By Sarah Swong
BY Lydia DishmanMon Nov 21, 2011
Andrew Yang wants to create jobs. Specifically, 100,000 U.S. jobs by 2025.
It’s an ambitious goal, but one that Yang believes is completely attainable just by getting recent college graduates to work at startups rather than take positions in finance, consulting, and law. But not just any startups: Yang wants to recruit young talent to ignite entrepreneurial sparks in such economically depressed areas as Detroit; Providence, Rhode Island; and New Orleans.
So who is this one-man economic stimulus package?
Yang is a 37-year-old serial entrepreneur with experience in just about every industry sector, from health care to fashion retail. This August he founded Venture for America (VFA), a wildly ambitious nonprofit based in New York City that is recruiting its first class of fellows. Read More
By Andrew J. Rotherdam.
Quick: which group consistently tops the list of U.S. political donors — bankers? Oil barons? The Koch brothers? Nope. Try school teachers. The two major teachers’ unions, despite all the rhetoric about how teachers have no influence on policy, collectively spent more than $67 million directly on political races between 1989 and 2010. And that figure doesn’t include millions more spent by their state and local affiliates and all kinds of support for favored (read: reform-averse) candidates.
For years, union leaders have lambasted as anti-teacher pretty much every proposal to expand charter schools, improve teacher evaluation and turn around low-performing schools. Yet these reform issues have moved to the mainstream as even the Democrats, traditionally labor’s biggest allies, have gotten fed up with union intransigence to structural changes to improve America’s schools. Meanwhile, states as diverse as Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, and — you guessed it — Wisconsin are attacking union prerogatives such as valuing seniority over on-the-job performance or collectively bargaining for benefits. At the same time, black and Latino parents are growing increasingly impatient with lousy schools and are organizing in an effort to provide a counterweight to the unions. Just last week, the nation’s second biggest teachers’ union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), was embarrassed when a PowerPoint presentation surfaced on the web outlining strategies for undercutting parent groups. Sample quote: “What Helped Us? Absence of charter school and parent groups from the table.”
But perhaps the biggest strategic pressure for reform is starting to come from teachers themselves, many of whom are trying to change their unions and by extension change their profession. These renegade groups, comprised generally of younger teachers, are trying to accomplish what a generation of education reformers, activists and think tanks have not: forcing the unions to genuinely mend their ways. Here are the three most talked about initiatives: Read More