There’s a vast difference in quality among public school districts in the US–and parents who try to enroll their kids in better schools may face severe punishment.
By Rania Khalek
October 18, 2011
Kindergartener A.J. Paches was kicked out of Brookside Elementary School earlier this year because his homeless mother used a friend’s address to register him in the wealthy district of Norwalk, Connecticut. After expelling A.J., Norwalk authorities charged his mother with first-degree larceny for enrolling her son under a false address, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Sadly, A.J.’s story is not unique. He is one of several low-income students whose parents use the residence of a relative or friend to provide their children with educational opportunities that are severely lacking in poor districts. In the recession era of budget deficits and cuts to public education, wealthy school districts are cracking down hard on these families, going to extreme lengths to identify the kids and prosecute the parents.
Bounties, Private Investigators, Tipsters, and Stakeouts
One popular method is to offer bounties to tipsters who report students who turn out to be illegally enrolled. As of 2008, the Bayonne Board of Education in New Jersey offers a $100 bounty for tips about students suspected of lying about their residency. In the middle-class suburban enclave of Clifton, New Jersey, the bounty is set at $300 for informants who correctly report a boundary hopper. According to the New York Times, the district immediately follows up with a visit by an “attendance officer” to the suspected students home.
In anticipation of the growing demand for residence verification, private companies like VerifyResidence.com and LiarCatchers.comare offering their investigative services aimed directly at public school districts. According to its Web site, VerifyResidence.com not only offers residence audits, but also surveillance stakeouts by investigators using “the latest in covert video technology and digital photographic equipment to photograph, videotape, and document subject activity when logistically possible.”
From RH Reality Check: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/10/16/longing-for-the-scarlet-a-0
by Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check
October 19, 2011
Both the activist and political behavior of anti-choicers lately has made one thing excruciatingly clear: shame is the name of the their game. The vague principle of “life” has always been a farcical cover story for anti-choice sentiment, of course, and much of this website lately has been dedicated to drawing a line between recent anti-choice antics and how little relationship they have to this cover story about “life”. If anything, however, the response to being so exposed hasn’t caused anti-choicers to retreat and look for new ways to convince people that they aren’t the anti-sex misogynist obsessives that they are. They’ve just been doubling down lately, as two recent news stories show.
The first and most obvious is the misleadingly named Protect Life Act. Misleadingly named, because the main purpose of the act is to increase the number of women who pay with their lives for the non-crime of being sexually active while female. The House passed this bill which, in part, allows hospitals to refuse to save the lives of pregnant women if doing so means terminating the pregnancy. This, of course, doesn’t save either the life of the woman or the fetus, because as much as anti-choicers pretend it’s not true, without the pregnant woman to live inside, a fetus cannot survive. The most obvious interpretation of this bill is that the House is sending a message to American women: if your body fails to properly incubate any one fetus, you don’t even deserve to live.
But it’s really more than that, though heaven knows the misogyny in that is reason enough to be thoroughly repulsed by HR 358. It all goes back to the right wing view of sex as a sinful act for which those who participate (especially if female) deserve to see any ill consequence befall them in return. You know, for not taking the “personal responsibility” of lifelong virginity. Katha Pollitt aptly described the Christian right view of sex by saying they perceive it as “some weird and semi-criminal activity.” In the far-right framework that guides the anti-choice movement, any ill that befalls you is something you probably brought on yourself by not flying right. Thus the massive cheers during the Republican debate at the idea of an uninsured man being left to die, and thus the notion that a pregnant woman who needs an abortion to live should simply die, as well. In this ever-stricter worldview, a few carcasses of the uninsured and the unvirginal will teach us all a lesson. Granted, not one that results in buying insurance or committing lifelong celibacy. Really, those sacrificed by deliberate neglect are more the 21st century version of scapegoats: those who pay with their lives for the supposed sins of us all.
Continue reading at: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/10/16/longing-for-the-scarlet-a-0
From The Sidney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/baby-boomer-divorcees-face-homeless-risk-20111017-1lto3.html
October 18, 2011
MIDDLE-CLASS DIVORCEES risk poverty and homelessness as they grow older, according to new research from the Salvation Army.
Women over 40 who return to renting may never get back into the housing market, said the study’s author, Swinburne University’s Dr Andrea Sharam — and if their career path has been “mummy tracked” by periods of part-time work and maternity leave, they probably don’t have enough superannuation. By surveying 111 Victorian women over the age of 40 who did not expect to own their own homes before retirement, Dr Sharam discovered that 77 per cent were still renting, even though 79 per cent had tertiary degrees, 76 per cent were employed and their median income was $50,000.
“It’s not about low income, it’s about your life course,” said Dr Sharam. “You can do remarkably well, but as soon as you divorce, it’s a different story.”
Two-thirds of the women surveyed expected to have $100,000 or less in superannuation at retirement. More than half (53 per cent) were in debt, and even those earning over $70,000 had minimal savings.
Dr Sharam called on councils and welfare organisations to invest in community “land lease” schemes where crown or private land is lent to low-income housing developments. Many of these women could raise the deposit for a $150,000 investment, Dr Sharam said, but none could afford a house or flat in today’s market.
by: Niki Kitsantonis, The New York Times
Wednesday 19 October 2011
Athens – Tens of thousands of Greek workers walked off the job on Wednesday at the start of a two-day general strike to protest a new round austerity measures that the debt-ridden government must pass through Parliament on Thursday to secure crucial aid and avert a default that could shake the euro zone and reverberate through the global economy.
The strike, the second this month, was one of the biggest since Greece first appealed for foreign support two years ago, with even shops, bakeries and gas stations closing. Most international travel was suspended, with all flights canceled, the national rail service halted and ferries moored in port. Public transportation was running on a limited service to enable workers to attend protest rallies. Tax offices, courts and schools shut down, hospitals were operating with only emergency staff and customs officials walked off the job. The action, which follows a wave of smaller protests, including a walkout by garbage collectors that have left the streets of the capital swamped in trash, was called by the country’s two main labor unions. The unions, which represent about 2.5 million workers, are leading resistance to the new package of cutbacks which include additional cuts in wages and pensions, thousands of public-sector layoffs and changes to collective-bargaining rules.
Their protest comes as European Union leaders prepare to meet on Sunday to decide on the release of about $11 billion in aid to Greece, the latest installment of a $150 billion bailout engineered last year, and on a much broader European rescue designed to protect the bloc against a potential Greek debt default. The Greek government has said it will run out of money next month without the aid.
A spokesman for the Athens police put the number of protesters on Wednesday at around 70,000. Some news web sites said the figure was closer to 100,000. The spokesman said one officer was injured by stone-throwing demonstrators but did not have information about any other injuries or arrests.