Gleanings: June 8, 2016

Six in 10 Americans support free universal preschool

By more than a 2-to-1 ratio (59 percent versus 26 percent), Americans favor free universal childcare and pre-K programs for all Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Just $400 away from a financial disaster

47 percent of Americans can’t pay for an unexpected $400 expense through savings or credit cards, without selling something or borrowing money, according to a Federal Reserve report cited by Julie Heath in her Enquirer column, “Region’s economy: The hidden struggle of the middle class.”

Many of these financially vulnerable citizens, Heath reports, are in the middle 20 percent of the income distribution, whose net worth declined 25.8 percent between 1983 and 2013. Credit card debt is now the principal cause of their financial fragility.

Ohio’s online school ECOT is a “dropout factory” that enriches its founder  

Even as the national on-time graduation rate reached an all-time high of 82 percent, the average graduation rate at online schools is just 40 percent, according to a report by America’s Promise Alliance cited in a New York Time’s article, “Online School Enriches Affiliated Companies if Not Its Students.”

NYT reports that few states have as many students in online schools as Ohio, and Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), a publicly funded charter school, is the state’s largest. ECOT “has richly rewarded private companies affiliated with its founder, William Lager, a software executive. . . whose companies provide school services, including instructional materials and public relations.”

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921

During the evening of May 31 through the afternoon of June 1, 1921, a white mob, in coalition with the city government, looted and destroyed 1,200 homes on 35 blocks of the black community in Tulsa, Okla. known as Greenwood or “the Black Wall Street.” More than 300 people, mostly blacks, died.

The pretext was the alleged rape of a white woman by a black “shoeshine boy” on a public elevator in broad daylight, but the real reason was economics. Many blacks in Tulsa had become wealthy thanks to the discovery of oil in the early 1900s on what had previously been seen as worthless land.  

“The truth of the matter,”  says museum curator Paul Gardullo in the Smithsonian Magazine, “has to do with the threat that black power, black economic power, black cultural power, black success, posed to individuals and . . . the whole system of white supremacy.”

The story is largely unknown, but it was the subject of a 2001 state commission report and will be part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture that opens on September 24 on the National Mall.

Franklin County adopts ‘living wage’ ordinance

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Franklin County employees would earn a minimum “living wage” of $13.69 per hour after the county commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to increase pay grades for union and nonunion employees.