- Created on 11 April 2013
City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman will continue at the helm of the city’s public community college system for three more years.
The City Colleges Board of Trustees pointed to the Northwestern University alum and former corporate executive’s work with turning around the embattled city college system in renewing her contract. Hyman was one of a few city agency heads retained by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as he took office in 2011. She spearheaded the CCC’s “Reinvention” project, which city leaders have dubbed a success -- even as the initiative continues to unfold.
“The Reinvention of City Colleges of Chicago, launched by Chancellor Hyman just three years ago, already has yielded dramatic results for our students and our city as a whole. The graduation rate is up four points and degrees conferred are up 80 percent. Through the College to Careers initiative launched by the Mayor and Chancellor, we are making programs more relevant to the needs of employers to ensure Chicagoans seize the jobs of today and tomorrow. This has been achieved with a balanced budget – including $41 million in savings – and without raising taxes. The Board is proud of this record and credits Chancellor Hyman’s strong leadership and commitment to student success for these positive reforms. We have confidence that Chancellor Hyman is the right leader to build on this early success and continue the Reinvention of City Colleges of Chicago.”
Hyman graduated from CCC, which includes seven schools: Olive-Harvey, Kennedy-King, Malcolm X, Harry Truman, Richard J. Daley, Harold Washington and Wilbur Wright.
She is one of three African American leaders of local higher education institutions, including Paula Allen-Meares at University of Illinois-Chicago and Wayne Watson at Chicago State University.
- Created on 08 April 2013
WASHINGTON — Airline passengers are getting grumpier, and it's little wonder.
Airlines keep shrinking the size of seats to stuff more people onto planes, those empty middle seats that once provided a little more room are now occupied and more people with tickets are being turned away because flights are overbooked.
Private researchers who analyzed federal data on airline performance also said in a report being released Monday that consumer complaints to the Department of Transportation surged by one-fifth last year even though other measures such as on-time arrivals and mishandled baggage show airlines are doing a better job.
"The way airlines have taken 130-seat airplanes and expanded them to 150 seats to squeeze out more revenue I think is finally catching up with them," said Dean Headley, a business professor at Wichita State University who has co-written the annual report for 23 years.
"People are saying, 'Look, I don't fit here. Do something about this.' At some point airlines can't keep shrinking seats to put more people into the same tube," he said.
The industry is even looking at ways to make today's smaller-than-a-broom closet toilets more compact in the hope of squeezing a few more seats onto planes.
"I can't imagine the uproar that making toilets smaller might generate," Headley said, especially given that passengers increasingly weigh more than they use to. Nevertheless, "will it keep them from flying? I doubt it would."
In recent years, some airlines have shifted to larger planes that can carry more people, but that hasn't been enough to make up for an overall reduction in flights.
The rate at which passengers with tickets were denied seats because planes were full rose to 0.97 denials per 10,000 passengers last year, compared with 0.78 in 2011.
It used to be in cases of overbookings that airlines usually could find a passenger who would volunteer to give up a seat in exchange for cash, a free ticket or some other compensation with the expectation of catching another flight later that day or the next morning. Not anymore.
"Since flights are so full, there are no seats on those next flights. So people say, 'No, not for $500, not for $1,000,'" said airline industry analyst Robert W. Mann Jr.
Regional carrier SkyWest had the highest involuntary denied boardings rate last year, 2.32 per 10,000 passengers.
But not every airline overbooks flights in an effort to keep seats full. JetBlue and Virgin America were the industry leaders in avoiding denied boardings, with rates of 0.01 and 0.07, respectively.
United Airlines had the highest consumer complaint rate of the 14 airlines included in the report, with 4.24 complaints per 100,000 passengers. That was nearly double the airline's complaint rate the previous year. Southwest had the lowest rate, at 0.25.
Consumer complaints were significantly higher in the peak summer travel months of June, July and August when planes are especially crowded.
"As airplanes get fuller, complaints get higher because people just don't like to be sardines," Mann said.
The complaints are regarded as indicators of a larger problem because many passengers may not realize they can file complaints with Transportation Department, which regulates airlines.
At the same time complaints were increasing, airlines were doing a better job of getting passengers to their destinations on time.
The industry average for on-time arrival rate was 81.8 percent of flights, compared with 80 percent in 2011. Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time performance record, 93.4 percent in 2012. ExpressJet and American Airlines had the worst records with only 76.9 percent of their planes arriving on time last year.
The industry's on-time performance has improved in recent years, partly due to airlines' decision to cut back on the number of flights.
"We've shown over the 20 years of doing this that whenever the system isn't taxed as much — fewer flights, fewer people, less bags — it performs better. It's when it reaches a critical mass that it starts to fracture," Headley said.
The industry's shift to charging for fees for extra bags, or sometimes charging fees for any bags, has significantly reduced the rate of lost or mishandled bags. Passengers are checking fewer bags than before, and carrying more bags onto planes when permitted.
The industry's mishandled bag rate peaked in 2007 at 7.01 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers. It was 3.07 in 2012, down from 3.35 bags the previous year.
The report's ratings are based on statistics kept by the department for airlines that carry at least 1 percent of the passengers who flew domestically last year.
The airlines covered in the report are Air Tran, Alaska, American, American Eagle, Delta, ExpressJet, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, SkyWest, Southwest, United, US Airways and Virgin America.
The research is sponsored by Purdue University in Indiana, and by Wichita State University in Kansas.
- Created on 25 March 2013
WASHINGTON — Whether it means opening school track meets to deaf children or developing a new lunch menu with safe alternatives for students with food allergies, recent Obama administration decisions could significantly affect Americans with disabilities. But there's been little progress in one of the most stubborn challenges: employing the disabled.
According to government labor data, of the 29 million working-age Americans with a disability — those who are 16 years and older — 5.2 million are employed. That's 18 percent of the disabled population and is down from 20 percent four years ago. The employment rate for people without a disability was 63 percent in February.
The job numbers for the disabled haven't budged much since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which gave millions of disabled people civil rights protections and guaranteed equal opportunity in employment, public accommodations, transportation, government services and more.
The National Council on Disability's Jeff Rosen said longstanding prejudicial attitudes need to be addressed to boost jobs.
"Employers are still catching on to the fact that the needs of most workers with disabilities aren't special, but employees with disabilities often bring specialized skills to the workplace," Rosen said. "Perhaps no one knows how to adapt, think critically or find solutions better than someone who has to do so daily in order to navigate a world that wasn't built with them in mind."
Rosen, who is deaf, was named in January as chairman of the council, an independent federal agency that advises the president, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy.
The Obama administration recently has acted to expand the rights of Americans with disabilities in other areas.
The Education Department's civil rights division released new guidelines that direct schools to provide students with disabilities equal access to extracurricular sports teams. If schools can't, they should create similar athletic programs for disabled children, the department said.
Also, the Justice Department said in a settlement with a Massachusetts college, Lesley University, that severe food allergies can be considered a disability under the law. That potentially could lead to new menus and accommodations at schools, restaurants and other places to address the needs of people with food allergies.
One silver lining in the lagging employment for the disabled has been federal hiring.
The latest data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management shows nearly 15 percent of new federal hires between 2010 and 2011 were people with disabilities — almost 19,000 people. That's up from the previous year when about 10 percent of new hires were people with disabilities.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2010 aimed at improving the federal ranks of people with disabilities. The goal was to add 100,000 disabled people to federal payrolls in five years; that would be within reach if the 2010-2011 hiring numbers were to stick or improve.
- Created on 26 March 2013
Just as with Black history month, the concept of solidarity among members of a race, class or gender is based on shared conditions, experiences and concerns. Following the Michigan Chronicle’s recent recognition of Women of Excellence and now at the conclusion of Women’s history month, an examination of the sisterhood of women is more than a...
- Created on 08 March 2013
The 1099 is a very common form in the small business world. Many owners issue them, many freelancers use them to file. With tax season beginning, now is a great chance to get up to speed with this ubiquitous form.
A person who is considered an employee of a company – whether salaried or paid by the hour – will receive a W-2 form which shows how much money has been withheld throughout the year for Federal, State, Social Security and Medicare taxes. This person is responsible for paying half of the payroll taxes due based on their taxable income, according to the IRS. The employer withholds and pays the other half. For 2012, the total amount due is 13.3 percent, as a result of Congress’s economic stimulus deal.
This is not the case with a 1099 form. The income reported on a 1099 (or 1099-MISC) has had no tax withheld by the party that issued it. The self-employed person is responsible for paying the full amount of payroll taxes on the amount listed as income. In other words, a 1099 means you’re liable for self-employment tax.
If you received a 1099 form, the IRS also received a 1099 with your income and tax information. Many people mistakenly believe if they did not receive a 1099, they don’t have to report the income they earned. This is a mistake that can cost dearly in penalties. If you receive untaxed income, it has to be reported. Businesses and corporations report if they paid miscellaneous income during the course of the year, and the IRS will match up this info to your tax payer id.
If you are issuing 1099-MISC, the individual must receive it by February 28th, 2013. If you fail to meet this deadline, the penalty varies from $30 to $100, depending on how long past the deadline you issue the statement. If you receive a 1099-MISC and don’t include the income on your tax return, the IRS can impose and accuracy-related penalty that is equal to 20 percent of your underpayment.