Well, it worked like it was supposed to work: the mayor’s appointed stooges on the “Board of Education” voted to close 50 Chicago public schools to make way for corporate charter reform schools. Never mind that communities barely held together will lose their lifelines, never mind that violence is almost guaranteed to increase (as it did when Duncan shuttered schools), and never mind that many professional teachers will be replaced by uncertified white corporate missionaries.
But Mayor Rahm must accept the political repercussions for his callous acts. Today starts the Voter Registration Drive in Chicago to make sure public school dictatorship ends there and that Rahm is sent back to Washington to become an official corporate lobbyist, rather than one on the public dole pretending to act in the public interest. From NPR in Chicago:
… . The fight over school closings is part of a political showdown that began earlier in the school year when teachers went on strike for the first time in 25 years. This week, Mayor Emanuel said he was standing firm on the school closings: “I will absorb the political consequence so our children have a better future.”
The Chicago Teachers Union backs lawsuits filed by parents to block the closings, arguing that they disproportionately affect African-American students and harm special education students.
The school board in Chicago is appointed by the mayor, and teachers union President Karen Lewis said the fight must eventually move to the ballot box.
“Our next plan is to have to change the governance of CPS [Chicago Public Schools],” she said. “Clearly this kind of cowboy-mentality, mayoral control is out of control. We’re starting our deputy registration, and we will be registering voters across the city.”
Their goal is to push the mayor and others who backed the school closings out of office, and to gather support for an elected school board.
our already-damaged infrastructure is being kicked into lake michigan by rahm and his buds.
and it is killing us as a city. it is killing Black and brown children especially.
this makes me absolutely fucking *ill*.
they are *destroying* michigan. they are taking the future away from our youth.
This is so sad. What do you do then?
How a few Philly high school students organized themselves into a few hundred in four days
May 9, 2013
It began, not surprisingly perhaps, with a modest online message.
About two weeks ago, school district officials had announced, once again, a serious hole in the District’s budget and had laid out, once again, severe cuts that would be implemented if a roughly $300 million hole wasn’t filled — this time invoking layoffs and cuts to programs, especially arts and extracurricular.
And as students pondered cuts to their favorite programs, the irony that last Friday would mark “Teacher Appreciation Day,” was not lost upon them.
Before news of the proposed cuts reached them, says Teyin Tseng (upper right), a member of the student council at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, “Our plan was to see how much money we had and see if we could buy flowers for every teacher.”
“But then the budget [was unveiled] — and we decided to do this.”
So, on Friday, another CAPA student, Maureen Smith (lower center), created a new Facebook page: Silenced Students March — announcing a plan by her and some of her classmates to protest the threatened cuts. She opened with something of a rallying call:
“As students we are fed up and want to be heard. Its OUR education and WE should have a say in it. TUESDAY May 7th is teachers appreciation day, we are organizing a march to 440 North Broad Street, which is the school district building. Depending on your school’s location you can choose a meeting area and then proceed to march to 440.We will all be meeting there by 4:30. There is strength in numbers.”
The response — recorded online in blow-by-blow Facebook posts — was immediate, enthusiastic, and complex as any overnight organizing effort.
Talking points were discussed; a deliberate effort to attract media and control the message was conceived.
And there was, as there is in any organizing effort, vigorous debate over tactics and message: When some students announced a planned walkout; other students objected, worried the organized disobedience would undermine their credibility as a group — a debate which continues as some students contemplate a walkout tomorrow.
A system was worked out: each school’s protest contingent should nominate a representative to contact.
“We have a huge network,” explained Tseng outside the building. “We all called each other, and we got a lot of schools to join.”
“I was contacted by Teyin over here,” said Belal Shami (lower left), “and he told me he needed my help. My role was to gather people from Franklin Learning Center and get them to the protest. … I brought roughly 35 people.”
In a stretch of years in which there has been no shortage of protests outside 440 N. Broad, yesterday nonetheless marked the first time many of these students had ever done anything of the sort. And their motivations often went beyond their personal welfare.
“People are saying, ‘You’re a Senior,’ why are you here?’ Well, I have friends that I’ve made this year in lower grades,” said Kelechi Ekwerike (upper left), for whom this protest was his first. “For their education to be cut short, truncated, I will not stand for that. And if this carries on next year, if nothing is done, they [the School District] will not hear the end of it.”
“The sense in my class is a little bit like we’re the last survivors on the Titanic,” is how Samantha Ho (upper center), a junior at Masterman High School, put it. “We survived. But I have a cousin who’s going to be first year at Masterman — I can’t really imagine that place without extracurricular activities. That’s where people connect.”
“My little brother, my sister — I don’t care about myself,” said Spencer Nguyen (lower right) from the Palumbo Academy of Art. “This is for future generations.”
About two hours after the protest had started, a small knot of these students remained outside school headquarters, huddled as they debriefed and planned for whatever comes next.
“I’m more than happy with the turnout,” acknowledged Facebook event creator Maureen Smith. “It really does speak volumes, that young people can make a difference.”
From the Philadelphia Student Union: Today, hundreds of students walked-out of school and took to the streets. We rallied at City Hall to tell City Council that we need funding for our public schools. We have had enough budget cuts. We marched down Broad St. to 440. Students are ready to fight back against budget cut backs. Get ready to see a lot more of us next time.
immigrants, poor people, queer people of color, disabled folks, women (esp trans women of color) and gender-nonconforming folks if you are in academia and you don’t feel smart enough, remember that you are in the playground and training grounds of the elite. academia was not designed to include you. you are surviving something that has been systemically designed to exclude you in order to keep power in the hands of white, middle class, able bodied cis-men.
knowing this, don’t let academia train you to believe that elitism is the right way to make it through school. you can learn shit, hold the knowledge of your people in your heart, discard shame for your humble beginnings and/or marginalized identities. move through this experience knowing that the changes it offers you don’t have to include accepting academic elitism, inaccessible language or superiority. you can can simultaneously own the privilege that comes with being college educated and connections to your roots. academia does not have to kill your spirit.
i needed to hear exactly this as i have one of those moments of doubt with my ability to write well after my hs cw teacher said my writing in fact isn’t in his taste
Chicago is having a busy, revolutionary day today. From worker walkouts due to the terrible working conditions in the service-industry sector to this:
HAPPENING NOW! Hundeds of Chicago Public School students walk-out of testing day in protest of over-testing and the impending mass school closures to happen the beginning of next school year.
Noam Chomsky (via lesilencieux)
I got an email today from StudentDebtCrisis.org asking people with student debt to take a survey about their experience paying off their loans and dealing with lenders. They’re going to present their findings to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, so if you’re one of the millions of college grads suffering under a mountain of debt, you should definitely fill it out.
On Thursday (2/14), the Indiana University Board of Trustees will meet at IUPUI to discuss university issues. On the agenda is a request to approve housing rate increases for Indiana University Bloomington on-campus housing (residence halls and university apartments) for the 2013 - 2014 school year . The proposed increase is 4.4% for all residence halls and apartments; this means that on-campus housing would cost almost $300 more next year .To protest the increase, please call IU Board of Trustees office at (812) 855-3762 on Wednesday (2/13).
Here is a suggested script for your call:
Hello, my name is ____________ and I am calling today about the proposed housing rate increase that is on the agenda for tomorrow’s Board of Trustees meeting.
I do not want housing rates to increase.
The current costs are already high and place a heavy financial burden on students and/or students’ families. I encourage the Trustees to not approve the housing rate increase.
Please pass this message on to the Trustees. Thank you for your time.
 RPS Executive Director Pat Connor speaking at Collins LLC on 1/29/13
Click here to access the PDF of this flyer for printing and distribution!
Why Strike IU, APRIL 12, 2013?
Recent cuts at IU have disproportionately targeted international students and scholarships for students of color, college education has been eliminated from Indiana prisons, and immigration laws have been implemented that make an IU education cost-prohibitive…
Unlike occasional teacher union opponent Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel does not send his kids to public schools. Instead, Emanuel’s children attend one of the most elite prep schools in Chicago, the University of Chicago Lab School, where the annual tuition is more than $20,000. (Emanuel has repeatedly refused to answer questions about why he eschews public schools for his children, telling reporters that it is a private family decision.)
The conditions at the University of Chicago Lab Schools are dramatically different than those at Chicago Public Schools, which are currently closed with teachers engaged in a high-profile strike. The Lab School has seven full-time art teachers to serve a student population of 1,700. By contrast, only 25% of Chicago’s “neighborhood elementary schools” have both a full-time art and music instructor. The Lab School has three different libraries, while 160 Chicago public elementary schools do not have a library.
“Physical education, world languages, libraries and the arts are not frills. They are an essential piece of a well-rounded education,” wrote University of Chicago Lab School Director David Magill on the school’s website in February 2009.
Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis agrees with Magill, and believes what works for Mayor Emanuel’s kids should be a prescription for the rest of the city.
“I’m actually glad that he did [send his kids to Lab School] because it gave me an opportunity to look at how the Lab school functions,” Lewis told Chicago magazine in November 2011. “I thought he gave us a wonderful pathway to seeing what a good education looks like, and I think he’s absolutely right, and so we love that model. We would love to see that model throughout.”
One of the key sticking points in union negotiations is that Emanuel wants to use standardized tests scores to count for 40 percent of the basis of teacher evaluations. Earlier this year, more than 80 researchers from 16 Chicago-area universities signed an open letter to Emanuel, criticizing the use of standardized test scores for this purpose. “The new evaluation system for teachers and principals centers on misconceptions about student growth, with potentially negative impact on the education of Chicago’s children,” they wrote.
CTU claims that nearly 30% of its members could be dismissed within one to two years if the proposed evaluation process is put into effect and has opposed using tests scores as the basis of evaluation. They’re joined in their opposition to using testing in evaulations by Magill.
Writing on the University of Chicago’s Lab School website two years ago, Magill noted, “Measuring outcomes through standardized testing and referring to those results as the evidence of learning and the bottom line is, in my opinion, misguided and, unfortunately, continues to be advocated under a new name and supported by the current [Obama] administration.”
While Magill could not be reached for direct comment on the specifics of the Chicago Teachers’ strike, his past writings on the school’s site suggest he might be supportive.
“I shudder to think of who would be attracted to teach in our public schools without unions,” Magill wrote on the school’s website in February 2009, adding that, even with unions, many teachers “have had no choice but to take on second jobs to make ends meet.“
But Magill’s writings also note just how fine a line CTU will have to walk to keep public sentiment, which currently supports the strike 47% to 39%, on its side. Acknowledging the “distressing…generational change in the public’s attitude toward teachers,” Magill writes, “Some would say that teachers are responsible for this change by publicly participating in actions designed to bring attention to sub-standard working conditions and compensation. These actions often cause unintended collateral damage to students. Parents and the public at large have long memories when the education of their children is interrupted. We must find a way to conclude collective bargaining without raising doubts about the professionalism of those whose work should be valued the most.”
Do minority students get more than a fair share of college scholarships? That myth reared its head earlier this year after a Texas nonprofit, the Former Majority Association for Equality announced plans to give scholarships only to white males. The group claimed that white males are disadvantaged because they don’t “fit into certain categories or ethnic groups.” So Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb.com and FinAid.com, put that idea to the test, and found that white students actually “receive a disproportionately greater share of private scholarships and merit-based grants.”
Kantrowitz crunched data (PDF) from both the 2003-04 and 2007-08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, which showed that white students are 40 percent more likely to win private scholarships than non-white students. And Kantrowitz finds several college-specific scholarships only for white students, like UCLA’s 66-year-old Werner Scott Scholarship, worth $4,000, which is “restricted to Caucasian students from Hawaii who are not of Polynesian blood.”
Even when a scholarship doesn’t explicitly note a racial preference, white students are still at an advantage since scholarship sponsors “select for characteristics, activities and talents of interest to them.” Black students, for example, are much less likely to participate in equestrian, water, and winter sports than their white peers, which makes them ineligible for scholarships related to those areas.
White students, even those who “have no demonstrated financial need,” are also at an advantage when it comes to receiving funding directly from universities. Kantrowitz found that they get more than 76 percent “of all institutional merit-based scholarship and grant funding, even though they represent” less than 62 percent of the student population.
As part of the state-mandated termination of its ethnic studies program, the Tucson Unified School District released an initial list of books to be banned from its schools today. According to district spokeperson Cara Rene, the books “will be cleared from all classrooms, boxed up and sent to the Textbook Depository for storage.”
Facing a multimillion-dollar penalty in state funds, the governing board of Tucson’s largest school district officially ended the 13-year-old program on Tuesday in an attempt to come into compliance with the controversial state ban on the teaching of ethnic studies…
Another notable text removed from Tucson’s classrooms is Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest.” In a meeting this week, administrators informed Mexican-American studies teachers to stay away from any units where “race, ethnicity and oppression are central themes,” including the teaching of Shakespeare’s classic in Mexican-American literature courses.
Other banned books include “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by famed Brazilian educator Paolo Freire and “Occupied America: A History of Chicanos” by Rodolfo Acuña, two books often singled out by Arizona state superintendent of public instruction John Huppenthal, who campaigned in 2010 on the promise to “stop la raza.” Huppenthal, who once lectured state educators that he based his own school principles for children on corporate management schemes of the Fortune 500, compared Mexican-American studies to Hitler Jugend indoctrination last fall.
You have to be kidding me.
Alie arrived at our 1st-grade classroom wearing a sweatshirt with a hood. I asked her to take off her hood, and she refused. I thought she was just being difficult and ignored it. After breakfast we got…
I didn’t expect so many NWI Mutants to message me.
Me and Levi were always unsure of weather you were cool till you handed out a flyer during...
booking more shows
it’s rad that people are coming to me! it makes me happy
now we just need more DIY spaces to put these damn shows in!
did u know that the chemical Pyridine is found in the leaves of Belladonna and Marshmallow plants, as well as fried chicken, fried...
Collaborating with mitchellsnyder on a zine, is mostdef gonna be the highlight of my recent life. EVeryone.. look forward to...