Student.”

Notably, Warren also pledges to “eliminate high-stakes testing.” High-stakes testing came to prominence during the Bush administration, after the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, which tied schools’ test scores to a series of carrots and sticks. The Obama administration continued to center high-stakes tests as federal officials encouraged states and districts to tie teacher evaluations to test scores.

Warren’s plan represents a stark departure from this line of thinking. She pledges to ban test scores as a significant determinant in personnel terminations, school closures and other “high-stakes decisions,” noting that “the push toward high-stakes standardized testing has hurt both students and teachers.”

The plan also sounds off on charter schools, one of the most controversial issues in education, by taking a hard line against them. Charter schools — public schools that are funded with taxpayer dollars but privately operated ―  were once a darling of both mainstream Democratic and Republican circles, but have faced increasing scrutiny from liberals in recent years. 

Warren pledges to fight to ban for-profit charter schools, which represent around 15% of the sector. But she also goes after nonprofit ones, promising to end a federal program that provides funding for new schools and opposing provisions that allow them to sometimes evade the same level of transparency and accountability as traditional public schools. The plan seeks to ban nonprofit charters that employ or outsource operations to for-profit service providers and calls for the IRS to investigate these schools’ nonprofit tax status.

“Efforts to expand the footprint of charter schools, often without even ensuring that charters are subject to the same transparency requirements and safeguards as traditional public schools, strain the resources of school districts and leave students behind,” the plan says. 

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who released his education plan in May, similarly took aim at charters in his plan, framing them as an issue of racial justice. His plan drew ire from some education reform groups that argued he was actually doing children of color a disservice.

“Senator Sanders is literally saying I’m going to stand in the schoolhouse door and prevent kids from going [to charter schools], like a segregationist,” Amy Wilkins, senior vice president of advocacy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, told HuffPost at the time. He is trying to “prevent kids, many of whom are low-income, or of color, from having a choice.”

Sanders, like Warren, also focused on curbing school segregation. Their plans stand in contrast to another Democratic nominee frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, who has historically supported programs that curtailed desegregation bussing.

Warren has framed public education as a deeply personal issue. She spent a short amount of time as a special education teacher when she was in her 20s, but said she left the classroom after being discriminated against as a pregnant woman.

Other aspects of Warren’s plan include quadrupling funding for Title I ― the federal program that provides money to schools with high proportions of low-income children ― as well as raising pay for educators, fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and helping to expand school employees’ collective bargaining power. She frames the recent wave of teacher protests around the country as a feminist issue, and she has pledged to enact a law that would make sure public employees can collectively bargain in each state. 

So far, “A Great Public School Education for Every Student” has garnered praise from the leaders of both of the nation’s teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. 

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan for our nation’s public schools would be a game changer for our public schools and the 90 percent of America’s students who attend them,” Randi Weingarten, the president of AFT, said in a statement. “Like so many of the other candidates’ education plans we have praised, this one is bold and thorough and lays out tangible steps and resources that are critical for all students to thrive.”

“What distinguishes this plan is that it is obvious it’s drawn through the lens of someone who has spent time as a teacher in a classroom,” Weingarten added.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan Goes After Charters, High-Stakes Tests And School Segregation

Westlake Legal Group 5dacfc122100007a1b34a815 Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan Goes After Charters, High-Stakes Tests And School Segregation

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a sweeping K-12 education plan Monday, unveiling proposals designed to chip away at school segregation, beat back high-stakes testing and crack down on charter schools.

The detailed plan also seeks to equalize school funding between low and high-income areas and decrease the influence of police in schools. It proposes a new education grant program funded at a whopping $100 billion over 10 years — the equivalent of $1 million for every school in the country — for schools to use on programs or resources of their choice. Her plan would be paid for by a wealth tax on fortunes above $50 million.

In recent months, Warren’s views of K-12 education have been a source of source of speculation and scrutiny. Soon after announcing a run for the presidency, she unveiled an expansive college and child care plan. But she disclosed fewer details on her plans for K-12, touching on an opposition to charter schools and pledging to appoint a public school teacher as the U.S. secretary of education.

However, her newly released plan is extensive, taking direct aim at some of the most entrenched sources of inequality in K-12 education.

On the issue of school segregation ― a polarizing issue that even liberal politicians often shy away from ― Warren pledges to encourage states to use a portion of their federal funds on school integration projects. Under a Warren administration, the departments of Education and Justice will crack down on wealthier, whiter communities that try to break away from their more diverse school districts and hoard resources ― a phenomenon called school district secession.

“Broad public affirmation of the Brown v. Board of Education decisions in the 1950s and recent debates about historical desegregation policies have obscured an uncomfortable truth ― our public schools are more segregated today than they were about thirty years ago,” states the plan, titled, “A Great Public School Education for Every Student.”

Notably, Warren also pledges to “eliminate high-stakes testing.” High-stakes testing came to prominence during the Bush administration, after the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, which tied schools’ test scores to a series of carrots and sticks. The Obama administration continued to center high-stakes tests as federal officials encouraged states and districts to tie teacher evaluations to test scores.

Warren’s plan represents a stark departure from this line of thinking. She pledges to ban test scores as a significant determinant in personnel terminations, school closures and other “high-stakes decisions,” noting that “the push toward high-stakes standardized testing has hurt both students and teachers.”

The plan also sounds off on charter schools, one of the most controversial issues in education, by taking a hard line against them. Charter schools — public schools that are funded with taxpayer dollars but privately operated ―  were once a darling of both mainstream Democratic and Republican circles, but have faced increasing scrutiny from liberals in recent years. 

Warren pledges to fight to ban for-profit charter schools, which represent around 15% of the sector. But she also goes after nonprofit ones, promising to end a federal program that provides funding for new schools and opposing provisions that allow them to sometimes evade the same level of transparency and accountability as traditional public schools. The plan seeks to ban nonprofit charters that employ or outsource operations to for-profit service providers and calls for the IRS to investigate these schools’ nonprofit tax status.

“Efforts to expand the footprint of charter schools, often without even ensuring that charters are subject to the same transparency requirements and safeguards as traditional public schools, strain the resources of school districts and leave students behind,” the plan says. 

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who released his education plan in May, similarly took aim at charters in his plan, framing them as an issue of racial justice. His plan drew ire from some education reform groups that argued he was actually doing children of color a disservice.

“Senator Sanders is literally saying I’m going to stand in the schoolhouse door and prevent kids from going [to charter schools], like a segregationist,” Amy Wilkins, senior vice president of advocacy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, told HuffPost at the time. He is trying to “prevent kids, many of whom are low-income, or of color, from having a choice.”

Sanders, like Warren, also focused on curbing school segregation. Their plans stand in contrast to another Democratic nominee frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, who has historically supported programs that curtailed desegregation bussing.

Warren has framed public education as a deeply personal issue. She spent a short amount of time as a special education teacher when she was in her 20s, but said she left the classroom after being discriminated against as a pregnant woman.

Other aspects of Warren’s plan include quadrupling funding for Title I ― the federal program that provides money to schools with high proportions of low-income children ― as well as raising pay for educators, fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and helping to expand school employees’ collective bargaining power. She frames the recent wave of teacher protests around the country as a feminist issue, and she has pledged to enact a law that would make sure public employees can collectively bargain in each state. 

So far, “A Great Public School Education for Every Student” has garnered praise from the leaders of both of the nation’s teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. 

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan for our nation’s public schools would be a game changer for our public schools and the 90 percent of America’s students who attend them,” Randi Weingarten, the president of AFT, said in a statement. “Like so many of the other candidates’ education plans we have praised, this one is bold and thorough and lays out tangible steps and resources that are critical for all students to thrive.”

“What distinguishes this plan is that it is obvious it’s drawn through the lens of someone who has spent time as a teacher in a classroom,” Weingarten added.

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Nation’s 3 largest drug distributors, opioid maker reach deal with governments in historic lawsuit

Four key defendants in a historic opioid lawsuit reached a landmark settlement Monday with state and local governments suing makers and distributors of the highly addictive painkillers.

The tentative settlement came hours before opening statements were set to be delivered in the Ohio case. The Wall Street Journal reported that terms of a deal involving McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen Corp. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. would be announced later in the day. The Associated Press, citing a lawyer involved in the case, confirmed that a deal had been struck. 

A fifth defendant, Walgreens Boots Alliance, had not yet reached a deal, making it unclear whether the trial would go on, the Journal reported.

U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster has encouraged a settlement, which would provide affected communities the funds to combat opioid addiction much sooner than the lengthy process of going through a trial and the likely appeals afterward.

Westlake Legal Group  Nation's 3 largest drug distributors, opioid maker reach deal with governments in historic lawsuit

Attempts at a settlement had broken down last week when an offer of $48 billion in cash, treatment drugs and services was rejected as lawyers for the 2,400 cities and counties involved clashed with states attorneys general over the distribution of the settlement.

“We’re disappointed that the cities and counties refused to go along with that deal,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said Friday. “This would have helped the entire nation, not just a few counties, not just a few cities.”

On Sunday, a committee guiding OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy had suggested drugmakers, distributors and pharmacy chains use Purdue’s bankruptcy proceedings to settle lawsuits. However, Paul Hanly, a lead lawyer for local governments in the lawsuits, had called that mass settlement idea “most unlikely.”

The Ohio trial would be the first federal trial related to an opioid crisis that has claimed an estimated 400,000 American lives over two decades. Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Ohio are suing drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals, four distributors and the drug store chain Walgreens claiming their practices contributed to the devastating opioid epidemic.

Drugmakers have routinely denied wrongdoing, saying the drugs had survived intense Food and Drug Administration scrutiny and carry warning labels explaining the addictive risks of opioids.

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Bongino on House Democrats’ impeachment push: ‘This is like the Return of the Jedi of hoaxes’

Westlake Legal Group bongino2 Bongino on House Democrats' impeachment push: 'This is like the Return of the Jedi of hoaxes' Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 056fd449-78a6-5557-bebe-111068d7f397

The House Democrats’ impeachment of President Trump for his phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky is yet another “hoax,” Fox News contributor Dan Bongino said Monday.

“This is like the ‘Return of the Jedi’ of hoaxes,” the former Secret Service agent and author told “Fox & Friends.”

His comments come as a motion to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for his “parody” reading of the phone call transcript during a hearing is gaining steam with House Republicans.

Fox News has learned 135 lawmakers have now signed on as co-sponsors.

BOLTON INSTRUCTED FORMER RUSSIA ADVISER TO ALERT NSC LAWYER OVER UKRAINE, ADVISER TESTIFIES

The resolution to censure Schiff — who has become a favorite target of Republicans for his role in the Trump impeachment inquiry — was first introduced late last month by Rep. Andy Biggs, the Arizona Republican who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and has the support of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., among other ranking Republicans in the lower chamber of Congress.

CLICK HERE FOR THE NAMES OF THE CENSURE CO-SPONSORS

Democrats have the majority and control the floor in the House, but Republicans could still attempt to force a vote on the matter.

Bongino argued that Democrats failed to come up with impeachable offenses after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Trump-Russia collusion and obstruction of justice.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“When those two hoaxes didn’t work out, they needed a third hoax,” Bongino said, pointing out the commander-in-chief’s phone call with Zelensky where he pushed for an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden’s family.

“[Their strategy] is just to flip the script and blame this Ukrainian mess on Donald Trump. This is the sequel to the sequel of hoaxes and, frankly, it is pretty embarrassing because we now have the [phone call] transcript,” Bongino said, claiming Democrats are trying to cover up “malfeasance” by the Clinton campaign and Ukraine in 2016.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group bongino2 Bongino on House Democrats' impeachment push: 'This is like the Return of the Jedi of hoaxes' Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 056fd449-78a6-5557-bebe-111068d7f397   Westlake Legal Group bongino2 Bongino on House Democrats' impeachment push: 'This is like the Return of the Jedi of hoaxes' Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 056fd449-78a6-5557-bebe-111068d7f397

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Yes, you can impeach a president in an election year

Westlake Legal Group BxB4Yah9BLR8Ridq9_DZNAxfUf7qBMSYIPVwTScqRJ0 Yes, you can impeach a president in an election year r/politics

The cloud of bullshit surrounding this is astounding. Really, the GOP and Russian disinformation machines are working very well.

Here are the rules about impeachment: the House can impeach the President.

That’s it. The House can set additional rules for itself, but according to the Constitution, the House can impeach the President, and is basically able to do so in whatever manner it wants, whenever it wants.

It can hold investigations. It can subpoena witnesses. It can release statements to the press. It can invite the President to respond to the allegations against him, or it can ignore the President’s asinine whinings about witch hunts and unfairness.

The House can impeach the President. Full stop.

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Her son shot his way into an Indiana high school. Now she’s facing six felony charges

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Her son shot his way into an Indiana high school. Now she's facing six felony charges

The following has been edited for time. It may be offensive or disturbing to some audiences. Nate Chute, USA Today Network

RICHMOND, Ind. — Mary York didn’t pull the trigger once Dec. 13 at Dennis Intermediate School. Her 14-year-old son did.

Yet, York, 43, sat inside the Wayne County Superior Court 1 courtroom on Friday afternoon. During an 18-minute initial hearing, Judge Charles Todd Jr. read seven charges, including six felonies, York faces as a result of her son’s actions that day. She also heard the possible penalties, her constitutional rights and the case’s next steps.

York’s situation is relatively rare in the United States, because parents or guardians of juveniles who discharge firearms at schools do not often face charges. In most cases, however, the juveniles obtain their weapons from their home, as did York’s son, whom The Pal-Item does not identify because of his age.

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Prosecutor Mike Shipman filed the seven charges against York on Oct. 11, nearly 10 months after York’s son killed himself inside Dennis after shooting his way into the school through a glass exterior door. The charges, which include a Level 5 felony, five Level 6 felonies and a misdemeanor, are:

  • Dangerous control of a child for recklessly allowing her son to possess a handgun and rifle while aware there was a substantial risk of him committing a felony — murder or battery — and failing to make a reasonable effort to prevent the use of the firearms in the commission of a felony;
  • Neglect of a dependent by placing the dependent in a situation that endangers the dependent for failing to remove firearms from their South West 16th Street residence after her son threatened to kill students at Dennis and discharged a firearm inside her home;
  • Neglect of a dependent by depriving the dependent of necessary support for failing to remove a .45-caliber handgun from the home after her son threatened to kill students at Dennis;
  • Neglect of a dependent by depriving the dependent of necessary support for failing to provide counseling for her son because of his mental-health issues;
  • Neglect of a dependent by depriving dependent of necessary support for failing to reasonably supervise her son;
  • Neglect of a dependent by placing the dependent in a situation that endangers the dependent for failing to ensure her son was taking prescribed medications; and 
  • Criminal recklessness for recklessly or knowingly performing an act that created a substantial risk of bodily injury to Dennis students and staff because she allowed firearms in her residence after learning her son had threatened to kill students at Dennis and had discharged a handgun in her home.

According to the affidavit of probable cause used to charge York, her son was evaluated and treated during May 2018 for mental-health issues. At that time, he related thoughts of suicide and of going to Dennis to kill students he said had bullied him.

York told investigators she did not know about those thoughts although treatment records indicate she was informed, the affidavit said. York also allegedly pulled her son from inpatient treatment because of cost and allowed him to stop taking prescribed medication.

Although her son fired a handgun inside their then-homeduring October 2018, York allowed firearms inside a gun cabinet to remain in the home, the affidavit said. Her son made a video recording of himself breaking into the cabinet to obtain the firearms he took with him to Dennis.

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Mary York turns herself in, her trial is scheduled

On Monday, Todd ruled there is probable cause for the charges, and he ordered an arrest warrant against York. That afternoon, she turned herself in at the Wayne County Jail and posted $750 to satisfy a $7,500 bond.

As she exited the courtroom Friday, York declined to speak with The Pal-Item about the charges. Likewise, Prosecutor Mike Shipman has also declined to answer Pal-Item questions about the active case and decision to charge York.

York learned Friday that her trial has initially been scheduled for Jan. 14.

How York’s charges compare to similar scenarios

It’s a situation most parents of school shooters never face despite the fact that from 2000 to 2017, 67 people were killed and 86 wounded at elementary and secondary schools and 70 were killed and 73 wounded at post-secondary institutions, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The Washington Post in 2018 revisited 145 school shootings this century. The source of the weapons used was identified in 105 of the cases. Of those 105 cases, the shooter 84 times took the weapon from home or from a relative or friend.

The Post found, however, that only four adults in that time were convicted and punished for the shooters’ access to firearms. None resulted from negligent-storage laws for weapons, and the most severe penalty was a 29-month sentence for involuntary manslaughter.

In that case, according to the Post, a Michigan man stored a .32-caliber semi-automatic handgun in a shoe box. A 6-year-old visitor found the handgun, took it to school and shot a classmate to death.

After Shipman filed charges against York, The Pal-Item analyzed media reports about 40 instances from 2013 through 2019 that involved juveniles younger than 18 taking firearms to school and firing them. Reports in 24 of those cases indicated how the juvenile acquired the weapon. In 16 of those instances, the juvenile took the firearm(s) from a family member, including 14 from parents, one from an uncle and one from a great-grandmother.

Prosecutors only twice filed charges against parents because of the firearms.

Dale and Tamara Owens have been charged with fourth-degree contributing to the delinquency of a minor after their then-16-year-old son, Joshua Owen, fired a gun Feb. 14 at V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. They face up to 18 months in prison, if convicted.

The situation somewhat parallels details described in the affidavit charging Mary York.

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Authorities allege that Joshua Owen sent a text during March 2018 to a girlfriend indicating an inclination to carry out a school shooting. The girlfriend’s report precipitated a mental-health evaluation and investigation.

However, 11 months later, Owen took an unsecured handgun from the walk-in closet of his parents’ bedroom. At school, he attempted to shoot three students, but the gun did not initially fire. Owen then fired into the air. He is now charged with three counts of attempted murder, unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon on school premises and unlawful possession of a handgun by a person younger than 19.

His parents are charged because they did not secure the handgun despite knowledge of their son’s threat.

In another instance, Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr. was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of gun crimes related to the .40-caliber Beretta his son used to kill four classmates and himself Oct. 24, 2014, at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington.

Jaylen Frybert, 15, took the handgun to school in a backpack and shot five people he had invited to sit with him at lunch, before fatally shooting himself. One of the victims survived.

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Raymond Fryberg’s charges resulted because he was the subject of a domestic violence protection order that prevented him from owning firearms. He, in fact, owned multiple firearms, including the Beretta.

Two other incidents reviewed by The Pal-Item resulted in charges, but not related to supplying a firearm.

LaShandra Dortch was charged with two counts of assault, one count of hindering prosecution and one count of providing a false address after her 15-year-old son shot two people outside a basketball game Jan. 25 at Davidson High School in Mobile, Alabama.

Two 14-year-old students were charged because they did not speak up although they knew 14-year-old James Austin Hancock had brought a gun to Madison High School in Middletown, Ohio, on Feb. 29, 2016. Four students were injured when Hancock opened fire in the school cafeteria.

Hancock had stolen the .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun from his great-grandmother, who was not charged because she did not know the gun was missing, according to reports.

Also in Ohio, a 17-year-old stole a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun from an uncle, and used the gun to kill three people and wound three others at Chardon High School.

Juveniles who had access to parents’ firearms

In other instances, the juveniles had access to their parents’ firearms in their homes.

A Sparks, Nevada, 12-year-old took a handgun from behind cereal boxes in a cabinet above the refrigerator and killed two people and wounded two others at Sparks Middle School. No charges were filed against the parents.

In Marshall County, Kentucky, a 15-year-old boy retrieved his father’s handgun off a shelf and took it to Marshall County High School. Two people were killed and 18 injured when he began shooting inside the school’s lobby. A prosecutor considered charges against the father, but no charges were ever filed.

The firearms used at Dennis were taken from a locked gun cabinet. The Pal-Item analysis found other instances when gun safes did not stop juveniles intent on accessing the firearms.

Last May in Highland Ranch, Colorado, two teens opened a parent’s gun safe with an ax to retrieve two handguns used to kill one and injure eight at a STEM school.

When authorities went to the home of a 13-year-old boy who shot a student and a teacher at Noblesville, Indiana’s West Middle School, they found keys hanging out of the lock of the family’s basement gun safe.

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A Rockford, Washington, 15-year-old knew the combination to his family’s gun safe. He took a rifle and a handgun to a high school, killing one and wounding three when he opened fire. Just the week prior, the teen had shown suicidal tendencies and told a mental-health professional he had school destruction on his mind, but his parents, even though recommended, did not change the gun safe’s combination.

In Troutdale, Oregon, a 15-year-old accessed his brother’s gun safe and carried an AR-15 rifle, a handgun and nine magazines of ammunition to a high school. One student was killed before the gunman committed suicide in a restroom.

In the incidents analyzed by The Pal-Item, seven juveniles used their own firearms from home, including firearms that they legally owned. One girl who shot her friend then herself had talked a friend into providing her that family’s handgun that she said she needed for self-defense.

Minors that live in homes with loaded, unlocked firearms

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reports that 4.6 million minors in the United States live in homes where at least one loaded, unlocked firearm is kept. Of children younger than 10 living in homes with firearms, 73 percent know the location of the firearms and 36 percent admitted they had handled the firearms. Of those who had handed the firearms, 25 percent of their parents did not know they had handled the firearms.

In addition to school shootings, accessible firearms are used in juvenile suicides and in unintentional shootings. Just Thursday morning, a 2-year-old in rural Morgan County, Indiana, south of Mooresville, accidentally shot himself to death with an unsecured handgun.

Negligent-storage laws and child-access-prevention laws attempt to curb juveniles’ access to firearms. According to the Giffords Law Center, 27 stateshave child-access-prevention laws and 14 stateshave enacted negligent-storage laws.

School shootings: Hidden in each school in this county is a gun in a safe. Experts find the idea ‘flawed.’

Shipman utilized Indiana’s child-access-prevention law for the most serious charge against York. The Level 5 felony accuses York of dangerous control of a child. A conviction on a Level 5 felony carries a three-year advisory sentence with a range of one to six years as established by the Indiana legislature.

Even when laws exist to combat juvenile access to firearms, they might not fit an incident’s circumstances. Inconsistencies exist among state laws, and possible penalties do not always satisfy advocates as an effective deterrent.

For example, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis killed eight students and two teachers and injured 13 others May 18, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas. He accessed his parents’ firearms, but the parents could not be charged under Texas law because their son was already 17.

There’s also controversy about the access laws infringing up on gun-owner rights. While one side sees the laws as cutting risk of school shootings, suicides and accidental deaths, the other cites Second Amendment rights and sees the laws as an unwanted step toward confiscation of firearms.

Parents who are not charged criminally are not shielded from civil procedures. In multiple instances that The Pal-Item analyzed, parents are subjects of lawsuits from victims or victims’ families. The lawsuits generally charge that the parents were negligent with their children’s access to firearms and/or failed to adequately recognize the danger their children posed because of mental-health issues.

Like Mary York, those parents might sit in a courtroom. But, unlike York, they won’t listen to criminal charges against them, charges that if they lead to conviction, could result in jail time.

Follow Mike Emery on Twitter: @PI_Emery

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Camila Cabello Rips Shawn Mendes Breakup Rumors

Westlake Legal Group 5dad9260210000431d34a8e2 Camila Cabello Rips Shawn Mendes Breakup Rumors

Camila Cabello appeared to confirm that she’s still dating “Señorita” collaborator Shawn Mendes in a hilariously obscene Instagram story on Saturday.

The couple have been dogged by breakup rumors, apparently to the point that both felt the need to respond.

“Well when THE FUCK were you gonna tell me @shawnmendes,” she wrote above a photo of a headline that questioned the status of their relationship.

Mendes followed up hours later with a picture of the “Havana” performer kissing his cheek.

Seems like a coordinated effort to clap back at the scuttlebutt mill, no?

The pair does have a way of communicating with their fans. In September, they shared a video of them sloppily French kissing each other in a humorous reply to those who said they kissed like fish.

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