01-26-2022  3:01 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Report: Oregon Has Too Few Public Defenders

Oregon has only roughly one-third of the public defense attorneys it needs to provide reasonably effective assistance to low-income defendants

Blumenauer Boosts Efforts to Put Three Black History Landmarks on National List

Congressman makes case for Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, and the Golden West Hotel’s importance to city history and heritage.

Lawsuit Says New Majority Latino District in WA a 'Facade'

A Latino civil rights organization and others filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that says new political maps in Washington state approved by a bipartisan redistricting panel intentionally dilute Hispanic voters' influence.

Washington Students' Test Scores Drop Significantly

Reports show that between 2019 and 2021, the overall percentage of students who met state standards on the math portion of the exam fell by 20 percentage points.

NEWS BRIEFS

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU to Present 'To Survive on This Shore

Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults' ...

Final Week for 'Mending The Social Fabric' Interactive Exhibit

A parachute with rips and tears encourages community over the course of the exhibition as visitors sit and mend. The piece will be...

Nearly 35,000 Oregon Households Have Received More Than $243 Million in Rental Assistance Relief During Pandemic

OHCS will again begin accepting new applications for OERAP starting on Wed., Jan. 26, 2022. ...

Five Schools Return to In-person Instruction on Jan. 24

Alliance, Faubion, Franklin, Ockley Green, and Roosevelt return to in-person instruction; George, Harriet Tubman and Kellogg...

COVID cases decline in Seattle area, surge moves east

SEATTLE (AP) — Cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 are decreasing in the Seattle metro area, but hospital leaders are warning that the variant is gaining steam in eastern Washington and could further stress health care facilities. In King County, data shows the rise in omicron...

Oregon Legislature: Will Dems, GOP be able to get along?

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — As Oregon lawmakers prepare to return to the state Capitol next week for the 35-day legislative session, Republicans and Democrats have differing opinions on what that time should be used for. While Republicans say traditionally the short legislative session...

UNLV promotes interim AD Harper to full-time job

LAS VEGAS (AP) — UNLV has promoted interim athletic director Erick Harper to serve in the job full time. Harper's hiring, announced on Monday, was effective Jan. 1. He had served as interim athletic director since Desiree Reed-Francois left UNLV for Missouri in August. ...

Army stuns Missouri in Armed Forces Bowl on last-second FG

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Cole Talley kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired and Army rallied to beat Missouri 24-22 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Wednesday night. After the Tigers took a 22-21 lead on a touchdown with 1:11 to play, third-string quarterback Jabari Laws led Army...

OPINION

OP-ED: A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

January 6th, Voting Rights and the Tyranny Threatening America ...

Support Nikole Hannah-Jones and The 1619 Project

This important and ambitious project pulled back the curtain of euphemistic rhetoric composing American historiography that points only to the good in our history and sweeps under the rug the evil deeds perpetrated against people of color ...

In 2021, Organized Labor is Again Flexing its Muscles

We have seen dramatic change in the makeup of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under President Biden. ...

Study Reveals Racial Pay Gap for Social Media Influencers

The racial pay gap has long presented issues for African Americans in Corporate America and other industries. It’s now filtered to social media. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Biden nominating 6 lawyers for federal prosecutor posts

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is nominating six lawyers to run U.S. attorney’s offices across the country, a diverse group of candidates in the latest picks for the top law enforcement positions. The nominees, being announced by the White House on Wednesday, would run the...

India's Republic Day parade curtailed amid COVID-19

NEW DELHI (AP) — Thousands of people braved a morning chill Wednesday on a ceremonial boulevard in India's capital to watch a display of the country’s military power and cultural diversity, but the colorful annual Republic Day spectacle was curtailed amid COVID-19. Nearly 500...

Prosecution witnesses say they feared for Floyd's life

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Prosecutors at the federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd's civil rights are trying to show that even bystanders knew the Black man needed help, while the officers failed to act as former Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on...

ENTERTAINMENT

At Sundance, documentaries resurrect lost eras of music

NEW YORK (AP) — Can a music scene still develop the way grunge did in 1990's Seattle or hip-hop did in the Bronx in the 1970s? Or has the digital makeover of music made such geographical-based explosions obsolete? It's a question that hovers over the Sundance Film Festival...

‘Aftershock’ puts human face to maternal health crisis in US

It was 2017 when filmmaker Paula Eiselt started seeing articles about rising maternal mortality rates in the United States. She’d had traumatic experiences giving birth to her four children, but didn’t realize that the problems were widespread and disproportionately affecting Black women. ...

Howie Mandel urges pal Jay Leno to air 'Late Night' laundry

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Howie Mandel has a bone to pick with his longtime friend Jay Leno. On the podcast “Howie Mandel Does Stuff,” he tells Leno he should have publicly defended himself in the “Tonight Show" rivalries of decades past, when Leno and David Letterman and then Leno...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Indonesia's capital is sinking, polluted and now moving

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Jakarta is congested, polluted, prone to earthquakes and rapidly sinking into the Java...

Meet Methuselah, the oldest living aquarium fish

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Meet Methuselah, the fish that likes to eat fresh figs, get belly rubs and is believed to...

Biden nominating 6 lawyers for federal prosecutor posts

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is nominating six lawyers to run U.S. attorney’s offices across the...

Indonesia's capital is sinking, polluted and now moving

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Jakarta is congested, polluted, prone to earthquakes and rapidly sinking into the Java...

Explosion damages offices, stores in Athens; 3 hurt

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — An explosion left three people injured and seriously damaged an office building while...

AP PHOTOS: Beast-like 'Carantoñas' return to Spanish town

ACEHUCHE, Spain (AP) — It's hours before dawn in Acehuche, a small town in Spain's western Extremadura region,...

Kimberly Hefling and Ben Feller the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Thursday will free 10 states from the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law in exchange for promises to improve the way schools teach and evaluate students.

The move is a tacit acknowledgement that the law's main goal, getting all students up to par in reading and math by 2014, is not within reach.

The first 10 states to receive the waivers are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee, the White House said. The only state that applied for the flexibility and did not get it, New Mexico, is working with the administration to get approval.

Obama said he was acting because Congress had failed to update the law despite widespread agreement it needs to be fixed.

"If we're serious about helping our children reach their potential, the best ideas aren't going to come from Washington alone," Obama said in a statement, released before the official announcement later Thursday. "Our job is to harness those ideas, and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work."

A total of 28 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signaled that they, too, plan to seek waivers - a sign of just how vast the law's burdens have become as the big deadline nears.

No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Obama's action strips away that fundamental requirement for those approved for flexibility, provided they offer a viable plan instead. Under the deal, the states must show they will prepare children for college and careers, set new targets for improving achievement among all students, develop meaningful teacher and principal evaluation systems, reward the best performing schools and focus help on the ones doing the worst.

In September, Obama called President George W. Bush's most hyped domestic accomplishment an admirable but flawed effort that hurt students instead of helping them. Republicans have charged that by granting waivers, Obama was overreaching his authority.

The executive action by Obama is one of his most prominent in an ongoing campaign to act on his own where Congress is rebuffing him. No Child Left Behind was primarily designed to help the nation's poor and minority children and was passed a decade ago with widespread bipartisan support. It has been up for renewal since 2007. But lawmakers have been stymied for years by competing priorities, disagreements over how much of a federal role there should be in schools and, in the recent Congress, partisan gridlock.

For all the cheers that states may have about the changes, the move also reflects the sobering reality that the United States is not close to the law's original goal: getting children to grade level in reading and math.

Critics today say the 2014 deadline was unrealistic, the law is too rigid and led to teaching to the test, and too many schools feel they are unfairly labeled as "failures." Under No Child Left Behind, schools that don't meet requirements for two years or longer face increasingly tough consequences, including busing children to higher-performing schools, offering tutoring and replacing staff.

As the deadline approaches, more schools are failing to meet requirements under the law, with nearly half not doing so last year, according to the Center on Education Policy. Center officials said that's because some states today have harder tests or have high numbers of immigrant and low-income children, but it's also because the law requires states to raise the bar each year for how many children must pass the test.

In states granted a waiver, students will still be tested annually. But starting this fall, schools in those states will no longer face the same prescriptive actions spelled out under No Child Left Behind. A school's performance will also probably be labeled differently.

The pressure will probably still be on the lowest-performing schools in states granted a waiver, but mediocre schools that aren't failing will probably see the most changes because they will feel less pressure and have more flexibility in how they spend federal dollars, said Michael Petrilli, vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank.

While the president's action marks a change in education policy in America, the reach is limited. The populous states of Pennsylvania, Texas and California are among those that have not said they will seek a waiver, although they could still do so later.

On Tuesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said states without a waiver will be held to the standards of No Child Left Behind because "it's the law of the land."

Some conservatives viewed Obama's plan not as giving more flexibility to states, but as imposing his vision on them. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said Thursday that, "This notion that Congress is sort of an impediment to be bypassed, I find very, very troubling in many, many ways."

Duncan maintained this week that the administration "desperately" wants Congress to fix the law.

In an election year in a divided Congress, that appears unlikely.

Kline, speaking at an event at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said that in the House there was some bipartisan agreement on how to fix No Child Left Behind, but in many areas there was disagreement. He said later in the day he would release Republican-written legislation that seeks to restore states' authority in education.

California Rep. George Miller, the committee's senior Democrat, has said such partisanship "means the end" to No Child Left Behind reform in this Congress. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs the Senate committee on education, has said he believes it "would be difficult to find a path forward" without a bipartisan bill in the House.

A Senate committee last fall passed a bipartisan bill to update the law. The administration expressed concerns with it, and it did not go before the full Senate for a vote.

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