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Vouchers and Virtual Schools

While Ohio and a few other states have established statewide voucher systems, the voucher movement has generally been moving forward more incrementally through privately-managed charter schools and what are known as "virtual charter schools", online teaching programs combining aspects of home schooling with corporate privatization.

The Progressive Response

While these facts are unlikely to change the minds of rightwing legislators looking to hand out slices of the education spending pie to their corporate sponsors, progressive legislators can use them to stand up against the privatization agenda and push for the education reforms that really help children learn:

  • Better early education, including guaranteeing free pre-K for all
  • More equitable funding for poorer districts in states
  • Smaller class sizes for all students
  • Professional development and better retention of teachers, especially in poorer districts
  • Accountability that is more than a mandate to "teach to the test"

Universal Vote by Mail

Following the 2000 election, everyone saw just how flawed an election could be. In 2004, even without the same closeness, America witnessed other problems including extremely long waiting times to vote: a sign that America was no longer even preparing for moderately high turnout elections. Meanwhile, one state was chugging along, doing just fine.

Net Neutrality: Keeping the Internet Open and Email Untaxed

Since the invention of the Internet, net neutrality has been a fundamental operating principle of the networks that maintain it -- all content is equal. Whether an Internet user wants to read an advertisement from ExxonMobil, an email from MoveOn, or a blog run by their neighbor, the decision about what to access has belonged to users and the network has responded equally to all requests.

Drum Major Institute Keeps Score

New York's Drum Major Institute (DMI) deserves high marks for ingenuity. They're proving that in a new way.

Eye on Health Care: Demanding a Fair Share from Employers

45.8 million Americans, or 15.7 percent of the population, lacked health insurance in 2004-- a number that is rising as more employers drop coverage for their workers. However, many states are taking action to reverse these trends and move towards the goal of providing health care for all Americans. This issue of the Stateside Dispatch gives an update on some of those initiatives.

The Minimum Wage, Conservative Posturing, and Progressive Success

Fully aware that their anti-worker policies are anathema to most Americans, corporate conservatives often posture and position themselves on worker issues to avoid bearing the full brunt of the backlash from their noxious positions and to try to fix blame on their opponents, who really are working for the common interest.

Congress Eyes Preempting States on Food Safety

Hard-pressed to find something to do less popular than sell-out for campaign contributions or outsource port operations to foreign governments, the U.S. Congress is now considering a bill to gut state food safety protections.

Blocking Attacks on Workers' Rights

Efforts to advance an anti-labor agenda died in recent weeks in both Indiana and Kentucky when workers and their allies in statehouses rallied opposition to the proposals. So-called 'right-to-work' legislation was brought up in both states. In Indiana, legislative leadership had indicated they wouldn't bring it up for a vote, but a representative moved it as an amendment. Hard work led to an overwhelming defeat of the measure 65-31. Union leaders who helped lead the victory said that number overstates their support. Once legislators realized that they were going to lose and look bad, many of them switched their votes to the winning side.