Whitehouse: Tax the Billionaires and Save Social Security

From the Whitehouse Press Office:
Senators Offering Amendment to Protect Social Security in Budget

Washington, DC – As the Senate continues debating the Republican budget proposal this week, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) will offer an amendment to guard against potential efforts to cut Social Security benefits. The Democratic amendment would establish as “not in order” any budget proposals that would reduce Social Security benefits, increase the retirement age, or privatize Social Security.

Senator Whitehouse will speak on the Senate floor at approximately 4:00 p.m. to call up this amendment. Please tune in on C-Span 2 or online. The amendment was filed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), in addition to Whitehouse.

“Social Security benefits are a solemn promise that our seniors have earned over a lifetime of work,” said Whitehouse. “Sadly, Republicans have made it their mission for decades to dismantle that promise, attempting to turn it over to Wall Street and cut benefits through misguided ideas like the so-called ‘chained-CPI.’ Our amendment would protect Social Security from these kinds of right-wing attacks and ensure that seniors can continue to count on the benefits they have earned.”

“Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Through good times and bad, Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American,” Sanders said. “The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the future is to eliminate the cap on the payroll tax on all income above $250,000 so millionaires and billionaires pay the same share as everyone else.”

The amendment could come up for a vote on the floor as early as this afternoon or tomorrow.

Social Security is projected to remain fully solvent through 2033 and is not driving our current budget deficits. Senator Whitehouse has long argued that it has no place in short-term budget debates, and supports a long-term solution that would make the program solvent for future generations by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share into the system.

Long Island Superintendent Gamberg Tells Parents How to Opt Out

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

David Gamberg, superintendent of schools in Greenport and Southold, two neighboring towns on the North Fork of Long Island in Néw York, sent a letter home to parents, outlining the procedure they should follow if they don’t want their child to take the Common Core tests.

He assured parents that students will not be compelled to “sit and stare,” a punitive approach in some districts.

An enlightened educator, Gamberg is a strong supporter of the arts in schools. The elementary school in Southold has its own orchestra and a vegetable garden where children raise food for the cafeteria.

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The Arnold Foundation is Betting Big On Pay for Success – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

It’s hard to think of a funder that is more obsessed with finding breakthrough solutions than the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. One day, it’s laying out big bucks to find alternatives to expensive college textbooks, and the next day, it’s forging a left-right coalition to reform criminal justice policies.

Its big move last week? Pumping $8.4 million into a major initiative at the Urban Institute to advance Pay for Success (PFS), which aims to reward successful programs in the social sector. The investment will pay for a variety of technical resources aimed at bolstering and evaluating PFS projects, with an eye toward upping the game of all the players involved in PFS: government, service providers, evaluators, and funders. Tools developed by the Urban Institute will help to structure deals, determine which projects are most effective and cost-efficient, and set benchmarks for success.

via The Arnold Foundation is Betting Big On Pay for Success – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

A Credit Union Foundation with a Big Heart for Housing – Housing – Inside Philanthropy

Member-funded credit unions have a strong capacity to positively impact the community, not only in providing lower cost financial services, but also in providing funding for programs that respond to community needs. An example of a state credit union that is pushing the boundaries of impact in housing: the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Foundation of North Carolina, which recently announced a new investment of $10 million over a three-year period to build or renovate a home in every one of the state’s 100 counties.

via A Credit Union Foundation with a Big Heart for Housing – Housing – Inside Philanthropy.

Pawtucket Teacher Reinstated After Stern Reprimand by Administrators

Kiersten Marek:

Home state news!

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Bill Ashton, a teacher in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was suspended for discussing opting out with his students. They launched a campaign to “Bring Back Ashton,” and he was reinstated.

But the leaders of the school and the district made it clear that he had violated district policy and was on thin ice. They accused him of editing anti-testing fliers that ridiculed the Rhode Island Department io Education. They were especially angry that his son was leading an anti-testing protest.

“Ashton was sent home on paid leave last Friday after telling students at the Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts that the school would not lose funding if they did not take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exam, according to a letter written that same day by JMW Principal Elizabeth Fasteson. Ashton was back to work on Tuesday morning, according to school.”

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Capital One is Funding Digital Skills. Here’s Why. — Inside Philanthropy

If your boss told you to tweet something for her, would you know what to do? How about if she asked you to help with the company’s website or database management?

If you don’t have these skills at the ready, you’re not alone. Now, Capital One, along with the Obama administration, is launching a new effort to get more workers prepared for the challenges of a digitally-intensive labor market.

While many job sectors took a big hit in the Great Recession, one area where growth consistently rises is jobs requiring digital skills. So you can see why Capital One is homing in on this area as it pushes into workforce development—one of several big banks now focusing big philanthropic dollars on helping bridge the divide between employer needs and the current population of job-seekers.

via Another Bank Is Giving Big to Boost Worker Skills. Here’s Why. – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

The Mizuho Foundation Pitches in for Effort to Remove Financial Barriers to Re-entry – Assets | Financial Inclusion | Grants – Inside Philanthropy

For my friends and colleagues who work in corrections and re-entry, I bet many of you can bear witness to how valuable this work is. If we can help individuals get on their feet financially when they get out of prison, they are much less likely to make return visits. Here’s one funder that totally gets it: The Mizuho Foundation.

It’s not easy getting back on your feet when you’re released from prison. Many detainees leave the big house with little more than a few dollars and a bus pass, returning to deal with unpaid bills and unreviewed accounts, and often no real income potential in the future.

The Mizuho USA Foundation appears is wading into these difficult waters. Among other programs, Mizuho is the major funder of the New Ground Initiative. Currently finishing its second year of implementation, this initiative has supported 10 organizations and 20 programs that are practicing financial development strategies, reaching over 4,800 individuals to help remove financial barriers to successful re-entry.

via The Mizuho Foundation Pitches in for Effort to Remove Financial Barriers to Re-entry – Assets | Financial Inclusion | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.