A Talking Puppet s Teaching Kids An Endangered Language

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By Tristan Ahtone for Yes Magazine. Norway – A good puppet has to be liked, so Binnabánnaš was given a pair of friendly brown eyes, a set of uneven blue antlers, and leather shoes with red trim and curled toes reminiscent of samiske komagers, the traditional reindeer skin shoes worn by the Sámi, the indigenous people of Northern Europe. He also has a job: to teach the Sámi language to children on Norwegian television on his own three-minute show. For example, Binnabánnaš teaches words that begin with the letter “B,” the difference between big and small, and colors. Think Sesame Street with an indigenous twist. “Binnabánnaš could look like a reindeer calf, or it could be a cow calf. Some people thought it was a goat,” said Tamie Sue Runningen of NRK Sápmi, a unit of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation responsible for producing Sámi content.

Frustrated Parents Rally Nationwide To ‘Reclaim Our Schools’

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By Rebecca Klein for Huffington Post. More than 100,000 people took part in a nationwide “walk-in” at more than 2,000 schools in 238 cities, according to the event organizer Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS). They were joined by some high-profile guests, including Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine. At her Brooklyn school, Joseph and other community members protested the state funding system, which advocates say disadvantages needy schools. People in other cities rallied over issues like the expansion of charter schools and high-stakes student testing. Thursday’s walk-ins were the third time AROS said it had set up such an event and represented its largest effort so far. The alliance, which includes the nation’s two largest teachers unions and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, advocates for equal educational opportunities, especially for low-income students of color.

Protesting Students Clash With Police In South Africa

Students were angry at how President Jacob Zuma treated them at a meeting on Monday [Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters]

By Staff of Al Jazeera – South African police have used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against students protesting for free education in Johannesburg. Two students were arrested and another and one staff member were injured in the violence on Tuesday at the University of the Witwatersrand, or Wits. Similar unrest has occurred since last month at other financially struggling South African universities, forcing a number, including Wits, to close.

The Radical Imaginations Of Our Children Should Be Nurtured

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By Bill Ayers for Truth Dig – In 1963 Charlie Cobb, a young field secretary with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), wrote a brief proposal to create a number of Freedom Schools throughout Mississippi in order to revitalize the civil rights and community organizing work there. While the Black youth of the South, he argued, were denied many things — decent school facilities, honest and forward-looking curricula, fully qualified teachers…

Thinking Dangerously In Age Of Normalized Ignorance


By Henry Giroux for CounterPunch. What happens to a society when thinking is eviscerated and is disdained in favor of raw emotion? [1] What happens when political discourse functions as a bunker rather than a bridge? What happens when the spheres of morality and spirituality give way to the naked instrumentalism of a savage market rationality? What happens when time becomes a burden for most people and surviving becomes more crucial than trying to lead a life with dignity? What happens when domestic terrorism, disposability, and social death become the new signposts and defining features of a society? What happens to a social order ruled by an “economics of contempt” that blames the poor for their condition and wallows in a culture of shaming?[2] What happens when loneliness and isolation become the preferred modes of sociality?

Uncovering Texas’ Strategy To Slash Much-Needed Special Education Services

Flckr/ Leigh Blackall

By Charles Ornstein for Pro Publica – Federal law mandates that school districts provide special education services to students with disabilities–physical, emotional or developmental. But outside the public’s view, the state of Texas has decided that fewer students should get those services. It pressured school districts to meet an artificial benchmark of 8.5 percent, a rate far below that of any state, according to aHouston Chronicle investigation. The article, by Brian M. Rosenthal, documents how “unelected state officials have quietly devised a system that has kept thousands of disabled kids” out of special education.

Privatization Of Public Education: This Changes Everything

Supporters of public education and the Overpass Light Brigade pack a school board meeting against privatization (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

By Staff of Education Alchemy – I recently read Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate. I was struck by how many similarities there were between the struggle to abate massive climate disaster and the current fight for public education. I think this is a good analogy because like climate change, education “reform” (aka privatization) is everywhere and nowhere. While the issues are clearly related to human and civil rights, there are no lunch counters to sit at, no visible or tangible signs of du-jure segregation.

Did One Connecticut Judge Just Change Conversation About Education Inequality?

Tobias Arhelger / shutterstock

By Jennifer Alexander for The Hechinger Report – In that one short statement, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher delivered a harsh rebuke to anyone who has forgotten that simple truth. His ruling reminded all of us that our state has a constitutional obligation to fulfill a right of the highest importance: a great public education. In a court ruling that was mainly about how much we should be spending on education, Judge Moukawsher went deeper into the issue because money alone cannot and will not solve our persistent educational shortcomings.

Pondiscio Exposes Split In Ed Reform Camps Over Role Of Race

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By John Thompson for Living In Dialogue – Although I wouldn’t spend too much time eavesdropping on the civil war between liberal and conservative reformers, it is fun to periodically check it out. The first of the loudest shots in their internecine conflict was issued by Fordham’s Robert Pondiscio in the aptly titled post “The Left’s Drive to Push Conservatives Out of Education Reform.” He condemned “social justice warriors” who “no longer feel any compunction about accusing their conservative brethren of racism and worse.”

Where Has All The Money For Our Schools Gone?

Tobias Arhelger / shutterstock

By Scott Klinger for Other Worlds – State and local governments give away at least $70 billion a year to business subsidies, most of it in foregone tax revenue. Local property taxes are the most significant tax most corporations pay. In most communities, they’re also the backbone of local school finance. So when subsidies slash corporate property taxes, our schools often get hurt the most. In Chicago, for example, we already have a glimpse into the unsavory relationship between tax subsidies and school finance.

“COMMON” Goal: Corporate Ownership Of Public Education…Part II

A Zapatista mural in the town of San Pedro Polhó illustrates ideas about education. Photo by Dario Ribelo on Flickr

By Staff of Educational ALchemy – Lamar Alexander and Patti Murray didn’t write the new Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Business Roundtable did. They crafted their own draft called “Principles for Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.” Let me break this down for you. By now, those of us who are fighting for public schools are pretty aware of how the Common Core standards were crafted behind the scenes by corporate interests (via ALEC and The Business Roundtable [BRT]).

'Common' Goal: Corporate Ownership Of Education


By Morna McDermott for Educational Alchemy. Lamar Alexander and Patti Murray didn’t (really) write the new Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Business Roundtable (BRT) did. See the BRT resounding endorsement for ESSA here. Ok, they didn’t write it in the literal sense. Kind of like ALEC only writes “model”legislation. or maybe as they say it in their own words: “Thanks to the efforts of our CEO members and partners in the civil rights community who worked with leaders in Congress, the new law is consistent with the principles Business Roundtable released and promoted while the legislation was being developed.” Or let me share the Business Roundtable “Principles for Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act” guiding principles. Pretty much ESSA in a nut shell.

Common Core And Corporate Colonization: The Big Picture

Students look for their classrooms on the opening day of instruction at the Westchester Secondary Charter school. (Los Angeles Times / September 3, 2013)

By Staff of Educational Alchemy – I said it over three years ago and I’ll say it again. Common Core was, and is, an agenda crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It was never about “communism,” or “socialism.” It was the state and federal governments serving as the delivery boys for the privatization of public education at the hands of global corporate interests (think: Trans Pacific Partnership and UNESCO).

The Global Campaign For Peace Education


By Staff of CPNN – The Global Campaign for Peace Education seeks to foster a culture of peace in communities around the world. It has two goals: First, to build public awareness and political support for the introduction of peace education into all spheres of education, including non-formal education, in all schools throughout the world. Second, to promote the education of all teachers to teach for peace.

In Philadelphia, Progressive Education Organizers Fight ‘Disaster Capitalism’

The battle over public education is, in large part, a battle over labor, and there’s no better illustration of that than Philadelphia. (Molly Knefel)

By Molly Knefel for In These Times – This week, Democrats descended upon the city of Philadelphia, attempting to present themselves as simultaneously progressive enough to be the party of racial, gender, and economic justice, but conservative enough to be welcoming to Republicans turned off by Donald Trump. In a succinct illustration of some of the contradictions at play during the Democratic National Convention, vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, the former governor of a Right-to-Work state, spoke proudly of his dad running a union shop.