John Powers on Voting Rights, Karen Dolan on School Safety

This week on CounterSpin: Corporate media cover electoral politics—a lot. Yet the questions that guide that coverage don’t seem to change much: Who’s leading in polls (before anyone’s learned much about the candidates’ ideas), who said what awful thing about their opponent, who’s raised more money from rich people? That’s not the same as covering the electoral process: Do elections represent the public will? Does everyone who wants to vote get to? How can we ensure that our voting process reflects the principles of democracy that are so insistently invoked? There are few questions more critical right now. We’ll talk about them with John Powers, counsel in the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Also on the show: When you think “school safety,” you may think about the Parkland shooting or Sandy Hook or Columbine; certainly, that would be the media context in which the phrase occurs. But policies and practices based on that definition of safety end up making kids—particularly kids who are black and brown, or female or LGBTQ or disabled—less protected and less secure in school. A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, Students Under Siege, outlines how that happens, and how alternative definitions of “safety” lead to better outcomes for kids, their families—and schools. We’ll speak to the report’s co-author, Karen Dolan. She’s director of the Criminalization of Race and Poverty Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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