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How a Scrappy Campus Union Saved Tennesee from Privatization

Chris Brooks and Rebecca Kolins Givan, March 20, 2018, In These Times Taking the podium in her freshly pressed, light-blue work uniform, Doris Conley looked out onto the faces of the Memphis City Council. For 17 years she has worked as a custodian at the Child Research Center at the University of Memphis. Her days start early, at 5:30 a.m., and she will have cleaned and sanitized three sets of bathrooms, four classrooms and the kitchen before 85 children arrive at 8. She spends the rest of the day running between two buildings, cleaning up messes and helping the teachers Read More …

6 Minutes and 20 Seconds That Could Change the World

Joan WalshTwitter, March 24, 2018, The Nation Thanks to young people, especially those of color, this time might be different. Parkland high-school-shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez galvanized a student revolt against gun violence with a fiery speech calling out NRA-bought politicians, just a few days after a disturbed young man murdered 17 of her peers—in six minutes and 20 seconds. At Saturday’s March For Our Lives in Washington, Gonzalez galvanized a movement with silence. She recited the names of all 17 Parkland victims, and then she stood mute, tears streaming down her cheeks, her eyes sometimes closed. The crowd, rooting for Read More …

Teacher Strike Fever Spreads

Dan DiMaggio and Jonah Furman, March 23, 2018, Labor Notes Teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky are now striking, sicking out, rallying, and Facebooking to push officials to raise their salaries and defend their benefits. It started with a few hundred West Virginia teachers and school employees pulling one-day walkouts. It became an unqualified victory in that state, which educators elsewhere were quick to emulate. Teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky are now striking, sicking out, rallying, and Facebooking to push officials to raise their salaries and defend their benefits. After 13 days on the picket line, West Virginia teachers Read More …

Thousands join March for Our Lives

Oliver Laughland and Lois Beckett, March 24, 2018, The Guardian Hundreds of thousands of students joined the pro-gun control March for Our Lives rallies across the US in one of the largest expressions of popular opposition in the modern era. Events have been taking place at more than 800 locations around the world – including London, Sydney, Tokyo, Mumbai, plus hundreds of places in the US. In Washington, as the number of young, diverse and impassioned protesters swelled along Pennsylvania Avenue, many carried signs reading “We are the change”, “No more silence” and “Keep NRA money out of politics”. Organizers Read More …

Parkland Students: Our Manifesto

Editorial staff of the Eagle Eye, March 23, 2018,The Guardian The Guardian invited student journalists from Parkland, Florida’s high school newspaper, The Eagle Eye, to direct its coverage of the March for Our Lives gun violence protest. As a student publication, the Eagle Eye works to tell the stories of those who do not have a voice. Today, we are the ones who feel our voice must be elevated. In the wake of the tragedy that occurred at our school on 14 February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, our lives have changed beyond what we ever imagined. We, along with our publication, have Read More …

Florida Teachers on Edge as New Law Threatens Their Unions

Jeffrey S. Solochek, March 16, 2018, Tampa Bay Times A new collective bargaining law–supported by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity–requires local unions to prove they represent a majority of the teachers in their districts. The measuring stick? At least half of all employees eligible to be in the union must be paying dues. Life without union representation is not a distant fear for Russell Baggett. Until two years ago, the Calhoun County school district in northern Florida had no collective bargaining unit to support teachers. “We had no contract,” said Baggett, president of the two-year-old Association of Calhoun Educators. Read More …

Inspired By West Virginia, Teachers Spread Red For Ed Movement Across Arizona

Rebecca Garelli, March 15, 2018, Labor Notes While Oklahoma teachers and school employees gear up for a possible statewide strike starting April 2, a teacher uprising is also brewing in Arizona. Teacher pay in Arizona ranks last in the country by some measures. Educators there, inspired by their counterparts in West Virginia, are rapidly organizing to change that. Within the last 10 days, 30,000 Arizona teachers have flooded into their own Facebook group, Arizona Educators United, and begun a series of highly visible actions, sporting their “Red for Ed” T-shirts wherever they go. Labor Notes interviewed Phoenix, Arizona, seventh-grade math and science teacher Rebecca Garelli, Read More …

WV Teachers Tell Us Why Public Schools And Unions Matter

Jeff Bryant, March 9, 2018, Progressive Maryland Striking public school educators in West Virginia overcame all odds in getting lawmakers to agree to a five-percent pay raise and a realistic commitment from the state to address a broken public employee health insurance program. Equally remarkable is how the West Virginia strike is already inspiring similar actions in other states. Teachers in Oklahoma recently set a strike date of April 23 if their demands for pay increases aren’t met by the state legislature. Kentucky could be next, as teachers warn of a statewide strike to protest changes to their retirement benefits. And Arizona teachers are organizing a “day of protest” Read More …

Democracy Requires Teaching Students How to Dissent

Sarah Stitzlein, March 12, 2018, The Conversation In scenes unprecedented in previous school shootings, the past few weeks have been marked by students taking to the streets, to the media, to corporations and elected officialsin protest over gun practices and policies. Responses to these teens have been mixed. Some have celebrated their passion. Some concluded that the students are immature and don’t yet fully grasp longstanding issues with the Second Amendment. Some questioned the voices and perspectives of the teens. Still others see the protests as an inappropriate use of time that might be better spent reaching out to loner students who may be prone to future acts of violence. Read More …

Turn Prisons Into Colleges

Elizabeth Hinton, March 6, 2018, New York Times Imagine if prisons looked like the grounds of universities. Instead of languishing in cells, incarcerated people sat in classrooms and learned about climate science or poetry — just like college students. Or even with them. This would be a boon to prisoners across the country, a vast majority of whom do not have a high school diploma. And it could help shrink our prison population. While racial disparities in arrests and convictions are alarming, education level is a far stronger predictor of future incarceration than race. The idea is rooted in history. Read More …