Rachel M. Cohen

Rachel M. Cohen is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., and a former American Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles

Strategies for a Post-Roe America -- and for Post-Roe American Women

An interview with Robin Marty

I ndependent journalist Robin Marty, one of the nation’s top reporters covering reproductive rights, has published a new book— Handbook for a Post- Roe America —with practical advice for women who might actually need to terminate a pregnancy in the future and for people who support abortion rights. While reproductive choice is at risk regardless of what happens at the Supreme Court , there’s little question in Marty’s mind that the landscape will soon look different in a world where Roeis overturned. The faster people accept that, she argues, the faster people can start preparing. This conversation has been edited and condensed. Rachel Cohen: So, to get started, do you think we are headed for a post- Roe America? Robin Marty: I am so certain at this point that I will even tell you it will be overturned in 2021. Abortion opponents already have all the cases they need, I’m fairly certain at this point it will be a case on banning D&E [dilation and...

The Charter School Movement Washes Out in California

A Los Angeles school board race reveals the waning power of charter school supporters.

Charter school politics in California have been changing very quickly. On Tuesday, Los Angeles held a special election for a school board seat that had been vacated in 2018. Ref Rodriguez had been elected in 2015 with the support of the charter school movement, and in 2017, two more pro-charter advocates won seats on the seven-person school board, giving charter supporters a slim majority for the first time. Their victory was short-lived, however, because Rodriguez was soon charged with money laundering , and eventually pled guilty to conspiracy and resigned. The contest to fill Rodriguez’s seat was, thus, high-stakes: Would someone like Rodriguez replace him on the board, and thereby keep the board’s pro-charter tilt? While the election is not over, the answer increasingly looks like it will be no. In a crowded field of ten candidates, 74-year-old Jackie Goldberg emerged with 48 percent of the vote , and heads into a May runoff with a strong likelihood of winning. The...

To Block One Decertification Vote, a Teachers Union May Undo Charter Teachers’ Right to Unionize Nationally

By bringing its case to Trump’s NLRB, New York’s teachers union could threaten charter teachers’ rights in a host of states.

The National Labor Relations Board announced last week it would be accepting briefs on a case challenging its jurisdiction over charter schools, a matter that’s been settled for several years. Should the Republican-appointed majority rule that charter school employees are not covered under the National Labor Relations Act—thereby reversing two earlier Board rulings—that would leave employees in many states with no way to bargain collectively with their employers. In 2016, in two decisions issued on the same day, the NLRB ruled that teachers at charter schools are private employees, concluding a charter’s relationship to the state resembled that of a government contractor. This position was affirmed last year by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, when it rejected a New Orleans charter school’s argument that its teachers, who organized a union, were public employees. As there is no statewide collective bargaining law in Louisiana, the teachers would have...

Los Angeles Teachers Poised to Strike

The union in the nation’s second largest school district is calling for an end to the privatization of public schools.

The first major teachers’ strike of 2019 could start this Thursday if the nation’s second largest school district and the 35,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles fail to reach a contract agreement. It would be the first teacher strike for the Los Angeles Unified School District since 1989, and the first large-scale teacher strike in a blue city since the national #RedforEd movement took off last February. Educators in Oakland, six hours north, are also currently engaged in fraught contract negotiations, and have signaled they too could strike later this month. To understand the state of LA school politics right now, think of a pot that is nearer and nearer to boiling over. On top of its threat to strike, the union recently called for an “immediate halt” on all new charter schools; both the district and the teachers union have filed complaints with the state’s Public Employment Relations Board, each alleging the other is negotiating in bad faith...

How Schools Can Follow the Money That Should Be Theirs

New databases reveal the tax revenues siphoned off by corporate abatements that would otherwise be funding public schools.

Less than two months ago, hundreds of Baton Rouge educators voted to stage a walkout in protest of requests by ExxonMobil for millions of dollars in local property tax abatements. Working in conjunction with a faith-based group, Together Baton Rouge, the teachers called on the state to direct the proposed corporate subsidies back into public education. ExxonMobil has defended its tax breaks as necessary to create a stable and hospitable business climate. Unlike teachers in Baton Rouge, who learned of the oil giant’s exemption from their state’s longstanding Industrial Tax-Exemption Program , most jurisdictions have lacked any real picture of how much money public schools are losing, or could lose, due to corporate tax abatements. That all began to change in 2015 when the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, a private organization that sets professional standards for public-sector bookkeeping, issued a new rule requiring state and local governments to disclose corporate...

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