Rachel M. Cohen

Rachel M. Cohen is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., and a former American Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles

Q&A: Getting Millennials Off That Treadmill

An interview with Malcolm Harris, author of Kids These Days

Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock
Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock H ow are millennials stereotyped as lazy, despite being a highly efficient and productive generation? Why are millennials characterized as spoiled and entitled, yet just 6 percent of us expect to one day receive Social Security benefits like those enjoyed by current retirees? In Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials , writer Malcolm Harris explores these and other questions—unpacking the precarity, the economic pressures, and the contradictions surrounding those born between 1980 and 2000. This interview has been lightly edited and condensed. Rachel Cohen: Let’s talk a little about “human capital.” What does that mean? Malcolm Harris: Generally speaking, human capital is the skills, abilities, talents, accomplishments, and resumes that go with you when you work. It refers to the relationship between workers and owners. What some people get wrong is thinking that we own our human capital, and that we can sell it. That’s not...

Arkansas and Hawaii Medication Abortion Cases Present New Challenges

Two cases winding their way through federal courts involve non-surgical abortion access.

(AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
(AP Photo/Danny Johnston) A woman carries a sign during a rally at the Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock on January 18, 2015. T he U.S. abortion rate recently hit its lowest level since Roe v. Wade , but medication abortion—non-surgical abortions induced through drugs—has increased in popularity since the Food and Drug Administration first approved Mifeprex in 2000. (Medication abortions typically involve using both Mifeprex—colloquially known as “the abortion pill”—and another drug, misoprostol .) Yet despite the proven efficacy of medication abortion for safely terminating early-stage pregnancies, a series of regulatory and statutory restrictions have prevented many women from being able to use this abortion option. Two different legal battles taking place right now—in Arkansas and Hawaii—illustrate why. In 2015, Arkansas passed a law requiring physicians who prescribe drugs for non-surgical abortions to secure contracts with a second doctor who has hospital-admitting privileges. The...

The Rift Among Charter Schools

Independent schools move to declare their independence from the for-profit and nonprofit chains.

Action Sports Photography/Shutterstock
Action Sports Photography/Shutterstock I t’s a surprisingly challenging moment for the charter school movement. In August, Education Next —an education policy journal published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford—released its 11th annual public opinion poll examining Americans’ views on K-12 education. They reported a stunning 12-percentage-point drop in support for charters from spring 2016 to spring 2017—from 51 percent to 39 percent. African-American support fell from 46 percent to 37 percent, and Hispanic support fell from 44 percent to 39 percent. A Gallup survey released a week later found growing partisan divides on charters, with Democratic support standing at 48 percent, down from 61 percent in 2012. Republican support, by contrast, has remained steady over the five years at 62 percent. While Gallup’s senior editor, Lydia Saad, suggested that Democratic support may have declined because chartering has become more closely tied to Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos, the Education...

Charter Schools Insist: Our Teachers Are Public Employees! Or Private Employees! Whichever Means They Can’t Unionize!

A Louisiana case throws this question into federal court.

Poznyakov/Shutterstock
Poznyakov/Shutterstock I n May 2016, teachers at International High School (IHS)—a charter school in New Orleans— voted 26-18 in favor of forming a union. Yet more than a year later, school administrators are still refusing to bargain, insisting that the teachers do not fall under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. (There is no statewide collective bargaining law for public school teachers in Louisiana.) In February 2017, the NLRB voted 2-1 against IHS’s challenge, concluding that the teachers are indeed private workers under their purview rather than public employees. Yet IHS, still refusing to bargain, is now taking its case to the Fifth Circuit—the first time a federal appellate court will rule on such a challenge. The outcome of this suit could affect labor law for charter teachers not only at IHS, but throughout all the Fifth Circuit states—Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Last summer the NLRB issued two decisions concluding that charter school teachers are...

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