By Mothers for Justice United. Seattle, Washington – The Matteo Ricci College (MRC) Coalition of Seattle University is standing against racism and oppression felt by students in the Humanities program. The MRC Coalition has presented five demands to University leadership that they feel will improve the undergraduate experience by eliminating racism at the institution. As the sit-in and take over of the Seattle University Casey Building continues, mother and social justice activist Maria Hamilton, joined the students in their protest. Maria Hamilton is the mother of slain Milwaukee man Dontre Hamilton, who was killed by former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney on April 30, 2014.
By Staff of Tele Sur – Mexico’s secretary of education said Thursday that more than three thousand teachers from the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Michoacan would be fired for missing three consecutive days of work without justification, despite the fact the teachers have missed work as a result of being on strike over a series of reforms forced upon them by the federal government. A spokesperson from the National Coordinator of Education Workers, a leftist breakaway from the national teachers’ union, said they would keep their strike going despite the threat of dismissal.
By Shasta Kearns Moore for the Portland Tribune. Portland, OR – In a move spearheaded by environmentalists, the Portland Public Schools board unanimously approved a resolution aimed at eliminating doubt of climate change and its causes in schools. “It is unacceptable that we have textbooks in our schools that spread doubt about the human causes and urgency of the crisis,” said Lincoln High School student Gaby Lemieux in board testimony. “Climate education is not a niche or a specialization, it is the minimum requirement for my generation to be successful in our changing world.” The resolution passed Tuesday evening calls for the school district to get rid of textbooks or other materials that cast doubt on whether climate change is occurring and that the activity of human beings is responsible.
By Kelly Hayes for Truthout – While Beyoncé fans around the country were downloading and streaming her much-discussed new album Lemonade, the music and imagery of songs like “Freedom” and “Formation” found a new expression on the streets of Chicago on April 30 when young Black organizers disrupted the NFL draft to demand justice for their communities. Borrowing and reinterpreting the singer’s lyrics and the Black power aesthetics of her February Super Bowl halftime show, organizers shut down one of Chicago’s main traffic arteries with a collision of pop culture and grassroots resistance.
By Brian Maffly for the Salt Lake Tribune. Utah – Terry Tempest Williams is leaving her University of Utah teaching post and walking away from the Environmental Humanities program she founded rather than agree to administrators’ demands she move her teaching from the state’s desert landscapes onto campus. “For reasons I will never know or understand, the University of Utah wanted me gone — and in the end, what was most threatening was my teaching. Why? Because each of you and our current students are challenging the status quo, each in your own way with the gifts that are yours,” the acclaimed author wrote in an email last week to about 80 current and past students of the U.’s Environmental Humanities graduate program.
By Craig Clough for La School Report – About 200 parents, students and teachers rallied Wednesday morning outside Castelar Street Elementary School in Chinatown as part of a “walk-in” calling for lower class sizes at LA Unified, increased staffing and more accountability for Prop. 39, the law that gives charter schools the right to use empty class space at district schools through a process called “co-location.” Several TV news crews were on hand for the demonstration, which saw parents, teachers and students march around the block hoisting banners and chanting before walking into the school.
By Michelle Gunderson for Living In Dialogue – The children in my first grade classroom play. There are no academic centers where a teacher rings a bell and children move from activity to activity. That might look like play, but it is not. We have body breaks where we sing and dance, but we do not call it play because it is not. We play – pure and simple – and it is self-selected, student-driven, and sustained for 60 minutes so that the play is deep and meaningful. Last week as I watched one of my students lost in play, washing one of our baby dolls, I was reminded how vital play is to a child’s sense of well-being, language and physical development, and sense of identity.
By Eliza A. Webb for Truthout – A new investigation by the US Attorney’s Office has uncovered evidence of long-lasting corruption within the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) system and has charged 12 current and former Detroit principals with fabricating invoices, evading taxes and taking $1 million in bribes and kickbacks from the district’s vendors. This newly unearthed scandal is wholly unsurprising to the teachers of Detroit, who have seen corruption and injustice dominate the city’s education system since 1999, when state-appointed emergency managers were first given the power to override Detroit’s elected school board.
By Anthony Cody for Living In Dialogue – In 2011, the Save Our Schools March was the first-ever national protest focused on K12 education. In 2016, we are going back to DC again. The 2011 rally and march was a seminal event for the movement to resist corporate education reform. This protest resulted in the launch of many of the groups that are active today. And many of those groups are coming together once again in the Save Our Schools Coalition.
By Rory Fanning for TomDispatch – Early each New Year’s Day I head for Lake Michigan with a handful of friends. We look for a quiet stretch of what, only six months earlier, was warm Chicago beach. Then we trudge through knee-deep snow in bathing suits and boots, fighting wind gusts and hangovers. Sooner or later, we arrive where the snowpack meets the shore and boot through a thick crust of lake ice, yelling and swearing as we dive into near-freezing water. It took me a while to begin to understand why I do this every year, or for that matter why for the last decade since I left the military I’ve continued to inflict other types of pain on myself with such unnerving regularity.
By Mitchell Robinson for Badass Teacher Association – While the reformers claim to be all about using “data-driven-decision-making” and basing their policies on the results of research findings, there is virtually no data or reputable research to suggest that any of their policy strategies have any validation in the research literature. So where can we look for examples of successful policies and practices that offer the promise of actually addressing the problems caused by the education reform agenda?
By Jaime Franchi for Long Island Press – The parking field at Stony Brook University overflowed with minivans and sedans of parents and educators who’d gotten last-minute word of a “listening tour” critical to informing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new Common Core Task Force about necessary modifications to the controversial education program—and ultimately, helping shape policy across the state—flooded the campus. Filled to capacity, New York State troopers directed the still oncoming traffic to impromptu curbside spots…
By Levi Gahman for ROAR Magazine – The story of the Zapatistas is one of dignity, outrage, and grit. It is an enduring saga of over 500 years of resistance to the attempted conquest of the land and lives of indigenous peasants. It is nothing less than a revolutionary and poetic account of hope, insurgency and liberation—a movement characterized as much by adversity and anguish, as it is by laughter and dancing. More precisely, the ongoing chronicles of the Zapatista insurrection provide a dramatic account of how indigenous people have defied the imposition of state violence…
By Micah Uetricht for Vice News – Chicago Teachers Union vice president Jesse Sharkey has probably thought long and hard about whether it’s a good idea for his union to go on strike Friday; the risks are high. But in hearing him talk about it last week, you couldn’t tell. “We are going to strike over things that judges might consider illegal, but we consider moral and right,” he said at a public-sector union conference in New York. “There might be judges that disagree with us…” He shrugged. “But we disagree with them.”