January 14, 2014


JSPAN Newsletter - January 10, 2014

Jewish Social Policy Action Network
In This Issue:
Newsletter: January 10, 2014
A Place at the Table


The 4th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Program

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At Phila. High School, A Daily Struggle with Budget Cuts
By Kristen A. Graham
Philadelphia Inquirer

The principal parked her laptop on a student's desk at the junction of two second-floor corridors at Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Her to-do list hovered in the hundreds, but it was 2 p.m., time for her to pull another shift as a hall monitor.

Not long ago, Debora Carrera had a climate manager, assistant principal, and aides to keep order in the hallways. But the Philadelphia School District's financial implosion has eviscerated school budgets, and now there are simply not enough adults to go around.


[read more]


Bill Would Address Counselor Shortage in Philly Schools
Kristen A. Graham
Inquirer Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA The impact of the Philadelphia School District's budget crunch is far-reaching, but one cut stood out to State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D., Phila.) - a shortage of counseling services.

Constituents in his district, which includes parts of Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County, often brought up the topic with Boyle and his staff.


[read more]


50 Years Later, War on Poverty Is a Mixed Bag
New York Times

WASHINGTON — To many Americans, the war on poverty declared 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson has largely failed. The poverty rate has fallen only to 15 percent from 19 percent in two generations, and 46 million Americans live in households where the government considers their income scarcely adequate.

But looked at a different way, the federal government has succeeded in preventing the poverty rate from climbing far higher. There is broad consensus that the social welfare programs created since the New Deal have hugely improved living conditions for low-income Americans. At the same time, in recent decades, most of the gains from the private economy have gone to those at the top of the income ladder.



[read more]



More Hunger for the Poorest Americans
The Editorial Board
New York Times

This is a harsh season for Americans struggling to afford food. Last month, the long lines at food pantries across the country grew longer with the expiration of the boost to food stamp benefit levels included in the 2009 economic stimulus plan. Those lines are apt to grow even longer thanks to the refusal of House Republicans to renew extended unemployment benefits as part of the recent budget deal.

And if that isn't sufficient pain for the neediest, Congress is getting ready to make another big cut to nutrition aid when it returns in early January.


[read more]


Help the Working Poor, but Share the Burden
New York Times

In a speech last month, President Obama brought renewed attention to economic disparities in the United States. The gap between rich and poor is indeed substantial — much larger than in most developed nations and much larger than it was 40 years ago. So what is the best way to help those struggling at the bottom of the economic ladder?



[read more]


Gun Control Advocates Take New Look at Strategy
By Michael A. Memoli
Los Angeles Times

After a year of defeats amid lobbying by the National Rifle Assn. and others, gun control advocates consider more modest goals. Next year's midterm election may offer new opportunities.

WASHINGTON — After a year that produced limited results, at best, for their cause, advocates of new gun-safety laws are recalibrating strategy, hoping to find more success at the ballot box and upset the conventional wisdom that opponents of gun control have an iron grip on Washington.

Political groups seeking to counter the influence of the National Rifle Assn. and others in the gun lobby hope to score some victories in next year's midterm election. But they are setting modest goals. They plan to look for key races in which they can make an impact, but the larger goal is to show lawmakers that the movement behind stronger gun restrictions will have staying power in elections to come.

"There's been a huge sea change in the way people view the issue, but it's not going to change overnight," said Mark Glaze, executive director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group founded by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "You start by winning some state victories and some smaller federal victories, and then legislators are reassured."

It's unclear whether there really has been the change in public attitudes that Glaze and other gun control advocates claim to sense.


[read more]


Senate Moves Ahead with Measure to Extend Long-Term Unemployment Benefits
By Paul Kane
The Washington Post
January 7, 2014

The Senate voted narrowly Tuesday to move ahead with a measure to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, despite Republican demands for corresponding budget cuts.

Immediately after the surprise vote, President Obama urged Congress to quickly finish the job of providing "a vital economic lifeline" to millions of Americans, part of a public and private campaign to sway wavering Republicans to come aboard. "We've got to make sure this recovery leaves nobody behind," he said, stressing that the deep recession that gripped the nation at the beginning of his first term "was so devastating that there are still a lot of people who are struggling."



[read more]



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