District fragmentation is a very important but sometimes overlooked factor shaping school segregation, school funding equity, and the relationship between them. Put simply, fragmentation refers to the fact that, in some states, there are hundreds of small districts, while other states are divided into a smaller number of large districts. For example, at the extremes, there are 67 (countywide) districts serving Florida’s 3 million public school students, whereas New Jersey maintains around 600 districts for its 1.3 million students.
Our guest author is Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, author of "Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race and Democracy" and a member of the Albert Shanker Institute Board of Directors.
I was saddened to read of the death of Bob Edwards, who for 24 years hosted NPR’s Morning Edition with a mix of gravitas and wit. For people of a certain age, he was, said NPR’s Susan Stamberg, “the voice we woke up to.” The obituaries noted that when, in 2004, he was fired at age 57, just shy of his 25th anniversary at NPR, listeners erupted in outage.
I got to know Edwards very casually when we overlapped as board members of the Albert Shanker Institute, and he shared his views on the role of labor in a democratic society. NPR listeners loved Bob Edwards for his fundamental decency and respect for people of all backgrounds. Those values were at one with his belief in the importance of a strong American labor movement.
Democracy & Abortion Access: How Underrepresentation of Women in State Legislatures Threatens Freedom
Our guest author is Jocelyn Frye, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.
When the Supreme Court handed down the damaging decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, it did not just strip millions of people of their ability to control their own bodies and reproductive choices by ending the constitutional right to access an abortion. The Court also deepened the effects of long-standing, systemic efforts to silence the voices of women in our democracy.
Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in Dobbs argues that women can redress the denial of their individual freedoms, such as the overturning of Roe v. Wade, by exercising electoral and political power at the state level. But his statement is disingenuous and rings hollow upon closer scrutiny of the actual data.
The National Partnership recently conducted an in-depth analysis of representation in state legislatures as it relates to abortion access, entitled Democracy & Abortion Access: State Legislatures’ Lack of Representation Threatens Freedoms. It highlights the fact that many of those states which are the most restrictive when it comes to curbing abortion rights are also the least representative of women in their state legislatures. The presence of greater gender representation within the membership of state legislatures is connected to stronger abortion protections and policies which advance reproductive justice for the residents of those states.