Monica Potts is a senior writer for The American Prospect and a fellow with the New America Foundation Asset Building Program. Her work has appeared in TheNew York Times, the Connecticut Post and the Stamford Advocate. She also blogs at PostBourgie.
In Oklahoma, where the budget gap equals 15 percent of the state budget, Democratic lawmakers are blocking a budget agreement because it doesn't pay for a nutrition program for senior citizens. Republicans warn that the stalemate will result in state trooper and prison guard furloughs, but Democrats say Republicans can find another way to free up the cash.
A new study has found that, despite all the conservative hand-wringing over the decline in marriage, most couples who live together before marriage eventually get married. Two-thirds of marriages last 10 years, though that depends a lot on the couple:
The factors that determine whether a marriage lasts have stayed the same over the past decade. You're more likely to hit the 10-year mark if you marry someone much like you: similar in race, background and education; if you're over 26; if you are college educated, with at least a bachelor's degree; and if you have a child during the marriage.
A former champion of No Child Left Behind has written a book criticizing the policy as a failure, especially because it relies on standardized testing. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch also says school choice is a bad idea:
"There should not be an education marketplace, there should not be competition," Ravitch says. "Schools operate fundamentally — or should operate — like families. The fundamental principle by which education proceeds is collaboration. Teachers are supposed to share what works; schools are supposed to get together and talk about what's [been successful] for them. They're not supposed to hide their trade secrets and have a survival of the fittest competition with the school down the block."
Dana Golstein interviewed the new president of Emily's List, the group that raises money for progressive female candidates, about the dearth of women in political office. While Stephanie Schriock says that women aren't obligated to vote for women who run for office, she points out the stark numbers showing just how important it is to vote for women, who make up only 17 percent of Congress.
A sheriff in Lawrence County, Arkansas, is working to collect $500,000 in unpaid court fees from those previously convicted of felonies, according to an Associated Press story. If they don't pay, they could be jailed.