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Columbus Dispatch: Sen. Sherrod Brown pushes for more effective student testing

Christie Plickert’s twin fourth-graders Luke and Rachel have been through a good amount of standardized testing at Norwich Elementary School this year.

“No matter how many times I try to tell them, ‘Just do your best, you’ll do fine,’ they still get some anxiety,” Plickert said, adding that they’ve “handled it pretty well.”

That anxiety led Plickert to stand with other teachers and students of the Hilliard City School District to support Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, at a Tuesday news conference as he called for more effective and reliable standardized testing through the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — also known as No Child Left Behind.

“We need to work on and fix a piece of legislation that is over a decade old,” Hilliard City Schools Superintendent John Marschhausen said about No Child Left Behind, which was approved in 2001.

In the library at Alton Darby Elementary School, Brown outlined the Support Making Assessments Reliable and Timely (SMART) Act, which would reevaluate or eliminate redundant and outdated tests.

ICYMI, USA Today Op-Ed: Sen. Sherrod Brown: Trade pacts cost millions of jobs

“I want trade that strengthens America’s middle class and creates jobs.” – Sen. Sherrod Brown We shouldn’t give fast-track authority for more NAFTA-style deals if we can’t guarantee a level playing field for U.S. workers and manufacturers. And we shouldn’t greenlight the Trans-Pacific Partnership if we can’t guarantee that China won’t be able to gain…

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Huffington Post: Here’s The Senator Who United Democrats to Block Obama’s Trade Agenda

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been the public face of the Democratic Party’s feud with President Barack Obama over his trade agenda. But behind the scenes, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) quietly united his party behind a strategy that resulted in a major defeat Tuesday for the president.

Brown’s weeks of work came to fruition when Democrats voted to block legislation that would have given Obama so-called fast-track trade authority. Fast-track authority would strip Congress of the ability to amend trade deals negotiated by the president and is essential for the passage of Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal the administration is negotiating with 11 Pacific nations.

National Journal: On Trade, Obama’s Loss Is Sherrod Brown’s Gain

Sen. Christopher Coons sat with President Obama in the Oval Office last week for an hour, and met with him again Monday. But in the end, it was another Democrat who closed the deal with Coons on a high-stakes trade bill: Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Despite Obama’s personal lobbying, Coons voted Tuesday with every other Democrat except one—fellow Delaware Sen. Tom Carper—against moving forward to debate one of Obama’s most significant economic proposals, a legislative package paving the way for one of the largest free trade agreements in history. The reason? An argument from Brown, a fierce antagonist to the president on trade.

The Clermont Sun – Sherrod Brown: Guaranteeing Ohioans are getting paid sick leave (Op-ed)

Earlier this month I have traveled our state, meeting with workers and businesses about the future of U.S. trade policy. Ohioans are sending one message, loud and clear: the last thing we need is another NAFTA.

Several years ago at my own expense, I toured a Mexican auto plant. It looked very similar to an American factory, with one key difference: the Mexican plant didn’t have a parking lot, because the workers there couldn’t afford to buy the cars they make.

Go around the world, and you see this same scenario across continents and industries. In Bangladesh, in the clothing factories, the workers don’t get paid enough to buy the designer clothing they make. In Colombia, the workers in the flower industry don’t make enough to buy the flowers they help to grow. Go to China, where workers in an Apple factory can’t afford to buy the iPhones they are making.

Extend the freedom to marry to all Americans

Because Ohio’s constitution does not allow same sex couples to marry, Jim Obergefell and his husband, John Arthur, had to travel out of state to tie the knot. But after John passed away, the state of Ohio refused to honor their marriage.

Jim fought back, and on April 28th his case will be heard in the Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, I had the privilege to meet with Jim. And he told me what he tells everyone who will listen — he wants his marriage to be recognized and for the simple human right to marry the person he loves.
For Jim, this case is personal. But for the country, his case could represent the opportunity to legalize full marriage equality in all 50 states.

Cleveland.com: With corporate and labor interests watching, Sherrod Brown has 88 amendments for this week’s foreign-trade deal

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown has as many amendments to the long-awaited fast-track trade deal this week as Ohio has counties: 88.

No other lawmaker is likely to have as many demands to address child and forced labor, currency manipulation, foreign workplace and environmental standards and help for American workers who lose jobs when their work moves overseas.

It’s unclear if Senate Finance Committee leaders will let Brown offer all 88 amendments. They have scheduled a meeting Wednesday to discuss the pending legislation, mark it up with changes where there is agreement, and vote. Then the matter will move on to the full Senate and, later, the House. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, foreign governments, manufacturing interests, major global corporations and big labor will be watching.