Tag Archives: teacher unions

Educate. Agitate. Organize: New and Not-So-New Teacher Movements

Never a dull moment these days in Education activism! Parallel with the fallout from records regarding the governance and management of UBC and calls for accountability by our Faculty Association is the BCTF’s work in holding the government to account for its legislation of bargaining rights

Of course, our Institute for Critical Education Studies has provided extensive analysis and commentary on both cases.

Keeping activism in context, we are thrilled to launch this Special Issue of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labour:

Educate. Agitate. Organize: New and Not-So-New Teacher Movements

Special Issue Edited by Mark Stern, Amy E. Brown & Khuram Hussain

Table of Contents

Forward: The Systemic Cycle of Brokenness
Tamara Anderson

Introduction to the Special Issue: Educate. Agitate. Organize: New and Not-So-New Teacher Movements
Mark Stern, Amy E. Brown, Khuram Hussain

Articles

Principles to Practice: Philadelphia Educators Putting Social Movement Unionism into Action
Rhiannon M Maton

Teaching amidst Precarity: Philadelphia’s Teachers, Neighborhood Schools and the Public Education Crisis
Julia Ann McWilliams

Inquiry, Policy, and Teacher Communities: Counter Mandates and Teacher Resistance in an Urban School District
Katherine Crawford-Garrett, Kathleen Riley

More than a Score: Neoliberalism, Testing & Teacher Evaluations
Megan E Behrent

Resistance to Indiana’s Neoliberal Education Policies: How Glenda Ritz Won
Jose Ivan Martinez, Jeffery L. Cantrell, Jayne Beilke

“We Need to Grab Power Where We Can”: Teacher Activists’ Responses to Policies of Privatization and the Assault on Teachers in Chicago
Sophia Rodriguez

The Paradoxes, Perils, and Possibilities of Teacher Resistance in a Right-to-Work State
Christina Convertino

Place-Based Education in Detroit: A Critical History of The James & Grace Lee Boggs School
Christina Van Houten

Voices from the Ground

Feeling Like a Movement: Visual Cultures of Educational Resistance
Erica R. Meiners, Therese Quinn

Construir Y No Destruir (Build and Do Not Destroy): Tucson Resisting
Anita Fernández

Existential Philosophy as Attitude and Pedagogy for Self and Student Liberation
Sheryl Joy Lieb

Epilogue

No Sermons in Stone (Bernstein) + Left Behind (Austinxc04)
Richard Bernstein, Austinxc04

Thanks for the continued interest in and support of our journals, Critical Education and Workplace, and our ICES and Workplace blogs. And please keep the manuscripts and ideas rolling in!

Students and Teachers! The Unasked Question: Why Have School?

Rich Gibson, guest blogger, asks Why Have School?

Dear Students and School Workers,

Perhaps you can challenge your friends, teachers, and colleagues, or maybe torment the worst one, with a little exercise I use at the beginning of every class: Why have school? Why are we here?

I ask that question in class one, advising students that I will follow it with these:

  • What are the main things going on in school?
  • What are the main things going on in society?
  • What might your answers have to do with each other?

Having done the interactive dialogue frequently, I can usually predict most of the student responses–but never all, and sometimes not the funniest ones.

Part of your task as a real student is to seek answers to the question: Who am I in relation to others, and what shall I therefore do? Asking our key question may help.

One good scenario: you will recapture the view that most very young children have, fairly quickly fogged over by much of schooling: I can understand and change the world.

You might practice the exercise with classmates before school begins.

Fair warning: very few teachers have asked this of themselves. They may be reluctant to do it, even angry you posed the question. But “why are we here?” must be posed and answered in every class. It’s the teacher’s, and your, responsibility to reasonably answer it–beyond “truancy laws.”

At this point, please take perhaps ten minutes to think through, and make some notes about your answers to those questions just above.

—————————–

Now (did you really, really do it?) I offer my thoughts which are radical, to-the-root analyses; more radical than most.

Why have school? Why are we here?

Let’s step back a moment in order to put school in its proper, social, perspective.

Schools are the key organizing point of de-industrialized North American life, and much of life elsewhere.

Evidence: There will be almost 50 million young people in k/12 schools in 2015. Nearly one-half of the youth in high school today will be draft-eligible for the next seven years. They’re just about all registered for conscription.

Numbers and positioning mean you are in a vital position to influence society–for better or worse.

Another 21 million mostly young people are in US colleges and universities.

School workers, not industrialized workers, are by far the most unionized people in the USA, more than 3.5 million union members. School unions are shrinking, but slowly, while industrial unions collapse, evaporate, because, in part, industry evaporates, and because industrial union leaders abandoned the idea at the heart of unionism—the contradictory interests of workers and employers.

The US will spend more than $629 billion on schools this year, about $12,300 per student. However, this average varies a great deal between states. California, once the finest and least expensive of state school systems, kindergarten through college, is now one of the worst, spending about half the national average. Then, as we shall see, there are remarkable disparities between districts.

What is going on in schools?

Elites sought greater control over schools since the wars on Vietnam accelerated a student-teacher-prof-veteran leftist movement that nearly upended what has always been a segregated and deceitful system of mis-education.

Once elected, the demagogue, Obama, invaded US schools with his Race to the Top (RaTT), a project personified by Chicago’s education huckster Arne Duncan. The RaTT, and later the Common Core, speeds what was already happening in capital’s schools under George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton before him–and adds a few factors for spice.

Note that the 40 year education strategy has always been bi-partisan, as with war funding, and bank bailouts.

The RaTT’s predecessor, touted by Democrats and Republicans alike called the No Child Left Behind Act had at least these key factors:

  1. The development of a regimented national curriculum to promote nationalism;
  2. High stakes standardized tests to promote segregation, indifference to learning, and ignorance with a pretense of scientific backing and;
  3. the militarization of schools in poor and working class areas.

The RaTT makes  logical extensions:

  • Sharpened demands for a national curriculum–the Common Core– in more subjects (beyond literacy and math),
  • Merit pay based on student test scores;
  • Attacks on all forms of tenure (made palatable to the public because they know through experience that there is no shortage of incompetents in schools);
  • Layoffs, hits on pay and benefits, increases in class size;
  • Tuition hikes driving youth out of college with razor-like precision, typically rooted in inherited wealth;
  • Some privatization, but hardly only privatization (the corporate state–described below–reflects both the unity and contradictions internal to the ruling classes who have different short term views of profitability);
  • Calls for national service setting up a syphon for middle class opposition to a draft;
  • Intensified moves into cities and schools in crisis, like Detroit and New Orleans, demonstrating again the contradictory goals of social control and profiteering;
  • Ruthless competition between school districts and states for limited RaTT
  • reward dollars;
  • A harsh rule of fear and intimidation sweeping across all of capitalist schooling;
  • The abolition of union contracts by fiat–administrative or government “emergency” declaration (Detroit Public Schools, and many, many, more);
  • Suspensions and expulsions of students, a race and class based maneuver that, step by step, obliterates youths’ ability to begin to achieve their potential.

Indeed, fear, from all angles, is the core emotional value in schools today.

The Jeffersonian ideal of education for enlightened citizenry is long gone, replaced by schooling for jobs and war.

What is the social context of school?

The education agenda is a class war agenda, and an imperialist war agenda. One begets the other.

In 2012, the Council of Foreign Relations, led by war-hawk Condoleeza Rice (“We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,”) issued its Education Task Force Report, demonstrating in clear terms that the education agenda is a war agenda: class and empire’s wars.

 Human capital will determine power in the current century, and the failure to produce that capital will undermine America’s security.Large, undereducated swaths of the population damage the ability of the United States to physically defend itself, protect its secure information, conduct diplomacy, and grow its economy.1

Let us tick off the emerging realities of our times; the results of the many crises of capital contradicted by the promises of democracy.

The coming and recent elections should not only be studied as how voters choose who would most charmingly oppress the majority of the people from the executive committee of the rich: the government. It should be studied, more importantly, as how an element of capitalist democracy, the spectacle of elections, speeded the emergence of fascism as a mass popular force; that is:

  • The promise of perpetual war is real;
  • The US, incapable of defining a grand strategy (for example, harmony won through equality), is dying a death by a thousand cuts and organizing social decay–unable even to target a primary foe, dashing to hot-spots while other empires rise;
  • The corporate state, the rule of the rich, a near complete merger of corporations and government (2008 bank and auto bailouts);
  • The continuation of the suspension of civil liberties (as with renditions, police murders, mass incarceration, etc.);
  • The attacks on whatever free press there is;
  • The rise of racism and segregation (in every way, but remember the immigration policies);
  • The promotion of the fear of sexuality as a question of pleasure (key to creating the inner slave), and the sharpened commodification of women (Sarah Palin to pole dancers);
  • The governmental/corporate attacks on working peoples’ wages and benefits (bailouts to merit pay to wage and benefit concessions, to multi-tier wage rates);
  • Intensification of imperialist war (wars in Afghanistan escalates war on Pakistan which provokes war on Russia, etc, and the US is NOT going to leave Iraq’s oil);
  • Promotion of nationalism (all class unity) by, among others, the union bosses;
  • Teaching people the lie that someone else should interpret reality and act for us, when no one is going to save us but us;
  • Trivializing what is supposed to be the popular will to vile gossip, thus building cynicism—especially the idea that we cannot grasp and change the world, but also debasing whatever may have been left of a national moral sense;
  • Increased mysticism (is it better to vote for a real religious fanatic or people who fake being religious fanatics?);
  • One spectacle heaped on the next (celebrity worship, narcissistic electronics, etc.) and
  • Incessant attacks on radicals, isolating, discouraging, surveilling, and in some cases jailing those who not only practice radicalism, but who theorize to-the-root analysis.

Capitalist schooling exists within these social rising circumstances

Whose schools are these? These are capital’s schools.

This is, again, a capitalist democracy in which capital dominates democracy at every turn (bankster bailout, the auto-takeover on behalf of stockholders while auto workers’ lives were gutted, empire’s endless wars, etc).

Schooling is not education, the latter a “leading out,” the former, schooling,  a fethishized form of mis-education.

The capitalist market necessarily creates pyramid-like inequality, not only in the pocketbook, but in the mind.

Is there a single public school system in the US?

Actually, there is not. There are five or six carefully segregated school systems, based mostly on class and race.

The image of education in the minds of philanthropic economists is this: “Every worker should learn as many branches of labor as possible so that if…he is thrown out of one branch, he can easily be accommodated in another.” (Marx)

There is a pre-prison school system in much of Detroit, Michigan or Compton, California; a pre-Walmart/military system in National City, California; a pre-craft worker system in City Heights, California; a pre-teacher or social worker system in Del Cero, California; a pre-med or pre-law system in Lajolla, California and Birmingham, Michigan; and a completely private school system where rich people send their kids, like George W. Bush or Mitt Romney–or the Obama children.

Arne Duncan, Obama’s Secretary of Education, also sends his kids to private schools.

Rich schools teach different realities using different methods from poor schools. In rich schools the outlook is: “This globe is ours; let us see how we can make it act.” In the poorest schools, the outlook is, “Tell me what to do and I will do it.”

What are schools designed to do?

Schools are huge multi-billion dollar markets where profit and loss influences nearly everything.

Consider the buses, the architects, textbook sales, consultants, the developers for the buildings, the upkeep, the grounds, the sports teams, salaries, etc. Cost is always an issue in school. This is, after all, capitalism.

It is more than fitting to use a church analogy: schools as missions for capitalism and empire, and the vast majority of school workers, its missionaries. The theology: nationalism.

The average salary for public school teachers in 2013 was $56,383. Salaries of public school teachers have generally maintained pace with inflation since 1990–91. (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2009)

Multiply $56,383 by the total number of school workers, above. That’s a tidy sum.

These relatively good salaries, in comparison to the crash of industrial wages and jobs, served as an imperialist bribe to educators, winning them to conduct the child abuse that is high-stakes exams and regimented curricula–and not protesting the wars that erode their kids’ lives, for example.

But, as economic break-downs caused by overproduction and war evaporated at least some of the ability to make the pay-off—and as school workers became more and more alienated from each other, their communities and students through those same processes—the bribes and jobs began to vanish–as we witness today. School workers then begin to complain about the symptoms of their problems, as with high-stake exams, and not the core: imperialism and capitalism.

The reality of the imperialist bribe is especially evident inside the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. Both unions are deeply involved with American intelligence agencies, like the Central Intelligence Agency’s front Education International (the inheritor of the Cold War CIA education fronts).

Why? For a reason parallel to the reason the American Federation of Labor was born: US workers will do better if “outside” workers do worse, thus tying the interests of US school workers with the nation’s bosses, hence their relentless support for Democrats.

It is a direct payoff. Reg Weaver, former NEA president, made $686,949 in his last single year of office. He now is on the board of EI, along with other past NEA and AFT bosses.

In 2010, about 10,000 NEA members at their Representative Assembly voted about 9,900 to 100 not to discuss the empires wars. In 2011, NEA was the first organization of any size to endorse Obama. Scratch our back with jobs and income and you can abuse kids and make war.

There is, in schools unlike most factories, a tension between elites’ desire for social control and profitability. This can be seen in the contradictions within elite groups about the privatization of schools. It’s also evident in the production and sale of textbooks: social control vs profitability.

It can also be seen in the liberal and unionite response to the current school milieu: “Defend Public Education!”

This is to defend a myth, on the one hand, to wish to harken back to non-existent halcyon days of schooling when it was not teaching lies, not segregated, and truly public.

On the other hand, the false demand is designed to treat schools like middle class job banks, to lure school workers into attempting to tax the rest of the working class to “win,” the further mis-education of their children–as did the California Teachers Association in 2009 with a ballot measure that failed, deservedly, by 2/3rds.

Better to “Transform Schooling!” or “Rescue Education from the Ruling Classes!”

More answers to why have school:

Skill and ideological training. Under skill training we might list, of course, “the three r’s,” along with music, art, athletics, theater, science, etc. That list comes fast and easy.

Ideological training is another thing. Ideological grooming would include nationalism (the daily salute to the flag, school spirit, etc.) as well as the training in viewpoints established by teaching distinct curricular substance (political science, civics, has nothing to do with economics) in the segregated schools, using different methods.

Beyond nationalism, one clear purpose of most schooling is to make the system of capital natural, almost invisible, and to present it as the highest, last, stage of human development.

Further, students must become so stupefied that they see no real contradiction between nationalism and the other central tenet of capitalist thought: individualism. Me! Education, necessarily a social effort, becomes an individual commodity, often in the form of test scores, used as a weapon for merit pay and, by realtors, to fix home values.

NCLB and the RaTT eradicated history in poor and working class areas and, in other areas, eliminated any sense of resistance, even the traditional right of revolution written into the Declaration of Independence: unthinkable.

The upshot of capitalist schooling is that many students, surrounded by the unsystematic, incoherent, mystical world-views of both the curricula and most teachers, come away learning not to like to learn.

Curiosity, a birthright of all children, gets crushed. Parallel to that dubious success, children in exploited areas learn they cannot understand or alter the world. So, people in pacified areas become instruments of their own oppression.

Baby-sitting and warehousing kids.

Babysitting is a key role played by capitalist schools. One way to find out, “Why have school?” is to experiment; close them. In our case, teacher strikes serve as a good test subject.

In school strikes (no sane union shuts down a football program), the first people to begin to complain are usually merchants around middle schools–who get looted. The second group is the parents of elementary students, quickly followed by their employers. (These realities can help demonstrate to elementary educators their potential power along with setting up kids’ entire world views).

The baby-sitting role is, again, funded by an unjust tax system and serves as a giant boon to companies that refuse to provide day care for their employees–but are able to duck taxes as well. This is redoubled by the fact that unions, like the United Autoworkers, completely forgot their 70 year old demand for free day care.

Schools fashion hope: Real and false.

On one hand it is clear that societies where hope is foreclosed foster the potential of mass uprisings: France in the summer of 1968 is a good example of what can happen; uprisings starting in school and quickly involving the working classes nearly overthrew the government.

Real hope might be found in showing kids and school workers alike that we can comprehend and change the world, collectively, and teaching them how.

Ask, “Why are things as they are?” every day. Or, in demonstrating that we are responsible for our own histories, but not our birthrights. Must we be lambs among wolves? Does what we do matter?

False hope might be the typical school hype: Anyone can make it; all you must do is work hard. Trumpery. Inheritance is, more than ever, the key to understanding social mobility, or immobility.

To the contrarians: there is nothing unusual about elites picking off children of the poor, educating them, and turning them back on their birth-communities as a form of more gentle rule. Obama would be one example of such a success. Skanderberg, the Albanian rebel trained by the Turks, would be a failure.

Schools create the next generation of workers, warriors, or war supporters.

Automatons or rebels, or something in between, a process with some witting direction. Those workers need to be taught to accept hierarchy, to submit, to misread realities like class war and endorse nationalism (school spirit) or racism (segregated schooling products). They need to accept their lot, to be unable to notice why things are as they are; why some live in abundance while others have no work—when there is plenty of work to do—why drudgery is so much part of most jobs. The core project here: obliterate the possibility of class consciousness.

What Cannot be Taught in Capital’s Schools in the USA?

School workers who follow the official line in school are prevented from teaching the core issues of human life: work, rational knowledge, love (sexuality) and the struggle for freedom.

Work: it is not possible teach truthfully about work because it is illegal in California and many other states to teach favorably about Marx. Absent Marx, no grasp of the labor movement, alienation, and exploitation.

Rational knowledge: very few teachers will be able to take note of the historical fact; people make gods, gods don’t make people. While multi-culturalism, a mask for nationalism that is still in style, may promote interfaith “tolerance,” history suggests religion is the ideology of death, and current events underline that reality. Which teachers will say that in a classroom?

Love (sexuality): It is illegal in California to teach sexuality as a matter of pleasure. Rather sex education is steeped in fear of diseases, pregnancy. Teaching people to fear their own bodies is key to producing the inner slave–most religions understand that.

The struggle for freedom: While I think it may be easy to justify the importance of the three paragraphs above, this fourth is my assertion that people will persistently struggle to be free. At issue is whether or not they grasp why they are not free, a radical analysis, or they battle the phantoms that their adversaries toss in front of them.2

Students, like everyone, struggle to be free, but how much freedom exists in schools–for anyone? Not much, if any, and what there is will probably be produced by spontaneous action. School imbues the practice of un-freedom.

What of the resistance?

People will fight back because they must. But the traditional organizations of resistance failed both the pedagogical project at hand, that is, teaching people why things are as they are, how to develop strategy and tactics on their own, and the practical project of direct action, control of work places and communities.  While people must resist, it is vital they grasp: Why?

Let us make another tick-list, this time about the school unions, a reminder and details from the paragraphs above:

*No leader of any major union in the US believes that working people and employers have, in the main, contradictory interests, thus wiping out the main reason most people believe they join unions. Bosses (for that is what they are) of the two education unions (the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers-AFL-CIO–by far now the largest unions in the USA) openly believe in what former NEA president Bob Chase called “New Unionism,” the unity of labor bosses, government, and corporations, “in the national interest.” There is nothing new about company unionism, however, nor the corporate state.Company unionism produces highlights like the AFT, the smaller of the school unions, to invite Bill Gates, dead-set on capitalist schooling, to be the key-note speaker to their 2010 AFT convention.

*Union bosses recognize their own opposing interests to the rank and file. The union tops, after all, earn much more than school workers. As above, Past NEA president, Reg Weaver, took in $686, 949, in his last year of office. Current president, Lily Eskelsen-Garcia, will make at least $450,000. Power in the unions is vertical, top-down, perfectly clear in the structure of the AFT, somewhat disguised, but every bit as real in NEA.

These mis-leaders who move up fairly slowly through a hierarchy learn a variety of strategies to manipulate people and, “protect the contract.”

These maneuvers, like grievance procedures, move workers away from the locus of their power, the work place, to geographically distant spaces where “neutral” arbitrators decide on vital issues. But the unions rarely file cases to arbitration and, nevertheless, lose about 2/3 of the cases they file.

Union bosses also divert member action to the ballot box–any place away from the job site—where, in the words of one top NEA organizer, “if voting mattered, they wouldn’t let us do it.” But electoral work keeps member volunteers busy and it reinforces the false notions school workers have about professionalism (professionals set their own hours and wages, they determine the processes of work–teachers typically are called professionals by people asking the workers to buy textbooks for their kids), allowing educators to win hollow” respect,” the chance to dress up and rub elbows with Important People, away from school.

*Corruption is endemic in the AFT where a steady stream of leaders have been jailed, not only for looting the treasury (Miami, D.C.) but also for child-rape and embezzling (Broward, Florida–twice).  NEA hasn’t suffered the kind of dramatic jailings AFT suffers, but, for example, my own boss in Florida, where I worked as an NEA organizer, was convicted of embezzling about $1/4 million from the union.

*The school unions draw on a member base that is about 85% white and reflect the racism that such a base inherently creates. Rather than fight to integrate the teaching force and schools, the unions urge more and more “education” classes (typically an utter waste of time), adding on expenses for students, meaning those with the least get shaved out with razor sharp precision–by class and race.

*The unions, like all US unions, do not unite people, but divide them along lines of job, race, years of tenure, staff and leaders from rank and file, that is, down to the narrowest interest–capital’s favorite question: What about me?

*Since the mid-1970’s, union bosses have supported every measure that elites used to regain control of schools which were, in many cases out of control. The NEA and AFT bosses today support curricular regimentation, high stakes racist exams, the militarization of schooling, merit pay, and charter schools (a key new source of dues income).

*The AFT organized the decay and ruin of urban education in the US, while the mostly suburban NEA let urban schooling be devastated, failing to recognize the truth of the old union saw, “an injury to one only goes before an injury to all.” That both unions steeped themselves in volumes of forms of racism (racist exams, racist expulsions, racist segregation, etc) should not go unnoticed or excused.

*The education unions serve to peddle the wage labor of education workers as a commodity to employers and to guarantee labor peace. In this context, there is a direct trade off: no strikes or job actions in exchange for guaranteed dues income; the check-off. That is precisely the historical origin of the agency shop. It is also a big reason why union bosses obey court injunctions against job actions; threats to the union’s bank account, that is, the union staff salaries.

*School unions attack the working class as a whole. One glaring example (May 2009) of this was the support the California Teachers Association and the NEA gave to a series of ballot propositions that would have dramatically raised the taxes of poor and working people while leaving corporations and the rich off the hook, again. NEA and CTA combined spent more than $12.2 million dollars on the campaigns, and lost overwhelmingly. CTA-NEA demonstrated to poor and working families that organized teachers are enemies–yet those same people are educators’ most important allies.

*These are the empire’s unions. Top leaders are fully aware that a significant portion of their sky-high pay is made possible by the empire’s adventures. NEA and AFT bosses work with a variety of international organizations on behalf of US imperialism. These adventures are frequently deadly as with the AFT’s unwavering support for Israeli Zionism, support for the recent oil wars, and, precisely to the point, work with the National Endowment for Democracy, a Central Intelligence Agency front, in wrecking indigenous leftist worker movements. While the AFT has been the spearhead of US imperialism inside the wholly corrupt “labor movement,” NEA has also been deeply involved. There is a long history of this, back to World War I and the AFL’s support for that horrific war. Again, the flag-waving theory behind it: US workers will do better if foreign workers do worse.

Unlike the private sector where less than 10% of the people belong to unions, school workers are the most unionized people in the country. It follows that it is important for change agents to be where the people are. But one must keep one toe in and nine toes out of the unions.

There are some indications that resistance inside the unions, and out, is rising. In Chicago, a recent election threw out the past, sold-out, union leadership. The CORE caucus organized for months, inside schools but, importantly, in communities among students and parents. Many hoped that new president, Karen Lewis, would serve as a beacon for future union reformers, should she overcome the temptations of office, the hierarchical union structure, the patch-work nature of the CORE foundations, and the full-scale attack that will be surely launched on CORE over time. In 2012 CORE led a massive strike. Events in 2015 suggest, however, that Lewis and CORE will fail to build a mass class conscious movement–and become just another union. We shall have to wait and see.

Social democrats, really social nationalists, have come to power in other teacher unions as well: Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Detroit, for example. What they have in common is their determination to not point to the system of capital and imperialism, despite the fact that many of them belong to so-called “socialist” parties. Perhaps they believe that people need to be taken by baby steps to more radical realities, that is, tricked into class consciousness. In a fun-house mirror sort of way, they look like the upper echelon union bosses, despite heavy doses of militant rhetoric.

The ongoing public workers’s strike in South Africa, a true class battle that includes the entire public work force (educators too) versus the Quisling African National Congress government might serves as an inspiration, if any US media covered it. They do not. Word, however, does slip out.

On March 4th, 2010, masses of students, school workers, and community people organized under banners that said, “Educate! Agitate! Organize! Strike! Occupy! Teach-in!”  Their actions, which included building seizures, express-way sit-downs, walk-outs, rallies, marches, and freedom schooling, varied from area to area but the connection of capitalism/war/racism/class war was made in every case I saw.

The organizers then called for similar actions on October 7th and a national conference in San Francisco in late October.

In the interim, the expert dis-organizers from the unions, the Democratic Party, and the usual sects showed up. That movement veered from its radical beginnings to the reactionary call, “Defend Public Education,” and mobilizing to get out the vote–rather like urging people into church where they know their children will be raped, where they are expected to tithe, but it’s all for the common good–some day.

In 2011, NEA and AFT co-sponsored, from the background, a “Save Our Schools” rally in Washington D.C. The rally cost $150,000 dollars. Less than 5,000 people came. The quid pro quo was, “No attacks on Obama. No criticism of the wars,” In the silence, the payoff worked, but with only 5,000 people, the fake rally also showed the unions’ inability to organize anything of significance. What they do well is dis-organize, deflect, and deceive. They will fashion pacified areas where people are instruments of their own oppression.

In the 2014-2015 school year, a movement grew to “Opt-Out!” of high stakes standardized exams which are, after all, racist, anti-working class–sorting tools that are not used in the private schools where Arne Duncan sends his kids.

But few leaders of this action ever commented on the “Why?” of the exams, i.e., class and empire’s wars, so they built a movement that appealed to many upper middle class groups, but left they key questions–and answers–blank. The core matter, class consciousness, remains untaught and unlearned.

The opportunism that drives the “”Opt-Out ‘Movement’” is perhaps best exemplified in historical context.

On July 3rd, 2000, National Education Association president, Bob Chase, spoke to the delegates at the NEA representative assembly: “(I) heard from more of you about standards and high-stakes tests than any other single issue since becoming president of the NEA…In some states, testing mania is quite literally devouring whole school systems like some education-eating bacteria.”3

Chase earlier promoted what he called, “New Unionism,” that is, the unity of unions and their members, government officials, and corporations, in the “national interest.” While there is nothing whatsoever new about company unionism, corporate state unionism, and the practice wasn’t entirely new to NEA (American Federation of Teachers president, Al Shanker pursued the same plan a decade before Chase) the NEA president codified what became NEA practice ever since.

NEA officers went on to talk anti-testing while helping create all the foundations of all the tests and offering minimal surcease to school workers who tried to resist the test fetishes.

At base, it is more than possible to be racist, sexist, nationalist and brimming over with pro-war sentiment, and oppose the test which would probably make your kid even more stupid.

In the near future, the union tops will use the illusion of the importance of the presidential election to divert millions of dollars and thousands of student and teacher volunteer hours into greater support for the corporate state: what eminent political scientist Chalmers Johnson called, “fascism,” nearly a decade ago. They will do everything they can to mask the fact of class war from above.

What Value do Teachers, school workers, Create?

Working within the school industry, which is itself a multi-billion operation, teachers engage an ideological battle, wittingly or not, that fashions the methods of thought, and thus actions, of the next generation of workers, soldiers, the middle-class buffer zones, defenders of elites like lawyers and military officers, and more. Can school workers act in concert with students, parents, vets, and others, to gain greater control of the value they create? There are hints, only hints, in the near past that they can: the Chicago teachers strike. In the now-distant past: the Students for a Democratic Society.

What can be done now?

People can be told that this is capitalism, rooted in exploited labor–and crises;

  • That there is a connection between capitalism and imperialism–endless war;
  • That the key reasons for the attacks on working people and schools are rooted in those two;
  • The education agenda is a class war agenda and an imperialist war agenda;
  • That the government is an executive committee and armed weapon of the ruling class–there they work out their differences, allowing us to choose which one of them will oppress us best;
  • That the overwhelming majority of union bosses have chosen the other side in what is surely a class struggle–the union hacks gain from the wars and capital by supporting those wars, winning high pay and benefits, and betraying workers, they’re a quisling force, junior partners to a very real ruling class;
  • That students, not teachers nor profs, are the primary target of capitalist mis-education and history shows they can and will take leadership, organize, and fight back;
  • That we can build a social movement that rejects the barriers US unionism creates, from job category to industry to race and sex and beyond.

The core issue of our time is the reality of endless war and rising inequality met by the potential of mass, active class conscious resistance.

We can fight to rescue education from the ruling classes although schools may be illusion mills, human munition factories, or missions for capitalism–the vast majority of teachers its missionaries.

What upends that is a mass, class conscious social movement that shouts the words that tyrants fear most: Equality! Justice! Retribution!

Escalating direct action to control work sites, communities, and importantly, the military.

Everything negative is in place for a revolutionary transformation of society (distrust of leaders, collapse of moral suasion from the top down, financial crises, lost wars, massive unemployment, booming inequality, imprisonment of only the poor, growing reliance on force to rule, eradication of civil liberties, corruption and gridlock of government at every level, etc.) What is missing is the passion, generalization, organization, commitment, and guiding ethic to make that change.

For a beginning, how about a one day, nation-wide, rank and file school strike, uniting all school workers, students and people of the communities: Monday, the day after the International Workers’ holiday–Mayday? The idea is in the wind among some of the rank and file.

There is no reason to look around for approval. It won’t come, top down. It is after all, just us.

Time is short. Justice demands organization.

Meanwhile, try those questions at the top in and out of class.

What defeats men with guns? Ideas!

Notes

References for the student counts, costs, etc., are at http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

More on US unionism here http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/23/counterfeit-unionism-in-the-empire/

Rich Gibson, a co-founder of the education-based Rouge Forum, is professor emeritus, San Diego State university and a former professor of labor history and social studies at Wayne State University in Detroit. He can be reached at: rg@richgibson.com 

Protest violent police repression of striking Mexican teachers

LETTER FROM US section of the Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education

Asking us to support Mexican teachers – send to Mexican officials

We stand in solidarity with the teachers of CNTE in Mexico who are calling upon the government for a genuine dialogue, that their demands be acknowledged and that violent repression not be used against the nationwide movement in defense of public education as it was today in Mexico City. The rights to assemble and express legitimate concerns are rights that are inalienable rights that are part of the civil and democratic freedoms for which humanity has fought and died for during the last two centuries. WHEREVER POSSIBLE, ORGANIZE DEMONSTRATIONS IN FRONT OF MEXICAN CONSULATES AND TAKE PHOTOS TO BE SENT TO THE SAME ADDRESSES AS THE COPIES OF PROTEST LETTERS. Even a photo of 5 people in front of a consulate is a tremendous morale booster for our brothers and sisters fighting against the destruction of teacher unions & public education!

Police end teachers protest in Mexico City
Police attack striking Mexico teachers

LETTERS TO THE GOVERNMENT CAN BE SENT TO:
LIC. ENRIQUE PEÑA NIETO
Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
enrique.penanieto@presidencia.gob.mx

LIC. OSORIO CHONG MIGUEL ANGEL
Secretario de Estado
secretario@segob.mx

LIC. CHUAYFFET CHEMOR EMILIO
Secretaria de Educación Pública
emilio.chuayffet@sep.gob.mxrasagas@live.com
Prof. Eligio Hernández de Oaxaca XXII: eligiogonzalez@hotmail.com

Below is a copy of the letter that the US section of the Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education sent to the protesting teachers in Mexico. Use it as a template and send copies to:
seccionmexicana.coali@gmail.com
Maestra Graciela Rangel de Michoacán sección XVIII: rasagas@live.com
Prof. Eligio Hernández de Oaxaca XXII: eligiogonzalez@hotmail.com

MEXICO D.F., MEXICO September 13, 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education-USA extends our support for your valiant and militant struggle to defend not just your rights as teachers and trade unionists, but the Mexican people’s right to a public education that is guaranteed in your federal constitution. We applaud your courageous resistance against implementation of the present changes in the constitution which would use standardized tests for teachers to be hired and to keep their jobs, standardized tests for students that will limit their future opportunities in life as well as reducing federal funding to state and local schools. These changes will have the worst impact on the poorest states and communities, especially those whose population mainly speak languages other than Spanish.

We face similar attacks in the United States of America under the guise of “reform”. Your struggle for educational and union justice is an inspiration to us about how teachers and communities can unite to defend public education. You have clarified for the world that the forces behind these so-called reforms are powerful corporate interest that intend to privatize public education.

YOUR STRUGGLE IS OUR STRUGGLE!

In solidarity,

Rosemary Lee, for Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education-section USA

Update to issue 17 of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

The current issue of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor has been updated with two new field reports.

Issue No. 17 of Workplace “Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions” is guest edited by Howard Stevenson of Lincoln University (UK).

The new field reports include:

The NEA Representative Assembly of 2010: A Longer View of Crisis and Consciousness
Rich Gibson

Abstract
Following the 2009 National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly (RA) in San Diego, new NEA president Dennis Van Roekel was hugging Arne Duncan, fawning over new President Obama, and hustling the slogan, “Hope Starts Here!” At the very close of the 2009 RA, delegates were treated to a video of themselves chanting, “Hope starts Here!” and “Hope Starts with Obama and Duncan!” The NEA poured untold millions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours, into the Obama campaign. In 2009, Van Roekel promised to tighten NEA-Obama ties, despite the President’s educational policies and investment in war. What happened in the year’s interim? What was the social context of the 2010 RA?

Resisting the Common-nonsense of Neoliberalism: A Report from British Columbia
E. Wayne Ross

Abstract
Faced with a $16 million budget shortfall, the Vancouver school trustees, who have a mandate to meet the needs of their students, have lobbied for more provincial funding to avoid draconian service cuts. The government has refused the request, and its special advisor to the Vancouver School Board criticizes trustees for engaging in “advocacy” rather than making “cost containment” first priority. The clash between Vancouver trustees and the ministry of education is not “just politics.” Rather, education policy in BC reflects the key features of neoliberal globalization, not the least of which is the principle that more and more of our collective wealth is devoted to maximizing private profits rather than serving public needs. British Columbia is home to one of the most politically successful neoliberal governments in the world, but fortunately it is also a place to look for models of mass resistance to the neoliberal agenda. One of the most important examples of resistance to the common-nonsense of neoliberalism in the past decade is the British Columbia teachers’ 2005 strike, which united student, parent, and educator interests in resisting the neoliberal onslaught on education in the public interest.

Rouge Forum Update: French Students + Workers Take the Lead

Rouge Forum Update: French Students + Workers Take the Lead

French Students and Workers Show the Way!
French students blockaded more high schools and universities Thursday, as the third straight day of nationwide strikes over the government’s retirement reforms snarled train travel and sent a renewed challenge to President Nicolas Sarkozy.

France’s BFM TV showed groups of students toppling trash cans in southeast France, erecting barricades in the middle of a Paris avenue, and being closely watched by police in several areas.

While the protesting students won’t reach retirement age for decades, the government is keeping a close eye on their rallies because student protests have brought down major government reforms in the past.

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Video embedded in Daily Californian Reports

Little Red Schoolhouse

The Education Agenda is a War Agenda; A Class and Empire’s War Agenda: Navy Takes Over San Ysidro Schools: The Navy is teaming with the San Ysidro School District in the service’s largest initiative of its kind. Partners in Education pairs locally-based ships with schools to ensure students leave with “academic, technical, and employability skills necessary to be successful in the workplace,” Navy officials said.

Divide and Rule–California to Gut K-12 Schools, Hit State Workers, the Poor and Disabled, and Prisoners, with a Small Bribe to Colleges and Universities: California’s in-home healthcare program for the elderly, blind and disabled would shrink by 3.6%, the document says. Child-care services provided by the state would be trimmed by $48 million.Winners in the plan would be the state’s two higher-education systems, the University of California and California State University. Both would receive $200 million to compensate for cuts made last year and enough money to fully fund projected enrollment growth, according to the report.

Rhee Going Going Gone but Rotten Contract, Sellout Unions, and Racist System Hold Strong: D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee will announce Wednesday that she is resigning at the end of this month, bringing an abrupt end to a tenure that drew national acclaim but that also became a central issue in an election that sent her patron, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, to defeat.

For Those Who Thought They Could Vote In Real Social Change in DC Schools: Presumptive mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray introduced Kaya Henderson on Wednesday as the interim chancellor of D.C. public schools and vowed that reforms launched under Michelle A. Rhee would continue when he takes office in January….In Henderson, Gray inherits someone in tune with Rhee on the fundamentals of education reform, especially the belief that teacher quality is the most important determinant of student success. Rhee and Henderson worked together at the New Teacher Project, a teacher recruiting nonprofit group that Rhee founded and ran before she was appointed by Fenty in June 2007. Henderson was a vice president for the group. She was Rhee’s first appointment and was named her top deputy the day Rhee was introduced to the District. At the time, Rhee made it sound as if they had come to the District as a package. “I told Kaya, ‘I can’t do this without you,’” Rhee said at the time. “She’s everything you’d want in a leader. She has an ability to motivate people. She’s a critical thinker, and she’s an innovative thinker.”

From the Same Reporters Who Brought Us VAM (and the ACLU)–Will UTLA Dump Tenure and Seniority? “This is a shifting of the tectonic plates,” said David Gregory, a professor of labor law at St. John’s College in New York City. “If this were to move forward, every major district in the country is going to look to this as the model…. It would be the most innovative system in the country — if it comes to pass.”

You Kiddies Good and Better Do your Salutin: The Poway Unified School District clarified its Pledge of Allegiance policy after outraged parents said students shouldn’t be able to opt out of saying the pledge. Superintendent John Collins announced the change at Monday’s school board meeting, saying the district sought legal advice to make sure it was following both state and federal law. State education code says every school should have a daily patriotic exercise and the pledge fulfills that requirement. On the other hand, federal law says no one shall be compelled to say the pledge

Wall Street’s Fake Successful Charter in Harlem: The parent organization of the schools, the Harlem Children’s Zone, enjoys substantial largess, much of it from Wall Street. While its cradle-to-college approach, which seeks to break the cycle of poverty for all 10,000 children in a 97-block zone of Harlem, may be breathtaking in scope, the jury is still out on its overall impact. And the cost of its charter schools — around $16,000 per student in the classroom each year, as well as thousands of dollars in out-of-class spending — has raised questions about their utility as a nationwide model.

Ohanian And Metro Times Show Depth Of Detroit Schools’ Economic/Social Crisis: Metro Times has learned that twice in the past 10 months, the state has approved two short-term loans totaling $443 million. Department of Treasury spokesman Caleb Buhs confirms that the loans, obtained through bond sales, were approved by his department. However, no mention of the loans — $256 million in March and $187 million in August — was made on the DPS, Department of Treasury or governor’s websites. Buhs tells Metro Times the loans must be repaid by August 2011. Currently, the state is withholding $45 million per month in funding to satisfy the debt, Buhs says.

Read the full RF Update here.

Workplace No 17 (2010): Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions

Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor No 17 (2010):
Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions

Table of Contents
http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/journal/index.php/workplace/issue/view/8

Articles
——–
Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions: Special Issue Introduction
Howard Stevenson

Terminating the Teaching Profession: Neoliberal Reform, Resistance and the Assault on Teachers in Chile
Jill Pinkney Pastrana

Social Justice Teacher Unionism in a Canadian Context: Linking Local and Global efforts
Cindy Rottmann

Australian Education Unionism in the Age of Neoliberalism: Education as a Public Good, Not a Private Benefit
Jeff Garsed, John Williamson

“What’s Best for Kids” vs. Teacher Unions: How Teach For America Blames Teacher Unions for the Problems of Urban Schools
Heidi Katherine Pitzer

Gramsci, Embryonic Organic Intellectuals, and Scottish Teacher Learning Representatives: Alternatives to Neoliberal Approaches to Professional Development in the K-12 Sector
Alex Alexandrou

Pedagogy of Liminality? The Case of Turkish Teachers’ Union Egitim-Sen
Duygun Gokturk

Book Reviews
——–
Review of Industrial Relations in Education: Transforming the School Workforce
Merryn Hutchings

A Portrait of Authenticity: A Review of Carl Mirra’s (2010) The AdmirableRadical: Staughton Lynd and Cold War Dissent, 1945-1970. Kent, OH: Kent University Press
Adam Renner

Review of Union Learning Representatives: Challenges and Opportunities
Becky Wright

Review of How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation
Marisa Huerta

Review of Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic-Industrial Complex
Leah Schweitzer

The Sociopathology of Everyday Business: A Review of The University Against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace
Jim Rovira

Review of The Rich World and the Impoverishment of Education: Diminishing Democracy, Equity and Workers’ Rights
Paul Orlowski

Technology and (Human) Rights: A Review of Human Rights in the Global Information Society
Stephen Petrina

Review of The Developing World and State Education: Neoliberal Depredation and Egalitarian Alternatives
Steven L. Strauss

Miscellany
——–
Connecting Teacher Unions and Teacher Union Research
AERA Teachers’ Work/Teacher Unions SIG

Rouge Forum Update: Firings in DC–Build October 7th!

Don’t forget Rouge Forum 2010 next week! More info here.

Little Red Schoolhouse:

Michelle Rhee of DC Fires 241 Teachers After Hugging AFT’s Weingarten for Helping Out on Sellout Contract. The AFT Does–Nothing Much and More Educators are on Firing Line: D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee announced Friday that she has fired 241 teachers, including 165 who received poor appraisals under a new evaluation system that for the first time holds some educators accountable for student improvement in standardized test scores….Last month, union members and the D.C. Council approved a contract that raises educators’ salaries by 21.6 percent but diminishes traditional seniority protections in favor of personnel decisions based on results in the classroom. The accord also provides for a “performance pay” system with bonuses of $20,000 to $30,000 annually for teachers who meet certain benchmarks, including growth in test scores

States RaTT Each Other Out: Less than two months after the nation’s governors and state school chiefs released their final recommendations for national education standards, 27 states have adopted them and about a dozen more are expected to do so in the next two weeks.

Their support has surprised many in education circles, given states’ long tradition of insisting on retaining local control over curriculum. The quick adoption of common standards for what students should learn in English and math each year from kindergarten through high school is attributable in part to the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competition. States that adopt the standards by Aug. 2 win points in the competition for a share of the $3.4 billion to be awarded in September. “I’m ecstatic,” said Arne Duncan, (Obamagogue’s Boy Toy)

Stimulus Bait and Switch: The San Dieguito high school district must return $2.8 million of already-spent stimulus funds to the state. The district has to give back the money because it automatically converted to a different category of school system that is entitled to drastically less stimulus funds. The expense comes at a rough time for the district. It’s also facing a $2.78 million reduction in property-tax revenue calculated since June. To deal with the loss of funds, the San Dieguito Union High School District board Tuesday approved laying off 15 nonteaching workers and reducing several school services as steps toward adjusting future budgets.

Read the full RF Update here.

Rouge Forum Update: Rouge Forum Update: Censored News From NEA and AFT Assemblies

Rouge Forum Update: Censored News From NEA and AFT Assemblies

Report from NEA Rep Assembly: The Education Agenda is a War Agenda

NEA RA Photos (All banned on the Rethinking Schools and other Liberal listserves).

The NEA 2010 Rep Assembly: The Longer Version

George Schmidt on the Totalitarian Welcome to Bill Gates at AFT Convention

Bill Gates Speaks to AFT while Some Walkout and Most Cheer the Convicted Monopolist:
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Ohanian on Broad Foundation Impact on Schools and the Demagogue, Obama

1/3 of Detroit Principals are New Hires: More than a third of Detroit Public Schools will have new principals when school begins in September after a wave of retirements and reassignments.

Touchy-Feely DPS Boss Arraigned: Former Detroit School Board President Otis Mathis III stood mute Tuesday at his 36th District Court arraignment on charges of misconduct in office and obscene conduct.

Who’s Running For Detroit School Board? Nobody: Nobody wants to run for two available seats on the Detroit Public Schools board. The deadline to get on the Aug. 3 primary ballot passed May 11 without anyone filing, meaning only a write-in candidate can be elected this fall.

Detroit Boss Bobb Already Reneges on Vile DFT Contract: In his outline for the 2010-11 budget, Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb stated that he will raise class size for grades 4-12 beyond the negotiated limits in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the School District and the DFT. The EFM has stated that the contract allows for teachers to receive compensation for oversized classes.

Detroit Snooze Editorializes vs Tenure and Seniority: “ Spurred by a growing body of research that shows teacher quality is the No. 1 in-school predictor of student achievement, states and cities from New York City to Colorado are moving to ensure school districts consider other factors — such as performance and attendance — when staffing the nation’s classrooms, despite enormous political hurdles and risks.

Another Look at the AFT Convention (alt site)

Rouge Forum Update: March Madness, Spring Break and Holiday War Special

Remember Proposals are Due, April 15, for the Rouge Forum Conference

Send Your Articles, Photos, Cartoons, for the RF News to Community Coordinator Adam Renner.

On the Little Rouge School Front:

Freep Gets to the Real Conditions of DPS–Critiques Broad’s Bobb’s Moves: “What works at Ferguson is constant, intense individual attention to the students’ academic, social and economic needs.” But Bob Bobb is closing the school….

More Arrests of Detroit Public School Scammers: “Bell said his office has opened investigations in 248 cases based on 280 complaints that range from theft to mismanagement. More are to come, he said.”

From The Detroit News: Detroiters Robbed by Broad’s Bobb’s Bond Scheme: “They sold us on a dream,” Hicks-Lark said. “And I jumped on board with it, and now we’ve been crushed.”

Marion Brady: 10 False Assumptions and the Ratt: “”Race to the Top? National standards for math, science, and other school subjects? The high-powered push to put them in place makes it clear that the politicians, business leaders, and wealthy philanthropists who’ve run America’s education show for the last two decades are as clueless about educating as they’ve always been. If they weren’t, they’d know that adopting national standards will be counterproductive, and that the “Race to the Top” will fail for the same reason “No Child Left Behind” failed—because it’s based on false assumptions.

NAEP Results: NCLB Flopped–Nearly No Movement in Test Scores

March 4th Action Video

More March 4th Video

Students, Profs, k12 Educators and Community People Met in Northern and Southern California on March 27 to plan further action including a statewide meet in Fresno on April 24.

Counterpunch Ran Lies About March 4th

Substance Fought for the Truth About March 4th: “The core issue of our time is the reality of the promise of perpetual war and escalating inequality met by the potential of a mass, activist, class conscious movement to transform both daily life and the system of capitalism itself. That is the background, the social context, of the momentous actions on March 4, 2010.”

Adam Renner on M4

Greg Johnson: Medical? What Medical?

Against the Vacillating Reactionary Ravitch: “Perhaps it is because she floats around in the really thin air that is the field of education that the vacillating reactionary, Diane Ravitch, gets cheers from those who condemned her in her No Child Left Behind days.”

The Official Program For Gutting K.C. Schools by Broad’s Covington: “Covington said dramatic and aggressive changes were urgently needed. That includes longer school days. Teachers would be paid more based on how their students perform.”

UTLA Takes Concessions, Shorter Work Year

Read the full Rouge Forum Update here.

Rouge Forum Update: March on March 20 and Mayday! Here’s to the Bogus Health Care Bill Met By Endless War!

Remember Proposals are Due, April 15, for the Rouge Forum Conference

Send Your Articles, Photos, Cartoons, for the RF News to Community Coordinator Adam Renner.

Links to Classic Rouge Forum Flyers:
“Got War?”
Justice or Barbarism
Shoot Moneybags, Not People

Always be sure you are right, then go ahead

On the Little Rouge School Front:

Colbert vs Foner: This was passed along by social studies good-guy Tony Whitson.
My favorite line (Colbert to Eric Foner): “They say that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But, if you change what history was, doesn’t that solve that problem?”

Words Counted in the Ratt (Race to the Top) Literacy Plan:
-standards: 48
-assessment: 37
-reward: 34
-literacy: 19
-rigor: 16
-challenge: 15 (including new buzz phrase “challenge schools”)
-accountable/accountability: 14
-math: 11
-science: 10
-history: 7
-poverty: 7
-language arts: 5
-compete/competition: 4
-thinking: 2
-library: 1
-reading: 0
-writing: 0
-book: 0

Broad’s Bobb Named as Detroit Mayor by NPR on March 17th, Issues Plan to Close 45 Detroit Schools, Spend $70 million on Construction

Broad’s Errand Boy Bobb Demagogics it Up for Parents: Still, he said, he expects to eliminate approximately 2,100 jobs, continue to reduce health care costs and outsource as many options as possible in fiscal year 2010-11. There was a noticeable air of displeasure in the audience as Bobb said he plans to announce on Wednesday which 45 schools will close at the end of this school year.

Detroit Federation of Teachers Refuses to Join Suit Against Broad’s Bobb: “The Detroit Federation of Teachers voted Thursday against joining the lawsuit, with leadership calling it frivolous. However, the union did vote to file a complaint with the state ethics commission against Bobb for accepting the funds, said Keith Johnson, the president.”

The Official Program for the Gutting of Chicago Public Schools: Class Size to 37!

UTLA Boss Favors Revamping Tenure, Certification–Eats Breakfast With Broad: “I would have no problem with changing the tenure rules and extending probation. We should not take tenure away once you get it but [have] some form of recertification.”

Michigan Education Association Moves to Smother Direct Action Resistance—A Three Phase Action Plan to—vote (surprise)

NY Times OpEd–National Socialism for the Schools

The They Say Cut Back; We Say Fight Back Front:

March On March 30 Against the Empires Wars and Mayday Too: The Traditional Rouge Forum Mayday Flyer

On the Perpetual War Front: March on March 20th, Anniversary of the Invasion:

Key Data on the Iraq War Since the Invasion

Read more the Rouge Forum Update here.