fresh voices from the front lines of change







Teachers Confront DeVos In Closed Session

"You're the one creating the 'bad' schools": nation's top teachers denounce Devos during closed-door session. Common Dreams: "In the midst of teacher uprisings in multiple states that over recent months have drawn hundreds of thousands of educators and their supporters into the streets to demand increased school funding, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos came face-to-face on Monday afternoon with several vocal opponents of her policies—the country's 2018 'Teachers of the Year.'... many of the teachers expressed disapproval of the Secretary's pet cause—school voucher programs and charter schools, often referred to as "school choice" by proponents—which critics say pull funding from the very public school students the Education Department is meant to support. When teachers including Oklahoma's Teacher of the Year, Jon Hazell, raised concerns over public funds and scholarships going to private education, DeVos said that 'school choice' simply offers students a way out of 'low-performing public schools.' 'I said, 'You're the one creating the 'bad' schools by taking all the kids that can afford to get out and leaving the kids who can't behind.'"

Puerto Ricans Protest Austerity, Lack Of Aid

Thousands in Puerto Rico march to protest austerity measures. AP: "Thousands of Puerto Ricans marched Tuesday to protest pension cuts, school closures and slow hurricane recovery efforts as anger grows across the U.S. territory over looming austerity measures. The Labor Day protest attracted teachers, retirees and unionized workers from both the private and public sectors, as well as the mayor of the capital of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz. Among those who marched through the city's financial center before the protest grew violent was 56-year-old Juan de Dios del Valle, a government worker who was laid off in 2008 and has since found only occasional jobs as a gardener or janitor. 'I'm here to support all those who are mired in poverty,' he said. The protest remained peaceful until hundreds of young protesters, many with their faces covered, threw rocks and other objects as they clashed with police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd."

CA Sues EPA Over Auto Emissions Rollback

CA challenges Trump EPA over auto-emissions rollback. Bloomberg: "California isn’t rolling over as the Trump administration moves to toss Obama-era vehicle emission standards. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he’s filing a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s April 2 determination that the requirements for cars and light trucks are too stringent and must be revised. The EPA is now in the process of rewriting those standards that aimed to slash carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. 'The state of California is not looking to pick a fight with the Trump administration, but we are ready for one, especially when the stakes are so high for our families, our health and the planet,' Becerra said at a news conference announcing the move."

New EPA Skews Climate Science For Industry

EPA’s new transparency rule has hidden pro-industry agenda. Science: "When Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C., announced last week that the agency plans to bar regulators from considering studies that have not made their underlying data public, he said it was to ensure the quality of the research used to shape new rules... But longtime observers of EPA, including former senior agency officials, see a more troubling and targeted goal: undermining key studies that have helped justify stricter limits on air pollution. In particular, they say, the new policy is aimed at blocking EPA consideration of large epidemiological studies that have highlighted the health dangers of tiny particles of soot and other chemicals less than 2.5 microns in diameter."

EPA Exempts WI, Foxconn From Smog Regulations

EPA chief Pruitt overrules agency staff, gives Wisconsin's Walker, Foxconn big break on smog. Chicago Tribune: "The Trump administration on Tuesday exempted most of southeast Wisconsin from the latest federal limits on lung-damaging smog pollution, delivering a political victory to Gov. Scott Walker as he makes a new Foxconn Technology Group factory the centerpiece of his re-election campaign. By dramatically reducing the size of the areas required to crack down on smog, Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt overruled the agency’s career staff, a move that will save Foxconn from having to make expensive improvements as it builds a sprawling new electronics plant in Racine County, just north of the Illinois border in an area with some of the state’s dirtiest air."

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