According to research from the American Psychological Association, between 40 and 50 percent of married couples in the U.S. get divorced. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher than that.
With divorce being so common today, there are a huge number of online resources that can help people experiencing the big breakup.
Divorce is a difficult legal process with procedures varying all around the world and so finding the correct information is paramount to getting through the process. Even aside from the legal difficulties of the actual break-up, many divorcees struggle with life after marriage and need help re-adjusting to single life.
The sheer number of tools online to cope with these things can be overwhelming, so this list of resources will help people going through a divorce regardless of their exact situation.
Once the honeymoon period is over, after a child is born, or for no obvious reason, couples can find themselves in an increasingly loveless marriage.
One of the first steps when divorce is potentially on the table is to consider couples’ counseling. There are online counseling tools available, as well as ways to find a couples counselor by location.
Couple Communication - This company aims to help couples communicate with each other better and potentially avoid divorce. They have instructors all over the US and their directory lists them by state. They look to create and maintain strong communications lines between couples and teach them how to convey accurately what they want to say to their partner.
Pairs Foundation - This organization helps couples understand themselves first. They run in- person courses but they have an online course available to begin right away. On their site, they have a host of quizzes and videos to help couples and individuals. They believe that to help each person in a couple, they need to be able to understand what they’re feeling before trying to explain it to their significant other.
Divorcenet - If divorce is the only option, then it’s important that both parties have their house in order. Divorcenet has a list of things you should do immediately, including what you should prioritize like household inventory and making a realistic appraisal of your earning potential. These are aspects of divorce that if overlooked will be to your detriment when it comes to the nuts and bolts of your future finances.
Once a couple has decided that divorce is the best way forward, there’s a huge amount of work and expense involved. Unless the couple are familiar with divorce law, it can be a good idea to seek the help of a divorce advisor or mediator.
Your Divorce Advisor - There are a huge number of Divorce advisors available online and locally. Before lawyering up and getting yourself locked into a contractual agreement, this resource outlines a solid roadmap on what steps to take throughout the divorce. This is a great first step in understanding the processes that will help avoid lengthy and expensive discussions with a lawyer.
Legal Jargon - Given how complicated divorce settlements can be, the legal terminology can be confusing. From Ab Initio to Voir Dire, legal language often includes latin and french terms, and it’s imperative that people going through a divorce understand them.
Amicable Divorce App - This app aims to make the divorce process as painless as possible. It reduces the amount of time spent with a lawyer by creating a checklist of all documents needed from both parties. Couples can also share documents and information all in one place.
After the legal process of divorce ends, both parties can have a rough time adjusting to their newly single lives. Many people struggle to find an identity for themselves after a break up, but there are tools to help with this.
Since my divorce - This Blog focuses on adjusting to life after a divorce. They cover a large range of topics, all tailored to those who have recently divorced. There is the option of signing up for their weekly newsletter which delivers their newest blog post to your inbox every week.
Moving Past Divorce - This unique mother- daughter team have the interesting perspective of being able to discuss divorce from both the parent’s and child’s side. This website is updated bi-weekly and focuses on many aspects of divorce including divorce adjustment for adults, children, and adult children of divorce. It also offers well researched blogs on how individuals can succeed in marriage and remarriage. They also have a book called “Daughters of Divorce” which explores the effects of divorce on children as they experienced it and the first chapter of the book is available to read for free on their site.
Match.com - Getting back into the dating scene might sound scary, but online dating has come a long way. It’s now a common place to meet someone new and the social stigma is all but gone. There are dating sites just for divorced people, but Match.com is the largest with over 7 million users.
Since divorce law varies all over the world and even within each state the divorce law can be different in relation to division of assets and taxation. It pays to be aware of the locals laws governing marriage and divorce.
Divorce Abroad - The U.S. Department of State has information pertaining to divorce on an international basis. The process to have a foreign divorce recognized and in the U.S. is outlined here on their site. This includes US citizens who obtain a divorce while in a foreign country and also a US citizen divorcing a non-US citizen.
Foreign Service employees - This resource is for employees of the U.S. Government abroad seeking divorce. Information varies on whether both parties are outside the U.S. or if one is abroad and one is in the U.S.
Total Divorce - With divorce laws varying state by state in the U.S., Total Divorce allows users to search by state. Their divorce lawyer directory is a useful asset as users can get the contact information of a local lawyer. As well as this contact list, the site also breaks down the divorce laws by state.
Many online resources cater to U.S. divorce, but the process and costs are vastly different in the UK than in the U.S. These resources are particular to the UK and can make the whole operation a lot smoother.
How much does a divorce cost - Fixed fee consultations so couples can plan out their finances. More complicated, contested divorces can be charged more than simple amicable ones, so this service may be more useful if the couple sees difficulties in splitting assets or custody.
Divorce Procedure Guide - This resource guide from Mills and Reeve includes a simple infographic flowchart that walks through the divorce process in the UK. It also includes the prices for requesting forms and consulting fees which can be useful when trying to budget.
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children - The NSPCC has a great section on their site about how to protect children during a divorce. They are obviously focused on the welfare of the child and they have links to trusted UK based councillors and mediators.
Divorce is experienced differently by men and women and the online tools reflect that. The three main areas of difficulty are finances, child custody and recovery after the divorce.
Women’s Divorce - This site aims to walk women through the whole process step by step. It has guides on filing for divorce, how to react when your spouse seeks divorce, and what to expect during the whole legal process.
SAS for Women - SAS (Support and Solutions for Women) offers a huge range of resources for women looking to move on after their divorce. Many questions that women have are addressed here with in-depth articles. They have an especially helpful 46 step guide to give women a clear path to feeling in control after a divorce.
Divorced Girl Smiling - This blog is an incredible resource for women going through and recovering from a divorce. It was initially a personal blog written by Jackie Pilossoph about her divorce, but since then it has grown. Jackie now has a team of experienced writers covering topics from the first thoughts of separation to re-entering the dating pool.
Divorced Moms - This is the leading site for resources for Moms. They have an abundance of articles aimed at every particular issue that can come up for divorced mothers. They cover topics such as introducing a new relationship to a child, having a healthy relationship with an ex, and how to make the decision to get a divorce.
The intricate ins-and-outs of divorce are incredibly difficult to understand, and learning what to expect for men is crucial. The main two things men tend to worry about in a divorce are: 1. finances and 2. child custody. These tools can help guide men on how to deal with these issues.
The Good Men Project - Not solely focused on divorce, but they have a whole section dedicated to divorce. Their articles are insightful and cover topics from how to get over the divorce, to how to deal with an ex-wife meeting a new partner, and how to maintain a relationship with kids.
Dadsdivorce.com - Covering topics from financial planning to how to deal with Father’s Day, this site is a phenomenal resource for men. A lot of their articles deal with how to keep a strong relationship with your kids, and how to rebuild bridges and trust with older kids.
Expert Beacon - This site has multiple articles about divorce and how to protect your assets and children. It has suggestions on how to deal with a spouse who may try as much legal trickery as possible to gain the upper hand in the divorce settlement.
Often the most difficult part of any divorce. Even in the most amicable of breakups, this can be a contentious issue. Bringing up the issue of divorce with kids can be tough too. Finding the right way to tell children that their parents are going to get divorced can be crucial to maintaining a positive relationship between kids and both parents.
The Talk - A 60-minute video course created by Lisa Gabardi, PHD, teaches you how to explain to kids about their parents divorce. It costs a reasonable $37 and will provide information on how to make sure kids understand what is happening and why. Gabardi also has a book on co-parenting after a divorce to help both parents try to minimize the effect of the divorce on their children.
Our Family Wizard - In this app parents can manage their child’s calendars, expenses, and family details like medical bills or issues. It also allows the addition of third parties, so grandparents and new partners can be added also. Parents can also choose to let children have access to the account to see their calendar and message family members, but conversations between other family members are not available to them.
Broken Circle Project - This project aims to give a voice to the children of a divorce. They interview adults whose parents divorced when they were younger to find out how it affected them. They give insights into what they wish their parents had done differently and their relationships with their parents now. It’s an interesting resource and one that may shape how parents going through a divorce act.
Some marriages simply slowly lose their zeal, but unfortunately many marriages have an element of abuse in them. Both physical and emotional abuse are grounds for divorce, but can be difficult for the person being abused to firstly recognize it, and then to take action. These resources aim to help people in abusive marriages.
National Domestic Abuse Hotline - The NDVH website is a great resource for people who need to talk to someone or find out information. They have a 24/7 phone line and online chat with help available in over 200 languages. They can guide victims of abuse to safety and through the difficult process of divorcing an abusive spouse.
Divorcenet - Divorcenet is a site that allows people to find an attorney, but they also have an information bank on getting a divorce while in an abusive marriage. They have explanations on how to protect yourself and your children, getting a temporary restraining order and preparing for a court hearing.
Divorce Support - This site is where you will find a huge list of questions about spousal abuse, the legal framework for divorce, and more general questions about abuse. It is a useful resource help people in an abusive relationship to see what they can do to get out of the situation.
One of the biggest difficulties of a divorce is finances. Divorces are expensive processes and the division of assets can be a huge sticking point for couples. There is also the issue of separate tax filing for both parties after the divorce, which can be confusing and difficult to navigate, especially if one partner generally took care of the tax return each year.
Divorce and your Money - Shawn Leamon is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and MBA. His site has a huge amount of free information to get you started with getting your finances in order. His podcast is especially useful, each episode has a focused theme, and with almost 200 episodes already, he has covered a lot of areas of divorce financials.
Community Tax - Taxes can be especially confusing after a divorce, there may be income from the sale of a house, income tax from alimony and changes in rates for single people rather than a couple rate. Using the service provided by Community Tax can help avoid any complications and make sure that both parties are tax compliant in their new life.
Legal Zoom - Legal Zoom are a large online based legal firm and they have a reasonably priced guided divorce solution. At $950 per couple excluding legal fees, couples will have access to all the information they need for a divorce and can call advisors on the phone. This is a useful option for those who are seeking a divorce without a large disposable income.
With so many reading resources available, it can be beneficial to use a different way of getting your information. Podcasts tend to be very niche, which means that there are podcasts that deal with all facets of divorce.
Over Divorce - this podcast series focuses on men going through divorce. The hosts Tom and Adrian both went through their own divorces and this podcast is their reaction to that. They discuss their own experiences, but also have guests on from fields such as psychology, finance and law to make sure they are giving expert advice.
Divorce Conversations for Women - This podcast from the Women’s Financial Wellness Centre is a great starting point for women going through a divorce. Whatever the financial situation this is a great starting point for women. On their site they offer a free 30 minute consultation as well as running events all over the US.
Women of a certain age - This podcast describes themselves as “two single, divorced women laughing their way through dating and relationships”. With divorce being a testing time for everyone, these two women have found a way to laugh about it. It’s a nice break from the stressful reality of divorce, but with over 200 episodes and counting, they deal with some difficult issues.
A perfect pitch, stuffed with relevant information and incentive, can still result in radio silence from a potential client. However, the issue might not be sending the wrong message, but that it’s being seen by the wrong person.
Specific job roles and industries, like PR, would be at a disadvantage if their email address wasn't accessible -- so they opt in -- and they post it online somewhere. But finding the email of someone who hasn’t put it online is another issue.
These days, people are more aware of what they have online and what they don’t (especially with GDPR). So if your name shows up in their inbox unannounced, their first thought could be about how you got their email instead of focusing on what you're offering them. This is the online version of doorstepping, and there’s a reason (respectable) sales/PR/journalists look down on this practice. Having a potential client or employer start off on the defensive is hardly the best move -- but there are ways to negate this and get your message read.
These emails are usually a general firstname.lastname@example.org but it's worth noting that some companies have their department heads listed with their contact information and/or full name (which might be all you need... see below).
If you know their full name, simply apply the framework of the company email domain with their name.
If the general email address is email@example.com, you know it's a small company, and you're looking for John Doe, you could try firstname.lastname@example.org.?
However, if the company is bigger it could have multiple people named John so you could try another standard email format, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.?
If the only contact available on the site is a general info@ email address, it doesn’t mean that it's completely useless. However, this isn’t the best place to send a pitch or specific enquiry. What you should do instead is request the contact of the person in charge of the appropriate department.
Include a brief explanation so the person receiving the emails won’t think they’re adding their colleague to a spam list. An email along the lines of this would be appropriate:
Subject: Correct email address?
I’m looking to get in touch with the sales manager in relation to an on-going project I’m running that relates to your recent product launch. Could you send me their email or CC them to this email?
Another simple thing that people tend to forget in this digital age: the phone call. The majority of companies will list a phone number on the site. This will generally be beside the info@email or at the footer of the site.
General number or not, it’s a lot easier to ignore an email than an actual person. But keep in mind that being prepared for this call is important. Calling with a general enquiry for an email address will most likely be fobbed off with the general email. To avoid this, use language that asks to confirm contact information rather than requesting it.
“Hi, I’m just looking to get in touch with your Sales Director, can I confirm that her email is jane_doe@Companyname.com”
The person on the phone is more likely to correct an incorrect email than give the email outright.
This is a great technique if you’ve extrapolated what the email may be based on another known company email.
The above methods of obtaining an email should be the first stop. If a company has their sales director’s email on their site, they won’t appreciate a call to the office to request it. To recap, the first ports of call should be:
Check the company website to see if the contact has their email publicly available.
Use a known email within the company and insert the contact’s name in the formula.
Email the info@ email address requesting a contact.
Call the company and confirm the email address.
If the above options aren’t viable, or are resulting in dead ends, then there are a myriad of online tools to help. Selecting which to use, however, depends on the purpose of your email.
The reasons for wanting someone’s email are as diverse as the potential responses to those emails.
For these reasons, we’ve divided up our resources into the categories of who will find them the most useful. This isn’t to say that these tools are restricted, simply more applicable in these instances. Often finding an email takes a creative approach, using a few different methods combined.
The first point of call for job seekers should be the company’s recruitment page. If there aren’t any job openings listed, then sending a CV to a generic jobs@company email is going to ensure that a CV is seen by nobody.
If a job seeker believes that they could add value to a company they’ve found, and want to preemptively strike, then getting directly to the HR head is crucial. Here are three ways to get the correct email address:
This is one of the most simple and useful tools out there for finding emails linked to a domain. Clearbit is a Gmail plugin that takes a few seconds to install from the Chrome store and is crazy easy to use.
Note that Clearbit seems to hold on to emails even after people have left the company, so just double check that it’s the correct contact. You can also check this while you’re on LinkedIn via the company’s profile.
Just type in the name of a company and it will bring up all email accounts linked to that domain. For bigger companies, it will have their full name and title, but sometimes it will just have the address. (This means that, again, there will be a little digging on LinkedIn to find the right person.)
For example, if we search for Clearbit Connect themselves, all the staff, their emails, and their job titles are visible.
However, when searching for a company like reviews site TechRadar, we can see that it only has two job titles. (This is when a search on LinkedIn can help.)
If you scour a company’s website and come up empty-handed on how they structure their employee’s emails, then this is a slightly convoluted method, but it works.
On the email permutator site type in the target’s name and the company domain. The site compiles the most common permutations of what the email could be. It’s important to remember that the email you’re looking for may not be here if the company use unique usernames, but most companies will have a standard structure.
Then, you can verify each address using Hunter.io. You’ll need to sign up for free, but once you’re in, it’s a simple copy and paste from the Email Permutator.
The best thing about Hunter is that even if it can’t verify the exact email address it will look at the general structure of emails on that domain and suggest which one is most likely.
This is a big one. Using Clearbit Connect can be useful here, but it does set you up for a cold pitch email, which can get thrown by the wayside. Anyone working in sales knows that it’s not just about selling the product, but selling yourself too. Here are some tools that are useful in not only gathering emails, but also to help with extra ways of contact to ensure a smoother sale.
Rather than cold pitching, make a habit of joining LinkedIn groups and participating in discussions. Not only will it keep you informed on changes in your industry, but you will be able to see what is being offered and what people are looking for. You know, networking.
There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn for every market imaginable, so the more niche, the better. When searching for broad terms such as “B2B Marketing” LinkedIn shows over 800 groups on this topic, or variations of it.
In these groups members can answer questions and become known in the community as an authority. Here you can recognise potential clients, and interact with them.
Once contact has been established within the group, members have the option of adding each other as direct contacts. This gives both members full access to each other’s contact information on their LinkedIn page. Not only does this reveal an email address, but also establishes rapport or at least a certain level of trust.
This is a great tool if the information you have is partial or incomplete. For example, if a company has the names of their department heads, but no contact details for any of them.
Pipl.com allows users to search by name, phone number, email, or even usernames. It isn’t just restricted to finding emails, but it gives an even more full picture of the contact.
If searching by name, this tool will also pull up their usernames from social media sites, again introducing another point of contact to help build a more full picture of the contact. It’s also possible to narrow down the search by selecting a location and age range.
Even if your desired contact is already working for a company, many understand the importance of creating a personal brand. This is especially true of freelancers and independent contractors, where they may have a company website, but also a separate online presence.
They will be more likely to have an email address on their site that will allow people to get in touch with them directly. Check the “About” or the “Contact” section again and follow the earlier steps of checking the simple steps first.
This is a powerful search tool with a huge amount of contact information. This site is completely free, but it does come with a caveat. It is essentially a crowdsourced list of data where all the information is user generated.
It works on a give one, get one system. Users add contacts to build up points on the site which they then spend to get contact information.
If users meet a potential contact at a conference, but forget to get their contact information, they can search for them with the information they have. Searches can run with names, job descriptions, job location or a huge amount of other factors. If looking for one particular person, users can be super detailed.
It’s also a useful tool to generate leads if the search is kept general. Searching by job level and department and location will show a list of email contacts of clients that could fit.
This is a mainly crowdsourced site, and as such should be treated with caution. Think of it as the Wikipedia of contacts; a great place to start, but not to fully rely on.
In the blogging industry, contacts are key. Cold calling is a rough game to play in any area, and with everyone calling themselves an influencer now, what makes one stand out?
It’s important to remember that bloggers are now an important part of marketing campaigns. They lend authenticity to a project and are the person people can relate to and rely on. They have to be an expert voice that people know they can follow.
The contacts that they’re looking for are going to have to be ones that are congruent with their online presence. Luckily there are a few tools and tricks to do that.
Much like LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups are a great place to find contacts and turn them into clients. The key is to find the right niche.
For example, a travel blogger looking for new clients in South America should find and join as many South American travel and expat groups as they can. These groups will not just have people traveling, but often tourism boards and businesses will be there too, promoting services.
Here bloggers can see what kinds of things travellers are interested in, and what kind of services are lacking. Interact with the potential clients here and you’ll be able to request a contact either on a comment thread or by DM.
Hunter.io was mentioned earlier but it can be used slightly differently. This time there’s no need to go to the Hunter Homepage, but this is an unobtrusive Chrome extension.
When you’re researching potential clients on their website, all you need to do is click on the Hunter logo in the browser and it will pull up all available email addresses.
It has a scale of verification, a small green shield with a tick is completely verified, a green circle is likely, down through orange and finally to red.
Developing a disability can be frustrating for many reasons, and the inability to work is one of the hardest things to deal with. In the U.S., 12.8% of people are disabled, and more than half of them (51%) are within the prime working ages of 18-54, according to an annual report funded by the NIDILRR, and the employment rate of disabled individuals ranges from 27.4% to 54% between the states. This leaves many unemployed, and not being able to work leads to depression and the feeling of being a burden on your family and loved ones.
Fortunately, disability benefits provided by the Social Security Administration can offer relief, giving a disabled person back their agency and dignity, though many are unaware of the rules and qualifications regarding the available benefits.
That’s why we’ve compiled this guide: to provide everything you need to know on the topic in a clear, concise manner. We’ll cover the available benefits, necessary qualifications for different age groups, how benefits are paid out, alternative sources of benefits, and more. After reading, acquiring the benefits that you deserve will be a whole lot easier.
For most people, disability benefits will come through the Social Security Administration, which runs two programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). While the criteria determining whether you are disabled are the same, there are other important differences between the two programs.
SSI is the Social Security program set up to give out monthly payments to those who have no employment history, or haven’t worked long enough to save up the necessary “work credits” (which you earn by paying federal income taxes each year) to qualify for SSDI. They are funded by general federal taxes, rather than payroll taxes like SSDI. If you’ve been significantly disabled for much of your life, you likely fall into this category.
Benefits begin to be paid out directly after the application process, is complete, although Social Security does not pay out retroactive benefits going back to the beginning of the disability, as in the case of SSDI.
Qualifying for SSI benefits is not based on your work history, but rather your means, assets and disability status. Approval is based on the following criteria:
The standard monthly payment in 2018 is $750 a month for an individual, up $15 from the previous year. Families are eligible to receive a bit more: $1,125 a month, $22 more than in 2017.
Your SSI benefit amount also subtracts any countable income you’ve received that month. So, for example, if you’ve earned $200 in given month, that amount will be subtracted from $750, leaving you with $550 in SSI benefits.
SSDI is an insurance program that people qualify for based on their accumulated work credits that they’ve earned through years of paying FICA taxes during their time in the workforce. Unlike SSI, SSDI will pay back benefits beginning from five months after the onset of the disability (the designated waiting period to receive benefits.)
For example: if you applied for benefits in April, 2017, but became disabled in March, 2015, you are eligible to receive back payments beginning though August, 2015, along with future monthly payments.
As mentioned, qualifying for SSDI benefits isn’t means-tested, like SSI benefits, but instead based on your earnings history. To qualify you need a certain amount of work credits at the age you apply. Remember: working full-time for a year earns you 4 work credits.
Below age 24: Young disabled people need to have six credits earned within three years before the onset of disability.
From ages 24 to 31: In this age bracket, you must have earned half the credits you could have received by working full-time between age 21 and your age when becoming disabled. For example, if the disability happens when you are 29, you’ll need 16 credits (32/2).
Age 31-42: 20 credits earned in the past 10 years before disability.
Age 43-61: Your work credits must meet the sum of the years between age 21 and the year prior to the beginning of the disability. For example, if you are 54, you will need 32 credits (53-21=32)
Age 62-Retirement Age: 40 credits are required. After a person reaches retirement age, disability benefits become standard social security benefits.
The payment amount of monthly benefits is based on the person’s earning history, with the average being $1,197 and the current maximum monthly benefit totaling $2,788. Individuals are also eligible for Medicare once they’ve received SSDI for two years.
SSI: SSI benefits are paid on the 1st of every month once you’ve been approved. Post-approval, you will receive back pay starting from the date of your application, but not dating back to the beginning of your disability.
SSDI: The payment scheme for SSDI benefits is a little more complicated. Those that have been receiving benefits since before 1997 get their payment on the 3rd of the month, while those approved more recently receive their payment on a date that depends on their birthday. If it falls between the:
1st and 10th: Paid on the 1st Wednesday of the month
11th and the 20th: Paid on the 2nd Wednesday of the month
21st and the 31st: Paid on the 3rd Wednesday of the month
If you become disabled, you should apply for benefits immediately, as the application process and waiting period could take some time depending on your individual case. Usually, the wait for a decision on your case will take 3 to 4 months, but an initial rejection can tack on an additional 4 months, if you decide to pursue a reconsideration.
To apply, you must call or visit your local Social Security Office, which you can find by calling 1-800-772-1213, or using the online SSA office locator. Once you meet with Social Security representatives, they will determine whether you qualify for SSI or SSDI.
Frustratingly, 60% of disability applications are denied the first time, but appealing the decision is possible if the request is submitted within 60 days of receiving the denial letter.
Since the application process could take a while, you can hasten it by gathering the following documents beforehand. Having a wealth of information to give to a representative will also help your chances of being approved for benefits.
A list of your employers and job titles held
A copy of your recent tax return
Pay stubs from the past six months, if you have them
A letter from your current physician that states that you will be unable to work for a year or longer
Medical doctors from doctors, hospitals, therapists, etc.
Any recent laboratory results
The names of medications that you are currently taking
A disabled friend or family member may hesitate to file an application for a variety of reasons: they may feel too embarrassed to apply for benefits, be too disabled to do so, or simply need that extra push.
Fortunately, there’s nothing wrong with helping an important person in your life with the application process. You do not need to be married or related to the person in order to help them complete--or even sign--their application, although the individual may appoint you as an authorized representative for dealing with Social Security business, if they desire. Visit the official Representing Social Security Claimants website for more info and a copy of the necessary form.
Receiving benefits through Social Security isn’t the only route to go if you’re are disabled. Here are two alternatives:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 33% of workers had long-term disability insurance in 2014, while 39% had a short-term insurance plan.
Disability insurance is offered by many employers, and typically holds significant advantages over federally-funded SSDI. For one, the qualifications for what determines a disability are much less stringent, and an individual is not burdened with proving the nature of their disability to such an extreme degree.
However, the definition of “disability” that decides whether you may receive payments varies from plan to plan. Some plans offer benefits for those limited to performing only some of their job duties, while others only award benefits to those completely unable to work, as in the case of SSDI. One more bonus is that you may be able to receive private insurance payments in tandem with SSDI payments.
Of course, the downside to private disability insurance is that you’ll need to have acquired it before becoming disabled, either by employment through a company that offers it, or having previously signed up for a plan on your own.
In the United States, only five states offer disability insurance funded by state taxes. These are: California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth, also provides its own disability insurance.
All dating has its share of risks, and dating in the LGBTQ community is no different. In fact, LGBTQ individuals might be more vulnerable: experiencing a 23.2% rate of sexual victimization, compared to just 12.3% for heterosexuals, according to a survey done by the Urban Institute.
This statistic indicates that members of the LGBTQ community should be vigilant and aware of the risks when dating, both online and in person. Of course, not every date is going to be dangerous or risky, but it helps a great deal to know the facts, risk factors, and strategies for minimizing the hazards of LGBTQ dating. Our guide will point the way towards a safe, successful dating life.
Understanding the statistics of the dangers faced by LGBTQ persons--both for teens and adults--in the dating scene means knowing what to look out for and being able to avoid becoming a statistic, yourself. Some threats are universal, while others are specific to--or more commonplace in-- the LGBTQ community. The common element is that knowledge is power: educating yourself on the data is crucial in making safer dating choices in the future.
Despite the potentially alarming statistics in the previous section, LGBTQ community members still use dating apps often--with over 40% of users of the most popular apps claiming they log into them on a daily basis--and to great success, as 80% of gay men meet partners online these days, compared to just 14% in 2001.
The key is to use dating apps safely and wisely, as well as to make sure to use the right ones--as not all dating apps are created equally.
Grindr is definitely the most popular LGBTQ dating app, but is it the best, or the safest?
In terms of leaving the most users satisfied, Jack’d led a Huffington Post ranking of LGBTQ dating apps based on customer satisfaction, followed by Hornet. While this ranking doesn’t necessarily mean that they are also the safest, Hornet’s policy of prompting its users to update their HIV status on a trimonthly basis goes a long way.
Hornet also takes steps to veil the exact location of its users for safety purposes, even if you neglect to turn off the “show my distance” feature in the settings menu. Grindr, on the other hand, has been criticized in the past for a flaw that revealed the exact location of 90% of its users.
Despite being called out for its poor security in the past, Grindr continues to get called out for its poor efforts in protecting users. Not only do users have to worry about potential stalking and harassment by fellow users of the app, many countries have laws that are hostile against members of the LGBTQ community, such as Egypt, which is currently undergoing an extreme ‘crackdown’ on gay and transgender individuals. Authorities may use apps to determine the location of LGBTQ individuals and arrest them, which is why it's better to use an app like Hornet, with built-in security features, rather than taking your chances with an app that doesn’t.
Once you’ve found a someone online that you’re hoping to meet in person, it’s time to take it to the real world. Follow these few tips to ensure that the meeting is without risks.
Alright, you’ve weeded out the fakes and set up a meeting with a good match, now it’s time to follow these guidelines to ensure than the date is safe and fruitful.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
There it is: the entire text of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Brief enough to fit in a single (280 character) tweet, it remains the most lauded, yet hotly debated section of our nation’s defining document.
In essence, the First Amendment guarantees U.S. citizens the right to express themselves and worship as they choose, free of government interference. Yet, due to major societal changes over the centuries, and the brevity of the Amendment itself, interpretations of the First Amendment have shifted greatly over the years. Landmark court cases have expanded its protections for types of speech that James Madison, drafter of the original Constitution, and the Founding Fathers, didn’t address over two hundred years ago.Debate over the rights granted by--and limitations of--the First Amendment rage to this day, manifesting themselves in new ways with each passing year. In this guide we’ll briefly cover what the First Amendment does and doesn’t protect, and then discuss some current challenges it faces.?
In its original form, and through subsequent Supreme Court clarifications, the First Amendment grants Americans certain freedoms of expression. Here’s the rundown:
Freedom of Speech. The most fundamental right granted by the First Amendment. Basically, you are allowed to express your opinions and thoughts without worrying about government censorship.
Freedom of the Press. Protects the rights of journalists and publications to distribute information and points-of-view without government interference or censorship.
Free Exercise of Religion. One of the most important issues for the Founders, in light of England’s persecution of religious minority groups. This facet of the First Amendment allows citizens to worship any god, or gods, they choose, in any way they wish, with exceptions in cases where other peoples’ rights could be violated, as in the cases of polygamy and human sacrifice.
Freedom of Assembly. The First Amendment guarantees the right of people to peacefully assemble to express their views, dissatisfaction with political or societal developments, or in support of labor rights. Of course, protests get out of hand, and law enforcement tasked with policing large demonstrations often exceed their powers, rendering this a controversial part of the amendment.
The Right to Petition. Allows citizens to gather signatures and lobby the government for desired changes in the law, or even sue the government, without retaliation. However, the government isn’t actually required to listen, as settled in this 1984 Supreme Court decision.
Political speech. A wide category granting citizens the right to discuss contemporary political issues like taxes, gun rights, abortion, etc. without restriction. However, in recent decades the definition of “political speech” has been interpreted by some to include the money of corporations and wealthy groups used in support of certain political candidates, igniting a debate that reached the Supreme Court in the landmark cases, Citizens United v. FEC. The Court controversially ruled that political spending by corporations and labor unions is a form of protected speech.
Prior restraint. Prior restraint isn’t a right, but rather a type of government restriction on speech and expression--before it has taken place or been published--that the First Amendment protects against. Near vs. Minnesota (1931) was the first case to outline clear restrictions against the practice, yet the most famous case regarding prior restraint is the 1971 Supreme Court ruling permitting the New York Times and Washington Post to publish portions of the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret document detailing the U.S.’s activities during the Vietnam War, overruling then-President Richard Nixon’s attempt to bar them from doing so on the grounds that it would cause "irreparable injury to the defense interests of the United States". This sequence of events was dramatized in the 2017 film, The Post.
The free speech protections of the First Amendment are broad and far-reaching, though there are some types of speech that it does not protect:
Hate Speech. While not prohibited by the First Amendment, certain incidents of hate speech--speech attacking a person or group on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, or other attributes--may be unprotected if they instigate violence against others.
True Threats. Communicating violent intent is a criminal act in the United States. Nobody is allowed to threaten to use a deadly weapon, or other means, to harm an individual. With the growing ubiquity of online communication in the past decade, several states have passed laws against cyberbullying, though some have been sued for doing so on First Amendment grounds.
Censorship. The landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Miller vs. California ruled that the sale and distribution of obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment. They set three criteria for determining what is obscene material that essentially describes hardcore pornography.
In the past, presidential administrations and governmental figures have sought to censor certain forms of political speech during periods of anti-communist hysteria, as well as information thought to hamper U.S. military objectives during wartime, but generally, this censorship was objected to by the public and third-party legal groups, without far-reaching implications.
In the past few years, a new controversy over free speech has arisen on university campuses, with speaking engagements of conservative intellectuals being met with heated protests hoping to silence their words.
Last September, conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Ben Shapiro spoke to a crowd at Berkeley College, while outside, riot police attempted to control a crowd of over 1000 that showed up to protest the event.
A similar situation occurred in May 2017, when Charles Murray, the controversial author of The Bell Curve, took the stage at Vermont’s Middlebury College, and was met by chants, and violence outside in the event’s aftermath.
Scheduled speaking events by alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley and others have been cancelled entirely due to the looming threat of violence that their presence promises to incite.
The heated resistance against conservative speakers and ideas at these liberal campuses that once led the way in the Free Speech Movement has many claiming that the First Amendment is under attack on American universities, while protesters counter that figures like Murray and Shapiro espouse hateful views that aren’t protected by the Constitution.
The furor represents the increasing intolerance Americans have for opposing views and the shift towards political radicalism in the wake of Trump’s presidential victory.
Do these campus protests indicate that the First Amendment is in danger? Echoing the sentiments of many faculty and administration members around the country, Columbia law professor Suzanne Goldberg states, "it is foundational to [our university’s] learning and teaching missions that we allow for the contestation of ideas...This includes expression of ideas that are deeply unpopular, offensive to many in our community, contrary to research-based understandings, and antagonistic to University tenets."
It's too early to tell if this current debate will have a permanent impact on American universities, expanding the definition of what constitutes hate speech, or whether it is a temporary byproduct of a heated political moment.
The explosion of internet use and social media activity has ushered in a new age of collective participation in political and societal debate. The ACLU is dedicated to keeping the web a free-speech zone with full First Amendment protections in the face of perceived parties looking to regulate speech on the internet.
In the case, Reno v. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ACLU, deciding that the government has no right to restrict or censor American citizens’ words or content on the web, a major victory for proponents of free speech in our wired age.
However, others argue that the unique anonymity afforded by the internet gives hate groups a shield to hide behind in which to spread white supremacist views and incite violence towards minorities on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and should be policed accordingly.
Finding a balance between honoring First Amendment principles and limiting threatening rhetoric, exploitation, and calls to violence on the internet will be a struggle for years to come.
As detailed in this Wired piece, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the 2010 case, Packingham v. North Carolina, that convicted sex offender Lester Packingham Jr. had the right to use Facebook and other parts of the internet that he was blocked from by his home state due to his 2002 conviction with an underage girl.
In his written opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy stated, “Foreclosing access to social media altogether thus prevents users from engaging in the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights.”
The decision, despite being in service of a man convicted of an awful crime, was a major victory for those in support of free speech on the internet. While it doesn’t prohibit Facebook from censoring users that violate its terms of service, it does bar government from interfering with the constitutional rights of citizens.
A more recent question for courts to determine is whether Donald Trump, the President of the United States, is allowed to block citizens from viewing his posts on his highly active Twitter feed, or whether doing so violates their First Amendment rights.
In a recent hearing in a Manhattan federal court, the plaintiffs argued that since the President uses his Twitter in an official capacity--announcing hirings, firings, and policy decisions--it is a public forum, and blocking Americans from viewing it is unconstitutional.
In contrast, Michelle Baer, Trump’s attorney, claims that his Twitter use is unaffiliated with the government and he reserves the right to block who he sees fit.
The case has yet to be resolved, but the decision will be a landmark for the regulation how major governmental figures use social media going forward.
A number of pending cases are set to decide if American businesses may refuse service based on the Free Exercise of Religion and Free Speech aspects of the First Amendment, or whether doing so violates discrimination laws.
In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Charlie Craig and David Mullins argue that owner Jack Philip of Masterpiece Cakeshop’s 2012 refusal to create a cake for their wedding violates Colorado’s public accommodation law. Philips’s defense was that, at the time, same-sex marriage was not yet legal in the state, and that the First Amendment protected his right not to make creative work contradicting his beliefs.
Philips lost the initial lawsuit, and the Supreme Court of Colorado rejected a subsequent appeal. The case was eventually brought to the U.S. Supreme court, which heard oral arguments in December 2017, with the final decision still pending.
The case has gained a lot of attention, with many legal briefs being filed by parties on both sides. University law professor Dale Carpenter argues in the Washington Post that the baker’s refusal is not protected by the Free Speech Clause because cake baking is not historically considered a form of protected speech, and that the mere making of a cake is not inherently an endorsement by the owner of the customers’ lifestyle.
Contrastingly, the U.S. Justice Department issued a brief in support of Philips, stating that anti-discrimination laws do not mandate a business provide a service that they do not agree with.In the past, similar civil suits have decided in favor of the plaintiffs, yet the Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case could be a landmark decision, setting the boundaries for future situations when owners refuse service on First Amendment grounds.
President Donald Trump’s public attacks on the press present one of the most alarming challenges to the First Amendment in recent times. In his Twitter feed and in speeches, the President has repeatedly attacked media networks and news publications after unflattering stories he claims were untrue.
In December 2017, he opined that NBC News should lose its license for publishing a story that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump “a moron” for requesting that the U.S. substantially increase its nuclear weapons stockpile during a meeting with military heads.
The publication of Michael Wolff’s incendiary account of Trump’s first year in office aroused the President’s ire even further, and he lashed out by expressing his desire to toughen up the U.S.’s “very weak” libel laws (despite there being no federal libel law, as libel cases are taken on by states), even sending a cease and desist letter to the author and the book’s publisher.
Trump’s repeated critiques of what he calls the “Fake News Media”, attempts to sue publications, and restriction of access to certain journalists represent an existential threat to the Freedom of the Press clause of the First Amendment.
While the president has no power himself to change the laws, and for now, no publication has has been censored or backed away from publishing stories critical of the administration, Trump’s attacks on the First Amendment create a dangerous precedent that could shift the opinion of his followers towards limiting one of the most principle freedoms of our democracy, having ramifications for years to come.
The second largest state in the the nation as well as the second most populous, the Lone Star State excels at putting students out into the world with a high school diploma, ranking #4 in the nation in graduation rate according to U.S. News & World Report.
Texas’ best public school district is Highland Park Independent School District (Dallas County), comprising seven schools located in Highland Park and University Park. HPISD has long been recognized for its academic excellence, with a whopping 27 students from Highland Park HIgh School being named National Merit Semifinalists in 2017.
Ranking #2 is Lovejoy Independent School District, based in Collin County, TX. Established in 1917, Lovejoy was recently the winner of the State of Texas HEB Excellence in Education Award.
Falls City Independent School District, a small system of two schools based in Falls City, around 30 miles southeast of San Antonio, comes in third. Due to its high level of academic achievement, Falls City High School was awarded a bronze medal by U.S. News, signifying its status as one of the top high schools in the nation.
At #4 is Carroll Independent School District of Southlake, TX, a suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Carroll ISD is the largest district in the state to hold the “Exemplary” rating granted by the Texas Education Agency.
Rounding out Texas’ top five is Klondike Independent School District, another district to earn the distinction of an “Exemplary” rating.
|State Rank||School District||State|
|1||Highland Park Isd||Texas|
|3||Falls City Isd||Texas|
|9||Lake Travis Isd||Texas|
|15||Port Aransas Isd||Texas|
|17||Dripping Springs Isd||Texas|
|21||Sabine Pass Isd||Texas|
|23||Round Rock Isd||Texas|
|24||Randolph Field Isd||Texas|
|29||Barbers Hill Isd||Texas|
|39||Jim Ned Cisd||Texas|
|51||Alamo Heights Isd||Texas|
|53||Irion County Isd||Texas|
|54||Glasscock County Isd||Texas|
|55||Dodd City Isd||Texas|
|60||Clear Creek Isd||Texas|
|67||Liberty Hill Isd||Texas|
|68||Pleasant Grove Isd||Texas|
|69||Lago Vista Isd||Texas|
|71||Round Top-Carmine Isd||Texas|
|73||Lone Oak Isd||Texas|
|77||Borden County Isd||Texas|
|78||Johnson City Isd||Texas|
|79||College Station Isd||Texas|
|81||China Spring Isd||Texas|
|86||Caddo Mills Isd||Texas|
|88||Archer City Isd||Texas|
|92||Royse City Isd||Texas|
|96||Water Valley Isd||Texas|
|97||Lake Dallas Isd||Texas|
|99||Fort Bend Isd||Texas|
|100||Glen Rose Isd||Texas|
The following contributed to the ranking: student performance (math and reading test scores), dropout rates, school funding, and area poverty rates. Data was collected from a total of 9,577 school districts.
As home to the headquarters of Nike, Inc., and the high-tech companies based in the Silicon Forest, a hotbed of tech industry activity in the Portland metropolitan area, graduates of Oregon’s public school systems certainly have no shortage of career options once they work through university. It’s no surprise that some of Oregon’s best school districts are in the Portland area.
Riverdale School District, based seven miles south of Portland, is the state’s #1 system of schools. Comprising one K-8 grade school and one high school, the district has earned numerous national honors over the years, including a silver medal from U.S. News & World Report for Riverdale High School. It is also one of the richest in the nation.
Nearby Lake Oswego School District, a system of ten schools serving Lake Oswego, Oregon, ranks second. Test scores indicate that 84% of its students are proficient in reading, with 74% achieving proficiency in math.
Ranking #3 is Sherwood School District, comprising four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school in Sherwood, Oregon. Sherwood has been named one of the best places to live a number of times in various publications, including twice by Money Magazine.
West Linn-Wilsonville School District, a large system of sixteen schools southwest of Portland, places fourth in the ranking. The district’s student’s SAT scores rank among the best in the state, and the graduation rate regularly tops 90%.
Beaverton School District, serving Beaverton and several adjacent communities, ranks #5.
|State Rank||School District||State|
|1||Riverdale Sd 51J||Oregon|
|2||Lake Oswego Sd 7J||Oregon|
|3||Sherwood Sd 88J||Oregon|
|4||West Linn-Wilsonville Sd 3J||Oregon|
|5||Beaverton Sd 48J||Oregon|
|6||Corvallis Sd 509J||Oregon|
|7||Sisters Sd 6||Oregon|
|8||Ashland Sd 5||Oregon|
|9||Tigard-Tualatin Sd 23J||Oregon|
|10||Portland Sd 1J||Oregon|
|11||Bend-Lapine Administrative Sd 1||Oregon|
|12||Newberg Sd 29J||Oregon|
|13||Blachly Sd 90||Oregon|
|14||Oregon City Sd 62||Oregon|
|15||Imbler Sd 11||Oregon|
|16||Eugene Sd 4J||Oregon|
|17||Mcminnville Sd 40||Oregon|
|18||Marcola Sd 79J||Oregon|
|19||North Santiam Sd 29J||Oregon|
|20||Joseph Sd 6||Oregon|
|21||Scio Sd 95||Oregon|
|22||Banks Sd 13||Oregon|
|23||Oakland Sd 1||Oregon|
|24||North Clackamas Sd 12||Oregon|
|25||Colton Sd 53||Oregon|
|26||Cove Sd 15||Oregon|
|27||Astoria Sd 1||Oregon|
|28||Redmond Sd 2J||Oregon|
|29||Enterprise Sd 21||Oregon|
|30||Scappoose Sd 1J||Oregon|
|31||Yamhill Carlton Sd 1||Oregon|
|32||Lebanon Community Sd 9||Oregon|
|33||Santiam Canyon Sd 129J||Oregon|
|34||Grants Pass Sd 7||Oregon|
|35||Estacada Sd 108||Oregon|
|36||Philomath Sd 17J||Oregon|
|37||Perrydale Sd 21||Oregon|
|38||St Helens Sd 502||Oregon|
|39||Baker Sd 5J||Oregon|
|40||North Douglas Sd 22||Oregon|
|41||Corbett Sd 39||Oregon|
|42||Hood River County Sd||Oregon|
|43||Mt Angel Sd 91||Oregon|
|44||Hillsboro Sd 1J||Oregon|
|45||Gladstone Sd 115||Oregon|
|46||Sutherlin Sd 130||Oregon|
|47||Canby Sd 86||Oregon|
|48||Molalla River Sd 35||Oregon|
|49||Medford Sd 549C||Oregon|
|50||Athena-Weston Sd 29Rj||Oregon|
|51||Bethel Sd 52||Oregon|
|52||Salem-Keizer Sd 24J||Oregon|
|53||Gresham-Barlow Sd 10J||Oregon|
|54||Culver Sd 4||Oregon|
|55||Greater Albany Public Sd 8J||Oregon|
|56||Hermiston Sd 8||Oregon|
|57||Stanfield Sd 61||Oregon|
|58||Central Point Sd 6||Oregon|
|59||Pilot Rock Sd 2||Oregon|
|60||Fern Ridge Sd 28J||Oregon|
|61||Dallas Sd 2||Oregon|
|62||Neah-Kah-Nie Sd 56||Oregon|
|63||Monroe Sd 1J||Oregon|
|64||Glide Sd 12||Oregon|
|65||Cascade Sd 5||Oregon|
|66||Lake County Sd 7||Oregon|
|67||Ione Sd R2||Oregon|
|68||Lowell Sd 71||Oregon|
|69||Clatskanie Sd 6J||Oregon|
|70||Springfield Sd 19||Oregon|
|71||Seaside Sd 10||Oregon|
|72||Forest Grove Sd 15||Oregon|
|73||Sweet Home Sd 55||Oregon|
|74||Three Rivers/Josephine County Sd||Oregon|
|75||Rainier Sd 13||Oregon|
|76||La Grande Sd 1||Oregon|
|77||Pleasant Hill Sd 1||Oregon|
|78||Central Sd 13J||Oregon|
|79||Pendleton Sd 16||Oregon|
|80||Coquille Sd 8||Oregon|
|81||Douglas County Sd 4||Oregon|
|82||Central Curry Sd 1||Oregon|
|83||Amity Sd 4J||Oregon|
|84||Dufur Sd 29||Oregon|
|85||Creswell Sd 40||Oregon|
|86||North Bend Sd 13||Oregon|
|87||Tillamook Sd 9||Oregon|
|88||South Lane Sd 45J3||Oregon|
|89||David Douglas Sd 40||Oregon|
|90||Brookings-Harbor Sd 17C||Oregon|
|91||Junction City Sd 69||Oregon|
|92||Harrisburg Sd 7J||Oregon|
|93||Winston-Dillard Sd 116||Oregon|
|94||Central Linn Sd 552||Oregon|
|95||Phoenix-Talent Sd 4||Oregon|
|96||Crook County Sd||Oregon|
|97||Warrenton-Hammond Sd 30||Oregon|
|98||Eagle Point Sd 9||Oregon|
|99||Harney County Sd 3||Oregon|
|100||Echo Sd 5||Oregon|
The following contributed to the ranking: student performance (math and reading test scores), dropout rates, school funding, and area poverty rates. Data was collected from a total of 9,577 school districts.
Montana’s wide open expanses of picturesque wilderness and fluffy, cloud-filled blue skies must make it difficult for teachers to keep students behind their desks until the last bell, yet judging from their academic performance, the state’s best school districts are able to do just that.
Ranking #1 overall is Sunburst Schools, a modest-sized district comprising one K-6 elementary and one combined 7-12 high school located in Sunburst, MT. Despite the fact that the community in which it is based has a population of just 338 as of 2016, Sunburst High School was nevertheless recognized as a bronze medal level school by U.S. News & World Report.
Second on the list is the Frenchtown School District, serving Frenchtown, MT, a community that--with its 1,825 inhabitants and four schools--is a bustling metropolis by Montana standards.
Placing third is Ennis Schools in Ennis, Montana. Despite its modest size, the district boasts thriving athletic and extracurricular programs.
Montana’s top five list is rounded out by two more small, yet well-staffed and spirited school districts, Florence-Carlton School District 15-6 (#4), and Townsend School District #1 (#5).
|State Rank||School District||State|
|1||Sunburst K-12 Schools||Montana|
|2||Frenchtown K-12 Schools||Montana|
|3||Ennis K-12 Schools||Montana|
|4||Florence-Carlton K-12 Schls||Montana|
|5||Townsend K-12 Schools||Montana|
|6||Plentywood K-12 Schools||Montana|
|7||Corvallis K-12 Schools||Montana|
|8||Malta K-12 Schools||Montana|
|9||Hamilton K-12 Schools||Montana|
|10||Scobey K-12 Schools||Montana|
|11||Baker K-12 Schools||Montana|
|12||Glasgow K-12 Schools||Montana|
|13||Superior K-12 Schools||Montana|
|14||Huntley Project K-12 Schools||Montana|
|15||Twin Bridges K-12 Schools||Montana|
|16||Libby K-12 Schools||Montana|
|17||Victor K-12 Schools||Montana|
|18||Darby K-12 Schools||Montana|
|19||St Ignatius K-12 Schools||Montana|
The following contributed to the ranking: student performance (math and reading test scores), dropout rates, school funding, and area poverty rates. Data was collected from a total of 9,577 school districts.