Resolution on Equal Education Opportunity
Adopted by the 2012 JCPA Plenum
In many parts of the country—especially in urban centers and rural areas—too many of the nation’s youth, particularly minority and low-income youth and students with disabilities are not receiving the education they deserve. There are long-term and persistent racial and ethnic disparities in the rates of dropout, discipline, funding, college application and admittance, and access to information technology in our nation's public schools.
To give a sampling of these disparities for the most recent years reported at the national level, white students had average scores of at least 26 points higher than African-American students in every subject tested. The gap between Hispanic and white students in grades 4 and 8 in mathematics and reading was between 21 and 26 points on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scale (0-500 scale). While the national American high school graduation rate for white students was 90%, it was only 61-72% for Southeast Asian Americans, 61% for Hispanic students, and 81% for African-Americans.
As said by the United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the “glaring inequities” in our nation’s education system are “economically unsustainable and morally unacceptable,” and declared “the fight for equal educational opportunity” to be an immediate and pressing “fight for social justice.” These words truly reflect the values of the Jewish community and should serve as a call to action for those concerned with social justice.
04:19 PM May 17, 2012 -
Resolution on Hydrofracking
Adopted by the 2012 JCPA Plenum
The onset and evolution of hydrofracking processes have triggered rapid growth in natural-gas and light crude oil extraction from deposits deep underground. The processes involve horizontally drilling into shale rock, inserting steel and concrete reinforced wells, and injecting water, sand and various chemicals deep underground to fracture the shale rock formations that hold deposits.
In the next few decades, energy companies are planning on drilling tens of thousands of hydraulic-fracturing wells across the United States, with a heavy focus on large shale formations in New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and in the West.
The extraction of vast amounts of natural gas from previously inaccessible underground deposits has the potential to yield significant environmental, economic and national-security benefits. Increased use of natural gas can reduce our dependence on coal, a dirtier fuel, while increased domestic oil and natural gas liquid production from shale can reduce our dependence on imported oil, which is a longstanding national-security objective. Furthermore, increasing the energy supply through natural-gas drilling could potentially reduce energy costs and is creating jobs - which could contribute, at least in a small way, to the alleviation of poverty.
04:12 PM May 17, 2012 -
Resolution on Countering Anti-Jewish and Anti-Israel Activity on Campuses
Adopted by the 2012 JCPA Plenum
The mission statement of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs expresses a profound commitment to fostering support for Israel and promoting Jewish security. JCPA is similarly committed to protecting freedom of speech and furthering civil discourse.
Most Jewish students live and study on campuses on which they feel secure in both their person and identity. However, a disturbing anti-Israel climate on some college campuses is a cause for great concern. The JCPA is deeply troubled by instances of students and faculty who have been intimidated, harassed, and even threatened with physical violence because of their Jewish identity or their support for the Jewish state.
In such circumstances, it is important for the Jewish community to serve as a resource and to offer campus groups assistance, as needed, to help them develop and implement strategies to protect Jewish students on campus and allow them to openly express their support for Israel. Such strategies include: working with school administrators, faculty and students to encourage clear statements rejecting harassment and promoting respect; finding ways to de-escalate conflict while promoting a climate in which Jewish students are physically secure and comfortable participating fully in campus life; and insisting on serious and thorough investigations of individual complaints, including disciplinary action as appropriate.
04:08 PM May 17, 2012 -
Resolution on Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector
Adopted by the JCPA Plenum 2012
Both in spirit and in practice, religious commandments in the Torah and Talmud relating to the employment of workers are imbued with respect for labor rights. Jewish religious laws pre-date current secular labor laws by thousands of years.
The American Jewish community has been supportive of worker and trade union rights for over a century. During the years of mass-immigration from the early 1880s to the second decade of the 20th Century, when American Jewry was a predominantly working-class community, the majority toiled in difficult and often desperate conditions in the garment industry and a range of other trades. The Jewish labor movement and the larger labor movement were essential to the success and advancement of American Jewry.
In recent years , there have been significant efforts to eliminate or substantially narrow collective bargaining rights throughout the United States at local, state and national levels. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2011 there was an eight-fold increase in the number of states seeking to restrict or eliminate collective bargaining rights of public workers. 550 bills involving public sector unions and employees, including teachers, police and firefighters have been introduced.
The right to collective bargaining in the United States is the law of the land for the private sector, based on the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. It protects the right of employees in the private sector to form and join unions and requires that employers bargain collectively with the union chosen by its employees. Collective bargaining is considered a universal human right under Article 23 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
04:04 PM May 17, 2012 -
Resolution on Youth Bullying
adopted by 2011 JCPA Plenum
The many forms of bullying affect one-third of our youth today. Bullying and harassment is a continuing problem for school districts, parents, students and communities across the nation. The impact of bullying has been well documented – studies have shown that difficulty making friends, loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, poor academic achievement, truancy and even suicide are all associated with being bullied.
In addition to face-to-face bullying, cyberbullying has become another means for some youth to bully and harass others. An increasing number of youth are misusing online technology to bully, harass and even incite violence against others. As opposed to traditional bullying, cyberbullying through modern communication technology can be more pervasive and invasive in nature: electronic messages can be circulated far and wide in an instant, and are usually irrevocable. Despite the prevalence and impact of cyberbullying, many adults are unaware of the problem due to a lack of fluency in new technologies, limited involvement in and oversight of youth online activity, and strong social norms among youth against disclosure of online behavior. Bullying youth creates an environment which can foster anti-social behavior.
10:44 AM Mar 10, 2011 -