September 16, 2011

Constitution Day

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who, are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens.

The LWV begins a four part study beginning tonight at the Iowa City Public Library at 7PM, September 16, addressing the Constitution. Visit the Johnson County League of Women Voters web site for more information.

September 11, 2011

Child Poverty Continues to Rise in America...Anybody Noticing?

From "The Kids Count" by William Fisher, Truthout

"Now, the Annie E. Casey Foundation gives us a set of hard and very grim data to support "60 Minutes'" anecdotal view. That data is very scary, very anger inducing and very heartbreaking. The new numbers on 2009 poverty among US children finds 31 million children living in families that are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Now, in 2010, they are higher still."

"The foundation's new report - "Kids Count" - tells us that poverty rates among children rose substantially, not just during the recession, but throughout the last decade. The official child poverty rate rose by nearly 20 percent from 2000 to 2009. And, in 2010, 11 percent of children lived with at least one unemployed parent.

That means that 20 percent of all American children are living in poverty. Twenty percent is 31 million kids. Think about it!

The foundation says that what's even more troubling in some ways is that the children who are on the edge of living in poverty, those children who live with families that are at 200 percent of the federal poverty level, now comprise 42 percent of all children living at that level."

Read the full article at this LINK!

Education: Our True Homeland Security

Sunday 11 September 2011
by: William J. Astore, Truthout | Op-Ed

Today's students see education as a means to an end, the end being a respectable job with decent pay and benefits.

And who can blame them? With the national unemployment rate at 9.1 percent (a percentage that doesn't include part-timers seeking full-time employment and those unemployed who have simply given up looking for jobs), students are understandably worried about career prospects.

Many college students are also worried about paying back their student loans; operating under such financial pressure, a focus on salary and the possibility of pay raises and promotions is hardly surprising.

Combine these personal pressures with a stalled economy and a political realm that increasingly sees public service as wasteful and unnecessary, and it's no wonder that education is being reduced to another for-profit venture: another fungible commodity in a world driven by money and the bottom line.

But education is much more than a commodity. At its best, education is a transformative experience. It opens new horizons to us; it helps us to envision new possibilities even as it serves to sustain our freedoms.

How do we recapture education's idealism in an environment driven by parsimony and focused relentlessly on short-term issues of solvency and relevance?

How about redefining education as our true Homeland Security? A security based not on military power or intrusive surveillance but on creativity and critical thinking and informed citizenship? How about stimulating and facilitating a lifelong pursuit of fresh ideas and innovative solutions to national and global challenges?