L.A. Schools Lose Half A Billion Dollars To Charter Schools

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Workers Independent News is heard Monday through Friday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

A new report from MGT of America shows Los Angeles public schools have lost more than $591 million this year alone.

Donald Cohen, executive director of In The Public Interest, says it’s a staggering figure and if doesn’t change immediately “the entire educational system in Los Angeles will be in a financial crisis.”

“This is the beginning of a conversation nationwide to say you can’t create a parallel school system that destroys the existing one and expect every child to be educated,” Cohen says.

Cohen says this study should be replicated nationwide to measure the true impact of charter schools on public education.

“What people around the country hopefully will do, one is replicated this study in their own district—to put dollars and cents and real educational impact on this rapid growth of charter schools. Because charter schools have dramatically increased across the country not by accident, by the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars by people who want to destroy the public school system and privatize it,” Cohen said.

Central States Pension Fund Looks to Congress After Treasury Refused To Approve Cuts

The head of the Central States Pension Fund says Congress now has to act to save the Central States Pension Fund. Tom Nyhan says now that the Treasury Department has rejected the plan’s pension cuts proposal the fund likely won’t be able to offer another proposed remedy without Congress.

Milwaukee Teamster Bob Amsden says with government oversight of the union and the pension fund, much of the responsibility for the fund’s problems rests with Congress.

Amsden says retirees relying on the pension payments want to force Congress to act.

“Make Congress stand up and do what’s right and do what they should have done all along. Since we’ve been under their control, they have fiduciary responsibility to see that this fund was managed right. And they failed miserably,” Amsden said.

Civil Liberties Union Sues N.Y. to Win Farmworker Labor Rights

The New York Civil Liberties Union Tuesday sued the state of New York for excluding farmworkers from the labor right to form unions and collectively bargain.

Aadhithi Padmanabhan is a Legal Fellow with the New York Civil Liberties Union. “That exclusion from the New York State Employment Relations Act violates the New York constitution, which provides that all employees have that right without exception.”

Padmanabhan says its possible farmworkers in New York could win labor rights without having to take this lawsuit to trial if the state settles the case.

“It is our goal to ensure that farmworkers can exercise this right freely and with the protection that they are entitled to as soon as possible. So yes, I hope that that is the case. And Governor Cuomo has said that he will not defend these exclusions.”