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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 174)

Parent union forming to combat power of public school teachers unions

Westlake Legal Group National-Parents-Union-Logo3 Parent union forming to combat power of public school teachers unions Nick Givas fox-news/us/education/parents fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox news fnc/us fnc article 41688f6e-39e8-5f27-9b04-eb63062b2fb7

Keri Rodrigues and Alma Marquez said they were so appalled by the low standards of America’s public school teachers unions, they formed the National Parents Union (NPU), so families could have a greater say in their children’s education.

Rodrigues, a mother of three from Boston, and Marquez, a mother of one from Los Angeles, are no strangers to public-sector unions. Rodrigues worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), while Marquez grew up in a union household and worked for Green Dot Public Schools — a public charter organization.

“I worked in labor, working for the SEIU, and I spent a big chunk of my career in politics,” Rodrigues told Fox News. “But at the same time, I’m a single mom with three little boys. My oldest son has Asperger’s and ADHD. So we knew from a very young age that he was going to need help.”

Her son had been suspended from kindergarten 36 times and was supposed to be aided by an individualized education program (IEP). Instead, Rodrigues said she was met with indifference and ineptitude from instructors who were supposed to be helping her boy.

“As I sat at the end of that IEP table, I was surrounded by educators that had already given up on my kid,” she explained. “I’m a momma bear. When I get mad I organize. So I started organizing here in Massachusetts and founded Massachusetts Parents United, the largest parent advocacy group in the commonwealth. I called upon my mentor, Andy Stern, when I came up with this idea. I said, ‘Andy, I’m going to start a parents union. This is crap. We cannot allow this. Parents have no voice.'”

Stern, who serves as SEIU’s president emeritus, spoke with Fox News and offered his total support.

DEMOCRATS KEEPING CHARTER SCHOOLS DOWN IN EXCHANGE FOR TEACHER’S UNION CASH, TOP ACTIVIST SAYS

“This is not about left or right. This is about what is right and wrong for our kids,” he said in an email. “For far too long, the conversation around education has often excluded the biggest and most important advocates for children, their parents. That must change. NPU is helping bring together parents who alone and on their own are often the powerless, but by organizing their voices through the National Parents Union can become the powerful. NPU will give parents the voice they deserve.”

Stern also warned Rodrigues and Marquez about going up against an opponant with vast financial resources and a lot to lose. Teachers unions are still recovering from a 2018 Supreme Court decision that eliminated mandatory financial dues, but they still continue to enjoy a sizeable war chest. The NEA and its state affiliates took in over $1.6 billion from 2017–2018, according to financial disclosure reports.

“As parents, we are pitted politically against teachers unions,” Rodrigues claimed. “They resent our autonomy so they’ll attack [us]. But it says a hell of a lot about the power of parents and the work we are doing. Two moms, on different coasts, organizing in our neighborhood without even a tenth of a percent of how much money they have – and we have them scared.”

Marquez said the main issue with teachers unions is they seek to enrich their members instead of arming students for the challenges of the real world.

“They will go to bat for their members, but not for kids,” she said. “They are opposed to things that would benefit children. That’s why the National Parents Union is so powerful and so important because we need to counterbalance the narrative.

“Walking out on kids during a strike for example, in schools that have zero percent proficiency is appalling,” Marquez continued. “And those people should be ashamed of themselves. There are schools in L.A. with zero percent proficiency in math and English, and those teachers were striking. What is wrong with this picture?”

CALIFORNIA TEACHERS UNION HAS SPENT $4.3 M IN 2019 TO TRY TO STYMIE CHARTER SCHOOLS: REPORT

Marquez and Rodrigues, both single mothers, self-funded NPU for nearly two years before they received their first grant in October. Their continued goal is to reform and define a new K-12 national agenda by organizing local parents who feel their children’s needs haven’t been met.

NPU is set to meet in New Orleans on Jan. 16 to officially unionize and will begin appointing parents to leadership positions across the country.

“We’re going to be creating a national parent council and a board of advisers,” Rodrigues explained. “We will assemble delegates, agree on by-laws, vote on ratification, and form our union.”

Both women also lamented the falling academic standards across the United States and said they fear that America’s children will not be prepared to compete in the global economy if proficiency continues to plummet.

“The numbers speak for themselves. We have teachers who are paid $100,000 a year on average in Boston and there is between 36-40 percent proficiency in English, and that is heralded as a success,” Rodrigues said. “To me, that is a dismal failure. That is an F. So to say that we have teachers that are getting our kids to where they need to be, I would have to say, no.”

Fox News reached out to The National Education Association (NEA) which represents 3 million members, to see if they will work with NPU going forward. Fox News also asked for a reply to the accusations leveled by Rodrigues and Marquez, about teachers unions neglecting the needs of students. The NEA did not respond to the request for comment.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“This is an opportunity for us to disrupt that conversation, to represent kids first, and if we are all on the same page about the North Star, then we’ll be able to lead that conversation,” Marquez said.

Rodrigues added, “We’ve had enough. We have turned our education system into an employment system and our kids are being left behind.”

Westlake Legal Group National-Parents-Union-Logo3 Parent union forming to combat power of public school teachers unions Nick Givas fox-news/us/education/parents fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox news fnc/us fnc article 41688f6e-39e8-5f27-9b04-eb63062b2fb7   Westlake Legal Group National-Parents-Union-Logo3 Parent union forming to combat power of public school teachers unions Nick Givas fox-news/us/education/parents fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox news fnc/us fnc article 41688f6e-39e8-5f27-9b04-eb63062b2fb7

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Pentagon chief says he ‘didn’t see’ intelligence suggesting Iran planned to attack four US embassies

Westlake Legal Group _S01n3otJTpv9tvT7vKePmCieoZhvdQOzK4_9WIU3wc Pentagon chief says he 'didn't see' intelligence suggesting Iran planned to attack four US embassies r/politics

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Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay

Westlake Legal Group BXURNmsupzU326dOAqLvI8YihWTce3U-JxSNWGdmTAQ Low unemployment isn't worth much if the jobs barely pay r/politics

More than half (57%) work full-time year-round, the customary schedule for employment intended to provide financial security.

So this is the problem right here. We have more people than we need to run the economy by a substantial margin.

Automation, efficiency, computational power alone… We are at an unrivalled point in human history of not needing everyone to work in order to keep society running.

Our collective culture, governance, and policy is wildly unequipped to handle a straight surplus of population, and we’re clinging to the notion that capitalist style “value added” positions should exist for virtually everyone who wants one. They simply don’t.

We will need to start smartly utilizing taxation to better support the populace and ultimately either colonize offworld or run a UBI based society with our excess productivity.

 

If we cling to the assumption that we require a fully utilized workforce as a rule of functioning economic steength, we’re doomed to a dystopian future.

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Prince William Says He Can’t Put His ‘Arm Around’ Prince Harry Anymore: Report

Westlake Legal Group 5e1b0f5e2400003400fd410e Prince William Says He Can’t Put His ‘Arm Around’ Prince Harry Anymore: Report

Prince William told a friend he’s “sad” that he and Prince Harry are now “separate entities” after his brother announced plans earlier this week to step away from the British royal family, reported The Sunday Times.

“I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that any more; we’re separate entities,” William reportedly told the friend. “I’m sad about that.”

The Duke of Cambridge reportedly continued: “All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support them and hope that the time comes when we’re all singing from the same page. I want everyone to play on the same team.”

Harry and wife Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, sent shock waves around the world when they suddenly announced in a statement Wednesday that they planned to “step back” as senior members of the royal family.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the couple wrote in an Instagram post.

They said they will work to become “financially independent” while continuing to support the queen and plan to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s incredible announcement followed their return from a six-week royal sabbatical in Canada. The couple has expressed displeasure with some media outlets’ coverage of their relationship, including racist comments about Meghan, whose mother is Black and father is white.

Members of the royal family were reportedly shocked and angered by the couple’s decision.

Harry is expected to meet with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and William on Monday at one of the royal family’s country houses to discuss next steps, according to multiple reports. Meghan could possibly join the conversation remotely.

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While Bernie Sanders has always stood up for African Americans, Joe Biden has repeatedly let us down

Westlake Legal Group DamHVqb3OGBjgq8ckLHoRZ1D1cPHeDvFktRTKGAo5Vw While Bernie Sanders has always stood up for African Americans, Joe Biden has repeatedly let us down r/politics

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The reinvention of Ralph Northam: Scandal-scarred guv woos left with focus on gun control, race issues

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6039983451001_6039982826001-vs The reinvention of Ralph Northam: Scandal-scarred guv woos left with focus on gun control, race issues Ronn Blitzer fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/person/ralph-northam fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4ba3da7b-e68c-51fb-8b24-dcc7e5887968

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was on the brink of political banishment last year when an old yearbook photo featuring blackface and a KKK costume led to calls for his resignation, but nearly a year later he appears to be not only surviving but thriving.

It was February 2019 when the Democratic governor came under fire for the image, which appeared on his page in Eastern Virginia Medical School’s 1984 yearbook, prompting a call from his own party to step down.

VIRGINIA’S RALPH NORTHAM PUSHES TO REMOVE ROBERT E. LEE STATUE FROM US CAPITOL

“We stand with Democrats across Virginia and the country calling him to immediately resign,” the Virginia Democratic Party said in a statement at the time. The statement called for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to take over, “heal Virginia’s wounds and move us forward.”

Northam apologized, but later insisted that he was not one of the people in the photo. The school conducted a 727-hour investigation that could not conclude who was in the image.

Cut to January 2020, and Northam is still in office, leading Democrats who have taken control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time since 1996.

Northam is rehabilitating himself within the party, in large part by championing liberal policies on issues including gun control and marijuana. Proposed gun restrictions include an assault weapons ban, an increase in the minimum age for gun purchases, and required background checks for all sales.

The governor even increased the state’s corrections budget to handle what he expects to be a higher number of incarcerations due to new gun laws.

The Virginia gun control push has drawn national attention, including from gun-rights groups. As Democrats prepared to assume control in Richmond heading into 2020, the proposals led more than 100 Virginia cities, towns, and counties to declare themselves “gun sanctuaries.”

Regarding marijuana, Northam has pushed for decriminalization as part of criminal justice reforms that would also raise the age at which people can be tried as adults and increase the amount needed for a theft to be deemed a felony.

Northam’s initiatives and time in the spotlight essentially mark a return from the political dead — but he benefited in part, ironically, from other scandals in his administration.

GUN CONTROL STANDOFF HEATS UP IN VIRGINIA AS ‘SANCTUARIES’ GROW, BIG VOTES LOOM

First, in the days following the yearbook photo controversy, Fairfax – who was next in line – faced sexual assault allegations from two women. He denied them. On top of that, state Attorney General Mark Herring, who would have been in line after Fairfax, admitted that he also wore blackface in the 1980s when he was 19 years old.

If all three men were pushed into resignation, the governorship would have gone to Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox, a Republican. Virginia Democrats ultimately dropped the calls for Northam’s resignation, and also backed off calls for Fairfax’s impeachment.

J. Miles Coleman of the University of Virginia Center for Politics said Northam was “lucky” with this turn of events.

“As perception is important in politics, Northam’s transgression seemed relatively less odious,” he told Fox News. “Second, as all three top state officials were ‘tainted’ to some degree, the issue of succession, if one (or all) of them stepped down, seemed like a potentially chaotic prospect.”

Northam made the best of the unlikely turn of events by then making amends with the black community. He hired the state’s first director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and established a commission to go through state statutes and remove provisions left over from the Jim Crow era and other racist language. He also pushed for a change in how black history was taught in schools.

He expressed remorse and acknowledged his past errors. During an event that commemorated the arrival of the first slaves from Africa 400 years earlier, Northam addressed a mostly black audience.

“I’ve had to confront some painful truths,” Northam said. “Among those truths was my own incomplete understanding involving race and equity.”

The mea culpa may have worked in the end.

“Generally, the American public is fairly forgiving,” Coleman said, referring to other incidents involving former governors Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Edwin Edwards of Louisiana. Coleman noted that “part of this may be due to our collectively short memories,” and the rapidly changing news cycles.

“Northam’s approach of simply riding out the storm will likely be used by future politicians in similar situations,” Coleman predicted.

He also posited that the online outrage over Northam’s yearbook photo “didn’t necessarily line up with broader public opinion.”

The result is a situation where the media that once pilloried Northam for the blackface photo have now come to embrace him, with a Washington Post editorial hailing his political resurrection and essentially nixing their prior call for his resignation.

Not everyone was as forgiving, however, as plenty of observers ridiculed the Post for their about-face.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Regardless, the current perception of Northam in his state may best be summed up by what Virginia resident Tanisha Kelly told The New York Times in November, following Democrats’ victory at the polls.

“I kind of forgot about the blackface until you brought it up just now,” she said.

Fox News’ Sam Dorman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6039983451001_6039982826001-vs The reinvention of Ralph Northam: Scandal-scarred guv woos left with focus on gun control, race issues Ronn Blitzer fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/person/ralph-northam fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4ba3da7b-e68c-51fb-8b24-dcc7e5887968   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6039983451001_6039982826001-vs The reinvention of Ralph Northam: Scandal-scarred guv woos left with focus on gun control, race issues Ronn Blitzer fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/person/ralph-northam fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4ba3da7b-e68c-51fb-8b24-dcc7e5887968

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Pickering nuclear station ‘incident’ that triggered mass emergency alert in Canada was sent in error

Residents across the greater Toronto area were jolted awake early Sunday by a mass mobile alert sent after an “incident” was reported at a nuclear power plant in Canada that turned out to be sent in error.

The government of Ontario sent out an emergency bulletin on mobile phones around 7:30 a.m. ET about the “incident” at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station in the town of Pickering along Lake Ontario, located about 26 miles northeast of downtown Toronto.

“There has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity from the station,” the alert read. “People near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take any protective actions at this time.”

MINNESOTA RAILROAD TRACKS FILLED WITH PERFECTLY PLACED CORN SPILL FOR MORE THAN THIRD OF A MILE

The emergency alert applied for people within 6.2 miles of the power plant but many in the greater Toronto area received the message.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-Pickering-Nuclear-Power Pickering nuclear station 'incident' that triggered mass emergency alert in Canada was sent in error Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/disasters/warnings fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox news fnc/world fnc efe61d4d-754a-54d2-9793-8f51f98f1e48 article

The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is located about 26 miles northeast of downtown Toronto. (iStock)

“Does anyone [have] any more news on this #Pickering nuclear issue?? Kind of strange “emergency message” across all of Ontario – but, the message says that there’s nothing to be worried about,” Matthew Slutsky tweeted. “If I lived in Pickering, I think I’d be in my car already heading out of town.”

About 40 minutes after the initial alert was sent, Ontario Power Generation clarified on Twitter that the message regarding Pickering Nuclear was “sent in error.”

“There is no danger to the public or environment,” the agency said.

TYPHOON HAGIBIS SWEPT AWAY FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR DECONTAMINATION WASTE BAGS INTO RIVER

The power plant, run by Ontario Power Generation, has been in service since 1971 and is slated to be decommissioned in 2024, according to CP24.

Westlake Legal Group pickering_1 Pickering nuclear station 'incident' that triggered mass emergency alert in Canada was sent in error Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/disasters/warnings fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox news fnc/world fnc efe61d4d-754a-54d2-9793-8f51f98f1e48 article

The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is due to be decommissioned in 2024. (Google Street View)

Many across the greater Toronto area voiced concerns after receiving the alert, with some referencing the Chernobyl disaster.

“Ummmm guys. I’ve seen Chernobyl….. I’m gonna need more news than this,” Gillian Plummer wrote.

Others took aim at the plant that’s set to be decommissioned, saying Pickering “is past it’s best.”

“Looks like a lot of us in the GTA/Ontario woke up to a reminder that we have a fricking nuclear plant on the shore of one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world,” Jane Cawthorne tweeted. “Like that was ever a good idea.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Additional information has yet to be released by officials.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-Pickering-Nuclear-Power Pickering nuclear station 'incident' that triggered mass emergency alert in Canada was sent in error Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/disasters/warnings fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox news fnc/world fnc efe61d4d-754a-54d2-9793-8f51f98f1e48 article   Westlake Legal Group iStock-Pickering-Nuclear-Power Pickering nuclear station 'incident' that triggered mass emergency alert in Canada was sent in error Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/disasters/warnings fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox news fnc/world fnc efe61d4d-754a-54d2-9793-8f51f98f1e48 article

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Iranians Defy Police, Protest Over Ukranian Plane Shootdown

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Australia’s Massive Fires Threaten To Slow Decades-Long Economic Boom

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1194790373-a3f9066d28a038e3487273a487316edd42babd7c-s1100-c15 Australia's Massive Fires Threaten To Slow Decades-Long Economic Boom

Tourists, wearing face masks due to heavy smoke, take a selfie at Sydney Harbour on Dec. 19, 2019. As news of Australia’s wildfires spreads around the world, fewer tourists are arriving in the country. Jenny Evans/Getty Images hide caption

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Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Australia's Massive Fires Threaten To Slow Decades-Long Economic Boom

Tourists, wearing face masks due to heavy smoke, take a selfie at Sydney Harbour on Dec. 19, 2019. As news of Australia’s wildfires spreads around the world, fewer tourists are arriving in the country.

Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Australia calls itself the Lucky Country, a nation so fortunate in geography and natural resources that it hasn’t had a recession in nearly three decades.

But the deadly wildfires raging through large parts of the country are slowing tourism and other key sectors that contribute to its impressive economic growth.

“Just the area of Australia that’s now impacted is unheard of. So we are in uncertain territory,” says Martin North, principal at the research firm Digital Finance Analytics.

The wildfires have killed more than two dozen people more than a billion animals. They’ve destroyed more than 1,800 houses, an untold number of commercial buildings and thousands of acres of prime farmland, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.

Insurance losses so far have totaled nearly a half billion dollars, but the numbers are likely to rise sharply, says Campbell Fuller, the council’s head of communications.

“For [the fires] to burn across such a wide area, over such an extensive period, is uncommon. In fact, it’s unprecedented to have that number of bushfires burning concurrently,” he says.

The fires have damaged two pillars of the Australian economy: the agricultural sector, which was already weakened by a severe drought, and the all-important tourism industry.

Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is peak tourist season in Australia, when visitors from Asia and Europe flock to the country, eager to soak up the sun and enjoy the country’s outdoor lifestyle.

As news of the wildfires spreads around the world, fewer tourists are arriving and those who do come have had to endure less-than-ideal conditions.

Even in Sydney, far from the fires, skies are so smoky that fire alarms have gone off in office buildings. Ferry service in the city’s world-famous harbor has sometimes been canceled because of poor visibility.

The campground run by Fiona Austin in Shoalhaven, south of Sydney, is usually full this time of year, but tourists were ordered to evacuate, and only a few people remain.

“It’s affected a lot of businesses, and I can’t see people coming back at the moment when the fires are still burning,” Austin told NPR’s Jason Beaubien.

The fires mark something of a change of fortune for the Australian economy, sometimes called the Wonder Down Under.

The country has benefited enormously from its proximity to Asia, says Justin Wolfers, an Australian native who is a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan.

“Not only did we start the last few decades a relatively rich country in the club of the first-world industrialized countries, we’re also parked right next to Asia, which is where much of the world’s growth has come from over the past few years,” Wolfers says.

China, in particular, has been hungry for the kinds of commodities Australia has a lot of, such as coal, natural gas, wheat and wool, and it sends more tourists to Australia than any other country.

Wolfers says the Australian government has also demonstrated more skill than other countries at navigating the challenges of the global economy, like the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.

While the U.S. Congress was squabbling over how to address the Great Recession, the Canberra government was acting swiftly to stimulate spending and cut interest rates, he says.

Unlike other industrialized countries, Australia has experienced a steady rise in population, largely because of immigration, so even in slow times the economy has kept growing, Wolfers adds.

Some of that growth has eased in recent years, as China’s economy has slowed. Australian consumers are spending less, and housing prices, which have skyrocketed in recent years, have fallen.

“The growth levels in Australia are lower than they’ve been in a very long time,” North says. “We were already looking … pretty shaky and that was before all of the bushfires.”

One potential problem is that many Australians haven’t updated their insurance policies over the years or have let them lapse altogether, he notes.

Australia has suffered through catastrophic fires before, such as the 2009 conflagration in Victoria, which did billions of dollars in damage. But the current fires are affecting a much bigger area, and they’ve also begun earlier, making it hard to assess how much they’ll cost.

“What’s really concerning to us is that this is still relatively early in our typical bushfire season” and there are worries about how much longer it will last, says economist Katrina Ell of Moody’s Analytics.

Ell doesn’t think a recession is likely, but North isn’t as sure.

The fires started in relatively unpopulated areas, but they’re moving closer to the cities, where they can do a lot more damage, he says.

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Iranians Defy Police, Protest Over Ukranian Plane Shootdown

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