News Release

SOTU: * Equal Pay: Why No Executive Order? * Fracking and Pete Seeger * Education: Obama Denounces “Bubble on a Test” While Backing Those Policies

MICHELE LEBER, fairpay at pay-equity.org
Obama stated last night: “In the coming weeks I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour…” However, no such executive order was made for equal pay, rather, Obama simply stated: “You know, today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work. (Cheers, applause.)”

Leber is chair of the National Committee on Pay Equity. The Washington Post recently published the piece “Lilly Ledbetter Says the President Can do More for Equal Pay: Sign an Executive Order.”

MAURA STEPHENS, mstephens at ithaca.edu
Stephens is a co-founder of the Coalition to Protect New York and FrackBustersNY.org. She said today: “It was very ironic that the day we were honoring Pete Seeger — a hero of peace and the environment — that President Obama would double down on fracking claims. Seeger has been one of our champions in the fight against fracking in New York State, coming to many of our recent Albany rallies.” Stephens wrote “Fracking Bans that Can Stand” and many other related pieces. See Seeger’s performance of “Garbage” as well as video of him at an anti-fracking rally.

BOB SCHAEFFER, bobschaeffer at earthlink.net
Schaeffer is public education director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). He said today: “Instead of a new direction, President Obama’s State of the Union education comments largely doubled down on failed policies. The President ignored the rising tide of parents, teachers, students, researchers and civil rights activists saying ‘Enough is enough!’ to test-and-punish schooling.

“The proposals were largely retreads of ideas that are either unsuccessful or unproven. His claim that ‘Race to the Top’ — and by implication other initiatives such as ‘No Child Left Behind’ waivers — have improved educational quality is false. Even Obama’s own Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has labeled school progress ‘stagnant.’ And, ‘Race to the Trough’ has added even more high-stakes tests to the nation’s already overburdened classrooms.

“Rather than ‘new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test,’ the new Common Core assessments, backed by taxpayer funds from Obama-Duncan, are not fundamentally different from current standardized exams. The nation’s public school children, parents, teachers and communities deserve better leadership.”