Rachel M. Cohen

Rachel M. Cohen is The American Prospect's senior writing fellow. 

Recent Articles

Bernie, the Billionaires, and the School Board

The pro-charter candidates in Tuesday’s Los Angeles election are backed by the Walton family, Michael Bloomberg, and Eli Broad. Their opponents are backed by Bernie Sanders, in the priciest school board race in U.S. history.

AP Photo/Nick Ut
AP Photo/Nick Ut Senator Bernie Sanders at a rally in downtown Los Angeles. J ust 20 percent of eligible Los Angeles voters turned out to the polls on March 7 to vote for their city’s next mayor and school board officials, and turnout is likely to be even lower for Tuesday’s school board runoffs. And yet, this race that barely anyone will vote in has turned into a high-stakes battleground, complete with record-setting amounts of political spending and bitter negative campaigning. It has pitted some of the richest men in America against none other than Bernie Sanders, in a brawl over the future of public education in the nation’s largest state. Incumbent board president Steve Zimmer, backed by labor, is running against the education reformer Nicholas Melvoin; in another district, labor-backed Imelda Padilla is facing off against the charter-backed Kelly Fitzpatrick-Gonez in an open race. Los Angeles is last of the big-city school districts to hold elections for local school board...

New Jersey Teacher Tenure Lawsuit Dismissed

Education reformers targeting teacher job protections have been struggling in court.

ESB Professional/Shutterstock
ESB Professional/Shutterstock A nother legal effort to weaken teacher job protections through the courts has been dismissed, this time in the Garden State. On Wednesday afternoon, a New Jersey Superior Court judge tossed the latest case, ruling that the plaintiffs—six parents from Newark Public Schools—failed to prove that seniority-based layoffs harmed their students. Partnership for Educational Justice (PEJ), a national education reform group that aims to challenge teacher job protections across the country, funded the New Jersey lawsuit. Originally filed in November , the case marked the third time PEJ has gone after tenure provisions. Their first case filed in New York in 2014, is currently before the state Supreme Court. In October, a Minnesota district judge dismissed PEJ’s second suit, filed there in 2016. That case has since been appealed . A 2012 California lawsuit, the country’s first legal attempt to challenge teacher job protections, inspired PEJ’s litigation. Lawyers in...

Q&A: The American Parent Trap

A conversation with Sarah LeVine, coauthor of Do Parents Matter? Why Japanese Babies Sleep Soundly, Mexican Siblings Don’t Fight, and American Families Should Just Relax

Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock
Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock Sarah LeVine and her husband Robert LeVine have spent decades traveling the world studying global parenting styles and surveying mothers and fathers. The Harvard anthropologists published their conclusions in Do Parents Matter? Why Japanese Babies Sleep Soundly, Mexican Siblings Don’t Fight, and American Families Should Just Relax. The LeVines found that despite significant advancements in public health and Western medicine, American parents remain the most anxious moms and dads in the world, in part, because they tend to muddy the traditional family hierarchy. In a political climate where policymakers worry about the so-called “decline of the American family”—a deeper understanding of family relationships in other cultures can contribute valuable insights to this national conversation. Rachel Cohen spoke with Sarah LeVine about their research. This conversation has been edited and condensed. R achel Cohen: Let’s start with the title of your book — Do Parents...

Planned Parenthood Targets One Very Endangered Republican

Nevada Senator Dean Heller runs afoul of pro-choice activists in a state turning blue-ish.       

AP Photos/Scott Sonner
AP Photos/Scott Sonner Senator Dean Heller listens to a question from a woman standing in the foreground during a Carson City Chamber of Commerce luncheon on February 22. D ean Heller, a Republican senator from Nevada, is nervous about 2018. And for good reason—Nevadans not only went for Hillary Clinton this past November, but they also elected a Democrat to the Senate , flipped two Republican seats in the House, and retook both legislative houses in the state legislature. The victory of Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto over her Republican challenger, Joe Heck, was hardly guaranteed; polls showed Heck in the lead for much of the fall, but polling released in December suggested his opposition to Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights ultimately damaged his electoral prospects. The pollsters also found that 47 percent of Nevadans would be less likely to re-elect Heller in 2018 if he voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Raquel Cruz-Juarez, a Planned Parenthood organizer in...

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