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Warren writes: "The country has come a long way since the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, but there is much more to do to keep the progress we have made and ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to get ahead."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Boston Herald)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Boston Herald)


Creating a Level Playing Field

By Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Reader Supported News

28 February 14

 

his is a special moment in history. In August, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared his dream of equality and called for action. Later this year, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of the enduring legacies of the March on Washington. The Civil Rights Act was a landmark moment in the ongoing fight for equality, enshrining in law the principle that ensure no one should be discriminated against because of who they are.

The country has come a long way since the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, but there is much more to do to keep the progress we have made and ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to get ahead.

The threat to move us backward is real: the impact of the Supreme Court's recent decision to gut the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is already being felt across the country. The Voting Rights Act is one of the most important civil rights statutes ever enacted by this country. It was designed to protect voters from discrimination and has been an incredible success for over 40 years. In 2006, it was reauthorized by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress. Now the Supreme Court has decided to rip out some of the act's most important provisions, pushing the country in the wrong direction - and we need to push back against efforts that restrict people's right to vote.

It is also critical to fight for a level playing field for hardworking families, and for the kinds of investments that strengthen our communities and help build a future. One of my top priorities in the Senate is working to invest in education. The federal government should be a strong partner for our cities and towns, working together to ensure our public schools are providing a quality education for our kids. In 2013, the graduation rate for African American high school students in Massachusetts was 73.8 percent, significantly lower than the statewide average of 85 percent. We need to end this disparity and close the achievement gap.

I'm also focused on ways we can improve affordability and increase access to higher education. Today, it is more critical than ever that young people get some form of higher education after they leave high school. But right now, $1.2 trillion in total student loan debt is crushing our young people and making it harder for them to pay for college and get on their feet after graduation. African American students are hit especially hard, leaving school with higher debt burdens than other students. Meanwhile, the government is making billions in dollars of profit every year off the federal student loan program. This is wrong. We need to wring these profits out of the federal student loan system, and invest the money right back into helping our kids get an education.

In addition to improving access to a high quality education, we need to bolster our investments in community development to help strengthen our economy and revitalize our neighborhoods. That means making sure there are enough good jobs for everyone who is looking for work, and raising the minimum wage so that no one who works full time is in poverty.

It also means ensuring that families can access affordable housing. We're still recovering from the mortgage crisis, and foreclosures hit communities of color particularly hard. I strongly believe that we need to address our nation's foreclosure crisis with a housing policy that fires on all cylinders: principal write downs, refinancing options for homes that are underwater, cash for keys, and short sales. We have to take serious and hard steps to keep the housing market on track so that we can continue rebuilding our economy.

This month, as we celebrate African-American history and recall the struggles and achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, let's reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that every kid in every community - from Roxbury to Springfield, Worcester to Brockton and beyond - has the same opportunity to succeed. I'm going to do my part in the Senate to support the kind of efforts that help us level the playing field and build a stronger future together.

Read the op-ed online at the Bay State Banner website here.

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+20 # Sangze 2014-02-28 15:48
Poverty is the major crime in the USA. I deeply appreciate and laud the efforts being made by Senator Warren. It's sad that the congress lacks more than one or two others like her. It is equally sad that there is no one around willing and able to debate clearly and openly the failure of the current, two-party system to address poverty or to deal significantly with the inability of the capitalist system to provide equal justice under the law. I am disgusted with what I see and hear, and will probably not vote again. It's become a waste of time. Even so, I'm glad Warren is around.
 
 
+13 # JJS 2014-03-01 08:36
Sangze,
I sincerely agree with your view of the "system's" failures and lament, too, the lack of relevant debate and quality representatives . Your disgust is substantially justified but, please, reconsider your proposal to stop voting. I don't think that the oligarchs would be so salacious about restricting and thwarting voting if it was such a "waste of time". Voting is a small act of individual citizens, but it is one of the last lines of defense of the people against the corruption we see and experience. Votes matter. A single vote may be only a drop but when more people vote the "bucket will get filled". If you or we give up voting, it is no longer OUR government; of, by and for...
 
 
+1 # ReconFire 2014-03-01 21:47
Quoting JJS:
Sangze,
If you or we give up voting, it is no longer OUR government; of, by and for...


JJS, it hasn't been "OUR" govt. for a long time.
I live in a deep south Repub. state, it does not matter if I vote at all.
 
 
+1 # JJS 2014-03-03 11:50
I see the point that it hasn't been our Gov't for a long time. It has been a long term plan of power mongers that infiltrated local candidacies, "fixed" voting machines and rigged election boards to suppress voting. Voter participation is WAY down. They have succeeded in many ways. When a "better" candidate does win they are overwhelmed by the force of opposition that screams loudest and pretends to be the majority. The real majority should not remain silent.

Personally, lower participation makes my vote count more especially if fundamentalists , theocrats and corporatists stay home. But if (for lack of a more succinct word) "progressives" would participate more then the sheer numbers will overwhelm the manipulation.

The Gov't is only NOT ours if we don't participate. I encourage you not to give in to the "catapulted propaganda" that says your vote does not count.
 
 
+5 # BKnowswhitt 2014-02-28 19:26
I say 'break at the core' of what's gone on to make it like it is. fuck college it's too expensive they've privatised it all since Ronny Reagan stopped that in Cali while he was still gov . before he was the great president they so applaud .. Warren gives great and obvious lip service but no modern solutions .. none mentioned here in .. minimum wage .. what .. you can live on that? It's time for some new grass roots 'economists' to create a new market place independant of hte old model that held people back for so long ... the internet has provided a lot of that .. we need to keep going in that direction .. education for sure but not the kind that gets you in debt ... that' bad bad bad .. college no longer available for most ... need to go another route .... thanks Warren for the Lip Service ... now show us some 'beef' other than how the minimum wage will stop poverty ... though i have no problem with it ... you offer no refreshing solutions ...
 
 
+10 # Doubter 2014-03-01 00:10
I gave you a plus but I wonder if there are any solutions to stop an empire in decline before it blows up or desintigrates.. ?
 
 
+4 # Mrcead 2014-03-01 04:55
People must fall back on culture. It is old and antiquated, yes but it stood the test of time. An empire falls because the people eventually throw away their culture for the new. Look at the Romans, so quick to adopt the gods and customs of everyone else, they lost their core programming and their foundation crumbled because their society was no longer cohesive, no longer focused on the same goal, no more social discipline.

America is on the same path. To chase the elusive "next big thing". There will always be a next big thing but how many of them can a society survive? America is unique, it has never been done before. Is it a success? Depends on whom you ask.

So many new ethnicities were created via Project America however the poverty rate suggests America is indeed a failure. African Americans are a casualty of project America. The only "immigrants" who could not use their culture to rise in America like everyone else who came here by choice. With their culture thoroughly destroyed and supplanted with hope and promises and their ostracization from American society, I fear without a unifying culture that focuses on tradesmanship, leadership or something as substantial enough to promote prosperity in American society, things will not change. Perception will not change. But whose responsibility is that and will such radical change be welcomed? Throw in the people raised to hate Black Americans and the task multiplies tenfold.

America's problems are 85% social.
 
 
+4 # barbaratodish 2014-02-28 21:02
RE: The Voting Rights Act: Everyone needs to "VOTE FOR THEMSELVES!" But, first, everyone must have a valid self TO vote for. Most people hardly know their PRIMAL core, their HUMAN essence, their valid self, their consciousness, etc. Instead, most people SUBSTITUTE their various social roles, their identities, their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, class, etc., for their PRIMAL core self. So it is little wonder that people willingly accept and/or are coaxed, etc., into believing that those who are groomed, recruited, vetted as political candidates are REPRESENTATIVES of the masses, because the masses have zero awarenss of what the self is that they need representation of! So sheeple zombies get recruited, groomed, vetted. They become sheeple zombie puppets, to represent the puppets that most people are! And those who think they are pulling the strings of the "puppets" are really themselves being "stringed along" by myths involving EXCESSIVE money, fame and power. (Of course we have basic needs that must be met and these basic needs require some money, and/or fame, and/or power.) The only people that are really free from "strings" are those who can laugh at how serious the "puppets" and the puppet "masters" are, because the (puppet) string theory is "based" on the uncertainty principle (of chaos)! lol
 
 
+4 # Doubter 2014-03-01 00:34
You sure shoot for the core of things. Remember there are different levels of men, psychologically , as in Maslow, or as in theories of human emotional, mental and spiritual development, maybe as in Theosophy or Gurdjieff.
I don't see how we can avoid determinism, as it is simple cause and effect. Free will would seem to be an illusion, but I postulate that if we can monitor our actions and reflect before acting/reacting , that's pretty close to the meaning of "Free Will." Once we know the concept of free will, we have a chance of awakening and taking the reins of our lives.
FREE to do what? Even if you are capable of reflecting before reacting, you are still reasoning from your genetics, environmental influences and needs. Just how free are you/we?
I guess our path in life can follow chaos theory; this somewhat lightens our deterministic path.
I bet not many of us are REALLY aware of our situation. Even if we know our place here on earth, we don't really have the slightest idea of the "big picture" and our place/relation in/to "IT. I know I don't have the slightest idea how I ended up in this insane asylum planet with all you other nuts. Maybe this is "hell," though a few of us (the top thousand or so families) seem to have learned how to beat the system - and (beat) the rest of us too.
 
 
+2 # barbaratodish 2014-03-01 07:34
Quoting Doubter:
You sure shoot for the core of things. Remember there are different levels of men, psychologically, as in Maslow, or as in theories of human emotional, mental and spiritual development, maybe as in Theosophy or Gurdjieff.
I don't see how we can avoid determinism, as it is simple cause and effect. Free will would seem to be an illusion, but I postulate that if we can monitor our actions and reflect before acting/reacting, that's pretty close to the meaning of "Free Will." Once we know the concept of free will, we have a chance of awakening and taking the reins of our lives.
FREE to do what? Even if you are capable of reflecting before reacting, you are still reasoning from your genetics, environmental influences and needs. Just how free are you/we?
I guess our path in life can follow chaos theory; this somewhat lightens our deterministic path.
I bet not many of us are REALLY aware of our situation. Even if we know our place here on earth, we don't really have the slightest idea of the "big picture" and our place/relation in/to "IT. I know I don't have the slightest idea how I ended up in this insane asylum planet with all you other nuts. Maybe this is "hell," though a few of us (the top thousand or so families) seem to have learned how to beat the system - and (beat) the rest of us too.

FREE WILL an oxymoron perhaps equivalent to DETERMINED CHAOS! lol
 
 
+5 # Mrcead 2014-03-01 05:05
Unfortunately, in a material world, majority rules and if the majority are comprised of puppets and string pullers, woe are the lives of the enlightened few. That victorious laugh soon becomes meaningless and drowned out by the joint clatters of the puppets. The problem is that Democracy is an honour system created during a time when a man would be thoroughly disgraced or put to death in extreme cases for dishonouring his name or his house with truth bending, outright deceit, theft, slander/libel and anything equally unscrupulous. And let's face it, the people today who vie for power have no honour. That's why democracy fails in a modern world, no punishment levied to deter such behaviour.
 
 
+3 # barbaratodish 2014-03-01 07:41
Quoting Mrcead:
Unfortunately, in a material world, majority rules and if the majority are comprised of puppets and string pullers, woe are the lives of the enlightened few. That victorious laugh soon becomes meaningless and drowned out by the joint clatters of the puppets. The problem is that Democracy is an honour system created during a time when a man would be thoroughly disgraced or put to death in extreme cases for dishonouring his name or his house with truth bending, outright deceit, theft, slander/libel and anything equally unscrupulous. And let's face it, the people today who vie for power have no honour. That's why democracy fails in a modern world, no punishment levied to deter such behaviour.

Instead of the puppets doing the clattering, perhaps the clattering is "doing" the puppets! And perhaps laughter, spontaneous laughter that is free from judgment really "rules" chaotically! lol
 
 
0 # Mrcead 2014-03-02 03:10
Interesting. I'll give that some deeper thought.
 
 
0 # barbaratodish 2014-03-05 04:59
Quoting Mrcead:
Interesting. I'll give that some deeper thought.
Perhaps the "punishment" of the elites is their own defensivness (and their denial of same lol)of money, fame, power?
Maybe instead of, or in addition to, majority rules, maybe ego and drama "rules" especially among the elites and all the elite wannabes? Maybe drama and ego "rule" defensively and, as a result the elites, especially, and the elite "hangers-on" (supplyers, yes people, arse kissers, wannabe's, etc., only "ALMOST LIVE" but more likely they are (and/or perhaps we ALL are?) closer to be "dead" as if zombies. Maybe rules (and all LAW/ F/LAW, and even ALL judgments?) limit us because all "rules" (except, perhaps for "natural instinctual, primal, etc. "rules) are generated from DERIVED social, and therefore RELATIVE judgment. Perhaps focus on present spontanaiety is the only ABSOLUTE, and/or humor that LAUGHS US into LIMITLESS LIFE! lmao
 
 
0 # JJS 2014-03-17 17:28
Mrcead,
There was never a "golden age" of Democracy. The systems we set up to govern ourselves (and/or others) are susceptible to the base instincts and humors of humans. Those systems will always be as imperfect as those who create them and we should count on and accommodate those imperfections and base instincts by building in checks and balances, as the US Constitution sought to do. Although it is not a direct or exact phrase, there are the in the US Con clauses to thwart the "tyranny of the majority"
 
 
+7 # mediasavvy 2014-03-01 09:07
Dear Senator Warren,

What is glaringly absent from your proposals, is any real answer to crisis of joblessness now.

Everything begins with LIVING WAGE JOBS.

Whether you want to tackle health disparities, the low-income housing crisis, racial/ethnic discrimination, environmental reforms, education, etc. it all begins with living wage jobs.

Yet no one in your party will even discuss a good, old-fashioned WPA-style jobs program. Don’t blame Republicans, your party saved the bankers, Wall Street, the warmongers and their never-ending wars, worked their way down to investor reform and stopped, leaving everyone in economic danger to drown in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression.

The living wage job market continues to disintegrate without abatement. According to the 2012 Census, only 47.1% of the civilian working age population (18-64) of Springfield MA worked, even for an hour at any wage at all. In some neighborhoods, that percentage falls as low as 34-35%.

Nation-wide, only 57.5% of adult working population worked at all in 2012.

Your party’s trickle-down, market-driven ‘solutions’ produced a jobless recovery George the Elder would recognize immediately.

We need a WPA-style jobs program, paying living wages across all income/employme nt-impacted sectors, bereft of corporate welfare, NOW. We can talk about long-term solutions and social equity, afterward – as equals.
 
 
+5 # Cailleach 2014-03-01 09:50
YES! We need a WPA jobs program. And it needs to include the arts. I have seen the results of that program, especially here in Taos, NM. The old courthouse has wonderful murals about justice. There are other murals
all over the country, along with many other wonderful projects still remaining from that program. Let's do it again!
 
 
0 # Mrcead 2014-03-02 03:12
Exactly, cause before effect, not the other way round.
 
 
0 # Henry 2014-03-02 18:25
Elizabeth Warren doesn't write for, or work, for Reader Supported News, so she is not likely to be reading anything here, even if addressed "Dear Senator Warren."
 
 
+1 # JJS 2014-03-03 12:00
Gov. Paul LePage of Maine wanted to wipe WPA arts projects off the walls and re-write history. It took almost 2 years to put the murals back up.

http://bangordailynews.com/slideshow/debate-over-labor-mural-continues-albeit-quietly-at-maine-state-museum/
 
 
+4 # Anonymot 2014-03-01 10:45
Mrs. Warren,

What you say is right, bright, and presidential. I don't see anyone else who is a potential candidate for whom I would vote. I do agree with mediasavvy just above as I write. I think it would be a great idea to discharge half the military in the morning and rehire them for a livable wage as workers on American infrastructure projects along with many of the unemployed. Drop the stupidity of airplane carriers and unused, unbuilt, unneeded fighter planes, etc; and turn the saved money into saving the U.S.

However, your thrust is usually on the domestic picture. Is it because you've given up on bucking the Deep State government as Obama did shortly after his election? I have no idea that you have the time to read Comments on articles like this nor the time to read what's really going on in foreign policy, but if you've missed some, start here: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22216-a-shadow-government-controls .
I assume Obama had a visit shortly after his first election and it was all explained, including his figurehead framework that was not to be exceeded or there would really be terror in his life à la JFK, Bobby, MLK, Malcolm X, etc.

Now that what was in the shadows is no longer conjecture on the part of a few fantasists & curmudgeons, but properly, authoritatively documented and public, people up for election need to address the 800 pound gorilla in the White House/Congressi onal decision making.
 
 
+1 # Anonymot 2014-03-01 10:59
And then there's this: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22314-focus-a-shadow-us-foreign-policy
 
 
+1 # Anonymot 2014-03-01 11:12
Or this: http://truth-out.org/news/item/22121-venezuelas-deep-political-education-means-venezuelans-will-withstand-right-wing-protests

and already many others on numerous aspects of what one Mr. Snowden
 
 
0 # Henry 2014-03-02 18:27
NOTE: Senator Warren does not visit Reader Supported News to read the comments written here.
 
 
0 # JJS 2014-03-17 17:16
She told you this or is it deduced?
 

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