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 Tikun Olam Literacy

US Veto for Peace
Save the CAA's
Reading our way to Social Justice
President Bush signing "No Child Left Behind" into law
Astonishingly, 37% of US 4th graders cannot read at a “basic level.” For low-income students, the numbers are even more jarring, with 70% of 4th graders below a basic comprehension. Studies demonstrate that the longer we fail our children today, the harder it is for them to learn to read as they grow up, denying them the greatest tool for economic self-sufficiency. The American Jewish community’s dedication to education and our commitment for social justice calls us to the imperative of ending illiteracy in our children.

That is why the JCPA will be deeply engaged as “No Child Left Behind” is revisited this year.  Also over the next year, JCPA, Repair the World, and the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy will partner to help more communities develop and utilize the tools to promote literacy tutoring, facilitate best practices, provide volunteer tutors, and increase involvement on advocating for education reform.  Putting more tutors and literacy programs into our communities provides more children with the opportunity to read fluently and a chance to build a better life for themselves.

Join us at the JCPA Plenum, March 4-6 in DC, to learn more about the NJCL, Repair the World, and JCPA partnership. Leibel Fein, a leader against hunger and illiteracy and founder of NJCL, Jon Rosenberg, CEO of Repair the World, and Geri Palast, Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity will be speaking on the different approaches to improving student performance and the public education system.

The US Veto For Peace
UN Ambassador Susan Rice
Last Friday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted 14-1 on a one-sided resolution condemning Israeli settlement building and declaring settlements illegal.  Keeping with its position that the UNSC is not the proper forum to establish peace between Israel and Palestine, the United States was the sole country to vote no, exercising its veto and preventing the resolution from being adopted. This was the first time the Obama administration has used its veto power in the UNSC. 

After the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice defended the veto saying, “every potential action, including action in the Security Council, has to be measured against one test, and that’s whether it will move the parties closer to negotiations and agreement or take them further apart. And our judgment was that this resolution would not have advanced the goal of getting the parties closer to negotiations and agreement. On the contrary, it would have hardened the positions of one or both sides.”

The JCPA praised the administration for the veto, calling it a vote “to advance the cause of peace and scuttle an effort to use the UN’s diplomatic power to bias and blame.”

Save the CAA's
This afternoon, the JCPA’s Confronting Poverty campaign hosted a Poverty Clusters call with guest speaker Don Mathis, President and CEO of Community Action Partnerships. Mathis is a national leader in anti-poverty advocacy who works to coordinate over 1,000 local community action agencies (CAAs) that fight poverty on the frontlines. These community action agencies work in 86% of US counties and are a primary source of direct support for the more than 34.5 million people who live in poverty in the United States.

Mathis presented call participants with an impassioned plea to support and save community action agencies, which have seen their funding slashed and zeroed out in President Obama’s and the House Republican’s budget plans, respectively. Call participants responded enthusiastically and JCRC professionals and lay leaders across the country are contacting their local CAAs to learn more about their work and help advocate for their continued existence.

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