Monday, November 9, 2015

Hillary News & Views 11.9: Public vs. Charter Schools, Roland Martin, SC Equality Dinner

Today’s Hillary News & Views covers a very busy weekend for the presidential candidate.

Her statements on marijuana reclassification have already gotten plenty of coverage, so this entry will focus on some of the other positions and statements that she made over the weekend, starting with her impassioned defense of public schools and her view on what the role of charter schools should be.

Washington Post reports her full remarks:
I have for many years now, about 30 years, supported the idea of charter schools, but not as a substitute for the public schools, but as a supplement for the public schools. And what I have worked on through my work with the Children’s Defense Fund and my work on education in Arkansas and through my time as first lady and senator  is to continue to say charter schools can have a purpose, but you know there are good charter schools and there are bad charter schools, just like there are good public schools and bad public schools.
But the original idea, Roland, behind charter schools was to learn what worked and then apply them in the public schools. And here’s a couple of problems. Most charter schools — I don’t want to say every one — but most charter schools, they don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them. And so the public schools are often in a no-win situation, because they do, thankfully, take everybody, and then they don’t get the resources or the help and support that they need to be able to take care of every child’s education.
So I want parents to be able to exercise choice within the public school system — not outside of it — but within it because I am still a firm believer that the public school system is one of the real pillars of our democracy and it is a path for opportunity.
But I am also fully aware that there are a  lot of substandard public schools. But part of the reason for that is that policymakers and local politicians will not fund schools in poor areas that take care of poor children to the level that they need to be. And you can get me going on this…. I mean, the corridor of shame right here in South Carolina, you get on there and you can see schools that are literally falling apart. I’ve been in some of those schools. I have seen the terrible physical conditions. That is an outrage. It is a rebuke to who we are as Americans to send any child to a school that you wouldn’t send your own child to.
And so we’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure that public schools serve people, but that doesn’t mean we don’t also provide options within the system so that parents can find what they think might work best for their kid.

Clinton announced a planned reversal of a policy that has made it more difficult for students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to receive scholarships.

Politic 365 reports:
The Parent PLUS loan fiasco started in 2011 after the Department of Education changed the credit standards for Parent PLUS loans.  The change resulted in an overall 3.4 percent decline in enrollment at HBCUs — a decrease of 97 students per HBCU according to the Department of Education’s own statistics and an analysis of that data by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
“These [HBCUS] are the places that graduate Black professionals and we need more not fewer and I will reverse the impact of the loan changes.  Yes,” Clinton answered directly.
“Those who dropped out, we need to figure out a way to bet them back in and we have to reverse the [inaudible] that led them to drop out,” Clinton added.  
Over 28,000 students attending Historically Black Colleges had their education interrupted as a result of their Parents not being able to secure a Parent PLUS loan. The lack of tuition revenue caused HBCUs to collectively lose over $200 million because of the Parent PLUS loan change. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would later apologize for the decision which caught many college Administrators off guard.
The Times and Democrat collected more quotes from Clinton’s Town Hall on a variety of topics.

Infrastructure Investment:
“We need once and for all to have a very big infrastructure program on our roads, our bridges, tunnels, airports, rail systems -- where we can put millions of people to work.”
Small Businesses:
“My particular hope is that I can be the small business president. I want to focus on women and minority-owned establishments.” 
Credit Scores and Employment:
Clinton says sometimes credit reports are wrong. She thinks a lot of credit problems for young people stem from student debt and credit cards.
“I want people to be responsible. I want them to pay their debt, but I also want to make sure you have a second chance. It shouldn’t be that you are denied a job - that has nothing to do with your credit score or your credit situation,” she said.
Equal Pay:
“A lot of women don’t know they are being paid less than the men that they’re working beside doing the same job,” Clinton said.
“We are going to tackle this, and we’re going to handle it,” she said.
Gun Violence:
“Ninety people a day die in our country from guns – homicides, suicides and avoidable accidents. It is imperative that people make this a voting issue.”
“Under the rules, three business days is all you get to find out. The information hadn’t been shared between two jurisdictions. So after three days, he went and got that gun, went to Mother Emanuel, and murdered those nine wonderful people,” Clinton said.
Gun makers should be required to apply technology that currently exists so that guns cannot be operated by children or criminals if they are stolen, Clinton said.
College Affordability:
“If you are going to a public college or university, you will not have to borrow money to pay for tuition, and you will able to use your Pell Grant – if you get one, for living expenses.”
“With respect to HBCUs, that will help the public HBCUs because they will certainly be included, but I want to go further than that. I have a special provision of a pot of $25 billion dollars for HBCUs, including private institutions.”
Support for Rep. Clyburn’s 10/20/30 Amendment:
“Ten percent of federal funds would go to communities where 20 percent of the people are living in poverty, and have done so for more than 30 years,” she said.
Clinton said Clyburn described this idea as a recipe for dealing with poverty everywhere.
Finally, Clinton headlined a fundraiser for the South Carolina Equality organization, and used her keynote to address many issues currently facing the LGBT community.

Q Notes has the entire transcript of her prepared remarks. Here are some highlights.

Clinton acknowledged the local officials working on behalf of equality:
“I want to thank Jeff [Ayers, executive director for SC Equality]. Thank you, Jeff, for not only those kind words but your leadership of South Carolina Equality during this momentous year. I want to also recognize Linda Ketner, who was with me when we were together; she was the MC at the NAACP evening gala in Charleston — 98 years anniversary. And I thank Linda for all of her leadership on so many important causes. I want to thank Gilda [S.C. Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter]. She’s such a shy and retiring person. But you always — you always know when she’s on your side, you can count on her all the way. And thank you, Gilda, for being here tonight and for all your advocacy on behalf of civil rights and gay rights and human rights from your position in the legislature.
She noted the progress that has been made in South Carolina and elsewhere:
“But everyone here and so many others who couldn’t be with us, who marched and sang and wrote briefs and did everything you could to make marriage equality the law of the land, not just here in this state but across the United States. I’m also grateful that we have a sense of not only what has been accomplished, but the challenges that still lie ahead. The people who started this organization — Linda, Harriet Hancock, or “Mama H” as she was known — began a fight for equality without at all knowing what the outcome would be. That’s the way activists and advocates always have to start: knowing that what you are standing for is right, but also not being sure when others will recognize and accept that.
“When Linda quoted from T. S. Eliot, she knows exactly what I mean when I talk about that. Because sometimes even after you make a lot of progress, you still have to keep fighting. And it takes people in every generation then to figure out what their role will be in the ongoing struggle.
She acknowledged the struggle of a local transgender youth:
“Some of you may know a young woman named Chase Culpepper. Is she here tonight? No? She did something so ordinary last year: she walked into a DMV in Anderson to get her driver’s license, just like any other 17-year-old might do, but because Chase is transgender she was treated differently. She was ordered to wash her face and take off her makeup, told to look male in her photo. And she walked out of there thinking, “I don’t want any other kid to go through that experience.” So she spoke up and she pushed for the rules to be changed. And now anyone who wants to get a driver’s license in South Carolina can be photographed the way they look [inaudible].
“Chase wasn’t even in elementary school when Linda and Harriet and everybody started this. But because of what you all have done, she had the courage to say, “Hey, wait a minute, that’s not right.” Small victories like that add up to real change. And I know that sometimes the simplest of acts may feel quite revolutionary, like going to the DMV or going to a parent-teacher conference at your child’s school, or celebrating a wedding anniversary or even just bragging about your family around the office. A million ordinary acts that were unimaginable for so many, for so long, and now are not just a part of your lives but they are a part of the fabric of our lives together.
She also acknowledged a local police officer who was fired for being a lesbian, and fought back:
“Now, I bet most of you know the story of Crystal Moore. Is she here tonight? Well, Crystal Moore, the first woman police chief in Latta, South Carolina — and when the new mayor fired her, for no reason other than she happens to be a lesbian, the entire town rallied behind her: gay, straight, black, white. Even people she had arrested and put in jail stood up for her. And the reason turned out to be pretty simple: she was a fantastic police chief and they didn’t want to lose her. But the mayor wouldn’t change his decision. So you know that the town did? They had a special election and they overwhelmingly voted to take the power to hire the police chief away from the mayor and give it to the town council. Then the town council turned around and hired Chief Moore back.
“Now, this is a woman who devoted her life to upholding justice and her community made sure she was treated justly too. If the people hadn’t stepped up to give her job back to her, she would have had no recourse. Because as I said last night, people not only in this state but a majority of other states can still get married on Saturday and then fired on Monday. That’s just wrong, and that’s one of the things we have to change. And you cannot leave the protection of fundamental rights to state and local authorities. It is essential to have federal protections that safeguard the rights of all Americans.
She reiterated her support for the Federal Equality Act:
“That is why I will do all that I can to make sure Congress passes the Federal Equality Act. That law would finally outlaw discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing, public education, public accommodations, access to federal funding and credit, and in the jury system. As a president, I think it’s imperative that we understand everyone is entitled to equal treatment under the law. And the law needs to recognize the unfinished business of equality and justice in America. So I invite all of you to come to the White House when I sign that law [inaudible]. And I’m sure Jeff and Linda will make it possible for that to happen.
And her support for the Affordable Care Act:
“But we have other work to do. We have to secure better health care for the LGBT community. And one of the many reasons why the Affordable Care Act is a good law is because it made it illegal for insurers to deny coverage because of a person’s sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity. Because the fact is, as you know, too many people still struggle to get the care they need. And every Republican governor who refused to accept Medicaid expansion because they don’t like the Affordable Care Act, including right here in South Carolina, is doing a lot of harm to people with HIV and AIDS who often need medical [inaudible].
“I am still going to do everything I can to persuade Republican governors to extend Medicaid. Just a few days ago, the Republican governor of Alaska did. I know that even the Republican governor, I’m told, in Alabama is looking at it. And I sure hope the Republican governor here in South Carolina does as well.
She spoke of the need for greater equality in the military:
There’s also some unfinished business. LGBT people who are serving in our armed forces — now, the fact that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is over doesn’t change the reality that more than 14,000 men and women were forced out of the military for being gay, some long before “don’t ask, don’t tell” even existed. And many were given less than honorable discharges. I really think we should honor and thank those men and women for their service by updating their service records. Let’s make sure they get the honorable discharge they deserve.
Expanded on the need for greater protection for transgender Americans:
“Now, meanwhile, transgender people are still prevented from serving openly. That’s an outdated rule, especially since you and I know there are transgender people in uniform right now. And they are serving their country. That’s why I support the policy review that Defense Secretary [Ashton] Carter recently announced at the Pentagon. It’s why I hope the United States joins many other countries where transgender people are free to serve openly.
“We also have to address the growing crisis of violence against transgender Americans. This year has seen the murder of at least 20 transgender women, primarily women of color, and so much violence goes unreported or ignored. When I was at the State Department we made it easier for transgender Americans to change their passports to reflect their true gender. And as president I will work to make sure that we provide respect and dignity for transgender Americans.
The threat of a GOP president:
“Now, to echo Linda and Jeff, this is just one of the many reasons, albeit a very important one, why this election is important. Candidates on the other side have often said quite intolerant things about the LGBT community. Ted Cruz slammed a political opponent for marching in a Pride parade. Now, my response to that was that he clearly has no idea what he’s missing. I first marched in a — at a Pride parade when I was the First Lady and then I marched in the parade when I was senator. I want to invite Senator Cruz to join in next year.
“Amid ridiculous and offensive comments, there are deadly serious issues at stake. Every single Republican candidate is against marriage equality. Many of them are already on record as being against laws to end discrimination. Many are against same-sex couples adopting. And as has already been said, the next Supreme Court may have three, possibly four, openings during the next presidency. We cannot afford to take a risk. I will do my part to make sure issues such as these are given the attention they deserve on the campaign trail, and more importantly I intend to be and will be your partner in the White House. There is no doubt in my mind that progress is possible but not in any way inevitable. We have to keep working to make sure equality is a reality.
Her vision for America and passing the torch to a new generation of activists:
“And as I look out at all of you, I am struck by the variety of ages – some who have been in this struggle for a very long time and some quite young and new to it. That’s as it should be. I think of all the moms and dads out there who worry about whether their children will be okay. I think about the hospitals that still won’t let both moms into the emergency room with their sick child. I think about the parents and the kids who worry about whether their teachers and classmates will be accepting of them, whether law enforcement will treat them fairly — all those millions of worries, large and small, that LGBT Americans live with every single day.
“I’m fighting for an America where, if you do your part, you can get ahead and stay ahead, where you can be accepted for who you are; where liberty and equality, where diversity and unity, where opportunity and justice are not just values we recite but goals we work to achieve. I don’t want anybody to be left out. We need everybody’s talents in America today.
“And as I said in the beginning, we have a lot to celebrate. This is really the fastest civil rights movement that I’m aware of in the history of the world. But do not grow weary because there is still much left undone. And those who have been at the beginning of this movement, those who started SC Equality, have so much to pass on. But the torch inevitably will be passed and a new generation must step forward to continue to make the case to call out the champions as well as the adversaries, to be on the front lines tirelessly because there is no end to this struggle, and to support one another not just in good times but in the bad ones.

No comments:

Post a Comment