June 5, 2019

AFF Community

Weekly Writers Round-Up: Arguing with Anti-Vaxxers, the Pension Crisis’s Toll on Women, and a School Choice Approach to Bullying

By: Josh Evans

Each week, we’ll be featuring opinion pieces from the alumni and current participants of AFF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. For more information on how the program can help launch your career in writing, see here.

What Actually Changes Anti-Vaccine Minds by Angela Morabito (Spring 2019) in The Washington Examiner
The ongoing measles outbreak across the country shows that the anti-vaccination movement is powerful enough to create a legitimate public health crisis. There are now 940 reported cases of measles in 26 states. This is the country’s largest outbreak of the disease in a quarter century.

The size of this outbreak tells us that arguments in favor of vaccination are not working as well as we need them to. This is not because the pro-vaccine arguments are not scientifically sound (they are) or not well-publicized (again, they are). We are at a societal stalemate for one reason: People who argue in favor of vaccines are making rational arguments to people who have already proven themselves not to be moved by reason…

The Public Pension Crisis Is an Especially Big Threat to Women by Jen Sidorova (Spring 2019) in The Los Angeles Daily News
When it comes to fostering the financial empowerment of women through public policy, we think of issues such as equal pay, paid maternity leave, and affordable childcare. However, there is an under-the-radar issue that may soon negatively impact millions of women—the country’s growing pension debt.

State and local governments have promised retirement benefits to millions of workers, many in professions predominantly occupied by women, but haven’t saved the money needed to keep those pension promises. As of today, public sector retirement systems are 73 percent funded, meaning they have just 73 cents for every dollar of benefits they’ve already guaranteed to workers. Nationally, there are at least $1.6 trillion in unfunded public pension liabilities…

Child Safety Accounts Bill Is an Escape Route from Violence in DC Schools by Jude Schwalbach (Fall 2018) in The Daily Signal
Gerald Watson, a high school freshman in Washington, D.C., died in December after he was chased down and shot 17 times near an after-school program center.

His killing occurred less than four miles from the U.S. Capitol Building.

Watson’s death reverberated through the local community, affecting its youngest members. Marilyn Wiggins, a volunteer at the TraRon Center, recalled her grandson struggling in the aftermath of the shooting…