Rachel M. Cohen

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

Recent Articles

Black Organizations Say No -- or at Least, Slow Down -- to Charter Schools

The NAACP and the Movement for Black Lives cast a cold eye on education reform.

(Photo: AP/The Flint Journal-MLive.com/Jake May)
(Photo: AP/The Flint Journal-MLive.com/Jake May) Students learn and practice yoga on International Yoga Day on June 21, 2016, at The New Standard charter school in Flint, Michigan. A t its national convention in July, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the nation’s premier civil-rights organizations, passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter schools. The resolution said, among other things, that charters have contributed to segregation, have used disproportionately high levels of punitive and exclusionary discipline, and pledged that the NAACP will seek to promote stronger investigative bodies to oversee charter school fraud, corruption, and waste. The resolution will not become official policy until the NAACP’s national board convenes later this fall, but it builds on previous resolutions passed in 2010 and 2014 that were also critical of charter schools. A coalition of more than 50 black-led organizations known as the Movement for...

Q&A: The Economic Consequences of Denying Teachers Tenure

A California court recently reversed a decision that would have weakened teacher employment protections. Economist Jesse Rothstein discusses the tradeoffs between job security and attracting new teachers.

(Photo: AP/Andreas Fuhrmann/Record Searchlight)
(Photo: AP/Andreas Fuhrmann/Record Searchlight) Third grade teacher Lynn Haskins talks to students at a school in Shingletown, California, on May 25, 2016. P olitical and legal battles surrounding teacher tenure and seniority have been raging in California over the past couple of years. In 2014, in Vergara v. California , a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that a variety of teacher job protections worked together to violate students’ constitutional right to an equal education. This past spring, in a 3–0 decision, the California Court of Appeals threw this ruling out. The American Prospect ’s Rachel Cohen interviewed Jesse Rothstein, the former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor and a current public policy and economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who testified during the Vergara trials in defense of California’s teacher tenure and seniority statutes. This conversation has been edited and condensed. Rachel Cohen: Your research suggests...

Q&A: The Education Stakes in Election 2016

A conversation with NEA President Lily Eskelsen García on what 2016 means for K-12 education.  

AP Photo/J. David Ake
AP Photo/J. David Ake, File National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia. Last October, the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, gave Hillary Clinton one of her earliest organized labor endorsements. Since then, the powerful group has been one of Clinton’s most vocal supporters. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump have spent much time discussing public K-12 education issues during the primary season. But recently, elementary and secondary education topics have attracted more attention. Clinton began articulating her education policy ideas at union conventions this month and Republican leaders championed school choice at their national convention last week. The American Prospect’s Rachel Cohen sat down in Philadelphia with Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the three million-member NEA , to discuss the upcoming election, and what’s at stake for teachers and students. What follows is an edited and condensed transcript of that...

Education Reform Democrats Look Ahead to Life After Obama

School choice activists met at a Democratic National Convention forum to discuss the party’s education stances, but unions were conspicuously absent from discussion.

(Photo: Sipa USA via AP)
(Photo: Sipa USA via AP) Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses the annual conference of the National Education Association on July 5, 2016, in Washington, D.C. L ately on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton has been talking about how she wants to end the “so-called education wars.” The Democratic presidential nominee wants to see the factionalism among education groups end and instead see new coalitions form to advance policies on which all can agree. Clinton took this message on the road to the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers conferences earlier this month, and her campaign proffered another education olive branch to the Democrats for Education Reform on Monday in downtown Philadelphia. Virtually every speaker lauded President Obama’s education legacy, highlighting his support for charter schools and test-based accountability at the organization’s day-long Democratic National Convention forum. Shavar Jeffries, the president...

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