Think National, Fight Local: The Story of Indianapolis and the DPE (Destroy Public Education) Movement

This very important post was written on Diane Ravitch’s blog by Jim Scheurich on behalf of himself, Gayle Cosby, and Nathanial Williams, who are identified in the text. They are experienced in the school politics of Indianapolis, a city whose school system is being systematically dismantled and privatized. They have been active in the fight against what they call the DPE (Destroy Public Education) model in their city. Their experience and insights are extremely informative, especially their recognition that the DPE movement is not limited to Indianapolis; it has gone national. Indianapolis is only one of its targets. The business community, civic Read More …

Israeli Soldiers Harass Students on US Campus

Israeli Soldiers Harass Students on US Campus    Charlotte Silver June 16, 2017 The Electronic Intifada   University of California, Irvine is once again investigating the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine group after a protest of an event featuring Israeli soldiers last month. A video still shows a man wearing a Palestinian scarf and a T-shirt with Arabic. He was part of a group of Israeli soldiers harassing students at UC Irvine in May., , But members of Students for Justice in Palestine say they are the ones who endured days of harassment and intimidation by Israeli soldiers invited Read More …

Don’t Monkey With Education

  Don’t Monkey With Education    Fay-Cooper Cole May 12, 1967 Scientific American   In 1925 a Tennessee teacher of biology named Thomas Scopes was tried for teaching the theory of evolution. An expert witness at the trial relates how evolution lost in court but won in the eyes of the nation.   , ,   May marks the 50th anniversary of the repeal of the infamous “Monkey Law,” which prohibited the teaching of evolution in Tennessee public schools. Adopted in 1925, the law led to the trial of John T. Scopes, a 24-year-old science teacher who was convicted of Read More …

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 …