By Sarah Grey for Truthout – When he got home from Iraq, Hart Viges began sorting through his boyhood toys, looking for some he could pass on to his new baby nephew. He found a stash of G.I. Joes – his old favorites – and the memories came flooding back. “I thought about giving them to him,” he said. But the pressures of a year in a war zone had strengthened Viges’ Christian faith, and he told the Army that “if I loved my enemy I couldn’t see killing them, for any reason.”
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. he Chicago Teachers Union organized a mass protest of thousands of teachers, students, parents and residents of Chicago. They took over downtown Chicago for the day. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) describes the reasons for the protest writing: The march came two days after Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Forrest Claypool declared war on public school educators by threatening $100 million in classroom cuts—roughly 1,000 layoffs—and just one day after the CTU withdrew nearly $1 million from Bank of America. Sarah Chambers, one of 16 people arrested for sitting in at Bank of America, said, “Rahm has money for the banks but not for our students, When it’s reached a point where teachers are occupying banks to make their voices heard, it shows that we need an elected school board.”
By Evie Blad for Education Week – A panel of experts convened by the United Nations has recommended changes to U.S. school discipline, including the removal of police from schools, to equitable treatment of black youths. The U.N. working group of experts on people of African descent visited various cities around the United States in January, hearing testimony from experts and advocacy groups about equity concerns in areas like criminal justice, housing, and education. Those included student groups who’ve pushed for a reduction in zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools and a South Carolina student who was arrested for protesting her classmate’s violent arrest…
By Robert D. Skeels for Truth Out and Regeneración – Those ruling society have long utilized non-profits and similar outfits as a means to further their interests, ameliorate their public image, and disseminate their ideologies. Whether we call them Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), or Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC), the era of neoliberalism has seen the role of these private organizations further entrench itself in spaces that used to be that of the public commons. Perhaps the most egregious example of this is in the realm of education policy…
By Staff of The New Arab – Thousands of demonstrators in Morocco have defied a government ban to march in a tense protest over planned cuts to Morocco’s education system. Marchers on Sunday chanted “We’re prepared to go to prison” as they neared the parliament building in Rabat, Morocco’s capital. Teacher trainees have been protesting against the cuts around the country for the past few months, and the response from security forces during demonstrations has frequently been violent.
By Carolyn Leith for Living in Dialogue – Back in September, parents were blindsided when Seattle Public Schools (SPS) proposed staff cuts at “25 or something” schools across the district. Emergency meetings were held, letters were sent to the school board, but none of these efforts seemed to make a difference. The district had made up its mind. This is when Shawna Murphy and I decided to create our own advocacy group called Teacher Retention Advocate Parents or TRAP. We staged a spoofy bake sale – dubbed the Half-Baked Bake Sale – at district headquarters.
By Staff of The Associated Press – DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Public Schools says all schools are in session a day after a massive sick-out by teachers kept tens of thousands of students at home. District spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski gave the update about Thursday’s classes. Disgruntled Detroit educators have stepped up efforts to protest Gov. Rick Snyder’s plans for the district, its ramshackle finances, dilapidated buildings, overcrowded classrooms and their low pay.
By Andrew Ujifusa for Education Week. Activists driving the resistance to state exams are attempting to build on their state-level momentum over the past year, while also venturing into a new political landscape that will test whether the energy behind their initial victories will last. And they say they’re forging ahead with their plans regardless of how much support they get from traditional education advocacy groups, including teachers’ unions. Several leaders within the so-called testing opt-out movement, which has gained considerable traction in New York and also found a foothold in states like Colorado and Connecticut, say they will continue to push parents to refuse to allow their children to take standardized exams, particularly state tests, for as long as it’s necessary.
By Staff for Telesur. President Rafael Correa marks nine years in office Jan. 15, 2016, having overseen the transformation of Ecuador. It will be his last full year in power after his recent decision not to stand again. Correa will go down in history as one of the most successful Ecuadorean presidents. Ecuador before Correa was defined by its political and economic instability, with seven presidents forced out of office in a decade. Neoliberal measures applied by previous administrations left the country one of the poorest and least-developed in the region, but the government of Rafael Correa has undertaken a series of deep reforms, which have delivered remarkable changes for Ecuador’s long-excluded majority. President Rafael Correa said in 2014, “People must prevail over capital,” adding that politics is about whose interest governments serve: “Elites or the majority? Capital or humankind? The market or society? Policies and programs depend on who holds the balance of power.”
By Saree Makdisi for Los Angeles Times. Austin, TX – At its annual convention this week, the Modern Language Assn., which represents 26,000 language and literature scholars, will become the latest academic body to consider the merits of adopting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This follows endorsements of such a boycott by the Assn. for Asian American Studies, the American Studies Assn. and, most recently, the American Anthropological Assn., which voted 1,040 to 136 to endorse a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions at its November annual meeting in Denver; the AAA’s entire membership will soon vote on the resolution, which is expected to pass.
By Ehab Zahriyeh for Aljazeera – Dozens of students at Wheaton College in suburban Chicago protested on Monday against the school’s move to terminate an associate professor who said Christians and Muslims worship the same God — a statement she made while wearing a hijab to show solidarity with women who face Islamophobia. Students filled the steps of the school’s Edman Memorial Chapel chanting “Reinstate Doc Hawk,” a nickname for Larycia Hawkins. The Protestant evangelical college said in a Jan. 5 statement on its website that its provost had begun a process for terminating her.
By David Jesse and Katrease Stafford for Detroit Free Press – A group of teachers called Detroit Strikes To Win spent more than 90 minutes meeting Sunday night at Gracious Saviour Evangelical Lutheran Church in Detroit to discuss the sick-outs and a possible district-wide strike. The group, led by ousted teacher union president Steve Conn, is upset with what they call the ruination of the school system by the state. When asked by the Detroit Free Press if 35 schools or more, about 1/3 of the district’s schools, could be closed Monday, Conn said: “At this moment, that’s what we believe.”
By Susan DuFresne, for Living in Dialogue. I connect the dots of EduActivists’ work to other movements through Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and collaborative activist work I engaged in this summer. Here I make the point that in order to have Compassionate Schools, we also need a compassionate society. In this post I will discuss the liberation involved in developing compassionate schools and how that liberation is connected to the development of a compassionate society. Who are the leaders and who must be involved in the struggle as examples? How are the genres of activist movements connected to the struggle for a compassionate society? Our public schools are becoming schools of trauma. The reformers’ policies have dehumanized schooling, the children, and teachers to the point where schooling itself is traumatic. Children who cry and vomit over high stakes tests. Children and teachers who are punished over test scores. Schools closed causing actual deaths in Chicago for children who must cross gang lines to attend their new schools. Zero Tolerance policies that imprison children for minor infractions.
By Express Web Desk for The Indian Express. New Delhi, India – Ever since news broke out about the non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship being discontinued for research scholars, students across universities have risen up in protest. The Occupy UGC protest is on for over two months now and a lot of students across India is participating in the agitation. The Media Collective group has created the video humorously explaining how the move will affect the economically weaker students and ‘how the government is planning to put India’s education sector on sale.’