Unfinished Business

Civil Rights News: Immigration Reform Politics; Forceclosure Crisis Unfixed; Equality in California School Funding

Compiled by Emily Van Dusen, a Spring 2013 intern at The Leadership Conference Education Fund

Citing Rubio’s Ideas on Immigration Reform, White House Sees Hope for Bipartisan Deal
By David Nakamura and Felicia Sonmez
The Washington Post

While gun control is currently dominating the political discourse, discussion of a bipartisan effort at immigration reform is expected to take place soon after inauguration. GOP “rising star” Marco Rubio disagrees with the Republican party line of refusing legal status or citizenship to undocumented immigrants, and may prove an unlikely ally to the White House after disagreement over the DREAM Act. According to The Washington Post:

“We’re seeing a sort of tango with Rubio and Obama beginning on immigration reform, and they are each not sure yet who is leading and who is following,” said Angela Kelley, an analyst at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank. “I suspect until they figure that out, there will be some stepping on toes.”

Navigating towards bipartisan agreement involves balancing different political goals, but both parties are feeling pressure to cooperate on resolving a defining issue of Obama’s second term.

The Foreclosure Fiasco
By Joe Nocera
The New York Times

The recent $8.5 settlement concerning foreclosure practices between federal bank regulators and 10 banks still leaves much to be desired. As Joe Nocera writes in his New York Times column:

“… it is more about public relations than problem-solving,” and the settlement lacks a significant accountability component. No real distinction between legitimate and illegitimate claims is made, preventing those victimized by the banks from recouping their losses. In total, the settlement distributes only $3.3 billion for 3.8 foreclosures, at $868 per home.

“…those who really were truly harmed by bank behavior will be shortchanged. As Karen Petrou, the well-known banking consultant, puts it, the government has “come up with something that gives every borrower — maybe — a pittance and leaves the truly hurt — and there were many — as much in the lurch as before.”

Funding Schools Fairly
The Los Angeles Times

California governor Jerry Brown is launching a promising effort to revise the state’s formula for distributing school funding by targeting funds towards disadvantaged schools. Brown wants to rectify inequity created by the current, convoluted formula, but has not yet produced details on his plan to redistribute funds away from needy schools that don’t meet a specific set of criteria. As a Los Angeles Times editorial argues, Brown’s plan may “replace one form of unfairness with another, and in the process alienate voters from supporting future initiatives to fund schools.” Brown’s commitment to the funding issue is important, and he will hopefully produce a plan in the coming months that takes all needs into consideration.