High-quality early childhood education has the potential to improve long-term life outcomes for all children. In order to learn, however, students actually have to be in the classroom. At the same time that the United States is expanding access to high-quality early learning opportunities, alarming statistics suggest that these environments can serve as a point of entry to the school-to-prison pipeline, which most acutely affects African American children. For example, African American children represent 18 percent of all preschoolers but make up 42 percent of those suspended and nearly half of those suspended multiple times. Given the profound consequences that suspension, expulsion, and other zero-tolerance policies can have on very young children, it is time to change the national approach to preschool discipline. The growing movement to resist the criminalization of African Americans underscores the need to prevent schools from serving as a point of entry to the criminal justice system. The Center for American Progress and the National Black Child Development Institute will release a new report with recommendations on how to bring an end to preschool suspensions and expulsions.
Largely seen as the one of the greatest achievements of the civil rights movement, the Voting Rights Act, or VRA, of 1965 enfranchised voters throughout America by outlawing measures taken by states to limit African American participation in the democratic process. The legislation was widely heralded as a colossal victory for communities of color and did more to empower African Americans than perhaps any law since the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a critical provision of the law and effectively rendered a significant portion of the act toothless. Now, just months after the 50th anniversary of the VRA, renewed conservative efforts to limit voting rights demonstrate that the nation needs new laws to guarantee all Americans access to the most fundamental pillar of U.S. democracy.
In his latest book, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few
, former Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich shows that the American economic system is unsustainable, offering explanations and solutions that bring into focus the close ties between economics and politics. The role of power and influence in economic policy has created a "new American oligarchy," which has led to the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in 80 years. As made clear in his book, there has been a shift in the so-called American free market that focuses on the interests of those with the money to shape the market to their benefit
Access to essential work-family supports such as paid family leave varies sharply by income level in the United States. Currently, the country’s highest earners are more than five times more likely than its lowest earners to have access to paid family and medical leave. This inequality of access both reinforces and reproduces inequalities of income, wealth, and life outcomes for successive generations. To level the playing field, families need policies that give everyone equal protection from the income shocks that too often are hand in hand with caregiving responsibilities. The nation needs policies that bring paid family leave to all.
Please join the Center for American Progress as we welcome Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who will deliver remarks regarding exciting state and local paid leave initiatives. Sec. Perez's remarks will be followed by a panel discussion, moderated by CAP Senior Fellow Judith Warner, about how policies such as paid family leave can and must be used as a vital tool in fighting income inequality.
The Center for American Progress is pleased to host a panel of faith-based advocates and experts for a conversation about the papal visit and its implications for politics, policies, advocacy, and action. Following the panel, Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) will give remarks on the opportunity that the pope’s teachings provide for conversations about the challenges of climate change and finding ways for everyone to cooperate in the care of creation. Please join the Center for American Progress for this enlightening and lively conversation.
Copies of John Gehring’s book, The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church, will be available for purchase at the event.
National service programs are a critical part of developing human capital, encouraging economic growth, and reducing inequality. National service programs can create an opportunity for people to overcome challenges and disadvantages and acquire critical workforce skills and experience. As Congress debates the budget, it’s important that cuts to national service programs are rejected. Instead, new investments should be made as part of a smart workforce development and economic growth strategy.
Progressives and conservatives can agree that one of the central challenges facing the United States is the need to increase economic mobility. The Center for American Progress will host Harvard University economist Richard B. Freeman and former U.S. Treasury Secretary, currently Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard, Lawrence H. Summers for a discussion on the role of unions in the economy and society.
From inner cities to rural farmlands, children are returning to school to learn and grow—but for thousands of hungry children nationwide, learning is difficult or impossible. When Congress returns from its August recess, the House and Senate will debate the reauthorization of many of the country's most critical programs that provide meals and nutritional support to children—including school breakfasts and lunches, summer meals, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC.
The issue of abortion too often triggers polarizing debate that sheds no light on the real-life experiences of women. Politicians pass laws restricting access to abortion—more than 230 state laws in the past four years—while ignoring women’s experiences and views. More and more women are speaking openly about abortion, but their voices tend to be drowned out by the heated rhetoric of warring political factions.
Climate change is a global issue, and international leaders must work together to embrace meaningful climate action policies. How are cities at home and abroad engaging with their communities to respond to the impacts of climate change? How is the United States working with other countries to approach climate legislation?
More than a year ago last summer, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham grabbed the attention of the world when it seized Mosul in a lightning offensive. To halt further ISIS advances, American airpower began hitting its forces in the field, while the Obama administration assembled a coalition of more than 60 nations to degrade and defeat the terrorist army in Iraq and Syria.
Over the past several years, the United States and China have worked together to build constructive channels of collaboration. As two leading global powers, both nations have recognized the imperative to display true leadership in addressing common challenges, from joint efforts to tackle climate change to counterpiracy measures in the Gulf of Aden. Furthermore, as China is transforming from a regional power into a global one, it has dealt with similar security concerns as the United States: violent extremism, oil and energy issues, and trade security.
The Obama administration is working with communities to develop smart strategies and partnerships for building climate resilience. As part of his Climate Action Plan, President Barack Obama established a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience with governors, mayors, county officials, and tribal leaders from across the country.
Please join the Center for American Progress and the National League of Cities for a discussion about the progress made on the task force recommendations, new resilience initiatives, and the challenges and opportunities for equitable climate resilience funding and action.
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 crew members and setting off the largest oil spill in American history. For almost three months, oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, devastating the ecosystem and the surrounding communities. Five years later, the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill are still being felt.
Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion between author David Madland and Washington Post
columnist and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow E.J. Dionne about Hollowed Out
and its implications for America’s economy, democracy, and the middle class.