Grassroot Perspective – Feb. 20, 2003-New Jersey Education Association Accuses OpinionJournal of Smear Campaign” Over Brochure Controversy; Partnerships Offer Common-Sense Approach to Financing Long-Term Care”

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”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– New Jersey Education Association Accuses OpinionJournal of “Smear Campaign” Over Brochure Controversy. The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) lashed back at an OpinionJournal story entitled “The Soft Bigotry of the Teachers Union,” calling it “a lie” that was “designed to slander NJEA.” Last Tuesday, OpinionJournal’s Best of the Web Today, a daily electronic newsletter of the Wall Street Journal, discovered a page on NJEA’s web site that featured a brochure called “Getting Involved in Your Child’s School.” Though NJEA has since changed the page, the original page and brochures are still available for viewing (at least for today) on Google’s cache at:

The page offered three versions of the brochure. One was labeled “a parent’s resource,” the second was labeled “Spanish version,” and the third was labeled “African-American version.” Individually, the three brochures merely offer parents tips on volunteering at school, interacting with teachers, and creating am environment at home conducive to learning. The controversy arose when the “parent’s resource” version was compared to the “African-American version.” (The Spanish version was essentially a verbatim translation of the African-American version.)

Here are a few of the differences:

*Parent’s resource version — “By working in your school, you will become more familiar with its programs, and you will see why they are vital to your child.” African-American version — “By working in your school, you will see how it works.”

*Parent’s resource version — “To Whom Will I Be Responsible?” African-American version — “How Will I Work with the Teacher?”

*Parent’s resource version — “Emphasize academics. Too many families get caught up in athletics and in preparing their children for the world of work, where academics should be their first concern.” African-American version — “Tell your child that studying is important.”

*Parent’s resource version — “Families should make it their responsibility to teach children basic discipline at home, rather than leave this task to teachers.” African-American version — This tip was omitted.

Best of the Web Today noted its own preference for the African-American version, because it was shorter and more concise. “But another way of looking at it,” the story read, “is that the New Jersey teachers union seems to think their material has to be dumbed down for the benefit of black parents.”

EIA asked NJEA for a response. The union replied that “It is a lie that NJEA has ‘dumbed down’ a brochure for anyone at any time. This story is an attack designed to slander NJEA. It is a smear campaign based on one falsehood after another.” The union says the “African-American version” was actually meant as a replacement for the “parent’s resource” version, which it considered too wordy.

NJEA’s statement also noted that “When we received a call from a reporter, we realized the error on our web page and immediately corrected it.” Asked by EIA to clarify what error it believed it had made, NJEA responded that the African-American version “should never have been labeled that way” and should never have been posted alongside the earlier version. According to NJEA, the page with the three versions sat as it was for over a year without anyone noticing the problem. Separate NJEA spokespersons called the web page “a woeful error” and “a mistake.”

EIA asked its New Jersey readers for their reaction to the story. Some are NJEA members and some are not. Here are a few of their replies:

*”Until government (including education) becomes color-blind, none of the rest of us will.”

*”The height of hypocrisy.. If they truly believed that parental involvement is crucial to a child’s education they ought to allow school choice.”

*”I am stunned at the patronizing.. The process that yielded the result remains a mystery.”

*”Pretty insulting.. If I were an African-American member, I would be very upset.”

Above article is quoted from The Education Intelligence Agency 1/27/2003

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

Partnerships Offer Common-Sense Approach to Financing Long-Term Care

By Janet Stokes Trautwein

Published: The Heartland Institute 01/01/2003

The financing of long-term care is an issue of growing concern for many Americans. The demographic make-up of our population is changing, creating a looming crisis in providing — and, most importantly, financing — long-term care services.

Medicaid is now the primary payer of long-term care services and as a result, state and federal governments bear a tremendous financial burden for these services. Aging baby boomers will exacerbate this problem. Elderly individuals often believe, mistakenly, that Medicare pays for long-term care costs.

Long-term care costs consume about two-thirds of a typical state’s Medicaid budget. With states running deficits, Medicaid cannot continue to support these outlays. It is critical something be done now to encourage people to plan privately for their long-term care needs, just as they do for their other retirement needs.

Partnerships an Answer

Long-term care partnerships offer consumers an alternative to “spending down” their entire life savings by forming a partnership between Medicaid and long-term care insurers. These partnership programs provide access to affordable private long-term care insurance for individuals of moderate income who may not have been able to afford private coverage in the past.

Consumers who purchase these partnership policies receive a predetermined level of benefit for long-term care services through a private insurer. If the benefits under the private plan are exhausted and the individual still requires services, Medicaid will be available, but without the requirement to spend down all assets, as is usually required to meet Medicaid eligibility criteria. Under most partnership programs, the individual is permitted to retain assets equal to the amount of benefits purchased under the policy, and Medicaid becomes the payer only after the long-term care partnership benefits are exhausted.

For the first time, there are long-term care partnership bills pending in both chambers of Congress. S. 2199, introduced by Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), and the companion bill H.R. 1941, sponsored by Representative John Peterson (R-Pennsylvania), take the very important step of allowing long-term care partnership programs to be offered on a favorable basis in all states, bringing affordable access to private long-term care insurance to millions of Americans.

States Lead the Way

Four states — California, Connecticut, Indiana, and New York — currently offer long-term care partnership programs. They have proven effective in providing affordable coverage for consumers who otherwise might have been dependent on Medicaid for long-term care services. Sales of long-term care partnership policies have risen dramatically in states where they are allowed, meaning more individuals will utilize partnership benefits rather than turning to their state’s Medicaid program for assistance with long-term care needs.

Unfortunately, the Tax Act of 1993 (known as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) contains a provision that prevents additional states from launching long-term care insurance partnership programs on a favorable basis. At least 19 other states have passed resolutions or actual legislation that would enact state partnership programs if the current impediment in federal law is removed. Passage of S. 2199/H.R. 1941 would allow these and other state partnership programs to move forward.

A wide range of partnership policies is available, some offering coverage for a single year and others for a lifetime, and they contain many of the same features as non-partnership policies. They offer average Americans some affordable financial protection for their home and life savings if they are in need of future long-term care services.

Long-term care services are becoming increasingly expensive for individuals and state governments. Long-term care partnership programs are an important part of the solution. They not only provide a strong foundation for retirement planning, but also allow more Americans to have greater control over their futures.

Janet Stokes Trautwein is vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Above article is quoted from The Heartland Institute Health Care News January 2003

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“[Some people] have a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom. I believe that it is easier to establish an absolute and despotic government amongst a people in which the conditions of society are equal, than amongst any other; and I think that, if such a government were once established amongst such a people, it would not only oppress men, but would eventually strip each of them of several of the highest qualities of humanity. Despotism, therefore, appears to me peculiarly to be dreaded in democratic times. — Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America [1835] or (808) 487-4959.”’
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