North America

What is the Common Core US education initiative?

By Allison Smith and Phyllis Scherrer, 11 April 2013

Common Core standards are being implemented in K-12 classrooms across the US this year. They have been promoted by the Obama administration, corporations and teachers’ unions.

Common Core: A California kindergarten teacher’s experience

By our reporter, 11 April 2013

A kindergarten teacher in the Long Beach Unified School District in Southern California spoke with the WSWS about the impact of the Common Core curriculum.

US states de-fund public education through expanded voucher schemes

By Zac Corrigan, 11 April 2013

Various state programs divert an ever-increasing amount of funding from the public education system to private schools.

Detroit area gas explosion reveals deadly state of pipeline infrastructure

By James Brewer, 11 April 2013

Utility company Consumers Energy released an interim report that covers up its responsibility in a recent lethal explosion.

General Motors in drive to cut skilled trades jobs in US plants

By Shannon Jones, 11 April 2013

GM is seeking to eliminate skilled and high seniority workers in order to slash costs.

Obama defends plan to cut Medicare and Social Security

By Andre Damon, 9 April 2013

After media reports that the Obama administration plans to slash Medicare and Social Security in its latest budget proposal due to be released Wednesday, government officials have been seeking to diffuse popular opposition to the cuts.

Communities across US feel impact of sequestration cuts

By Kate Randall, 9 April 2013

The effects of the sequestration order signed by President Obama on March 1 began to be felt in earnest beginning April 1.

Thousands of scientists protest US cuts to medical research

By Nick Barrickman, 9 April 2013

Up to 15,000 scientists from around the country attended Monday’s rally, which was called by the American Association for Cancer Research.

AT&T workers reject contract, face déjà vu betrayal by union

By Juan Verala Luz and Marc Wells, 9 April 2013

AT&T West workers resoundingly rejected a proposed contract that would have capped wages at $22 an hour and offered paltry health care plans.

California union supports Democratic-sponsored attack on teachers

By Juan Verala Luz and Marc Wells, 9 April 2013

Proposed California Assembly Bill 375, sponsored by Democrats and supported by the union, expedites the firing of teachers.

California governor seeks end to federal prison oversight

By Norisa Diaz, 4 April 2013

California is seeking to regain oversight of its vast prison system, arguing that it has made adequate improvements in mental health care and overcrowding.

Canada’s government suppresses scientific reporting

By Carl Bronski, 4 April 2013

Canada’s Conservative government has muzzled government scientists as part of a systematic campaign to manipulate and suppress scientific information.

Atlanta testing scandal exposes fraud of anti-public school “reform”

By Andre Damon and Barry Grey, 3 April 2013

The types of practices exposed in Atlanta are the inevitable outcome of the reactionary drive to dismantle public education in the name of “reform.”

Approval of Stockton, California bankruptcy paves way for new assault on workers’ pensions

By Gabriel Black, 2 April 2013

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled on Monday that the city of Stockton, California could proceed with the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.

Tenants angry over New York Housing Authority’s plans to sell to developers

By Alan Whyte, 2 April 2013

Tenants in New York City public housing voiced opposition to plans to lease public land to private developers.

Obama, Republicans plot sweeping attack on Medicare

By Fred Mazelis, 30 March 2013

The plan that is being discussed would restructure Medicare to impose major increases in deductible payments on millions of beneficiaries.

Stock markets and food stamps at record highs

The two sides of the US economic “recovery”

By Kate Randall, 30 March 2013

The growth of social inequality since the 2008 financial crash is the product of definite policies pursued first under Bush and then under the Obama administration.

US Supreme Court hears arguments on gay marriage

By Barry Grey, 30 March 2013

There is a clear issue of democratic rights in the same-sex marriage question. Having said that, claims that recognition of same-sex marriage signifies a new flowering of democratic rights lack any credibility.

Convicted Ponzi schemer Madoff accuses US government of stonewalling on bank prosecutions

By Andre Damon, 30 March 2013

Bernard Madoff, who admitted in 2009 to running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, has charged that the government-appointed trustee for his firm’s investors is ignoring evidence of major banks’ complicity in his activities.

Detroit’s emergency manager keeps mayor, city council on payroll

By Bryan Dyne and Shannon Jones, 30 March 2013

Kevyn Orr’s first act as Detroit’s emergency financial manager was to restore the wages of the mayor and the city council.

Quebec’s Option Nationale: An aspiring party of big business

By Richard Dufour, 30 March 2013

At its first full convention, Option Nationale—a party courted by the ostensibly leftwing Québec Solidaire— paraded its support for capitalism and indifference to poverty.

Illinois House approves pension cuts

By Alexander Fangmann, 30 March 2013

The Illinois House of Representatives has approved a bill all but eliminating cost-of-living increases and raising the retirement age for state workers.

New Jersey governor announces state takeover of Camden schools

By Elliott Vernon, 30 March 2013

Camden, among the poorest cities in the US, became the fourth city in New Jersey to see its public schools fall under state control.

The trade unions and Michigan’s “right to work” law

By Joseph Kishore, 28 March 2013

The actions taken by the trade unions in response to the passage of Michigan’s reactionary “right to work” law expose the anti-working class character of these organizations.

Plans to vastly expand drones in US

By Fred Mazelis, 28 March 2013

After a decade of the use of drones as part of its “war on terror” abroad, the US government is preparing the American people for the routine use of drones inside the US.

Tensions high at Chrysler Warren Stamping in wake of victimization

By Shannon Jones, 28 March 2013

Skilled trades worker Alex Wassell was fired for opposing the Alternative Work Schedule, recently implemented at the plant.

On eve of emergency manager take-over

Unions move to ram through concessions against Detroit workers

By Jerry White and Bryan Dyne, 21 March 2013

The sweeping concessions demanded from teachers and the city’s municipal employees give a picture of the draconian measures planned for the entire working class.

US Senate budget bill makes sequester cuts permanent

By Andre Damon, 21 March 2013

The US Senate passed a “continuing resolution” bill to fund the US government through September, while paving the way for the implementation of furloughs for about 1 million federal government employees.

D.C. Fire Department investigation highlights underfunding

By Adam Sagitov and Nick Barrickman, 21 March 2013

An audit by the emergency worker’s union exposed yet another attempt by the city government to undercut safety funding.

Los Angeles election results in May runoff between pro-business candidates

By Dan Conway and Thomas Gaist, 21 March 2013

Regardless of which candidate wins the May election, they will play an instrumental role in crafting the next austerity budget, as they have been in implementing brutal cost-cutting measures in the past.

US funding bill to make sequester cuts permanent

Hundreds of thousands face unpaid furloughs

By Andre Damon, 19 March 2013

As the US government prepares to furlough hundreds of thousands of federal employees, Congress is moving to make $1.2 trillion in spending cuts implemented under the sequester process permanent.

The managed bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler: A model for the assault on Detroit

By Jerry White, 19 March 2013

Detroit’s new Emergency Financial Manager is considering a “managed bankruptcy” to slash jobs, wages and pensions.

Plans for military surveillance of Americans’ financial records

By Ed Hightower, 19 March 2013

The Treasury’s proposal represents yet another front in the escalating attack on democratic rights, especially the rights to privacy and freedom of association.

Head of Canada’s NDP auditions before US elite

By Graham Beverley, 19 March 2013

Official Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair made a trip to Washington and New York last week to assure US business and political leaders that an NDP government would be a dependable ally of American imperialism.

Fifth West Virginia miner killed in as many weeks

By Naomi Spencer, 19 March 2013

The latest fatality comes in the wake of a statewide “safety standdown” called by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and the eruption of a fire in another mine.

School bus drivers face legacy of toxic pollution

By Dan Brennan, 19 March 2013

As school bus companies in New York seek to cut costs by eliminating health benefits, workers are exposed to high levels of diesel pollution linked to asthma, cancer and premature death.

US budget debate targets Social Security and Medicare

By Andre Damon, 14 March 2013

While the media is once again seeking to create the appearance of deep and fundamental conflicts—with endless talk of congressional “gridlock” and the “partisan divide”—there has never been greater bipartisan agreement on basic policy.

US officials announce formation of offensive cyber war units

By Alex Lantier, 14 March 2013

US intelligence officials announced Tuesday that Washington is setting up military units to write destructive computer code to attack other countries.

Parents, teachers and students oppose New York City school closings

By Steve Light, Alan Whyte and and A. Woodson, 14 March 2013

More New York City school closings and co-locations were approved by the Bloomberg-controlled Panel on Educational Policy, in defiance of the views of the majority of parents and teachers.

Too big to jail

By Joseph Kishore, 12 March 2013

At a Senate Judiciary Committee last week, US Attorney General Eric Holder declared that major financial institutions engaged in criminal activity are too big to prosecute.

Former Detroit mayor convicted of racketeering and extortion

By Jerry White, 12 March 2013

After a five-month trial a jury on Monday found Detroit’s former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, guilty of 22 corruption charges.

Maryland moves to repeal state death penalty

By Trent Novak, 12 March 2013

Last Wednesday, the Maryland State Senate voted in favor of repealing the state death penalty.

Building, food service workers strike University of Illinois

By Marcus Day, 11 March 2013

Building and food service workers at University of Illinois voted down a proposed contract over the weekend and walked off the job Monday morning.

Obama administration claims right to assassinate citizens within the US

By Joseph Kishore, 7 March 2013

The administration claims the power to order extrajudicial assassination of citizens within the US under undefined “extraordinary circumstances.”

New York City homeless population reaches Great Depression levels

By Fred Mazelis, 7 March 2013

The Coalition for the Homeless reports an average nightly total of more than 50,000 in New York’s shelters, a record “since modern homelessness emerged three decades ago.”

Oscar-nominated Palestinian filmmaker detained at Los Angeles airport

By Kevin Martinez, 7 March 2013

Emad Burnat, co-director of 5 Broken Cameras, was detained and threatened with deportation by US immigration officials on arrival in Los Angeles before last week’s Oscar ceremony.

California governor prepares implementation of Obama health care bill

By Thomas Gaist, 7 March 2013

Deceptive claims of expanded coverage for poor and working class families are an attempt to cover over the real impact of the ACA.

Teachers, school staff strike in Cleveland suburb

By Phyllis Scherrer, 7 March 2013

The Strongsville, Ohio school board is seeking the elimination of seniority protections and changes to pension and health care plans.

Sequester cuts boost corporate assault on American workers

By Kate Randall, 5 March 2013

The media presentation of the sequester as a symptom of “gridlock” and bitter policy differences between the Democrats and Republicans is a cynical fraud.

Brutal budget cutting, privatization planned for Detroit

By Lawrence Porter, 5 March 2013

Michigan governor Rick Snyder’s declaration of a “financial emergency” in Detroit is paving the way for the gutting of city services and a fire sale of public assets.

Homeless crisis grows in San Diego

By Jake Dean and Justin Jones, 5 March 2013

San Diego ranks third in the nation after New York and Los Angeles in the size of its homeless population.

Las Vegas taxi drivers continue strike

By Therese Leclerc, 5 March 2013

The strike is the industry’s first in nearly two decades in Las Vegas.

Gas explosion kills Michigan man

By James Brewer, 5 March 2013

As a utility company maintenance crew worked on a “civic improvement project,” an apparent gas leak caused an explosion that was felt for miles.

Illinois public employees’ union agrees to concessions contract

By Alexander Fangmann, 5 March 2013

AFSCME has agreed to a pay freeze in the first year of the contract.

US Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit challenging secret wiretaps

By John Burton, 28 February 2013

In dismissing the suit, the Supreme Court majority adopted the positions urged by Obama administration lawyers in their briefs and at oral argument last October.

Fed chairman reassures markets on dollar-printing “quantitative easing” program

By Barry Grey, 28 February 2013

The real beneficiaries of the policy Bernanke reaffirmed was reflected in the surge of share values on global stock markets.

Quebec: PQ imposes annual hikes in university tuition fees

By Keith Jones, 28 February 2013

Using a phony “national” Education Summit as a backdrop, Quebec’s Parti Québecois government announced Tuesday that henceforth university tuition fees will rise annually by at least 3 percent.

Four perish in Maryland house fire

By Adam Sagitov, 28 February 2013

A house fire claimed the lives of three children and one adult Thursday in a Washington, DC suburb.

New York City homelessness continues to set new records

By Fred Mazelis, 26 February 2013

Mayor Michael Bloomberg dismissed complaints that the city had turned away homeless families from municipal shelters.

Obama calls for more spending cuts to prevent “sequestration”

By Andre Damon, 21 February 2013

US President Barack Obama called on Congress Tuesday to implement billions in spending cuts to head off the so-called “sequestration” scheduled to take effect at the end of the month.

Another West Virginia coal miner killed

By Naomi Spencer, 21 February 2013

A second miner has been killed in the same mine where a fatal accident occurred just two weeks ago.

Draconian White House immigration reform leaked to press

By Kate Randall, 19 February 2013

Undocumented immigrants would have to wait an estimated eight years for the chance to receive a “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa.

Deteriorating conditions in Illinois prisons lead to hunger strike

By Marcus Day, 19 February 2013

In response to overcrowding and deteriorating prison conditions, inmates at Pontiac Correctional Center have launched a hunger strike.

SEIU union leader convicted on federal charges

By Allison Smith and Marc Wells, 19 February 2013

A federal court convicted the former president of an SEIU affiliate on 14 criminal counts, including embezzlement of thousands of dollars of union funds.

Two more US coal miners killed

By Clement Daly, 19 February 2013

Two more US coal miners were killed last week, bringing the nation’s coal mining fatalities to five this year.

600 children living in Washington, DC homeless shelter

By Naomi Spencer, 14 February 2013

A single homeless shelter in the nation’s capital is crowded with nearly 1,000 residents.

California governor’s budget foreshadows new assaults on health care

By Thomas Gaist, 14 February 2013

Governor Brown’s agenda includes a restructuring of health care programs to shave hundreds of millions of dollars from the budget.

After the bids: New York School bus strike at the crossroads

By Bill Van Auken, 14 February 2013

The New York City school bus strike has reached a critical turning point following the Department of Education’s opening of bids Tuesday for 1,100 school bus routes.

“I see this as an attack on public education.”

New York City workers and students express support for school bus strikers

By Bryan Dyne, 14 February 2013

The strike by 9,000 school bus workers has generated popular support among workers and youth in New York City.

Socialism and the defense of public education in Chicago

By the Socialist Equality Party, 14 February 2013

The SEP calls for the independent mobilization of the entire working class to oppose all school closings.

On eve of State of the Union speech

Obama pushes austerity in the guise of defending the “middle class”

By Patrick Martin, 12 February 2013

Obama is calling for further deficit-reduction measures, including cuts in core social programs.

US Postal Service announces plan to end Saturday mail delivery

By James Brewer, 7 February 2013

The postmaster general announced a $2 billion cost-cutting measure that would end Saturday mail service by August.

Firms make billions as middlemen in government cover-up of Wall Street crimes

By Andre Damon, 7 February 2013

US financial regulators increasingly rely on “independent investigators” who, in the guise of helping regulators find wrongdoing, help financial firms cover up their fraudulent activities.

Bloomberg presses attack on striking New York City school bus drivers

By Jerry White, 7 February 2013

The strike by nearly 9,000 New York City school bus workers entered its fourth week today with the Bloomberg administration preparing to accept bids from private school bus contractors without long-standing job and wage protections.

Democrats join bid to strangle New York City bus drivers strike

By Bill Van Auken, 7 February 2013

Pretending to support both striking bus workers and parents, New York City’s Democratic politicians have joined the union in calling for a “cooling-off period” and negotiations on cost-cutting givebacks.

School shooting in Connecticut leaves 27 dead, including 20 children

By Kate Randall, 15 December 2012

The massacre is the worst in the US since the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech University, which left 33 dead. Less than five months ago a shooting rampage at a theater in Aurora, Colorado resulted in 12 deaths and 58 people wounded.

Rice abandons bid for secretary of state nomination

By Bill Van Auken, 15 December 2012

Dropping the bid to name Susan Rice as secretary of state reflects the administration’s desire to avoid both a protracted debate on Benghazi and a partisan fight with the Republicans.

US military trial to censor testimony on CIA torture

By Naomi Spencer, 15 December 2012

While evidence obtained through torture may be introduced into the courtroom, no evidence of the torture itself is to be permitted.

Detroit area auto workers speak on passage of Michigan right-to-work law

By a WSWS reporting team, 15 December 2012

Reporting teams interviewed workers at two auto plants on the significance of the reactionary legislation passing in Michigan.

Syria in the crosshairs

By Joseph Kishore, 15 December 2012

The US and its imperialist allies are building up to a direct intervention in Syria, with the deployment of Patriot missile batteries in Turkey and the official recognition of the opposition.

Obama, CEOs join forces in budget-cutting campaign

By Patrick Martin, 14 December 2012

Obama and a large group of top corporate executives are supporting a combination of minor tax increases on the wealthy and enormous spending cuts in social programs like Medicare and Social Security.

US Federal Reserve expands “quantitative easing”

By Andre Damon, 14 December 2012

The Federal Reserve announced a significant expansion of its bond-buying program and low-interest-rate policy, in a move to prop up the assets of the super-rich.

Uninsured in Detroit speak on health care crisis

“It is like they are trying to find a way to kill us off”

By a WSWS reporting team, 14 December 2012

A WSWS reporting team recently spoke to medically uninsured Detroit residents participating in a free health screening.

Washington, DC charter school wins Race to the Top grant

By Nick Barrickman, 14 December 2012

The US Department of Education announced that the Knowledge Is Power Program has been declared the winner of a grant from the Obama administration.

Above the law

By Barry Grey, 14 December 2012

The financial robber barons of today are a law unto themselves.

Michigan’s right-to-work law

By Jerry White, 13 December 2012

The inability of the United Auto Workers and other unions to mount any serious opposition to the anti-worker legislation demonstrates the bankruptcy of these organizations.

Sweetheart settlement for HSBC bank on drug money laundering charges

By Barry Grey, 13 December 2012

The financial mafia that bestrides the American economy and controls the political system is, in practice, above the law.

Oregon students face massive debt

By Lauren Hughes, 13 December 2012

Oregon, student, student debt, Stafford loan

Massachusetts governor outlines new round of budget cuts

By John Marion, 13 December 2012

The Democratic governor of Massachusetts, a close friend of the president’s, is calling for major cuts in social programs to close a state budget gap.

Illinois grad assistants union pushes through concessions contract

By Marcus Day, 13 December 2012

The new contract is part of an overall attack on public education throughout the state of Illinois and across the country.

Michigan enacts right-to-work law

By Andre Damon and Jerry White, 12 December 2012

The inability of the UAW and other unions to mount any serious opposition to the anti-worker law reflects the political bankruptcy of these organizations and the erosion of support among workers for them.

Michigan protesters denounce right-to-work law

By a WSWS reporting team, 12 December 2012

Several thousand workers marched on the state capitol building in Lansing, Michigan Tuesday to protest the right-to-work law signed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder.

Hearing on Bradley Manning’s pre-trial confinement concludes

By Naomi Spencer, 12 December 2012

Manning was arrested May 26, 2010, accused of the largest leak of classified military and government documents in history while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Stockton, California: Bankruptcy judge poised to rule against workers

By Kevin Kearney, 12 December 2012

Bond insurers have filed a petition to force the city of Stockton to abrogate its pension obligations before filing for bankruptcy.

Conviction of Quebec student strike leader sets stage for broader attack on students’ rights

By Keith Jones, 12 December 2012

Workers and all those concerned with the defence of democratic rights should condemn the contempt-of-court conviction of Quebec student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

Washington discovers terrorists in Syria

By Bill Van Auken, 12 December 2012

In branding one of the principal anti-Assad militias as a terrorist organization, Washington is exposing the character of the US-backed war in Syria.

Doha climate summit concludes without agreement on emission reductions

By Patrick O’Connor, 11 December 2012

The failure of the conference was anticipated by everyone involved and met with widespread indifference on the part of the international media.

UAW provides Obama a platform for his austerity assault on workers

By Jerry White, 11 December 2012

President Obama gave a speech at a suburban Detroit auto factory Monday afternoon, enlisting the support of the United Auto Workers union for his attack on basic social programs.

The extortionate operations of NML Capital

By Ernst Wolff, 11 December 2012

A New York court ordered Argentina to settle debts totalling $1.33 billion with hedge fund NML Capital by December 15.

Obama inauguration to allow unlimited corporate donations

By Andre Damon, 11 December 2012

In a reversal of its 2009 policy, the Obama administration announced Friday that it will put no limits on corporate donations to finance its second inauguration.