Rachel M. Cohen

Rachel M. Cohen is The American Prospect's senior writing fellow. 

Recent Articles

New Jersey Teacher Tenure Lawsuit Dismissed

Education reformers targeting teacher job protections have been struggling in court.

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ESB Professional/Shutterstock A nother legal effort to weaken teacher job protections through the courts has been dismissed, this time in the Garden State. On Wednesday afternoon, a New Jersey Superior Court judge tossed the latest case, ruling that the plaintiffs—six parents from Newark Public Schools—failed to prove that seniority-based layoffs harmed their students. Partnership for Educational Justice (PEJ), a national education reform group that aims to challenge teacher job protections across the country, funded the New Jersey lawsuit. Originally filed in November , the case marked the third time PEJ has gone after tenure provisions. Their first case filed in New York in 2014, is currently before the state Supreme Court. In October, a Minnesota district judge dismissed PEJ’s second suit, filed there in 2016. That case has since been appealed . A 2012 California lawsuit, the country’s first legal attempt to challenge teacher job protections, inspired PEJ’s litigation. Lawyers in...

Q&A: The American Parent Trap

A conversation with Sarah LeVine, coauthor of Do Parents Matter? Why Japanese Babies Sleep Soundly, Mexican Siblings Don’t Fight, and American Families Should Just Relax

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Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock Sarah LeVine and her husband Robert LeVine have spent decades traveling the world studying global parenting styles and surveying mothers and fathers. The Harvard anthropologists published their conclusions in Do Parents Matter? Why Japanese Babies Sleep Soundly, Mexican Siblings Don’t Fight, and American Families Should Just Relax. The LeVines found that despite significant advancements in public health and Western medicine, American parents remain the most anxious moms and dads in the world, in part, because they tend to muddy the traditional family hierarchy. In a political climate where policymakers worry about the so-called “decline of the American family”—a deeper understanding of family relationships in other cultures can contribute valuable insights to this national conversation. Rachel Cohen spoke with Sarah LeVine about their research. This conversation has been edited and condensed. R achel Cohen: Let’s start with the title of your book — Do Parents...

Planned Parenthood Targets One Very Endangered Republican

Nevada Senator Dean Heller runs afoul of pro-choice activists in a state turning blue-ish.       

AP Photos/Scott Sonner
AP Photos/Scott Sonner Senator Dean Heller listens to a question from a woman standing in the foreground during a Carson City Chamber of Commerce luncheon on February 22. D ean Heller, a Republican senator from Nevada, is nervous about 2018. And for good reason—Nevadans not only went for Hillary Clinton this past November, but they also elected a Democrat to the Senate , flipped two Republican seats in the House, and retook both legislative houses in the state legislature. The victory of Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto over her Republican challenger, Joe Heck, was hardly guaranteed; polls showed Heck in the lead for much of the fall, but polling released in December suggested his opposition to Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights ultimately damaged his electoral prospects. The pollsters also found that 47 percent of Nevadans would be less likely to re-elect Heller in 2018 if he voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Raquel Cruz-Juarez, a Planned Parenthood organizer in...

DC Paid Leave Coming (Slowly)

Earlier this month Washington, D.C.’s new paid leave law, considered one of the most generous in the United States, went into effect. As The Washington Post reports:

The D.C. law provides for up to eight weeks of paid time off to new parents, six weeks to workers caring for ailing family members and two weeks of personal sick time.

Just four states have paid family leave programs—California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York. They didn’t create these programs from scratch, however: All four had temporary disability programs already in place, which have been amended to include paid leave. (Only five states have temporary disability programs at all.) D.C.’s paid family leave program is unique because the city, which did not have a pre-existing temporary disability program, will have to build an entirely new policy infrastructure to administer the new entitlement. The district will pay for paid leave by levying a new payroll tax on employers.

According to Bloomberg BNA, D.C. lacks sufficient funds to get the program up and running any time soon, though the city has a few years to get its act together. Workers can start taking the paid leave benefit in 2020.

If D.C. leaders successfully build a new paid leave program from scratch, they will not just be helping residents in the nation’s capital, but will also be charting a progressive blueprint for other cities and states to follow.

 

 

 

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