Five years of efforts by Nevada’s Public Employees Retirement System to evade the transparency requirements of state law took a heavy body blow this week. A Nevada Supreme Court majority rejected a PERS request that the court reconsider its early order that the system disclose public-employee names, pay and benefits. In October, the high court had ordered PERS to provide the data to Nevada Policy, which posts it on TransparentNevada.com and references it in public-policy analysis. The PERS board, however, decided that, rather than comply, it would instead just petition the justices for a rehearing on the same grounds the justices had already rejected. Such demonstrated indifference by government officials to the state transparency law — the Nevada Public Records Act — is one of the reasons why the law needs penalties in place to deal with the many scofflaws occupying government positions. (more)
Many millennials are now parents and there’s one thing they’re getting right — educational choice. A new report by research firm Echelon Insights found that millennial parents, having personal experience of the failed public school system, now are supporters of educational choice. Although more highly educated than their parents, they find that earn 20 percent less than did their folks at the same stage of life. Millennial parents are also realizing that the rigid “one-size-fits-all” approach of many public school systems simply doesn’t work. Moreover, they increasingly recognize that the traditional high-school-to-college-to-career-path is not for everyone. As Senator Ben Sasse put it at the 2018 ExcelinEd conference, “This generation is the first to fully recognize that children are not widgets — they’re souls.” (more)
Workers’ rights are now seen as one of the top legislative issues to watch among states and localities in 2019. Why? The recent Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME has encouraged big-union bosses in some states to make “opting out” even more difficult for workers — in a transparent attempt to keep the union pockets lined with union dues and “fair share fees” from people who would otherwise decide to “opt out.” Nonetheless, as the court case showed, increasingly large number of workers are questioning the actual value they receive from union membership, especially in matters such as contract negotiations. The hollowness of much “representation” is revealed by the very few workers who’ve ever even voted on the union representing them — which results in unhappy workers with little true voice in the workplace. Big battles in behalf of worker freedom are clearly on the horizon. (more)
Imagine taking on a seasonal job expecting to make some extra holiday cash only to find nearly your entire paycheck gobbled up by “fees.” Union fees, to be precise. That’s what one Boston mother experienced when she received her first check from UPS after working a full 40-hour week — a check for just $14.52 all her hard work, but another $490 she’d earned going instead into the union’s pocket. “It’s got to be a mistake,” she assumed, and contacted her union hoping to get some of her Christmas cash back. “I cried, tried pleading my case with them. But there was no wiggle room.” For an organization that was supposed to protect her, Shelia O’Malley didn’t feel very protected. “It just didn’t feel right,” she says. (more)
Abuse and Corruption in CCSD
First, CCSD violated the law by putting an unlicensed teacher who’d never taught before in charge of nonverbal special-needs students in a closed-door classroom. Then, when multiple detailed witness accounts of the subsequent physical abuse of the students began reaching the local principal, the latter repeatedly did nothing. Only when confronted by an informed teacher aide who knew state law and herself had a disabled child, did the principal mention the problem to higher-ups. However, the principal himself had shown his real colors earlier by directing the teacher to compel the special-needs student “run to get [his] energy out” — a practice already deemed abusive under state law. Despite witness accounts and the repeated violations, the abuses went largely unpunished. It’s all detailed in Part Five of Nevada Journal’s in-depth series on CCSD’s systemic special-ed corruption and its abuse of the district’s most vulnerable students, Catch Me If You Can. An English-language index to the entire series is online here, and an index to Spanish-language reports is here.