Jonathan Tasini writes on Working Life: "There will be a lot of chatter about today's hike in the minimum wage. We should be happy for the people who will get another seventy cents an hour in their gross pay. But, we should keep in mind that, at the grand new sum of $6.55 an hour, the minimum wage is a disgrace and a sad commentary about the state of our social safety net, the economy and our political system. If you do the math, it's pretty stark. If you worked 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, you would earn $13,624. Not a single day off. No sick days. No health care. No pension."
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Witnesses: Bush Labor Department Wage & Hour Enforcement Drops, Workers Cheated
Mark Gruenberg for Press Associates, Inc.: "Enforcement of wage-and-hour laws, to ensure workers get at least the minimum wage and the overtime pay they deserve, has dropped drastically under the GOP Bush government, impartial investigators and a low-income workers' advocate told Congress. As a result, low-wage workers are routinely cheated."
For the complete story, click here.
Close Wage Gap That Hurts Women
Representative Louise Slaughter, in a Rochester Democrat and Chronicle column: "As we celebrate the 160th anniversary of the 1848 Women's Rights Convention, we must remember that we are still struggling to achieve equality. Among the most distressing disparities between men and women is the significant pay gap for the same work."
For the complete commentary, click here.
New Reports Show Impact of School Funding; Student Achievement
The Kansas Association of School Boards is releasing new information about the impact of additional school funding provided in response to the Montoy school finance lawsuit. School boards and administrators should find these reports helpful as they prepare to adopt budgets for the upcoming school year, and explain finance and achievement issues to their public.
(2) percentage change in FTE enrollment;
(3) change in general fund and local option fund expenditures;
(4) increase in per pupil spending;
(5) percentage increase in per pupil spending;
(6) change in number of all employees;
(7) percent change in number of all employees;
(8) change in average teacher salary; and
(9) percent change in average teacher salary (if available).
(2) total number of jobs in the county and percent of jobs held by school district employees;
(3) total per capita wages paid in each county; percent of those wages paid by school districts; total per capita income in the county and percentage of income from wages paid by school districts;
(4) average wage paid in the county; average teacher salary; teacher salary as a percent of average wages; and benefits paid by the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System for school retirees in that county; and
(5) percentage of the total general fund budget paid by state aid (the remainder is raised by local property tax).
For Truthout, Michael Reagan writes: "In May of 2002, the United States Army invaded E3, the annual video game convention held in Los Angeles. At the city's Convention Center, young game enthusiasts mixed with camouflaged soldiers, Humvees and a small tank parked near the entrance. Thundering helicopter sound effects drew the curious to the Army's interactive display, where a giant video screen flashed the words 'Empower yourself. Defend America ... You will be a soldier.' The Army was unveiling its latest recruitment tool, the 'America's Army' game, free to download online or pick up at a recruiting station, and now available for purchase on the Xbox, PlayStation, cell phones and Gameboy game consoles."
For the complete story, click here.
Lawrence Norden, David Kimball, Whitney Quesenbery and Margaret Chen of The Brennan Center: "The notorious butterfly ballot that Palm Beach County, Florida, election officials used in the 2000 election is probably the most infamous of all election design snafus. It was one of many political, legal, and election administration missteps that plunged a presidential election into turmoil and set off a series of events that led to, among other things, a vast overhaul of the country's election administration, including the greatest change in voting technology in United States history."
For the complete report, click here.