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    Entries in poverty (3)

    Wednesday
    Nov092016

    Facing 652% Interest Rates, South Dakota Voters Regulate Payday Lending

    They joined the growing number of states that regulate the industry that critics say traps poor people in a cycle of debt.
    BY  NOVEMBER 9, 2016

    In South Dakota, where payday loan interest rates average a whopping 652 percent and are among the highest in the nation, voters have struck back by approving a 36 percent rate cap.

    With more than half of precincts reporting Tuesday night, results showed voters approved the move to regulate the industry by a margin of three to one. More than a dozen other states have enacted a similar cap on loan interest rates.

    Critics of the payday industry say lenders prey upon low-income borrowers who are unable to access financing from mainstream banks. These borrowers, they claim, easily get trapped in a cycle of debt. Payday lenders, however, argue that they fill a critical hole in the economy by allowing people with poor credit to get emergency loans.

    The push for the rate cap was led by South Dakotans for Responsible Lending, which also fended off a rival measure placed on the ballot more recently and backed by the payday lending industry. That measure proposed an 18 percent cap -- unless the borrower agreed to a higher rate. Opponents said the measure was intentionally misleading and would have essentially legalized sky-high interest rates for payday borrowers in South Dakota.

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    Wednesday
    Nov092016

    Voters Give Georgia's Plan to Take Over Failing Schools an "F"

    As other states launch similar plans to improve education, Georgia is back to the drawing board.
    BY  NOVEMBER 9, 2016

    Georgians have rejected Gov. Nathan Deal's plan to take over chronically failing schools amid concerns that the proposal was too vague and alienated local officials.

    The ballot measure, which would have led to a new state agency with its own state school superintendent appointed by the governor, failed by a 3-to-2 margin.

    The result was largely expected as polling showed public opinion moving against the idea in recent months.

    Lisa-Marie Haygood, president of the Georgia PTA, celebrated with other opponents of the measure on Tuesday night. Opponents also included teachers, school boards and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young.

    “We did it,” Young told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We all wanted to stop a bad law from taking effect.”

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    Friday
    Nov042016

    Georgia's Plan to Take Over Failing Schools Faces Long Odds

    Opposition to the proposal has swelled in recent weeks as the state tries to imitate Tennessee's Achievement School District.
    BY  NOVEMBER 4, 2016

    Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal wants to join a burgeoning movement that would allow a state takeover of chronically failing schools. But with less than a week left before Georgians vote on the proposal, he faces an uphill battle as the track record of takeovers elsewhere has yielded inconsistent results and public opinion appears solidly against the idea.

    The ballot proposal asks whether the state should be allowed to “intervene” to improve “chronically failing” schools. If approved, it would trigger legislation passed last year by lawmakers that creates a new state agency with its own state school superintendent appointed by the governor.

    This superintendent would oversee the so-called Opportunity School District, which could take over up to 20 new schools per year and govern no more than 100 schools at any one time. The schools eligible are those that have earned an “F” on the state’s accountability system three years in a row

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