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June , 2017
Sunday

 PADF-OAS-HUFH urge support to rebuild lives   Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) -- Eight weeks after the catastrophic earthquake ...
Chlorination, ultraviolet irradiation offer best alternatives at least cost     Using a triple bottom line approach that ...
Why That Mom Was Right When She Publicly Disciplined Her Son For Violently protesting ...
Organization Leads Support to AT&T's "It Can Wait" Campaign   Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) -- The Links, ...
PurchaseBlack.com, the home for African American online shopping, is looking for businesses that sell products ...
Baltimore, MD – The NAACP issued the following statement in response to the floods ravaging ...
The ruling declares: "A citizen has no right to a jury composed in whole or ...
Announces Safe Driver Advisory Council to Consider Tougher Penalties for Violators   Illinois Secretary of State Jesse ...
Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam war veterans call for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops, demand the ...
By Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu * A Black girl was suspended because she saw a parallel between ...

Archive for the ‘Living/Views’ Category

Golden State Warriors Leaving Oakland? Black Leaders Being Alerted

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Coalition formed to alert black leaders and community activists of the Golden State Warriors’ plans to relocate from Oakland to San Francisco

 
Coalition members are asking, “Why would elected officials of San Francisco covet the Golden State Warriors when San Francisco already has a $14 billion annual tourism industry, and Oakland has only a $800 million annual tourism industry?” 

 

New Golden State Warriors Arena in San Francisco

San Francisco, CA (BlackNews.com) – The San Francisco Department of Elections has vetted the Good Neighbor Coalition, granting it permission to proceed with collecting the required number of signatures, for a local ballot measure for the June 2018 election that greatly affects one of the National Basketball Association’s best teams, the Golden State Warriors.

In support of the entire community of Oakland, California, the measure aims to set the record straight: San Franciscans overwhelming do not support the covetous manner its own elected officials employed in facilitating the Warriors plans to move from the team’s 45 years in Oakland, CA across the bay to The City.

Coalition members are embarrassed; pointing out, San Francisco has a $14 billion annual tourism industry and Oakland has a $800 million annual tourism industry. So why would elected officials of San Francisco covet the Golden State Warriors, one of the jewels of Oakland, CA? Allen Jones, initiatives proponent says, “A world-class city helps its neighbors. It does not help itself to its neighbor’s jewels.”

The coalition also rebukes NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, who has endorsed this move. Silver has shown great moral leadership against the racist remarks of a now former NBA franchise owner. He has shown moral leadership against the entire State of North Carolina for its discriminating against members of the LGBT community.

However, Adam Silver is the commissioner of a multibillion dollar sports league. Since he has been commissioner, the value of the Golden State Warriors went from $450 million to over $2 billion dollars. The billionaire owners of the Warriors refused to pay their debt of $60 million in upgrades to their current facility. They claim, after leaving their Oracle Arena when their new arena is built they should not have to pay any more of the bills for the old arena, even though the team demanded the upgrades under old ownership that the new ownership enjoys. Silver has showed no moral compulsion to help the community of Oakland who still must pay this bill. Therefore, the Good Neighbor coalition felt the need and moral obligation to, address that issue in its ballot measure statement for other municipalities to consider when opening their doors to billionaire owners.

The Declaration of Policy voters will decide on, reads:

Thou Shall Not Covet Policy of San Francisco shall be: We the People of the City and County of San Francisco California will not invite, entice, encourage, cajole or condone the relocation of any professional sports team that has previously established itself in another municipality and has demonstrated clear and convincing support from community and fans for at least twenty years and is profitable. And we stand against any sports team ownership group that attempts to avoid payment of an outstanding public debt. Instead of looking for an opportunity to take from our neighbors we wish to fully support each other and the entire Bay Area.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to defeat the owners of the Warriors and San Francisco City Hall at their own game.

You may follow progress of the ballot measure on the San Francisco Department of Elections website: Campaign services


About the Good Neighbor Coalition
The Good Neighbor Coalition was created by Allen Jones, a San Francisco resident since 1960 and a Golden State Warriors fan since 1975. The goals of the coalition are to promote team ownership integrity nationwide, greater appreciation for loyal fans and a good neighbor policy to guide municipalities on how best to deal with the loss of, or how to acquire a professional sports team through moral channels.

 

Senator Sanders to Address People’s Summit

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will deliver the keynote address Saturday in Chicago at the People’s Summit, a major gathering of progressive activists from across the country. Sanders will outline how we can advance as a society if we overcome the greed of the billionaire class and detail the path forward for the Democratic Party.

What: Sanders will deliver the keynote at the People’s Summit
When: Saturday, June 10 at 7 PM CT
Where: McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois

A live stream will be available here.
More information, including how to register for the event, is available at the People’s Summit website.

 

Attorney General Madigan Urges Education Secretary Devos to Stop Delaying Student Loan Forgiveness

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she is leading a coalition of attorneys general and other state officials demanding that the U.S. Department of Education stop delaying its program to cancel federal student loans for thousands of Illinois students victimized by predatory for-profit colleges.

 

Across the country, thousands of former students of Corinthian Colleges Inc., who are eligible for loan forgiveness by the U.S. Department of Education, have yet to see their loans forgiven and are continuing to make payments on these loans. Some students are nearing the end of 12-month forbearances or collections bans on their loans and face restarting monthly payments on debts that should be canceled. All of these students attended campuses and programs where the Department of Education found fraud.

 

In a letter sent today to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Madigan urges the Department of Education to review the mounting applications and work to forgive loans already approved to be canceled.

 

“Education Secretary DeVos must immediately forgive student loans the Department of Education has already determined were solicited by fraudulent for-profit schools,” Madigan said. “Yet, inexplicably, the government is still collecting on these fraudulently induced loans from schools the Department never should have allowed to operate.”

 

The letter presses DeVos to provide information on what the department is doing to rectify the growing backlog of applications and to provide a timeframe for forgiving the student loan debt. In addition, since the Department of Education has already determined that these students are eligible for loan forgiveness, the letter urges DeVos to abandon the application process and automatically discharge all eligible loans.

 

“Relieving these hard-working Americans of their fraud-induced student debt will free them to participate more fully in their local economies, or even continue their educations with reputable schools,” the letter states.

 

After intense scrutiny by various government entities, for-profit Corinthian Colleges abruptly ceased operations in 2015. Corinthian owned and operated seven Everest College campuses in Illinois. Madigan’s investigation into Everest College revealed widespread misrepresentations made to prospective students, supporting the Department of Education’s own findings of fraud that Corinthian made systemic misrepresentations between 2010 and 2014 about post-graduation employment rates for certain programs at its campuses.

 

Former Corinthian students in Illinois were notified as part of a bipartisan effort by Madigan and 46 other attorneys general across the country to inform more than 100,000 former Corinthian students that they are eligible for streamlined loan cancelation and provide information on how to apply for loan forgiveness.

 

Attorney General Madigan is a national leader in investigating and enforcing consumer protection violations in the higher education field. She has investigated for-profit schools for fraud and repeatedly called on the U.S. Department of Education to immediately forgive federal loans of students who attended fraudulent for-profit schools.

 

In addition to her investigation of Corinthian, Madigan reached a $15 million settlement with Westwood College in 2015 that forgave private debt owed by students of Westwood’s criminal justice program. After resolving Madigan’s lawsuit, the college announced its closure. More than 3,600 former Westwood College students in Illinois received an average of more than $4,200 in relief under the settlement, in addition to the potential federal loan relief called for by Madigan.

 

Madigan also reached a settlement with Education Management Corporation (EDMC), which operates five Illinois Institute of Art and Argosy University campuses in Illinois. The settlement requires EDMC to provide disclosure to students about the true cost of the school and expectations for job placement after graduation.

 

Earlier this year, Madigan filed a lawsuit against Navient and Sallie Mae for faulty and abusive student loan practices. Madigan also testified before Congress and urged the U.S. Department of Education to crack down on the many abuses and scams facing student borrowers.

 

Madigan’s office runs a free Student Loan Helpline to provide student borrowers with free resources about repayment options, avoiding default or to file a complaint about loan servicing at (800) 455-2456 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013). More information can also be found on her website.

 

Joining Madigan in sending today’s letter are attorneys general from: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia, as well as Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

 

AARP Urges Senate to Start From Scratch on Health Care Bill, Begins Notifying Millions of Members How House Reps Voted

Posted by Admin On May - 31 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
Letter to Senate Warns Against Age Tax, Taking Away Pre-existing Condition Protections, Massive Health Care Cost Increases 

WASHINGTON, DC – AARP sent a letter to every member of the U.S. Senate urging them to start from scratch on the health care legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week. The letter comes as AARP also begins to inform its members how each House member voted on the bill.

“The deeply flawed House bill would add an Age Tax, increasing health care costs by thousands of dollars each year we grow older, and put millions of American families at risk of finding health care unaffordable or unavailable,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. She told senators: “AARP urges you to ‘start from scratch’ and craft health care legislation that ensures robust insurance market protections, controls costs, improves quality, and provides affordable coverage to all Americans.”AARP’s letter notes that big insurance companies could charge older Americans five times – or more – for coverage, and charge many Americans more than their take home pay, noting, “The median annual income for  50-64 year old Americans is less than $25,000… [The House health bill] would remove pre-existing condition protections and once again allow insurance companies to charge Americans more — we estimate up to $25,000 more — due to a pre-existing condition.”

About 40% of older Americans, nearly 25 million, have a pre-existing condition.
AARP’s full letter to the Senate is here. Past statements and releases about the House bill can be found here. Fact sheets about the Age Tax and other harmful policies can be found here.

 

About AARP: AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

 

For further information: AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560, media@aarp.org, @AARPMedia

 

 

Chicago Schools are Expelling 3-Year-Olds. It Needs to Stop

Posted by Admin On May - 31 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
OP-ED: By State Rep. Juliana Stratton

Three-year olds are getting expelled from preschool. Let that thought sink in for a minute.

Research suggests that the expulsion of toddlers and preschoolers from early care and education settings is occurring at alarmingly high rates. While it may seem counterintuitive, a nationwide study in 2005 indicated that Illinois preschoolers were kicked out of their programs at a rate nearly three times that of their grade school and high school peers. More recent data from the Office for Civil Rights show that boys of color are subjected to higher rates of disciplinary action, and increasingly African-American girls are experiencing similar problems.

Why is this such an issue for young children, their families, and our communities? School expulsion is associated with negative educational, health, and developmental outcomes for all children, and expulsion in the earliest years leads to higher expulsion and suspension rates in later grades.

Illinois must end the practice of expelling preschoolers from their early childhood programs. This is why I’ve sponsored HB2663, a bill aimed at ensuring that children will remain in the most beneficial setting for their development by providing protections against preventable expulsion for those kids enrolled in Illinois State Board of Education-funded early childhood programs and licensed child care settings. In addition, the legislation identifies the trainings and topics needed to address the problem and asks state agencies to make this information available to programs. HB2663 also strengthens data collection and dissemination to guide future policymaking and practice-planning.

There are many reasons why preschool expulsion rates are high, and it’s important to recognize there is no one culprit to blame. It is often an amalgam of a child’s behavior, the programs’ interpretation of and response to that behavior, a family’s situation, and the state’s provision of guidance and resources to programs and families. But we know it’s happening too often, and the gender and racial disparities mean that we are leaving behind specific groups of children, which is unacceptable.

Our children have so much talent, but the preschool-to-prison pipeline makes it harder for them to realize all of that talent. Illinois must solve this problem. HB2663 is an important first step.

 

 

 

Student Loan Scam Gets an “F” From the FTC

Posted by Admin On May - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The costs of student loans and fees can be overwhelming. You might see online ads that promise to help lower your payments or get your loans forgiven. But be wary of companies that make those promises, and never pay an upfront fee. Today, the FTC announced it had filed charges against Strategic Student Solutions, Student Relief Center, and related companies for lying to consumers about providing student loan debt relief and charging illegal upfront fees.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Strategic Student Solutions promised consumers loan forgiveness or payment reduction and credit repair services, but they didn’t deliver. They told consumers that their monthly fees would be put toward their student loans. They also charged consumers illegal upfront fees of up to $1,200.

Consumers found out later that they had not been enrolled in forgiveness or repayment programs, that none of their payments had been put towards their student loans, and their credit had not been repaired. In fact, consumers often ended up farther behind on their payments than when they first signed up for the companies’ services.

If you have paid money to Strategic Student Solutions or Student Relief Center, contact your loan servicer immediately. Depending on the type of loans you have, you may want to discuss a repayment plan or other options for your situation.

Remember, you do not have to pay for help with your student loans. Never pay an upfront fee for the promise of debt relief. Learn how to spot a debt relief scheme.

To report a student loan debt relief scam, file a complaint with:

·       the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint

·       the CFPB at consumerfinance.gov/complaint

·       your state’s Attorney General’s office.

Black Woman Dies After Plastic Surgery in Dominican Republic

Posted by Admin On May - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Death on the table – rooted in cultural imperialism
By Akbar Muhammad

 


Nationwide (BlackNew.com) – This article is personal for me. I received a call from my daughter informing me that my 27-year-old niece, Tina, died in the Dominican Republic having surgery to change her physical appearance. She lost her life trying to achieve the appearance of a smaller woman in what is now known and marketed as the Brazilian Butt. Unfortunately, she agreed to have three surgeries including breast implants and a nice little word they call a tummy-tuck (liposuction).

Many people get these procedures done because of low self-esteem and poor body-image. However, for black and brown people there is a driving factor that I call cultural imperialism where a foreign culture imposes its standards on another people and culture.

A new report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveals that Americans spent $16 billion – more than ever before – on cosmetic plastic surgery and minimally-invasive procedures in 2016. The truth is some of it like the liposuction can be achieved with more disciplined dietary habits and exercise.

Many of our young men and women want a quick fix by going under the scalpel (knife) to surgically alter features inherited from their parents. They gamble with their life.

Much of this is rooted in the lack of self-knowledge, self-love and accepting how God has made and validated them.

The late Barry White sang it in “Just the Way You Are” where he said “Don’t go changing, trying to please me… Don’t go trying some new fashion… I love you just the way you are.” Whether Barry White was thinking about what we are doing to ourselves, one would never know; but the lyrics appropriately fits what is going on now.

People from all walks of life suffer with this problem.

Celebrities like professional baseball player Sammy Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic was not happy with his dark skin complexion and medically lightened his skin tone.

It’s a search for validation in a world that has redefined, corrupted and then marketed standards of beauty and cultural expression. But the physical alterations in hope for love, acceptance and validation is shallow and temporary.

Skin whitening products are widely sold in Africa and the Caribbean. A recent Washington Times article said statistics from the World Health Organization say, “roughly 75 % of Nigerian women, 27 % of Senegalese women and 33 % of South African women regularly use skin-lightening products.” The article said, over half of all cosmetic products sold in India are skin-lightening products. This is what I call Cultural Imperialism.

I say to young women and some men, don’t gamble with your life thinking that the change will make you more than what you are.

Some will reject what I am writing about. My niece was a beautiful young lady with a 9-year-old son. If my writing on this will save one life, then it is worth it.

I was asked to speak at her funeral service and Allah (God) willing, I will read this article and hope it will discourage another young lady from going abroad to change her appearance thinking it will make life better.

It is better that you love yourself and live to love and raise your children in self-love, and not try remaking your body to attract a man or a woman or love outside of you.

Akbar Muhammad may be reached at: aakbar314@yahoo.com

Photo Caption: Tina, niece of Akbar Muhammad

 

 

Does the DeVos Education Budget Promote “Choice” or Segregation?

Posted by Admin On May - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
An Op-ed from the Poverty & Race Research Action Council on the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Education Budget
 
By Kimberly Hall and Michael Hilton
 

Washington, DC, May 24, 2017 – The American public education system should provide an equal opportunity for all students to receive a quality rigorous education – regardless of class, race or ethnicity. In direct opposition to this goal, the Fiscal Year 2018 education budget recommendations from the Trump Administration show an effort to limit opportunities, support, and civil rights protections for students throughout the country.

The proposed Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS), a new Title I program, is a thinly veiled attempt to open the door for the voucherization of all federal, state and local public schools funds. This push to funnel public money to private schools to “improve student academic performance,” fails to learn from the lessons of the past.

Districts throughout the country have attempted voucherization resulting in overwhelmingly negative academic outcomes and the promotion of segregation. The District of Columbia and Louisiana implemented district wide voucher programs to help save poor performing school districts. Evaluations of student performance in both cities showed a negative impact on student achievement. Students who participated in the Louisiana voucher program exhibited steep declines in math performance compared to students who remained in traditional public schools, performing 13% lower on average after two years in the voucher schools.

Why would we voluntarily expand a program that has proven to have the opposite effect of what we would like to achieve?

The Poverty & Race Research Action Council, like other members of the National Coalition on School Diversity, is not opposed to expanding the range of opportunities available to students and their families. In fact, our research advocacy efforts are centered around the thoughtful, responsible expansion of public school choice approaches that help to bring children together in racial and economically integrated schools.

The Magnet School Assistance Program, for instance, builds off of decades of research which shows the magnet school approach conveys significant benefits to all
students. The integration effort in Louisville, KY, provides a real world example of how school choice programs centered around integration can have positive impacts on student outcomes.

If enacted, a pseudo-voucher program such as FOCUS would all but guarantee a less equitable school funding framework, paving the way for the continued defunding of the low performing schools and intensifying racial and economic segregation in those same schools. According to research from The Century Foundation, private school vouchers present a threat to integrated schools, in some cases opening the door for white and middle-class flight, in an echo of the segregation academies of the 60s and 70s.

If we are serious about improving academic achievement for all students, we need to support and fund the programs and policies that have proven to work. The research on the benefits of integrated schools clearly shows that in addition to helping to close the achievement gap, all students in integrated schools are more likely to be prepared for a global economy, have improved civic attitudes towards democratic participation, increased participation in community activities and show enhanced critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Yet, as we seek to prepare our students to compete on a global stage, the Trump Administration proposes to divert support from programs that have proven to benefit students’ life outcomes to fund programs that have shown to cause academic harm. But it does not stop there.

The already short staffed Office of Civil Rights is on the line for considerable cuts in funding and staff positions. At a time when the complaint levels are near historic highs with a record number of complaints year after year, this budget will cripple the already understaffed office charged with protecting the civil rights of all students.

Providing all of our nation’s children with a high-quality education should always be a top priority. We have not yet achieved that goal, however, it is a struggle we must win. We can never stop working to make sure that all children have an opportunity to learn and pursue their American Dream.

This proposed budget will close the doors of opportunity to hundreds of thousands of young minds around the country. We urge Congress to reject this attack on equal access to a quality public education, students’ civil rights, and ultimately our country’s long-term ability to continue as a global leader.

The Poverty & Race Research Council (PRRAC) is a civil rights policy organization convened by major civil rights, civil liberties and anti-poverty groups in 1989-90. PRRAC’s primary mission is to help connect advocates with social scientist working on race and poverty issues, and to promote a research-based advocacy strategy on structural inequality issues.

Communications & Partnerships Manager Kimberly Hall, manages PRRAC’s communications and media relations efforts. Before coming to PRRAC she worked in communications, messaging & strategy for non-profits and on political campaigns, most notably President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Kimberly is a graduate of the University of North Florida (B.S. Communications) and the University of Florida Political Campaigning Program (M.A. Political Science).
 
Michael Hilton is Policy Counsel – Education, supporting PRRAC’s education policy work. He is a 2012 Graduate of Columbia Law School, and the author of “Poverty, Literacy, and Brain Development: Toward a New, Place-Based Educational Intervention,” 17 Rich J.L. & Pub. Int. 623 (2014), and “Residential Segregation and Brain Development: Implications for Equitable Educational Opportunities in School Integration Matters” (Frankenberg, Garces, and Hopkins, Eds.) (2016) (Member of the New York State Bar.)
Photo Caption: Kimberly Hall and Michael Hilton

Teachers at Chicago’s Passages Elementary to Strike May 25 – First Charter Strike in U.S. History

Posted by Admin On May - 22 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 

Management won’t budge on opposition to financial transparency, insistence on bottom-of-the-barrel spending on immigrant and refugee students and frontline staff.

 

CHICAGO, IL – Union educators at Passages Charter School announced that they will formally strike — and hit the picket lines — on May 25 if they are unable to reach a fair contract agreement with charter management by midnight, May 24. Teachrers voted unanimously to strike on May 4, but held off from setting a date in the hopes that management would move from a hardline stance that includes rock-bottom wages, elimination of maternity and paternity leave, opposition to greater financial transparency, and insufficient resources to support classrooms.

 

Passages was one of the first charter schools created in Chicago, and today serves just under 500 students — including a large population of immigrant and refugee students of Asian and African heritage. Passages 47 union educators — teachers, teachers assistants and paraprofessionals — were certified last April as members of ChiACTS Local 4343, which represents 32 charter schools in Chicago. The school’s educators have been negotiating for a new contract since May of 2016.

The Passages strike would be the first of a charter school network in the nation.

“We really believe in the mission of this school and the students we serve, and it’s time for management to provide the resources we need to carry out that mission,” said third grade teacher Gina Mengarelli, a member of Passages’ ChiACTS bargaining team. “None of us wants to strike – we want to be in our classrooms with our students. And our bargaining team is committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith with AHS in hopes of reaching a fair contract. But if it takes a strike to force AHS to make changes that improve the education of Passages’ students, then we will be on the picket line until we achieve those improvements.”

Passages’ refugee and immigrant students look to the school as an environment to support the hopes and dreams they bring to their new country. But management is failing those aspirations, say educators, by spending too much money on top brass and overhead compared to other single-site charters, and too little on staff and students. Many teachers with BAs and even master’s degrees earn salaries in the $30,000 – $40,000 range for work weeks that can top 60 hours. Spending on students’ education at Passages is also at rock bottom among comparable publicly funded charter schools in Chicago.

“One of the core reasons educators formed a union at Passages was to have more voice in decisions that affect their students,” said ChiACTS president Chris Baehrend. “We’ve been bargaining for a year for a contract that gives us that voice, and guarantees fair working conditions for teachers and staff and fair learning conditions for our students. Yet AHS to date has refused to make us an offer that provides for these most basic of demands. If it takes a strike to convince management that it’s time to put students and the teachers who are the backbone of their education first, then we have no choce but to strike.”

Management has not skimped on salaries for itself. For the most recent year for which figures are available, AHS — Asian Human Services, the agency that runs Passages — paid $540,000 in total to two people, their current and former CEOs — that’s over $1,000 per student in compensation for those two positions alone, compared to CPS CEO Forrest Claypool’s compensation of less than $2 per student. The current and former CEOs of AHS together earned more than double that of Claypool, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, who earns $250,000 per year to run a system of just under 400,000 students. By way of comparison, the combined current salaries for Passages’ 47 bargaining unit members is $1.7 million, with teachers’ compensation averaging over 20% lower than that at comparable Chicago charter schools..

Despite repeated requests and FOIA filings, management has refused to make detailed financial information available to the bargaining team. That lack of financial transparency is now the subject of a pending claim with the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau. Teachers are calling for greater fiscal oversight at the school — including improvements in the percentage of dollars that management spends on students instead of on its own compensation.

AHS spends a greater percentage of the Passages school budget on management costs and a lower percentage on direct student and personnel costs than every other single- site charter in the city except one. The average single-site charter spends a quarter on management and overhead for every dollar they spend on school staff and students, whereas Passages spends fifty cents for every dollar. Passages is also an outlier when it comes to teacher salaries, with teachers earning 20% less than teachers at other Chicago charters. That low spending level for the school’s dedicated teachers and staff lands Passages far below the average in budget comparisons across charters.

Union members charge that the disparity in salaries for Passages educators and those at other charters is driven by AHS mismanagement of funds and the fact that AHS simply does not contribute enough to the school’s budget from its own funds. Chicago’s other single-site charters typically provide 5-10% of their financial resources from private fundraising revenue — a practice touted in the early days of the CPS push for charters as a way to harness private dollars to support publicly funded education. Passages raises zero dollars from private fundraising revenue.

Passages’ union educators returned to the bargaining table on Friday just after announcing their strike date.

 

Attorney General Madigan Student Loan Bill of Rights Passes Senate

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 

AG Madigan & Sen. Daniel Biss Applaud Passage of Senate Bill 1351 to Better Illinois Student Loan Borrowers

 

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the Illinois Senate passed legislation to reform the student loan servicing industry to help student loan borrowers repay their loans. The bill addresses widespread abuses and failures in the student loan industry that were revealed by Madigan’s investigation and lawsuit against one of the country’s largest student loan servicing companies, Navient.

 

Senate Bill 1351, drafted by Madigan’s office and Sen. Daniel Biss, would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights to better protect borrowers from abuses in the student loan industry. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 34 to 15 with one member voting present, and will now be considered in the House, where it will be sponsored by Rep. Will Guzzardi.

 

“This bill is critically important now that the U.S. Department of Education has abandoned student loan borrowers by revoking reforms to prevent the abuses uncovered in my investigation,” Madigan said. “These commonsense measures will improve the financial futures of student loan borrowers, their families and our economy.”

 

“The U.S. Department of Education’s decision to roll back protections for student loan borrowers is extremely disappointing, particularly when investigations into the industry – such as those conducted by Attorney General Madigan – have revealed misleading and self-serving practices,” Sen. Biss said. “I encourage my colleagues in the House to support these commonsense reforms.”

 

Over the past decade, student loan debt has doubled to become the largest form of unsecured consumer debt in the country with more than 40 million borrowers owing over $1.4 trillion. Nearly 70 percent of graduates leave college with an average debt burden of $30,000, and one-in-four borrowers are behind on their payments or in default.

 

Students who attended for-profit colleges are particularly hard hit, making up the vast majority of borrowers in default. While federal income-based repayment options are available, the U.S. Treasury has reported that only 20 percent of eligible borrowers are enrolled in these options, which can lower payments based on income to as low as $0 a month.

 

Madigan said Illinois borrowers frequently experience problems with their student loan servicers. Specifically, borrowers in Illinois have complained to her office that their loan servicers failed to inform them of affordable repayment options, follow borrower payment instructions and answer questions consistently.

 

Because it is so difficult to get legitimate help from loan servicers, student loan borrowers are increasingly turning elsewhere for help. Scam artists have rushed in to exploit desperate borrowers, much like they did during the mortgage crisis, with false promises to help in exchange for large, illegal upfront fees. Madigan has led the country in shutting down illegal student loan debt relief operations preying on borrowers.

 

Senate Bill 1351 would create a Student Loan Bill of Rights to protect student loan borrowers by prohibiting student loan servicers from misleading borrowers and requiring that they:

 

  • Properly process payments;
  • Require specialists to provide and explain to struggling borrowers all of their repayment options, starting with income-driven plans; and
  • Inform borrowers who may be eligible to have their loans forgiven due to a disability or a problem with the school they attended.

 

The bill would also create a Student Loan Ombudsman in the Attorney General’s office and require student loan servicers to obtain a license to operate in Illinois.

 

Attorney General Madigan is a national leader in investigating and enforcing consumer protection violations in the higher education field. In addition to her lawsuit against Navient and Sallie Mae, Madigan has investigated for-profit schools for fraud and repeatedly called on the U.S. Department of Education to immediately forgive federal loans of students who attended fraudulent for-profit schools. Madigan has also testified before Congress and urged the U.S. Department of Education to crack down on the many abuses and scams facing student borrowers.

 

Madigan also instituted a free Student Loan Helpline to provide student borrowers with resources about repayment options, avoiding default or how to file a complaint about loan servicing at (800) 455-2456 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013). More information can also be found on her website.

 

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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