Day 2: Hundreds Of Students Protest Against PARCC Exam

Students protesting the PARCC tests march in the South Valley on Tuesday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Hundreds of students in Albuquerque walked out of school for the second day in a row to protest a controversial new test. About 200 students protesting the PARCC exam walked westbound on Arenal from Rio Grande High School towards Coors Boulevard. The group planned to walk northbound on Coors to meet up with students from West Mesa High School. Rio Grande students said that students from Atrisco Heritage Academy and South Valley Academy were also marching in the group. Albuquerque Public Schools board member Steven Michael Quezada spoke to student protesters after they arrived at West Mesa. Quezada told students he shares their frustration over the PARCC exam, but leaving school was neither safe nor smart. “I basically told them that they had the right to protest. But I can’t condone you leaving campus or storming a school,” Quezada said. Quezada also told students if someone was injured on a trek to another school “that’s the news story and it’s not about your fight.”

Adjuncts Deem Nat’l Day Of Action A Success

Protest at Seattle University. Photo by SEIU

It started as a simple question on social media: What would happen if adjuncts across the country walked out on the same day, at the same time? That question got answered Wednesday — sort of — on the first-ever National Adjunct Walkout Day. There were some big walkouts at a few institutions but, for a variety of reasons, adjuncts at many more colleges and universities staged alternative protests, such as teach-ins, rallies and talks. Still, the movement led to unprecedented levels of conversation on many campuses, in the media and elsewhere about the working conditions of the majority of college faculty (those off the tenure track). And as a result, adjunct activists declared the day a success — while wondering what comes next.

Ferguson Spring Break For College Student Direct Action

Protesters hold up a sign outside the Ferguson, Missouri, police department in January. An alternative spring break is scheduled to run for five week-long sessions in March and April. Photograph: Jeff Roberson/AP

College students are being urged to scrap plans for beer bongs on sunny beaches, in favour of a serious-minded spring break in Ferguson, the Missouri town that was roiled by protests and unrest following the fatal police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old. Six months after the death of Michael Brown, activist leaders in the St Louis suburb are looking to sign up 250 young people for a grittier week of “community service and civic engagement” including registering new voters, running food banks and cleaning up streets. “Maybe there were some people who had planned to go down to Miami or Acapulco, and now see that there is something bigger,” said Patricia Bynes, a Democratic committeewoman for the town and a co-founder of the Ferguson alternative spring break programme. Bynes said the week would not simply be a continuation of the protests that spread from the region in August to New York, California and elsewhere around the US.

Government Shuts Schools In Togo After Student Protests

Thousands demonstrate in the streets of Lome on December 12, 2014 (AFP Photo/Emile Kouton)

Togo on Tuesday temporarily shut all schools in the country, with the exception of universities, after a protest by students over repeated strikes by teachers, the government said. Students poured onto the streets of the capital, Lome, calling for the resumption of classes and urging the authorities to meet the demands of educators. The government said it had decided to impose the temporary shut-down as the demonstrations were “capable of endangering the security and lives of pupils, their teachers and the population”. The closure affects all schools in both the state and private sector with immediate effect “until further notice”, it added in a statement. Services in education and health in the west African nation have been hit recently by walk-outs by labour unions demanding a salary raise for about 50,000 public sector workers.

The ‘Corinthian 15′ Take A Stand By Calling A Student Loan Strike

(Image: Debt Collective)

Many students graduating from universities face a mountain of student loans so large, escaping its shadow seems almost impossible. But a group of former students today is taking matters into their own hands. With the help of Rolling Jubilee, a campaign that purchases student loan debt and then forgives it, 15 graduates of Corinthian College are starting a student debt strike by refusing to pay their loans. The united former students, calling themselves the Corinthian 15, are fed up with colleges, especially for-profit colleges, that take advantage of students who are simply seeking an education. The strike is the first time a group has come together to collectively refuse to pay federal student loans.

Newark Student Protesters Declare Victory

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NEWARK — Cheers erupted in the frigid night air on Friday as a handful of Newark students, who had been camped out at the public schools’ administrative headquarters, emerged after mounting a four-day protest over the leadership of the embattled school superintendent, Cami Anderson. Hours earlier, Anderson had come to the downtown offices to listen to their the students’ concerns about the controversial reforms taking place in the troubled school district. “The victories are clear at this point,” Kristin Towkaniuk, president of the Newark Student Union and a high school senior, said during a press conference outside the district’s central office at 2 Cedar Street. “We have successfully occupied NPS for over 72 hours.”

Fossil Fuel Divestment: A Brief History

A young demonstrators smiles as he holds a placard, calling for institutions across the country to divest from fossil fuels, 21 September 2014. Photograph: Samuel Hardy/Alamy

“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” said Stephen Heintz of John D Rockefeller, as he announced that the heirs to one of America’s most famous dynasties, which was built on oil, were pulling their philanthropic funds out of fossil fuels. For sheer symbolism if not financial value – only $60m (£37m) of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund was invested in fossil fuels – it was perhaps the high point of what has become known as the fossil fuel divestment movement. With its roots in US campuses, the campaign to get institutions to pull their financial investments as a way of tackling climate change has seen a total of $50bn divested so far, according to the US Fossil Free campaign.

Newark Students Camping Out At School District HQs For Days

Students at the NPS headquarters this week. (Photo courtesy of New Jersey Communities Uni

Instead of going to class or eating dinner at home with their parents, a group of New Jersey students has been living inside the headquarters of Newark Public Schools this week. Since Tuesday evening, eight students have occupied the office suite of NPS Superintendent Cami Anderson. The students — who belong to a group called the Newark Students Union — do not intend to leave until Anderson meets with them and hears their concerns about how the district is being run, Thais Marques, a local community organizer who has been staying with the students, told The Huffington Post. The students also want Anderson to agree to go to the next district advisory board meeting. Anderson stopped attending these public community meetings last February, after facing verbal attacks.

Next For Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign: Escalate

Students at Colorado University participating in the Global Divestment Day on February 13, 2015. (Photo: Facebook/Fossil Free CU)

Whether they are trustees who ask Harvard students to “thank BP,” or presidents who believe that turning off light bulbs can help solve climate change, administrators have revealed themselves to be out of touch with reality. Presumably in the fantasy world of college boardrooms, the fossil fuel industry neither poisons hometowns nor receives $88 billion in corporate welfare a year. Yet back on planet Earth, students know that university endowments gamble away our futures with investments that undermine everything higher education stands for. At this crucial juncture in history, to value critical thinking and academic credibility is to value climate justice. That is why this spring, we will ask our administrators, “Whose side are you on?”

Newark Student Sit-in Heads Into Its Second Night

About a dozen activists gathered in front of Newark Public Schools' headquarters to show support for a handful of students who have staged a sit-in at administration offices. (Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com) (Naomi Nix)

The impasse between the Newark youth staging a sit-in at Newark Public Schools’ headquarters and the school system will reach its second straight night, activists and officials said. While the district continues to urge students to go home and attend class, the Newark Student Union reiterated their call for superintendent Cami Anderson’s resignation “At this point it’s non-negotiable,” Thais Marques, one of the union’s co-founders and a Rutgers student, said in a phone interview this evening. “She is incapable of engaging with students. She is incapable of engaging with the community.” The student demonstration, which includes about six Newark Public School students, received a groundswell of support from Newark community groups who have been vocal critics of Anderson’s leadership and the school district’s controversial reforms.

How Teachers Unions Must Change — By A Union Leader

AP Photo Sitthixay Ditthavong

Our challenge in Milwaukee was to transform a staff-dominated, business/service-style teachers’ union into something quite different. The local had focused narrowly on contract bargaining and enforcement, with the staff playing the role of insurance agents who would intervene on members’ behalf to solve their problems—instead of helping members organize to solve their own problems. It was a codependent relationship—members didn’t have to do much more than make a call to have their problems taken care of, and staff didn’t have to go out to do the hard work of organizing members, except for occasional mobilizations at contract time. The importance of parent/community alliances was downplayed, and the union took the attitude that it was not their responsibility—but rather the administration’s—to ensure quality education.

Oklahoma Bill Would Ban AP US History Class

Education Matters

An Oklahoma bill banning Advanced Placement U.S. History would also require schools to instruct students in a long list of “foundational documents,” including the Ten Commandments, two sermons and three speeches by Ronald Reagan. The bill, authored by Oklahoma Rep. Dan Fisher, designates a total of 58 documents that “shall form the base level of academic content for all United States History courses offered in the schools in the state.” Many of the texts are uncontroversial and undoubtedly covered by the Advanced Placement U.S. History course, such as the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and Gettysburg address. But the bill also has an ideological and religious bent. In addition to 3 speeches by Reagan, the curriculum as includes a speech by George W. Bush but nothing from any Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson.

Study: Black Girls Are Being Pushed Out Of School

According to a new study from African-American Policy Forum, black girls and teens are disproportionately impacted by zero-tolerance policies in schools. (photo: Terry Vine/Getty Images)

News surrounding a confrontation in a Baltimore school is raising new questions about the role race plays in discipline for black girls. Baltimore television station WBAL has been reporting on an October incident that led to three students at the city’s Vanguard Middle School being injured, and later arrested and suspended, after an altercation with a school security officer. School officials have supported the officer’s assertion that she was attacked, kicked and punched by the girls, but the school’s security tape shows something more complicated. By the end of the incident, the officer had struck one of the girls repeatedly with her baton — causing an injury that required multiple stitches — and pepper sprayed the two others. All three girls required treatment at a hospital.

Balancing Being A Student With Activism

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We have to start asking ourselves; how is what I’m doing here relevant in a broader global context? What is my work here at IC leading to? Is my lifestyle individualistic or community focused? Our world is in crisis, and we can’t afford to get trapped in our own individual tunnels. The best way we can avoid getting boxed in is to pursue our passions. When we are immersed in the activities we truly and thoroughly enjoy, it has a tendency to put smiles on our faces that can’t help but spread to the faces of others. It is those thrilling, fulfilling moments we tend to remember, while the hours we spend laboring and fretting over an essay are recalled as an unintelligible blur. Am I telling you to blow off your education?

13 Protesters Arrested After Taking Over UMN President's Office

University of Minnesota police and Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies loaded protesters into the back of a Sheriff's van outside of Morrill Hall.  Photo: Mark Vancleave

About 16 University of Minnesota students alleging on-campus racial and ethnic discrimination took over school President Eric Kaler’s second-floor office in Morrill Hall Monday afternoon. They discussed their issues with Kaler, Provost Karen Hanson and Katrice Albert, vice president for Equity and Diversity, said university spokesman Steve Henneberry in a statement. The action began about 11:30 in the morning. By 7:15 p.m., three protesters opted to leave the office, while 13 others who declined to leave were arrested and removed by police. A group of students with signs stood outside Morrill, which was locked. Anyone needing to enter the building, at 100 SE. Church St., had to show identification, said Henneberry, speaking from his first-floor Morrill Hall office.