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In The News …

S&P’s Credit Downgrade for the U.S: Its Significance to Nonprofits and Communities (The Nonprofit Quarterly): “… its downgrading of the credit rating of the U.S. is, nevertheless, a powerful, serious and very conscious act, albeit mostly symbolic. But symbols are powerful [... And] if you listen to the television pundits, they seem to be floundering about how important the credit downgrading is, how the markets will react, and whether the solution is raising more revenues, cutting deeper into spending, reworking entitlements, or all of the above.” The NPQ points out that the nonprofit sector has not yet weighed in on the downgrade and what it could portend, and points to several areas of the S&P report that hold particular significance to that sector; but the article also adds that those points are, for the most part, old news. Do you agree or disagree? Let them know!

U.S. to grant waivers for No Child Left Behind (Washington Post): “With a growing number of states rebelling against the No Child Left Behind law and stalled efforts in Congress to reform it, the Obama administration says it will grant waivers to liberate states from a law that it considers dysfunctional [...] Educators say that the pressure of trying to reach 100 percent proficiency has created an unhealthy focus on standardized tests.” Bill Reinhard of the Maryland Department of Education stated, simply, “The law needs to be rewritten. Everyone seems to agree, but no one seems to be doing it.” While Secretary Duncan’s willingness to grant a reprieve from a “dysfunctional” law is certainly commendable, has the waiver option emerged because reform is in sight, or because reform is still very far in the future? And moreover, why has reform not become more pressing if both parties generally agree that it is necessary?

Teen Offenders Reflect On What Led Them Astray (WAMU): “For young people with little to keep them busy during the summer months in DC, staying out of trouble sometimes can be easier said than done. Two teens currently participating in a support and rehabilitation program for teenage offenders talk about what led them to break the law.” For Brian, who turned to robbery (he stole a bus pass) at 13 in order to get home, his crime was “a means to solve a practical dilemma;” for 15-year-old Steve, “his easy and charming manor belies his history of getting into trouble.” Definitely listen to the interviews, and learn more about OAR of Fairfax County (which, among other aims, works to keep first time and misdemeanor offenders out of jail) and Free Minds Book Club (which uses books and creative writing to empower young inmates to transform their lives).

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