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Lawmakers to Investigate Sexual Abuse in Junior R.O.T.C. Programs

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Congressional investigators have opened a overview of sexual misconduct within the Junior Reserve Officers’ Coaching Corps program of the U.S. army within the wake of experiences that dozens of teenage women had been abused by the hands of their instructors.

In a letter despatched on Monday to army leaders, together with Protection Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, the lawmakers mentioned they have been looking for data on what number of misconduct experiences had been acquired, how that they had been investigated and the way usually the army inspected faculty J.R.O.T.C. applications.

They mentioned that instructors within the J.R.O.T.C. program, which supplies coaching in management, marksmanship and civic duty in about 3,500 excessive colleges across the nation, served as trusted representatives of the army of their native communities.

“Each incident of sexual abuse or harassment dedicated by a J.R.O.T.C. teacher is a betrayal of that belief,” wrote Consultant Carolyn Maloney, the chairwoman of the Home Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Consultant Stephen Lynch, who chairs the panel’s subcommittee on nationwide safety.

The New York Occasions reported final month that J.R.O.T.C. applications had repeatedly turn into a spot the place adorned veterans — retired as officers or noncommissioned officers — preyed on teenage college students. The Occasions recognized, over a five-year interval, at the very least 33 J.R.O.T.C. instructors who had been criminally charged with sexual misconduct involving college students, together with many others who have been accused of misconduct however by no means charged.

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Many victims mentioned that they had turned to J.R.O.T.C. in highschool for stability of their lives or as a pathway to army service, solely to search out that instructors exploited their place to benefit from the scholars.

Based greater than a century in the past, J.R.O.T.C. has expanded to enroll tons of of hundreds of scholars every year. Cadets are offered instruction in army ranks and procedures, in addition to in additional common matters similar to public talking and monetary planning.

J.R.O.T.C. leaders level to analysis indicating that this system has had a constructive impact on faculty attendance and commencement charges, and plenty of cadets reward this system for offering very important classes and experiences throughout adolescence.

However The Occasions discovered that the instructors operated with weak oversight. Whereas they have been licensed by particular person branches of the army to take the roles in colleges, the army overseers did little to research issues or monitor the conduct of instructors, leaving that to the faculties. This system usually operates on the fringes of college campuses, with extracurricular actions after faculty hours or away from campus which are tough for college directors to watch.

In a number of instances recognized by The Occasions, instructors who have been criminally charged with misconduct had already been the topic of prior complaints.

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Together with requests for knowledge and data, the lawmakers requested that the Division of Protection present a briefing to the committee’s workers by the tip of this month.

“Whereas all J.R.O.T.C. instructors are required to finish a D.O.D. background investigation and be licensed by state or native training authorities, we stay involved that D.O.D. and the army companies lack an efficient means to watch the actions of J.R.O.T.C. instructors and make sure the security and well-being of cadets,” the lawmakers wrote. “With out enough oversight mechanisms in place, inappropriate habits might proceed undetected.”

Army branches have been struggling to fulfill their recruiting objectives, and Pentagon leaders have seen worth in the highschool program as a pipeline to enlistment. The U.S. Military Cadet Command discovered that college students from excessive colleges with J.R.O.T.C. applications have been greater than twice as prone to enlist after commencement.

Because the army works to draw certified recruits, the lawmakers mentioned, the companies should “redouble their efforts to advertise the protection, well-being and educational and private progress of our nation’s subsequent technology of leaders.”

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For 20-Somethings, a Confusing Rite of Passage: Finding Health Insurance

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Georgia Lee Hussey, the chief govt of Modernist Monetary, a planning agency in Portland, Ore., that helps purchasers make monetary choices aligned with their progressive values, famous that some younger people who find themselves working as unbiased contractors or interns might qualify for Medicaid. She mentioned it was essential for younger adults to goal for monetary independence, if doable.

“When you have the means, get your individual well being care protection,” Ms. Hussey mentioned.

Conversations about monetary choices like medical insurance can provoke stress between mother and father and grandparents and their youngsters, generally due to generational variations. Ms. Hussey mentioned individuals ought to deal with cultivating understanding and empathy when delicate points come up.

“What we don’t discuss as typically as I would really like is the monetary realities for youthful people and the altering expectations,” Ms. Hussey mentioned. “There’s a spot for compassion between generations and understanding between generations.”

And it helps to do not forget that everybody has distinctive well being wants that issue into making the fitting choice about insurance coverage.

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“There’s actually nobody dimension suits all, particularly with regards to one thing as delicate as well being care,” mentioned Noah Damsky, a co-founder of Marina Wealth Advisors in Los Angeles.

A superb place to get began, although, is educating your self on medical insurance vocabulary. Alexis Plicque, who just lately went from being insured beneath two plans directly, to being lined by solely her employer’s plan, mentioned navigating insurance coverage for the primary time was a problem — and it felt like a stride into maturity.

“I actually am paying for my very own stuff now,” she mentioned. “It’s sort of loopy.”

Ms. Plicque, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla., added that she leaned on her mother and father to show her about phrases like deductibles and co-pays (a co-pay is the price you pay for a health care provider go to or process after insurance coverage). “Numerous it is vitally depending on how a lot you wish to pay per thirty days and what your plan covers and what your employer gives you, so it’s not one thing you’ll be able to simply Google and determine it out by yourself,” she mentioned.

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Republican-led States Sue to Block Biden’s Plan to Erase Student Loan Debt

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WASHINGTON — Six Republican-led states took authorized motion Thursday to dam President Biden from wiping away billions of {dollars} in scholar mortgage debt, even because the administration tried to keep away from a court docket problem by decreasing the variety of folks eligible for aid.

A lawsuit filed in federal court docket by Leslie Rutledge, the Republican legal professional normal of Arkansas, accuses Mr. Biden of vastly overstepping his authority final month when he introduced the federal government would forgive as a lot as $20,000 in scholar mortgage debt, a far-reaching transfer that the nonpartisan Congressional Finances Workplace estimated might value $400 billion over the course of the subsequent three a long time.

“President Biden’s illegal political play places the self-wrought college-loan debt on the backs of thousands and thousands of hardworking People who’re struggling to pay their utility payments and residential loans within the midst of Biden’s inflation,” Ms. Rutledge mentioned in an announcement on Thursday. “President Biden doesn’t have the ability to arbitrarily erase the faculty debt of adults who selected to take out these loans.”

The states of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, South Carolina and Nebraska joined the lawsuit, which assaults Mr. Biden’s declare that the debt aid is justified by a federal legislation authorizing actions throughout a well being emergency just like the coronavirus pandemic. The Republican officers in these states observe that Mr. Biden just lately declared the pandemic to be over in an interview with “60 Minutes” on CBS.

Abdullah Hasan, a White Home spokesman, mentioned the lawsuit is making an attempt to cease Mr. Biden from offering much-needed aid to people who find themselves struggling within the wake of the pandemic.

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“Republican officers from these six states are standing with particular pursuits and preventing to cease aid for debtors buried below mountains of debt,” Mr. Hasan mentioned. “The president and his administration are lawfully giving working- and middle-class households respiratory room as they recuperate from the pandemic and put together to renew mortgage funds in January.”

The lawsuit, first reported by The Related Press, is the second try this week to close down the mortgage forgiveness program, which is without doubt one of the president’s main achievements throughout practically two years in workplace. On Tuesday, a conservative authorized group filed a lawsuit in search of to dam debt cancellation, saying this system would pressure folks to pay taxes on the debt that was forgiven.

Earlier than the most recent authorized challenges, the Schooling Division on Thursday introduced that it will not forgive the debt for college kids with federal scholar loans which can be held by non-public firms. Eliminating eligibility for these college students might make it tougher for the Republican attorneys normal to efficiently assault all the program in court docket.

There are solely about 770,000 individuals who maintain that form of debt, out of about 40 million who would nonetheless have the ability to apply for aid, based on officers. College students with federal scholar loans could be eligible for $10,000 in aid, whereas these with Pell grants for folks from low-income households would have the ability to apply for $20,000 in debt cancellation.

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Young and Homeless in Rural America

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Each college in Plantz’s district has containers of provides — kids’s underwear, toiletries, promenade attire — and he or she is all the time in search of methods to destigmatize the method of getting these gadgets to the scholars who want them. At River Valley Excessive, they’re saved within the Raider Room (named for the college’s mascot), which additionally has a bathe. She brings youngsters out and in to do numerous school-related chores in order that visiting the room just isn’t seen as an indication of poverty. When one in every of her college students, a cheerleader, stopped coming to high school as a result of her unstable housing state of affairs made it inconceivable to do her hair within the morning, Plantz purchased her a $14 hair straightener from Walgreens and put it within the Raider Room. “Get off the bus, go straight to the bathe and do your hair there,” she mentioned. Final December, after a mom confirmed up at a district workplace saying her boyfriend had set fireplace to all the pieces she owned, together with the papers she would wish to register her three kids, Plantz went into her workplace, bought her purse and took the mom to Walmart: She purchased two outfits and a coat for every baby so they might come to high school the following day. She signed up one of many kids for counseling and left the mother with some fuel playing cards and an inventory of attainable residence leases.

The McKinney-Vento regulation helps small annual grants to assist with these sorts of efforts, however most districts don’t obtain them; the applying course of could be cumbersome. Along with requiring college districts to nominate a liaison, the regulation is meant to remove obstacles to schooling by waiving deal with necessities for enrollment or permitting college students to stay of their college of origin if their household is compelled to relocate. However these provisions haven’t been extensively understood or evenly enforced.

There’s little or no knowledge monitoring homelessness in rural areas across the nation, and it’s the McKinney-​Vento liaisons who most frequently, if typically imperfectly, fill the hole. In 2018, Montana, for instance, skilled a 145 p.c enhance within the variety of homeless college students not as a result of many extra youngsters abruptly turned homeless however as a result of a brand new statewide McKinney-Vento coordinator upped her efforts. The district proper subsequent to Plantz’s, which is demographically comparable, nonetheless reviews fewer than 10 homeless college students a 12 months. And Ohio as an entire reported that 1.8 p.c of its college students skilled homelessness within the 2019-20 college 12 months, a quantity that Valerie Kunze, assistant director of weak youth packages for the Ohio Division of Schooling, acknowledges is an undercount. “You will have locations reporting 0 p.c, and there’s simply no 0 p.c,” she informed me.

However even with its many flaws and inconsistencies, the reporting by McKinney-Vento liaisons, aggregated by the Division of Schooling, represents an important and uncommon effort to quantify the issue of pupil homelessness, particularly in rural areas. The D.O.E. definition of homelessness is broader than the one utilized by, for example, the Division of Housing and City Growth, and higher capable of seize what homelessness normally appears like for rural youth and households — Blake’s household residing in a cramped camper on a hill or households doubled up typically in unsafe conditions hidden from sight — versus residing on a avenue or in a shelter. In 2019, the final 12 months of reporting earlier than the pandemic, HUD’s annual “cut-off date” depend on a single evening discovered 53,692 dad and mom and kids experiencing homelessness. Over the course of the identical college 12 months, the D.O.E., utilizing knowledge from McKinney-Vento liaisons, counted 1.4 million school-age kids as homeless.

When faculties shut down throughout Covid, so did the first manner of figuring out and helping kids experiencing homelessness. A nationwide survey of McKinney-Vento liaisons carried out by Faculty Home Connection and the College of Michigan in 2020 estimated that roughly 420,000 homeless college students had merely disappeared from the rolls, untracked and unassisted.

That quantity was a part of the explanation Congress allotted $800 million in help for homeless college students as a part of the American Restoration Plan Act, an unprecedented quantity. For the primary time, many college districts that by no means acquired McKinney-Vento grants discovered themselves with a sudden, if short-term, infusion of assets and a wider mandate for how one can use them. Some faculties have purchased blocks of motel rooms, and others have employed consultants to assist households navigate the housing system. When the primary of the 2 promised rounds of ARPA funding made its technique to Plantz’s district within the spring, she thought of numerous initiatives with a watch to one thing that might nonetheless be round when the funding ran out, deciding on new provide shelving for garments and toiletries and washing machines that she might put in a discreet location. “Children have used those within the subject home, however they should ask permission, and it’s very conspicuous,” she mentioned.

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Lisa Brooks, director of youth initiatives on the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, additionally had the long run in thoughts. Together with her group’s ARPA cash, she started a program to coach college staffs immediately on how one can help college students experiencing homelessness. For her, the chance to broaden capability on that scale was thrilling, however she apprehensive what would occur when the cash ran out. ‘’This was a response to at least one disaster — the pandemic — however the nationwide disaster of homeless college students is ongoing,” Brooks mentioned. “The Sandra mannequin just isn’t sustainable. It might’t be that there’s only one champion within the district.”

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