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Editorial: Opinion roundup (June 13,2014)


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Lawsuit latest chapter in sad story

South Bend Tribune

Indiana could have — and should have — taken a step to fulfill both a promise to adoptive families and Gov. Mike Pence’s talk of a “pro adoption agenda.”

Instead, the Department of Child Services faces a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of families on a “waiting list” for money intended to help them raise children adopted from Indiana’s foster care system.

 

The suit was filed last week against the DCS and Director Mary Beth Bonaventura on behalf of Debbie Moss, a LaPorte grandmother taking care of her three grandchildren without the subsidies promised her.

Moss, profiled in The Tribune earlier this year, would be due about $40,000 from the state based on payments she negotiated with the DCS, according to Indianapolis attorney Richard Shevitz.

Attorneys allege the DCS breached its contract with families by telling them they would be placed on a waiting list until the money was available — while returning nearly $240 million to the state over a five-year period.

Moss is one of the 1,400 families on a waiting list.

It remains to be seen how this suit will be resolved, but one thing is clear: The General Assembly should have stepped up to restore the state subsidy that was cut in 2009 by then-DCS Director James Payne.

Turmoil over school testing still with us

Evansville Courier & Press

The turmoil that has marked Indiana education is far from over.

In a year that Indiana education and legislative leaders decided to drop the state’s commitment to Common Core education standards adopted by more than 40 other states, it has been difficult at times to understand just what is going on. And just when it seemed that the issue was settling down with new state-written education standards, the federal Department of Education stepped in and said not so fast. In fact, Indiana is faced now with the possibility of losing millions in federal funds if it doesn’t comply with a federal directive.

This past week, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said she had been informed by federal officials that if Indiana wants to keep its waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act — and the money that goes with it — it must create a new ISTEP test. Indiana had planned to do that anyway, but not so soon as the feds want it done. This is happening in part because Indiana dropped out of Common Core.

Reporter wronged in press freedom case

The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne)

A few of us remember when a young man named James Risen joined The Journal Gazette fresh out of Northwestern’s journalism school and was a reporter here in 1978-79.

Now Risen, 59, faces the possibility of going to jail for a principle he and most other professional journalists fervently believe in.

Someone told Risen about a reckless spy plot that went seriously awry. Reporting the incident in his 2006 book, “State of War,” Risen wrote that Merlin, rather than setting back Iran’s program, may well have accelerated it when Iranian scientists, alerted to the blueprint’s flaws, compared the information with other nuclear data they had available.

As usual when official mistakes are revealed, the government goes into high gear to punish the leaker. Risen has fought government efforts to get him to identify his sources for the Merlin story since 2008.

Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in Risen’s case. Though Attorney General Eric Holder maintains that reporters won’t be jailed for doing their jobs, at the moment, Risen is in danger of being held in contempt of court and sent to jail.

Manner of soldier’s release questionable

Daily News (Bowling Green, Kentucky)

It is wonderful news that the Taliban released U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after five years of captivity. The Taliban captured Bergdahl on June 30, 2009. Some reports have speculated that he had walked away from his unit, disillusioned by the war, but those reports have not been confirmed.

Now, Bergdahl should be celebrating his freedom. We are elated that Bergdahl is free, but the matter in which he was released opens itself to criticism.

The United States has a longstanding policy that we don’t negotiate with terrorists. In this case, the Obama administration negotiated with the Taliban for Bergdahl’s release. The president is also required to consult with Congress before something like this transpires. This wasn’t done in a timely manner. So much for that transparency we were promised back in 2008.

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