This week’s #TCFBest looks at the increasing role of poverty in Philadelphia’s schools, invites us to learn about U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiations and wraps-up with a look at the reform needed to prevent another situation like last month’s government shutdown — particularly eliminating Republican obstruction in the Senate.
A Crisis in Three Parts
In a three-part report, NPR takes a look at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the role of poverty in its schools, which falls in line with work done here at The Century Foundation. Poverty and hunger among schoolchildren undermines learning. This fundamental issue in education must be addressed before other reforms can take place. One poignant statement from the piece sums up the issue. “Children who are food insecure don’t perform as well on math and language arts tests. They don’t do as well in school,” Mariana Chilton, director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities told NPR. With schools and students struggling to keep up, a balanced breakfast might be just the place to start. Listen to the series at NPR.
Can Iran and the U.S. Reach BFF Status?
This week negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program resumed in Geneva. Al Jazeera America wrote that apologies are owed from all sides. Yes, even from the United States. As former New York Times foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer writes in this op-ed, the U.S. and Iran should let bygones be themselves and start to work toward a new, mutually beneficial relationship. This means shaking hands and saying, “sorry,” a rare scene in the world of international relations. Kinzer goes a step further in this recommendation by drafting a version of what an apology might look like. If ambassadors were willing to take a page from Rand Paul’s book and use this pre-written speech, we might have a truce on our hands. Read more about kissing-and-making-up at Al Jazeera.
Sending in the Nuclear Option
Senate Democrats attempted to bust the filibuster yesterday by invoking the “nuclear option,” not to be confused with ongoing Iranian nuclear talks. The nuclear option basically means the Senate is now able to confirm blocked nominees by a majority vote. However, ThinkProgress covers other issues not addressed in the “nuclear option” and highlights the need for more measures to keep Senate Republicans from further obstructions. For one, something known as the “blue slip” rule still keeps potential nominees from reaching the floor in the first place. Basically, President Obama cannot fill seats without permission from Ted Cruz, and we all know how well that worked out last time. Additionally, ThinkProgress calls for the reform of filibustering legislation. As it stands, nominee appointments are exempt from the filibuster — potential legislation is not. Last, the Senate minority can delay voting on each nominee for up to 30 hours; since nominees cannot be amended, a rule allowing for more time to make amendments does not apply. Get more filibuster action at ThinkProgress.