WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 1-7, 2014)

September 10th, 2014

LABOR UNIONS

While union membership declines, those at the top are making out like bandits.” By Laura Clawson. Daily Kos. September 3, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 1-7, 2014)

September 10th, 2014

LAW & PUBLIC POLICY

Senate panel hits auditor but clears IRS of bias in targeting scandal.” By Josh Hicks. Washington Post. September 6, 2014.
Related stories:
I.R.S. Says It Has Lost More Emails.New York Times/Associated Preas. September 6, 2014.
More IRS employees lost emails; Due to its scant back-up systems, the IRS said it has no back-ups of Lerner’s e-mails.” By Rachel Bade. Politico.com. September 6, 2014.
Carl Levin slams IRS watchdog over tea party report; The Obama administration and Democrats will undoubtedly seize on the report.” By Rachel Bade. Politico.com. September 6, 2014.
Senate panel hits auditor but clears IRS of bias in targeting scandal.’ By Josh Hicks. Washington Post. September 6, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 1-7, 2014)

September 10th, 2014

MUTUAL BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS

Paulette Brown to take reins of American Bar Association” By Katie Johnston. Boston Globe. September 7, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 1-7, 2014)

September 10th, 2014

PHILANTHROPY

New York State Leads in MacArthur Genius Grants; Washington, D.C., Takes Top Spot When Adjusted for Population.” By Mike Vilensky. Wall Street Journal. September 3, 2014.

Jewish philanthropist wants free Israel travel for teens.” By Steven A. Rosenberg. Boston Globe. September 4, 2014.

Boston Foundation assets exceed $1 billion.” By Beth Healy. Boston Globe. September 5, 2014.

“How Philanthropy is Changing; Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen on millennials, technology and charitable giving.” By Alexandra Wolfe. Wall Street Journal. September 6, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 1-7, 2014)

September 10th, 2014

RELIGION

Why the American right has lost its religion.” Opinion. By Justin Webb. Times of London (UK). September 2, 2014.

American Religious, Political Ideologies Revealed In One Graph.” By Antonia Blumberg. Huffington Post. September 2, 2014.

Churches urge high court to act on gay marriage.” USA Today. September 7, 2014

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 1-7, 2014)

September 10th, 2014

SCANDAL

Portland CEO Clayborn Collins distorted academic, criminal histories as his nonprofit amassed public contracts worth $1.2 million; Clayborn Collins has misrepresented his academic background on grant applications, tax forms and on social media. He is the chief executive of the Portland nonprofit Emmanuel Community Services.” By Laura Gunderson. Oregonian. September 5, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 1-7, 2014)

September 9th, 2014

RECREATION & LEISURE

Executive Director Leaving Friends of the High Line.” By Lisa W. Foderaro. New York Times. September 3, 2014.

Money grows on Botanical Garden’s trees; Botanical Garden’s chief Gregory Long turns to licensing deals and special programs to bring in revenue.” By Theresa Agovino. Crain’s New York Business. September 3, 2014

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 25-31, 2014)

September 1st, 2014

ABOUT NONPROFIT NEWS & COMMENT
Hauser Institute for Civil Society, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University

The nonprofit sector — the universe of associations, civil society, philanthropy, and voluntary action — is the most rapidly growing and changing organizational domain in the world.

Once considered an adjunct of government, over the past half century nonprofits have taken on many of the tasks of government and play key roles in the process of public governance, not only as sources of policy and vehicles for advocacy and political mobilization, but also as providers of a wide range of public services.
Because nonprofits operate in virtually every industry and in many jurisdictions — global, national, state, and local –, it is extraordinarily difficult to track significant the emerging issues and trends that affect them. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that press coverage of nonprofits is fragmentary and often shallow and because scholarship is highly specialized and balkanized.

Through weekly global surveys of major newspapers, periodicals, broadcast media, and on-line news sources, this blog brings to readers’ attention important stories and will, through commentaries, link those news accounts to pertinent scholarship in order to offer in-depth understanding of important emerging issues and trends. The blog will also take note of scholarly books and articles of potential significance to practitioners, policy makers, and other thoughtful readers.

Using Nonprofit News & Comment

Blog entries appear as “Weekly News Summaries” — compilations of news article headlines. Each entry includes a link to the original source and the full text of the story. Because of the on-going monetization of on-line newspapers and other media, full texts may not be available for all stories.

Stories relating to the United States are organized topically by type of organization or activity. International stories are organized by country and, in certain instances, by topic (such as “Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal” and “Sustainable Development”). All stories are archived by topic and date.

Contact Us

Comments or questions about Nonprofit News & Comment should be directed to Peter Dobkin Hall, Senior Research Fellow, Hauser Institute for Civil Society, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 25-31, 2014)

September 1st, 2014

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

The Original Charter School Vision.” Op-ed. By Richard D. Kahlenberg and Halley Potter. New York Times. August 31, 2014. Although the leaders of teachers unions and charter schools are often in warring camps today, the original vision for charter schools came from Albert Shanker, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. nIn a 1988 address, Mr. Shanker outlined an idea for a new kind of public school where teachers could experiment with fresh and innovative ways of reaching students. Mr. Shanker estimated that only one-fifth of American students were well served by traditional classrooms. In charter schools, teachers would be given the opportunity to draw upon their expertise to create high-performing educational laboratories from which the traditional public schools could learn. Mr. Shanker was particularly inspired by a 1987 visit to a public school in Cologne, Germany, which stood out for a couple of reasons. Teams of teachers had considerable say in how the school was run. They made critical decisions about what and how to teach and stayed with each class of students for six years. And unlike most German schools, which are rigidly tracked, the Cologne school had students with a mix of abilities, family incomes and ethnic origins. Turkish and Moroccan immigrants were educated alongside native German students in mixed-ability groups. Sixty percent of the school’s students scored high enough on exams to be admitted to four-year colleges, compared with 27 percent of students nationally. Mr. Shanker argued that charter schools could help reinvigorate the twin promises of American public education: to promote social mobility for working-class children and social cohesion among America’s increasingly diverse populations. There is considerable research to back up this vision. Richard M. Ingersoll, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has found that where teachers have more say in how their school is run, the school climate improves and teachers stay longer — trends that have been independently associated with increased student learning. And data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress in Mathematics show that low-income fourth graders who attend economically integrated schools are as much as two years ahead of low-income students stuck in high-poverty schools. Mr. Shanker believed deeply that unions played a critical role in democratic societies and wanted charter schools to be unionized. But he also wanted to take democratic values to an even higher level: Students would see workplace democracy in action firsthand in charter schools because they would see teachers who were active participants in decision making. Likewise, students in economically and racially integrated schools would learn on a daily basis that we all deserve a seat at democracy’s table. Conservatives were unenthusiastic. Responding to Mr. Shanker’s 1988 speech, William Kristol, chief of staff to William J. Bennett, secretary of education in the Reagan administration, said that while the department “didn’t have problems” with the proposal, “we think there is lots of evidence that traditional methods are working.” Over time, however, charter schools morphed into a very different animal as conservatives, allied with some social-justice-minded liberals, began to promote charters as part of a more open marketplace from which families could choose schools. Others saw in charter schools the chance to empower management and circumvent teachers unions. Only about 12 percent of the nation’s charter schools afford union representation for teachers. What’s more, an astounding 24 percent of charter school teachers leave their school each year, double the rate of turnover in traditional public schools. Differences in average teacher age and experience, student demographics and school location account for less than half of this gap. Higher rates of firings and layoffs in charter schools are not sufficient to explain the difference in turnover either. On average, charter schools are even more racially and economically segregated than traditional public schools, according to the Civil Rights Project at U.C.L.A. The diminished teacher influence and increased segregation might be tolerable if charter schools regularly outperformed traditional public schools, but in reality, although much media attention is showered on high-flying charter chains like KIPP and Success Academy, on the whole charters do about the same. The good news is that the charter school model still offers an exciting opportunity to build new schools from scratch. A small but growing number are using their flexibility in governance and enrollment to increase the influence of teachers and to integrate their student bodies. In recent years, teachers have formed or joined unions in schools like the Springfield Ball Charter School in Illinois, the Amber Charter School in Manhattan, and the Green Dot Public Schools in California. In some cases, these schools forge “thin” collective bargaining agreements that are tailored to the special needs of individual charter schools or networks. Others, like Minnesota New Country School, Avalon School in St. Paul and Ideal School in Milwaukee, employ a teacher cooperative model where teachers share administrative duties. These schools generally boast high teacher satisfaction, low turnover rates and high levels of student achievement. Other charter schools are intentionally integrated. Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy in Rhode Island, for example, was founded through a partnership between two urban and two suburban communities. Community Roots Charter School in Brooklyn, which receives many applications from middle-class families, maintains diverse enrollment by reserving 40 percent of kindergarten seats for students in nearby housing projects. High Tech High in California employs a lottery weighted by ZIP code that capitalizes on the unfortunate reality of residential segregation to yield a student body reflective of the impressive diversity of the San Diego metro area. All enjoy strong outcomes on traditional indicators of success, but they are also teaching students something more: how to thrive in a country rapidly growing more diverse. Some high-performing charter schools, like City Neighbors Charter School in Baltimore and Morris Jeff Community School in New Orleans, have managed to pick up both threads of Mr. Shanker’s democratic vision. This new band of smarter charter schools could move us beyond stale debates and back toward the original purpose of charter schools: to build powerful models from which the larger system of public education can learn. To be effective laboratories for reform, charter schools cannot be seen as hostile to traditional public schools. Good laboratories also need to give teachers the authority to suggest new approaches and the security to experiment without fear. And because charter schools don’t automatically reflect residential segregation patterns, they should be at the forefront of experimenting with how best to realize our nation’s enduring goal of making one out of many.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 25-31, 2014)

September 1st, 2014

ADVOCACY & POLITICS

The PAC to End All PACs Is a Farce; If Arizona’s House primary is any indication, we’re far from getting big money out of politics.” By Walter Shapiro. Politico.com. August 26, 2014.

“Kochs’ Network Wrestles With Expectations for Presidential Primaries.” By Nicholas Confessore. New York Times. August 31, 2014.