Schools push back against Trump’s transgender, immigration stances

Schools push back against Trump’s transgender, immigration stances  Alarmed by President Trump’s increasingly hostile stances on immigration and transgender issues, school officials from at least seven local cities and towns — as well as the state education department — have sent letters home or posted statements. In Needham, Superintendent Dan Gutekanst wrote that “collectively these actions and pronouncements impact us all by sending a message that an individual is not welcome or wanted.” “And that,” Gutekanst wrote, “is simply unacceptable.” To read the full story, visit: www.BostonGlobe.com.

Worldwide, School Choice Hasn’t Improved Performance

Worldwide, School Choice Hasn’t Improved Performance Henry M. Levin; Steve Hinnefeld January 30, 2017 U.S. News and World Report   Worldwide, rising populism and identity politics are leading to increased demands from families seeking out specific types of schools that mirror their ideologies. In some countries, this has extended to replacing the public system of schools with government vouchers that can be used to pay for private schools – a priority of Betsy DeVos, the nominee for U.S. education secretary. Advocates argue that school choice promotes competition that will improve performance and allow the freedom of choice that will best Read More …

“Improving Education”–Without Teachers?

OK, I know I am preaching to the converted, but… There is only one thing that can be said about the mass firing of Central Falls, R.I. teachers on February 26: it was anti-teacher, anti-union, and anti-education. We all know the basics of the story: the test scores of the students, mainly low income, immigrant, learners who moved around school districts, were abysmally low. Despite this, the students described the majority of their teachers as committed and hard working, in the words of some, “like family.” The students recently held a lively demonstration in support of their teachers. Would they Read More …

Representing Race, Gender, and War at the Oscars

There’s a moment near the end of The Hurt Locker, last night’s winner for Oscar’s best picture, when Sergeant First Class William James stands in a grocery store under fluorescent lights, adult contemporary jazz playing over the loudspeaker, facing the urgent American consumer choice of picking from among row after row of the slightly different versions of the same boxes of food. It’s a moment of profound alienation, and the way director Kathryn Bigelow renders it on screen, under that stark light, James standing dead center in the aisle, stopped cold, after all we’ve seen him do, shocks the complacent Read More …

Howard Zinn, Gramscian Intellectual

Amid  the sadness so many feel these days  at news of Howard Zinn‘s death, and within the scores of tributes that most deservedly continue to pour forth, it should never be forgotten that all his life Zinn wedded his erudition and scholarship to his activism, to being in the street as well as in the reading room. From his working-class Jewish background, his labor agitation on the docks of Brooklyn, the brutally honest self-examination of his role as a fighter bomber in the Second World War, his struggle to be educated in the America of  Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Read More …

A Post Mortem From the Massachusetts Election: Teacher as Organizer

by Susan Jhirad  | Leonard Vogt’s article about the possibilities and limits of the classroom as “bully pulpit” made me reflect on the disturbing election results in Massachusetts. Most of us, I think, already know what polls showed: Massachusetts voters did not vote for Scott Brown because 1. they are turning “Republican” or 2. they are against health care reform. They voted for Scott Brown because Martha Coakley ran a horrible campaign  and Scott Brown ran a great one. The “lessons” are, unfortunately, not about policies, but about effective organizing. She was ahead in the polls by 15 points a Read More …

Sunday Football Edition

by Emily Drabinski | Last week, when the San Diego Chargers’ Nate Kaeding missed three field goals in a playoff loss against the New York Jets that the Bolts were heavily favored to win, the Internet came alive with condemnation of the two-time Pro Bowler who, during the regular season, was pretty much automatic. On Wikipedia, that heavily favored scholarly source of so many students, Kaeding’s biography took particularly heavy hits. Contributors to his page, editable by any registered user, said that after storied high school and college careers, he went on to “becoming a failure in the NFL for Read More …

Teaching and Learning Amid the Riots in Hyderabad

by Linda Dittmar In India on a four months’ Fulbright assignment, I am encountering a reality here in Hyderabad, capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, quite different from anything I anticipated. After more than a month on my home campus of Osmania University I am yet to meet any of my students. The students are very much “here,” demonstrating and rioting but not in their classrooms. More often than not the campus has been shut down altogether, with students sent home, armed guards at the gates, me locked in under “protective custody.” The few students I meet by the Read More …

Radical Teaching and the Haitian Crisis

by Leonard Vogt In the presence of the suffering in Haiti right now, and the United States media’s exploitation of it, this retired community college teacher would not mind two or three class periods back in the classroom. My first guide to the Haiti earthquake was Diane Sawyer, the new anchor on World News Tonight on ABC. Her simpering sincerity about the horror of this “natural” disaster and how the United States would of course be there to help made me nauseous. I foolishly hoped that her sincerity might include some analysis of how the United States has consciously fostered Read More …