Councilmember David Grosso, along with Attorney General Karl Racine and Councilmembers Kenyan McDuffie, Anita Bonds, Charles Allen, Brianne K. Nadeau, Elissa Silverman, and Robert White, Jr. sent the below letter to the National Park Service calling for the removal of the statue of Confederate General Albert Pike from Judiciary Square.
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For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2016
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105
Grosso tackles pay gap, student debt, and out-of-school time as Council returns to work
Washington, DC – The Council of the District of Columbia returned from its annual summer recess today and Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) wasted no time proposing solutions to challenges faced by the District of Columbia. The gender and racial pay gap, funding for critical out-of-school time activities, and the growing student debt problem were the focus of new legislation introduced by the councilmember.
Closing the District Wage Gap
Grosso introduced the Fair Wage Amendment Act of 2016 to address persistent pay inequities for women, especially women of color, face in D.C.
“Equal pay for equal work is a simple concept. Yet, even in D.C. the wage gap that women experience persists,” said Grosso.
The bill would prohibit employers in the city from requesting information about a prospective employee’s salary and benefit history before an employer makes a job and compensation offer. This would help to end a practice that perpetuates the wage gap.
“Leaving a job that is unfairly compensating you is no guarantee that your pay will be much better when employers make job offers based on previous, deflated wages. We can break that cycle.”
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, women in D.C. make 90 cents for every dollar paid to men. It’s much worse for women of color: African-American women earn just 56 cents on the dollar and Latinas just 50 cents when compared to white, non-Hispanic men.
Addressing Student Loan Debt
“Growing student debt presents a serious challenge for our residents and our local economy, creating a burden that follows them and stifles every aspect of their lives: buying a house, starting a business, saving for retirement, and furthering their education,” Grosso said. “This bill is a first step that assists District borrowers and increases servicer accountability.”
The bill would create an ombudsman in the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking empowered to establish licensing requirements for student loan servicers in the city. They would also be charged with informing D.C. residents about their options when seeking student loans and when working to repay them.
Recommitting to Youth Development
Finally, Grosso, along with Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, introduced the Office of Youth Outcomes and Grants Establishment Act of 2016. The bill establishes a framework for greater strategy-setting, coordination and funding for out-of-school programming.
Out-of-school time programming has myriad benefits to youth who participate, improving their educational, behavioral, and physical health outcomes. Funding for such programming currently comes from many government agencies, including grants to youth-serving groups via the D.C. Trust, which dissolves on September 30.
“What we are proposing today provides equitable access to quality out-of-school time services, which we know help best position our students to succeed,” Grosso said. “As Chairperson of the Committee on Education, I see this coordinated, data-driven, multi-agency effort as an opportunity to create real results, insulated from the political manipulation and financial impropriety of the past.”
The bill establishes both an Office and a Commission on Youth Outcomes and Grants charged with overseeing inter-agency coordination, tracking data and assessing need and outcomes, and making grants to organizations that provide out-of-school programming to District of Columbia youth.
“This legislation is informed by the efforts led by the Deputy Mayors for Health and Human Services and Education to plot the next steps for our out of school time efforts in light of the Trust’s dissolution. I look forward to continuing to work with them and other stakeholders to incorporate their input as we move through the legislative process.”
After visiting dozens of D.C. schools and speaking with parents and community members, I know that D.C. residents are committed to eliminating the achievement gap as quickly as possible. As chairman of the D.C. Council’s education committee, I grapple every day with the question of how I can level the playing field after unfair policies and investments.
Below please find the full and final Education Committee Report and Recommendations on the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request and Budget Support Acts. The report and recommendations were unanimously approved by the Committee on May 14. Please note that all information contained here is subject to change prior to the full D.C. Council votes on the budget on May 27 and June 16.
The world mourns the loss of a courageous leader, Nelson Mandela, a man who sacrificed his life to end apartheid in South Africa in his fight for peace and equality. Not everyone is born to lead a country and create change, but Nelson Mandela committed his entire life so that the people of South Africa would be free from apartheid. The road to freedom is a long one – Mandela spent 27 years in prison but never lost hope or direction. He was confident that he “could lead his people in the right direction.” He never lost sight of “a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”
We will remember Nelson Mandela as one who inspired and united the people of South Africa and led them to freedom through peaceful acts. His vision became a reality – four years after being released from prison – Mandela in 1994 voted with his people for the first time in his life and shortly thereafter became the first Black President of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela’s legacy will live on forever in the hearts and minds of D.C. residents who marveled his life. His actions and leadership has significant meaning to our city. The legacy he created will live on through future generations as we continue to break down barriers and strive for equality among all people. We will cherish and honor his memory and the contributions that he has made to his country and to the world.