Who Gets Cheated by an Abrupt End to the Census

It is—and isn’t—who you’d think Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution requires a decennial census. It is the basis for  reapportionment, the drawing of legislative district lines for all levels of government from the federal House of Representatives all the way down to local city councils and some towns and villages. The census has also come to be used for an array of other Read more…

Why Ruth Bader Ginsburg was Right to Speak Out in 2016

This opinion essay was originally published in the Times-Herald Record during the 2016 presidential campaign. Gerald Benjamin is no longer an enrolled Republican. Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been widely and wrongly condemned for her critical remarks about Donald Trump’s fitness to be president. “Partisan.” “Inappropriate for a sitting justice of the Supreme Court.” “Potentially destructive of the court’s legitimacy at a Read more…

It’s Going to be Huge… Estimating the Scale of the Current Wave of Migration from NYC to the Hudson Valley

In the introduction post to this series, I noted the recent uptick in the number of people moving to the Hudson Valley from New York City and the rising home prices driven by this trend. This next post is going to look a little more closely at the possible scale of this migration, and make some predictions about where the hotspots are likely to be. Read more…

Opinion: A Redistricting Power Grab

This post originally ran on the Gotham Gazette The New York State Senate and Assembly, both now in Democratic hands, last month gave first passage to several changes to an earlier constitutional amendment, adopted in 2014, creating a so-called Independent Redistricting Commission to redraw district lines every ten years for those two houses and the state’s Congressional districts. If passed by the Legislature again next Read more…

Schools Need Resources — And Time — to Get this Right

By Robin Jacobowitz and KT Tobin On August 7th Governor Cuomo announced that our COVID numbers in New York State were sufficiently low to allow us to send our K-12 children, our teachers, and school staff back into school buildings. There’s a good reason for wanting to do this. The closure of our schools left us hurting in so many ways: hungry children; struggles to Read more…

Wash Your Hands

The well ran dry at my wife Claudie’s family cabin in rural Vermont this past Sunday. That meant we had no showers. No toilet. No dishwashing.  We drove to the state park in Plymouth to shower. (We paid the admission and hot water charges.) We drew water from the lake to make the toilet work. We bought paper dishes, and used drinking water to clean Read more…

We Can No Longer Pretend Schools Are Only About Schooling

By Robin Jacobowitz, Gerald Benjamin, and KT Tobin “Everything connects to everything,” Leonardo Da Vinci is said to have concluded from his life’s work. Nowhere is this lesson more evident than in K12 education this year. In the face of a pandemic, we closed our school buildings to protect the health of students and teachers, and were immediately confronted with the need to feed hungry Read more…

Ruling Paves Way for Massive Voting Rights Change to School Board Elections Across New York

On May 25 in White Plains, U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel ruled that the at-large system used for electing the nine members of the East Ramapo School Board denied the district’s Black and Latino voters effective choice in its elections, violating §2 of the Federal Voting Rights Act (VRA). Under an at-large system every voter votes to fill each board position, allowing a disciplined majority to control all seats. A majority of the East Ramapo district’s voting population is Hasidic Jews. The School Board has long been dominated by members recruited and endorsed by the leaders of this religious community and elected at-large through the use of block voting.

Never Waste a Crisis

On April 11, 2020, with his school chancellor Richard Carranza standing beside him, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City’s schools would be closed for the remainder of the school year to limit the spread of coronavirus infection. Almost immediately thereafter, Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissed this announcement as “One opinion. There has been no decision on schools,” he said.  In ordinary times decisions about Read more…

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