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Fewer than half of teachers now covered by unions

less than half of teachers unionizedFor the first time since the rise of teachers unions in the 1980s, the percentage of USA teachers represented by unions in public and private schools has fallen below 50%, suggesting that the demographics of the teaching profession and the shift away from traditional schools are taking a toll on union membership.

In 2014, about 49% of teachers, or about 2.5 million, were covered by unions, down from 50% in 2013 and 53% just a decade ago, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1984, teachers union coverage was 64%. A teacher in a unionized school district can get some benefits without joining the union.


History of Lynchings in the South Documents Nearly 4,000 Names

lynching in AmericaA block from the tourist-swarmed headquarters of the former Texas School Book Depository sits the old county courthouse, now a museum. In 1910, a group of men rushed into the courthouse, threw a rope around the neck of a black man accused of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old white girl, and threw the other end of the rope out a window.

A mob outside yanked the man, Allen Brooks, to the ground and strung him up at a ceremonial arch a few blocks down Main Street.


Kansas GOP Governor Ends LGBT Protection

Kansas governorState workers are no longer protected based on their sexual orientation or gender identity following an executive order by Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday.

His order rescinds a prior order from former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, which expanded the protections. Brownback also issued a separate order which includes language to encourage employment practices of veterans and people with disabilities.


Judge rules for NSA in warrantless search case

NSAA U.S. judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the National Security Agency in a lawsuit challenging the interception of Internet communications without a warrant, according to a court filing.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland, California wrote the plaintiffs failed to establish legal standing to pursue a claim that the government violated the Fourth Amendment.


NYPD officer indicted by grand jury for Akai Gurley shooting

NYPD officer indictedA rookie New York City police officer was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday for the shooting of an unarmed black man, according to a lawyer representing the dead man's family and multiple news sources.

Officer Peter Liang will appear in court Wednesday over the November shooting death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley, according to Scott Rynecki, an attorney representing Gurley's family.

Peter Liang, the officer, was patrolling with his partner in a Brooklyn housing project on the night of Nov. 20 when his gun discharged a single bullet, killing Akai Gurley, 28, who was in the stairwell a flight below with his girlfriend.


Judicial defiance in Alabama: Same-sex marriages begin, but most counties refuse

Judiciald defiance in AlabamaOn the day that same-sex unions became legal in Alabama, local officials in dozens of counties on Monday defied a federal judge’s decision and refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, casting the state into judicial chaos.

Gay couples were able to get licenses in about a dozen places, including Birmingham, Huntsville and a few other counties where probate judges complied with the judge’s decision. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled early Monday that it would deny Alabama’s request to put the marriages on hold.


Same-sex couples marry in Alabama after U.S. Supreme Court refuses stay

Alabama gay marriageSame-sex couples began marrying in Alabama on Monday, defying an attempt by the chief justice of the state's Supreme Court to block probate judges from issuing marriages licenses to gays and lesbians.

A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday helped clear the way for Alabama to become the 37th state to allow same-sex couples to marry. Justices refused a request by Alabama's attorney general to keep such marriages on hold until the court rules whether laws banning them are constitutional.


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