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More than masks and critical race theory – 3 tasks you should be prepared to do before you run for school board

School board elections are becoming increasingly fractious and political events, with candidates focused on one or two issues. An education policy scholar explains why that’s a worrisome trend.



School board elections are increasingly contested. Nathan Howard/Getty Images

When people run for school board these days, they often are motivated to campaign on a controverisial topic. That’s according to Ballotpedia, a nonprofit that tracks political elections in the U.S.

In an analysis of school board elections in 463 school districts in 2021, the organization found elections that were once uncontested had drawn candidates who were “galvanized by one issue or another.”

Three issues came up the most. The most oft-cited issue was race in education, more specifically, the teaching of critical race theory. The second most frequently cited issue was school policies on the pandemic – that is, requirements to wear masks or get vaccinations, or school reopening. The third most-cited was sex and gender in schools, such as gender-specific facilities.

As of January 2022, Ballotpedia discovered 287 school districts in 25 states where candidates took a position on race in education; 199 school districts in 23 states where candidates took a position on responses to the coronavirus pandemic; and 144 school districts in 18 states where candidates took a position on sex and gender in schools.

A worrisome trend

As a former school board member – and as a researcher who studies educational leadership and policy – I find it worrisome when polarizing issues generate so much attention from candidates. The reason I worry is that I know from firsthand experience that being an effective school board member is never just about taking a stance on a few hot-button topics. Rather, it’s about much broader issues, such as meeting the educational needs of all students in the school district.

Too often, support for candidates hinges on the positions they take on the most controversial issues. For instance, in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking on behalf of his state’s Republican Party, pledged to withhold support from “any Republican candidate for school board who supports critical race theory in all 67 counties or supports mandatory masking of schoolchildren.”

As impassioned as people may be about issues like mask requirements, keeping schools open or confronting issues of race in the curriculum, running a school district is about much more than any one of those single issues. With that in mind, here are three actions that future school board candidates should be prepared to take.

1. Set district policy

A primary function of the school board is to develop, review and approve district policy. These policies can include implementing state mandates – such as establishing high school graduation requirements – or formulating a plan to evaluate teachers.

Some policies take on broad issues that affect all students. For instance, a policy might express a goal to make sure all students have access to the internet at home. Other policies might deal with smaller matters, such as whether home-schooled students can participate in extracurricular activities at the local public school.

2. Make tough budget decisions

One of the most difficult tasks that school board members must do is decide how to spend the school district’s limited revenue.

The vast majority of a district’s budget – about 80% to 85% – goes to personnel costs, such as salaries and benefits for school staff. Paying for these employee expenditures is becoming more challenging because of the rising cost of health insurance.

To stay within budget, school board members may have to cut positions or programs. It’s usually a matter of assessing tradeoffs: Do we cut our gifted and talented program to keep our school safety officer? Do we cut teaching positions to make the budget, and if so, which ones?

Each decision comes with consequences. For instance, cutting a gifted and talented program would make some families upset. Continued funding of a night school program might require a series of budget reductions in other areas, such as field trips or late buses.

A tough budget choice I remember facing as a school board member was deciding whether to renovate an outdated and undersized school theater. The board members all agreed the theater was in desperate need of an upgrade but decided to put off the theater upgrade to deal with other needs. The high school would soon need a new roof and boiler that ultimately took priority.

3. Select a superintendent

Selecting a district leader is critically important. So is deciding whether to keep or get rid of one. A good superintendent can make or break a district. The superintendent is the face of the school community and the district’s instructional leader.

Superintendents work with the school board to set the vision and goals for the district and then make sure they are achieved. They also hire and manage principals and other district leaders. Superintendents are expected to provide for the safety of children and staff and be good stewards of district finances.

Finding a good superintendent involves looking for leaders who have a proven track record in the areas of importance. Do they have a history of improving student achievement? Have they created a positive school climate and culture? Are they effective communicators?

If a school board chooses an ineffective superintendent, it usually sets a district back and the board ends up having to spend time and money to replace them.

A key distinction of American democracy is that candidates can develop platforms as they see fit, and it’s up to voters to decide if a particular candidate will represent their concerns. But when it comes to running a school system, it’s important to keep in mind that it involves much more than taking a stance on a few controversial issues. It’s also about making sound financial decisions and implementing policies that ensure all students get the education they deserve.

[Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.]

Casey D. Cobb is affiliated with the National Education Policy Center.

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Ecommerce Stocks Could be Recession Proof as Household Spending Holds Up (AMZN, FBCD, SHOP, EBAY, BABA, PYPL, CVNA, ONLN)

The ecommerce space is a prime example of a new path toward recession-proof non-cyclicality in a world where household savings are robust into the teeth…



The ecommerce space is a prime example of a new path toward recession-proof non-cyclicality in a world where household savings are robust into the teeth of a potential recession. (1)

At this point, Goldman Sachs and other major Wall Street firms are starting to project a strengthening likelihood of a near-term recession as the Fed begins to tighten monetary policy while prices for basic goods, including gas and electricity, are rising. (2)

But, unlike other past recessionary periods, households have savings to tap to stay in the game, helping the most efficient retailers stand their ground as demand shifts. (3)

The ecommerce space could be a beneficiary because it offers greater efficiency in acquiring basic goods such as clothing, household durable goods, and basic daily necessities. When you shop online, you don’t have to use gasoline or time or energy to gain access to the goods you need. Ecommerce cuts out the middle-man. (4)

The pandemic was an exercise in market penetration for ecommerce retailers, converting the previously unconverted, providing everyone with a reason to try 21st century shopping, bringing hundreds of millions of people into the fold of a new way to acquire goods. (5)

For retailers already positioned for this boon, it represents a structural transformation and a tailwind. With that in mind, we take a look at some of the most interesting growth stories in the ecommerce space below.


Shopify Inc. (NYSE:SHOP) operates a cloud-based commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses. Its software is used by merchants to run business across all sales channels, including web, tablet and mobile storefronts, social media storefronts, and brick-and-mortar and pop-up shops.

The firm’s platform provides merchants with a single view of business and customers and enables them to manage products and inventory, process orders and payments, build customer relationships and leverage analytics and reporting. It focuses on merchant and subscription solutions.

Shopify Inc. (NYSE:SHOP) recently announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, including total revenue in the first quarter grew 22% to $1.2 billion, which represents a two-year compound annual growth rate of 60%. The first quarter of 2021 marked the highest revenue growth in the company’s history as a public company driven by stimulus and COVID-19 lockdowns. Shopify merchants are emerging from the last two years stronger and better prepared for commerce everywhere. (6)

“While we’ve experienced massive macro shifts since the start of the pandemic, the one mainstay has been that Shopify is the commerce platform of choice for merchants in any environment, with the ability to support commerce on any surface,” said Harley Finkelstein, Shopify’s President. “This has earned Shopify significant merchant trust and the ability to help them with more parts of their business, which is why we are eager to bring Deliverr’s team and technology to our merchants.”

Even in light of this news, SHOP has had a rough past week of trading action, with shares sinking something like -8% in that time. That said, chart support is nearby, and we may be in the process of constructing a nice setup for some movement back the other way.

Shopify Inc. (NYSE:SHOP) managed to rope in revenues totaling $1.2B in overall sales during the company’s most recently reported quarterly financial data — a figure that represents a rate of top line growth of 21.7%, as compared to year-ago data in comparable terms. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels exceeding current liabilities ($7.2B against $681.9M).


FBC Holding Inc. (OTC US:FBCD) is a tiny newcomer in the ecommerce retail fashion space that has started to make some waves, up 150% in the past few days as the company lays its foundation as a brand in the street fashion domain after announcing its intention to land a major influencer brand ambassador and connecting up with Amazon and eBay on the distribution side.

The company’s primary brand is “Formrunner” ( (7).

FBC Holding Inc. (OTC US:FBCD) announced this week that it has begun selling its Premium High-End Apparel by expanding its E-Commerce presence on The company is thrilled to add sales from eBay as an additional revenue opportunity following its successful launch on Amazon last week.

President & CEO Lisa Nelson states “We are beyond excited to offer our Apparel on eBay! Our clothing will be available with eBay’s “Buy it Now” option and will kick off the launch with free shipping to the entire United States. Customers around the world will now have an additional platform to purchase our clothing with more to come moving forward.” Lisa Nelson also stated, “Over the past two years, Formrunner Apparel Inc. has been continuously expanding the company’s vertical sales channels, and eBay along with Amazon, are two great retail giants that will assist with expansion throughout the United States along with the rest of the world!” (8)

As noted in the release, with 185 million active buyers and nineteen million sellers worldwide, eBay is one of the world’s leading marketplace and eCommerce platforms. eBay serves customers globally. Like every popular site, there are tons of loyal customers who prefer to purchase on eBay. Customers may prefer to purchase from merchants like these than a site that they land on the first time. eBay also offers affiliate programs through multiple affiliate marketers will take your product link and promote your products to receive the affiliate commission. This will help to increase your sales. So, in addition to running your affiliate program, you can also benefit from the eBay affiliates.

The release goes on to note that the apparel market encompasses every kind of clothing, from sportswear to business wear, from value clothing to statement luxury pieces. After difficulties in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, when sales across the apparel industry took a hit, the global demand for clothing and shoes is set to rise again. The revenue of the global apparel market was calculated to amount to 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2021 and was predicted to increase to approximately two trillion dollars by 2026. The countries that account for most of this apparel demand are the United States and China, both generating higher revenues than any other country.

FBC Holding Inc. (OTC US:FBCD) has been powering higher over recent days as the crowd starts to take notice. The recent upside momentum comes after a deep bear move well into sub-penny status driven by the company’s reorganization and pivot. But now that we have passed through that phase, shares may have found a more stable bottom in front of emerging catalysts that speak to the company’s new identity and momentum.


Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. ADR (NYSE:BABA) engages in providing online and mobile marketplaces in retail and wholesale trade. It operates through its Core Commerce, Cloud Computing, Digital Media & Entertainment, and Innovation Initiatives and Others segments.

The Core Commerce segment consists of platforms operating in retail and wholesale. The Cloud Computing segment consists of Alibaba Cloud, which offers a complete suite of cloud services, including elastic computing, database, storage, network virtualization, large scale computing, security, management and application, big data analytics, a machine learning platform, and Internet of Things (IoT) services. The Digital Media & Entertainment segment relates to the Youko Tudou and UC Browser businesses. The Innovation Initiatives and Others segment includes businesses such as AutoNavi, DingTalk, and Tmall Genie

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. ADR (NYSE:BABA) recently announced that it has joined Low Carbon Patent Pledge (LCPP), an international platform that encourages sharing patents for low carbon technologies, to accelerate adoption of green technology and foster collaborative innovation by making nine key patents for green data center technology available for free to external parties. In keeping with its support for green initiatives, Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group also aims to have its global data centers running entirely on clean energy by 2030, starting with upgrades to five of its hyper-scale data centers in China.

“We believe technology innovation is a key driver in transitioning to the low-carbon circular economy of the future. As a pioneer and global technology leader, we are committed to taking broader social responsibility to use technology to level the playing field and to empower the wider social groups, creating long-term value. We are excited to join the pledge as a way to encourage a collective approach to build a sustainable and inclusive future for the society and environment through open collaboration, joint innovations and mutual inspiration.” said Dr. Chen Long, Vice President of Alibaba Group and Chair of Alibaba’s Sustainability Steering Committee. (9)

Traders will note -6% plucked from share pricing for the stock in the past week. That said, BABA has evidenced sudden upward volatility on many prior occasions. What’s more, the name has seen a growing influx of trading interest.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. ADR (NYSE:BABA) has a significant war chest ($654.4B) of cash on the books, which compares with about $502.2B in total current liabilities. One should also note that debt has been growing over recent quarters. BABA is pulling in trailing 12-month revenues of $1008.6B. In addition, the company is seeing major top-line growth, with y/y quarterly revenues growing at 14.3%.


Other key ecommerce players include Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN), eBay Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY), PayPal Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq:PYPL), Carvana Co. (NYSE:CVNA), and ProShares Online Retail ETF (NYSEArca:ONLN).




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The post Ecommerce Stocks Could be Recession Proof as Household Spending Holds Up (AMZN, FBCD, SHOP, EBAY, BABA, PYPL, CVNA, ONLN) appeared first on Wall Street PR.

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What Do Consumers Think Will Happen to Inflation?

This post provides an update on two earlier blog posts (here and here) in which we discuss how consumers’ views about future inflation have evolved in…



This post provides an update on two earlier blog posts (here and here) in which we discuss how consumers’ views about future inflation have evolved in a continually changing economic environment. Using data from the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE), we show that while short-term inflation expectations have continued to trend upward, medium-term inflation expectations appear to have reached a plateau over the past few months, and longer-term inflation expectations have remained remarkably stable. Not surprisingly given recent movements in consumer prices, we find that most respondents agree that inflation will remain high over the next year. In contrast, and somewhat surprisingly, there is a divergence in consumers’ medium-term inflation expectations, in the sense that we observe a simultaneous increase in both the share of respondents who expect high inflation and the share of respondents who expect low inflation (and even deflation) three years from now. Finally, we show that individual consumers have become more uncertain about what inflation will be in the near future. However, in contrast to the pre-pandemic period, they tend to express less uncertainty about inflation further in the future.

The SCE is a monthly, internet-based survey produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York since June 2013. It is a twelve-month rotating panel (respondents are asked to take the survey for twelve consecutive months) of roughly 1,300 nationally representative U.S. household heads. Since the inception of the SCE, we have been eliciting consumers’ inflation expectations at the short- and medium-term horizons on a monthly basis. The short-term horizon corresponds to the year-ahead (with the survey question phrased as “over the next 12 months”), while the medium-term horizon corresponds to the three-year-ahead one-year rate of inflation (“0ver the 12-month period between M+24 and M+36,” where M is the month in which the respondent takes the survey). So, for instance, a respondent taking the survey in April 2022 is asked about inflation “over the 12-month period between April 2024 and April 2025.” Recently, we have on occasion elicited longer-term inflation expectations, by asking respondents to report their expected five-year-ahead one-year rate of inflation (“over the 12-month period between M+48 and M+60”). For each horizon, SCE respondents are asked to report their density forecasts by stating the percent chance that the rate of inflation will fall within pre-specified bins. These density forecasts are used to calculate the two measures that we focus on in this blog: the individual inflation expectation (the mean of a respondent’s density forecast), and the individual inflation uncertainty (measured as the interquartile range of a respondent’s density forecast).

The Median Consumer Expects Inflation to Fade over the Next Few Years

SCE respondents think the current high inflation environment will not fade over the next twelve months, but that it will taper off in the next three years and not persist beyond that. The chart below shows the monthly median individual inflation expectation at each horizon since January 2020. As can be seen here, inflation expectations in January 2020 were similar to the average readings during 2018-19 and are therefore representative of the period directly before the COVID-19 pandemic. Short- and medium-term inflation expectations increased slightly and at a similar pace during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the spring of 2021, as readings of actual inflation started to surge, short-term and, to a lesser extent, medium-term inflation expectations started to increase at a faster rate, reaching levels not seen previously in the nearly ten years since the inception of the SCE. Note that, unlike one-year-ahead inflation expectations which are still on an increasing trajectory, three-year-ahead inflation expectations have leveled off in recent months and even started decreasing slightly after reaching a peak of 4.2 percent in September and October 2021. Looking now at the few data points we have for the longer horizon, five-year-ahead inflation expectations have been remarkably stable in recent months and substantially lower than short- and medium-term inflation expectations.

Inflation Expectations at the Longer Horizon Are Stable and Much Lower

Source: Survey of Consumer Expectations.

Consumers’ Medium-Term Inflation Expectations Have Become More Divergent

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, respondents disagreed about what impact the pandemic would have on short-term inflation, but most of them now believe inflation will be high over the next year. The chart below shows the distribution of individual inflation expectations across respondents in a given month. The left panel shows the share of respondents with low inflation expectations in a given month (that is, with an individual inflation expectation below 0 percent, which corresponds to deflation). The right panel shows the share of respondents with high inflation expectations (that is, with an individual inflation expectation above 4 percent). Starting with the short-term horizon, the chart shows that at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, there was a sharp increase in the share of respondents who expected deflation (left panel) and, simultaneously, an increase in the share of respondents who expected high inflation (right panel). Hence, consumers’ short-term inflation expectations became more divergent at the onset of the pandemic, with some consumers expecting COVID-19 to be an inflationary supply shock over the subsequent twelve months, and other consumers expecting COVID-19 to be a large deflationary demand shock. Starting in the second half of 2020, the share of respondents with low short-term expectations declined, while the share of the respondents with high short-term expectations continued to increase, consistent with the overall increase in short-term inflation expectations discussed in the previous paragraph.

The divergence in inflation beliefs we observed for short-term expectations at the onset of the pandemic has shifted to medium-term expectations during the past eight months. The chart below shows little change in the share of respondents with extreme (high or low) medium-term inflation beliefs at the onset of the pandemic. This suggests that consumers initially thought the pandemic would not have a strong persistent effect on inflation. After the fall of 2020, the share of respondents who expect high inflation in the medium-term started to increase steadily (see right panel). However, the rate of increase over the past year was slower than at the short-term horizon. Furthermore, after reaching a plateau last fall, the share of respondents who expect high inflation has declined slightly in the past few months. Perhaps more surprisingly, the left panel of the chart below shows that the share of respondents who expect deflation in the medium-term started to increase sharply in the fall of last year, moving from about 10 percent in August 2020 to nearly 20 percent in March and April 2022.

Although we caution against drawing strong conclusions from only a few data points, it seems that the distribution of longer-term inflation expectations has shifted to the left (toward lower inflation outcomes) in recent months. The chart below indicates that the recent increase in the share of respondents with low inflation expectations is similar at the medium- and longer-term horizons. In contrast, the share of respondents who expect high inflation five years from now is substantially lower than at the short- and medium-term horizons and it has remained mostly stable over the past eight months.

The Distribution of Longer-Term Inflation Expectations Has Shifted toward Lower Inflation Outcomes

Source: Survey of Consumer Expectations.
Note: An inflation expectation below 0 percent (as in the left panel) corresponds to deflation.

Individual Consumers Have Become More Uncertain about Future Inflation

Finally, we find that consumers have become more uncertain about future inflation, especially at shorter horizons. The final chart shows the median of individual inflation uncertainty across respondents in a given month. As can be seen in this staff study, inflation uncertainty exhibited two main patterns prior to the pandemic. First, inflation uncertainty at both the short- and medium-term horizons had been declining slowly and steadily since the start of the SCE in 2013. Second, SCE respondents almost always expressed more uncertainty for three-year-ahead inflation than for one-year-ahead inflation, perhaps reflecting the fact that predicting inflation further into the future tends to be more difficult. The chart below shows a complete reversal of these two trends after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic in March 2020: inflation uncertainty at both horizons has since increased steadily to record levels, and short-term inflation uncertainty has generally been higher than medium-term inflation uncertainty. The few observations we have for longer-term inflation uncertainty seem to confirm these trends. Indeed, five-year-ahead inflation uncertainty has increased over the past eight months, but has remained substantially lower than at the one- and three-year horizons.

Inflation Uncertainty Is Lower at a Longer-Term Horizon

Chart: Inflation Uncertainty Is Lower at a Longer-Term Horizon
Source: Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE).
Note: The SCE measures disagreement across respondents as the difference between the 75th and 25th percentile of inflation expectations.

To conclude, the results presented in this blog post provide fresh evidence that consumers still do not expect the current spell of high inflation to persist long into the future. While median one-year-ahead inflation expectations have continued to rise over the past six months, three-year-ahead expectations have declined slightly, and five-year-ahead inflation expectations have remained remarkably stable and at a level well below recent inflation readings. However, there is now a divergence in consumers’ medium-term inflation expectations: a larger share of consumers expects high inflation three years from now, while simultaneously a growing share of consumers expects low inflation and even deflation. Finally, we have shown that consumers have become increasingly uncertain about future inflation, especially at shorter horizons. We are now conducting new research aimed at better understanding the factors driving these changes in consumer beliefs.

Olivier Armantier is head of Consumer Behavior Studies in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

Fatima Boumahdi is a senior research analyst in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Gizem Kosar is a research economist in Consumer Behavior Studies in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Jason Somerville is a research economist in Consumer Behavior Studies in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Giorgio Topa is an economic research advisor in Labor and Product Market Studies in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group

Wilbert van der Klaauw is an economic research advisor on Household and Public Policy in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

John C. Williams is the president and chief executive officer of the Bank. 

The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.

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US Economy Still On Track For Moderate Rebound In Q2

Despite rising headwinds for the global economy, US output remains set to rebound in the second quarter, based on recent estimates from several sources….



Despite rising headwinds for the global economy, US output remains set to rebound in the second quarter, based on recent estimates from several sources.

Economic growth is expected to recover with a 2.6% increase in GDP (seasonally adjusted annual rate) for the April-through-June period via the median of several Q2 nowcasts compiled by The growth rate is unchanged from the previous estimate published last week and marks a robust bounce from the 1.4% contraction reported for Q1.

The projected Q2 rebound aligns with a new forecast released yesterday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which paints a relatively upbeat outlook for the US economy. “In CBO’s projections, the current economic expansion continues, and economic output grows rapidly over the next year. Consumer spending increases, driven by strong gains in spending on services.”

Despite the apparent resilience for the US economy, headwinds are building for global economic activity, warned the head of the World Bank on Wednesday. Speaking at a US business conference, David Malpass says it difficult to “see how we avoid a recession.” He cites several factors, including rising prices for food and fertilizer due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a series of coronavirus lockdowns in China.

In fact, China’s leaders are increasingly worried about the country’s outlook and convened an emergency meeting yesterday to address decelerating growth. The goal, state media reports, is to promote new measures to stabilize the economy.

For the US, recent economic data suggests that recession risk for the immediate future is still low. Nonetheless, some economists are forecasting rising odds of a downturn for 2023.

“A recession is pretty likely” next year, former Federal Reserve vice chair Alan Blinder tells CNBC. “I don’t mean 89% probability, but maybe 50 to 60% probability,” he said, although any downturn will be mild, he advises.

Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, also thinks the US will sidestep a recession this year, but the risks rise for 2023. “The likelihood of recession this year is pretty low,” he predicts, but “it gets dicier in 2023 and 2024.”

How is recession risk evolving? Monitor the outlook with a subscription to:
The US Business Cycle Risk Report

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