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Sessions Delays Committee Vote on Sotomayor. Because He Can.

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: July 22, 2009 at 03:23 pm

by Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel, 
National Women’s Law Center 

The hearings are over, Judge Sotomayor’s answers to written questions have been turned in, and all that’s left for the Senate Judiciary Committee is a vote. But we will have to wait until next Tuesday for that to happen. The Committee was scheduled to vote on the nomination of Judge Sotomayor yesterday, but Senator Sessions, taking advantage of Committee rules, required that the vote be delayed for a week.

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A Challenge to States: Building Strong Early Learning Systems

Posted by Karen Schulman, Senior Policy Analyst | Posted on: July 20, 2009 at 08:16 pm

by Karen Schulman, Senior Policy Analyst,
and Amalia Reiss, Intern,
National Women’s Law Center 

The President and Congress are demonstrating their commitment to early care and education by issuing an important challenge to states: Develop strong, high-quality early learning systems that help ensure children enter school ready to succeed. States that accept the challenge will receive new resources and support to meet this goal, which is essential for our children and our nation. 

An Early Learning Challenge Fund, first discussed by President Obama during the campaign and included in his budget proposal earlier in the year, has now been fleshed out in legislation introduced by Representative George Miller (D-CA) on July 15. The Early Learning Challenge Fund, which is proposed as part of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (H.R. 3221), would provide $1 billion a year over 10 years to states that agree to work toward a comprehensive strategy for improving the quality of their early learning programs, particularly those serving disadvantaged children.

The initiative would make two types of grants available to states: Quality Pathways Grants for states that already have made significant progress toward establishing systems for improving the quality of early learning settings and that can serve as models for other states, and Development Grants for states that have some elements of a strategy to promote early learning but need an extra boost to achieve a truly systemic approach. States would be able to use the grants for several key components of a high-quality early learning system, including initiatives to boost the education and compensation of the early learning workforce, a system for rating the quality of early learning programs and helping them achieve progressively higher levels of quality, parent outreach and engagement, and coordination with other services for children and families—many of the same key components addressed in the Center’s Child Care Agenda.  

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Weekly Round-up

Posted by NWLC, Intern | Posted on: July 20, 2009 at 04:10 pm

by Catherine Kruse, Outreach Intern, 
National Womens Law Center 

 The drug company Teva has released a new one-step form of emergency contraception, according to the Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

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Just Released: NWLC Releases New Report on Judge Sotomayor's Legal Record and Testimony

Posted by | Posted on: July 17, 2009 at 07:43 pm

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) today released a report, available here, which addresses Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s 17-year judicial record, her legal experience and activities, her speeches, and her four days of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Based on her record and her testimony NWLC fully supports her nomination and urges her swift confirmation.

The following is a statement by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of NWLC:

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Day 4 of Sotomayor Hearings: Affirmative Action on the Hot Seat

Posted by Christie Turner, MARGARET Fund Fellow | Posted on: July 17, 2009 at 07:13 pm

by Christie Turner, MARGARET Fund Fellow, 
National Women's Law Center 

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

The hearings have ended, and at this point both Republican and Democratic Senators have expressed their support for Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation, but there are portions of the hearings that I just can’t shake from my thoughts so quickly.  In particular, the overall contention that affirmative action policies are somehow an invidious form of racism slowly taking over the country continues to bother me.  And it was crystallized by yesterday afternoon’s witness panel.  After the testimony about the evils of affirmative action those in the audience could be forgiven for temporarily forgetting which end was up.

I fortunately had some recent experiences in mind to keep my sympathies in check.  Not only have I married into a Latino family and done civil rights work on behalf of the Latino community, but I’ve also spent a good chunk of my time here at the Center researching the reasons for the very high rate of high school dropout among Latina students.  (A report summarizing this research will be released next month.)  Over the course of a few months I interviewed dozens of girls about the challenges they face on a day to day basis.  And many reported enormous barriers related to race discrimination, gender stereotypes, and the combination of those two.  For example, a few shockingly reported that even their teachers or guidance counselors had told them directly that they probably wouldn’t make it to college, or that they would end up pregnant.  Others reported more subtle forms of stereotyping, like being “tracked” in lower level classes or getting the overall feeling that counselors, teachers, and even their parents didn’t take them seriously when they expressed a desire to go to college.  These barriers do matter. 

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