News

Biden's $15 minimum wage hike for federal agencies goes into effect

by Alex Gangitano

01.21.22   Federal agencies were directed to implement President Biden’s $15 an hour minimum wage for government workers on Friday. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a memo to heads of executive departments and agencies, which provides guidance for adjusting pay rates for employees to at least $15 per hour. OPM called it a “general policy” of the Biden-Harris administration that federal employees receive a $15 minimum wage. The rule is set to take full effec… Continue Reading


Biden administration urges colleges to use covid relief funds to meet students’ basic needs

by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel

01.20.22   As the public health crisis continues to rattle college students, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and first lady Jill Biden are imploring schools to use pandemic relief funds to assist with housing, food and other basic needs. “As I’ve traveled the country and spoken with students at all types of colleges and universities, I’ve heard them share heartbreaking struggles about finding safe and nurturing child care, concerns about not having regular access to nutritious… Continue Reading


The Biden Jobs Boom Is Bigger Than We Thought

by Robert Shapiro

01.19.22   Last Sunday on Meet the Press, James Carville offered Democrats good advice: “Quit being a whiny party and get out there and tell people what you did … the exact truth.” On the vital issue of jobs, they should be cheering, because the Biden administration has helped create and sustain a remarkable employment boom. When it comes to what’s been called the “Great Resignation,” there’s nothing new about Americans quitting their jobs to look for somethi… Continue Reading


Vulnerable Students, Districts at Greater Risk as Natural Disasters Grow More Frequent

by Andrew Ujifusa

01.19.22   School districts that have relied on emergency aid to recover from floods, fires, and storms are more likely to serve large shares of students of color, economically disadvantaged children, and other vulnerable groups, new federal research says. While that disaster aid proved very beneficial to many communities, K-12 officials also reported a variety of significant disruptions to students’ mental health, school infrastructure, and other problems stemming from destabilized housing environm… Continue Reading


Biden renewed a free program to feed needy kids. Most states haven’t even applied.

by Laura Reiley

01.19.22   Odessa Davis worked three jobs to get by, until the pandemic shutdowns made it impossible to work to put food on the table for herself and her 12-year-old son, Leon. Previously, Leon had gotten reduced-price meals at his school. Now the expense and preparation of his meals fell to Davis, 33. At first, the Montgomery County, Md., resident resorted to picking up food boxes from Capital Area Food Bank, whipping up meals on the fly as if in an episode of “Chopped,” trying to mak… Continue Reading


Hospitals Confront the Fallout From Supreme Court Ruling on Vaccine Mandate

by Audra D. S. Burch and Reed Abelson

01.15.22   Just days after the Supreme Court’s decision about requiring health care workers to be vaccinated, the nation’s health care systems braced for the possibility of some resistance and more staff shortages — particularly in the states that banned mandates or had none. The ruling lands not long after the one-year anniversary of widespread vaccine distribution in a country still largely split over how best to protect Americans during a pandemic that has produced multiple … Continue Reading


Biden Administration to Offer Schools Millions of Free Covid-19 Tests Each Month

by Andrew Restuccia

01.12.22   The Biden administration plans to distribute millions of free Covid-19 tests to schools around the country, part of the federal government’s effort to keep schools open amid a surge in coronavirus cases caused by the Omicron variant. Later this month, the administration will begin shipping five million rapid Covid-19 tests to K-12 schools each month, White House officials said. States will have to apply to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to receive the tests. The … Continue Reading


Biden, in Shift, Prepares Americans to See Covid-19 as Part of Life

by Sabrina Siddiqui

01.06.22   As Covid-19 cases climb across the U.S., President Biden and his administration are preparing Americans to accept the virus as a part of daily life, in a break from a year ago when he took office with a pledge to rein in the pandemic and months later said the nation was “closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus.” The recalibration of Mr. Biden’s message comes as the country braces for another round of disruptions wrought by the pandemic. A… Continue Reading


With Omicron’s Rise, Americans Brace for Returning to School and Work

by Audra D. S. Burch, Stephanie Saul, Edgar Sandoval and Mitch Smith

01.01.22   In two short weeks, as the year closed out, the Omicron variant drove coronavirus case counts to record levels, upended air travel and left gaping staffing holes at police departments, firehouses and hospitals. And that was at a time many people were off for the holiday season. Now comes Monday, with millions of Americans having traveled back home to start school and work again, and no one is sure of what comes next. Most of the nation’s largest school districts have decided to forge ahe… Continue Reading


Biden administration extends federal student loan payment pause until May

by Nick Anderson and Jeff Stein

12.22.21   The Biden administration, shifting course on a crucial pocketbook issue for millions of adults, announced Wednesday it will extend a pause on federal student loan payments through May 1 as the omicron variant threatens to hurt the U.S. economy. President Biden depicted the move as an essential step to help borrowers at a moment of ongoing public health challenges. Until now, the payment moratorium had been scheduled to end in a little more than a month. “Now, w… Continue Reading


Appeals Court Reinstates OSHA’s Vaccine Mandate for Workers at Larger Businesses

by Lauren Hirsch, Emma Goldberg and Charlie Savage

12.17.21   A federal appeals panel on Friday reinstated a Biden administration rule requiring larger companies to mandate that their workers get vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to weekly testing by early January. The decision, by a split three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, overturned a ruling last month by its counterpart in New Orleans, the Fifth Circuit, that had blocked the government from carrying out the rule. The contested rule, issu… Continue Reading


For universal pre-K to work, we must revamp K-12 education

by William T. Gormley Jr. and Opinion Contributor

12.10.21   At President Biden’s urging, the House has voted to embark on a massive social experiment — universal pre-K for all 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds in the United States. If the Senate concurs, we will be making a historic new investment in the education of young children. The future of this experiment, if enacted, will depend on the details worked out by the federal bureaucracy, continued congressional funding and how the states respond. But you don’t need a crystal ball to … Continue Reading


Biden calls on Congress to pass his Build Back Better bill to lower drug costs

by Brian Naylor

12.06.21   President Biden, citing the "outrageously expensive" cost of insulin and other prescription drugs in the U.S., called on Congress Monday to pass his Build Back Better bill, which contains provisions to lower drug prices. In brief remarks at the White House, the president pointed to the cost of insulin needed to treat Type 1 diabetes, which Biden says affects some 1.5 million Americans, who pay anywhere from $375 to $1,000 per month for the drug. The House-passed measure would cap insulin prices… Continue Reading


Weekly jobless claims plunge to 199,000, the lowest level in more than 50 years

by Eli Rosenberg, Taylor Telford and Aaron Gregg

11.24.21   The number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims tumbled to 199,000 — the lowest level since November 1969 — the Labor Department reported Wednesday, part of a spate of positive economic news that signaled that many of the wrinkles of the nation’s recovery continue to be smoothing out. It was just the latest bit of good news for the labor market, which remains about 4 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels but has staged a strong recovery, adding about 5… Continue Reading


Here’s How Schools Can Use Federal COVID Aid to Solve Bus Driver and Other Transportation Woes

by Andrew Ujifusa

11.15.21   Schools can use federal COVID-19 relief money on bonuses to retain school bus drivers, reimbursements for costs parents incur in sending their kids to and from school, and other strategies to alleviate transportation problems they may be facing, the U.S. Department of Education says in new guidance. While COVID aid used in this way would have to go to transportation expenses specifically linked to the pandemic, that could cover helping students participate in high-dosage tutoring, extended lear… Continue Reading


The Infrastructure Bill Includes Billions for Broadband. What It Would Mean for Students

by Alyson Klein

11.09.21   Students and teachers who struggle to access the internet at home may get some relief from a sweeping, more than $1 trillion federal investment in infrastructure. The package-which was approved by Congress Nov. 5 and is expected to be signed into law by President Joe Biden-includes nearly $65 billion to improve access to broadband and help the country respond to cyberattacks. The funding is a good step forward in helping to close the so-called "homework gap," or the difficulty millions of stud… Continue Reading


Biden vaccine mandates face first test with federal workers

by Colleen Long and Michael R. Sisak

11.07.21   President Joe Biden is pushing forward with a massive plan to require millions of private sector employees to get vaccinated by early next year. But first, he has to make sure workers in his own federal government get the shot. About 4 million federal workers are to be vaccinated by Nov. 22 under the president's executive order. Some employees, like those at the White House, are nearly all vaccinated. But the rates are lower at other federal agencies, particularly those related to law enforceme… Continue Reading


US employers shrugged off virus and stepped up hiring

by Christopher Rugabear

11.05.21   America's employers stepped up their hiring last month, adding a solid 531,000 jobs, the most since July and a sign that the recovery from the pandemic recession is overcoming a virus-induced slowdown. Friday's report from the Labor Department also showed that the unemployment rate fell to 4.6% last month from 4.8% in September. That is a comparatively low level though still well above the pre-pandemic jobless rate of 3.5%. And the report showed that the job gains in August and September weren'… Continue Reading


Bridging the Gap Between Low-Income Students and Top Colleges

by Suzanne Smalley

11.02.21   After several years prosecuting federal civil rights cases as an assistant United States attorney in New York City, Leslie Cornfeld turned her attention to fighting for what she saw as the most fundamental civil right of all: equity in education. Two years ago, Cornfeld launched the National Education Equity Lab to help more low-income and first-generation high school students make the jump to selective colleges. "Admissions offices fly around the country in search of the most talented athlete… Continue Reading


Dems see progress in adding drug cost curbs to budget bill

by Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro

10.31.21   Democrats have made significant progress toward adding compromise provisions curbing prescription drug prices to their massive social and environment package, two congressional aides said Sunday. Talks were continuing and no final agreement had been reached. But the movement raised hopes that the party's 10-year, $1.75 trillion measure would address the longtime Democratic campaign promise to lower pharmaceutical costs, though more modestly than some wanted. With talks on that and other issues… Continue Reading

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