By Staff of The Zinn Education Project – In May, the Portland, Oregon school board passed the country’s first comprehensive “climate justice” resolution. The school board voted unanimously to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities,” and called for all schools to teach a “climate justice” curriculum. The Portland resolution said that students in city schools “should develop confidence and passion when it comes to making a positive difference in society
By Jeff Bryant for Education Opportunity Network. Although education policy has not been a prominent issue in the current presidential race, the Democratic Party’s platform gives the subject some of its just due with a fairly extensive treatment. In the current draft, which will be finalized on June 8 and 9, there are numerous mentions of education and a special section with over 1,000 words devoted to the topic. Many are saying this platform “may be most progressive platform the Democratic Party may have ever had.” But is it progressive on education? Let’s weigh the evidence. First let’s examine how the Democratic Party platform differs from what’s proposed in the Republican Party’s platform.
By Anthony Cody for Living In Dialogue – One week from today, on Friday, July 8, I will join thousands of activists from around the nation at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, to once again raise our voices for meaningful changes in our schools at a protest organized by the Save Our Schools Coalition. We will hear from Reverend Barber, from Diane Ravitch, Jonathan Kozol, Tanaisa Brown, Barbara Madeloni, Jtiu Brown and many more.
By Sarah Lappe for Utah Stories. Salt Lake City, UT – Just beyond of the University of Utah’s President’s Circle, tucked between buildings and walkways, you will find one of the Edible Campus Gardens. This beautiful garden has long brown garden beds speckled with a variety of young, green plants. As you walk between the beds, you will find kale, onions, garlic, and tomatoes, and for a moment you forget you are on an urban campus. There are two garden locations on campus. The first and oldest garden is located at the Sill Center for undergraduate research, which was started in 1996 by Professor Fred Montague, who is also known for his handwritten and drawn book entitled, Gardening: An Ecological Approach. The second and larger garden site is located just east of Pioneer Memorial Theatre and was established in 2002.
By Scott Campbell for El Enemigo Común – Teachers in Mexico have been on strike since May 15, demanding, among other things, an end to the neoliberal educational reforms being pushed forward by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. For a roundup of events during the first 15 days of the strike, see the most recent Insumisión column. While things have been tense in Oaxaca, with Governor Gabino Cué announcing that he had hundreds of police ready to remove any teachers encampment or blockade, there have been no big confrontations until tonight.
By Anthony Cody for Living in Dialogue – Here is where we stand with the revived controversy over the Los Angeles Times’ 2010 “investigation” into teacher effectiveness. In 2009, Teachers College, which sponsors The Hechinger Report, received a grant from the Gates Foundation in the amount of $652,493 in order “to support the development of high quality education coverage in the nation’s leading newspapers and magazines.”
By Linda Christensen for the Zinn Education Project. Tulsa, OK – None of my mostly African American 11th graders in Portland had ever heard of the so-called Tulsa Race Riot, even though it stands as one of the most violent episodes of dispossession in U.S. history. The term “race riot” does not adequately describe the events of May 31—June 1, 1921 in Greenwood, a black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In fact, the term itself implies that both blacks and whites might be equally to blame for the lawlessness and violence. The historical record documents a sustained and murderous assault on black lives and property. This assault was met by a brave but unsuccessful armed defense of their community by some black World War I veterans and others.
By Jennifer C. Berkshire for The Progressive – The student protest outside of Boston City Hall was winding down. Of the 1,000 students who’d walked out of their schools for the second time this spring, about 100 were left, waiting to get inside in hopes of testifying before a City Council committee against proposed school budget cuts. First, though, the students had to pass through a metal detector, a process as inefficient as an airport TSA line. “This is what democracy looks like,” they chanted, a protest staple that for once felt almost true. “The whole world is watching,” they shouted, amplified by the hulking architecture of City Hall.
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.