The Rouge Forum Dispatch is updated here. There is nothing like it.
Join the Rouge Forum Facebook page .
The Dispatch goes on hiatus for two weeks as we hit the road.
Our heartfelt good wishes to Rouge Forum Community Coordinator, Adam Renner, now hospitalized, and his wife, Gina. Get well, Adam!
The Rouge Forum update is linked here.
There you will find the latest news, in its social context, as well as classic Rouge Forum posters, flyers, and more. Plus fun!
We will start next year with announcements from, especially, India, China, and Canada, as well as updates on the resistance, in schools and out.
The Rouge Forum Update, complete with the news from the school-based uprisings in Europe (see the video under Fightback) is linked here.
See also the answer to the burning question, “What would the Ramones do on high-stakes standardized test week?”
Congratulations to Ed Yu on the publication of his book, The Art of Slowing Down, a Sense-able Approach from Pananthea books.
We are looking for critical reviews of the film, Inside Job.
Remember the Rouge Forum Conference, Chicago, May 20-22, in Chicago.
The most recent issue of the Rouge Forum News is here. Thanks to Adam Renner for great work on pulling together the issue.
The Rouge Forum Update, complete with
*news of world-wide resistance to the international war of the rich on the poor,
*fightbacks against the assault on knowledge and schools,
*an essay contest,
*plus great graphics, and more (!)
*is linked here
Don’t forget to make plans for the Chicago Rouge Forum conference, May 20-22, 2011.
The new issue of the Rouge Forum News is dedicated to a few of the papers from the Rouge Forum 2010 conference, held in Williams Bay, WI this past August.
Rouge Forum News #17 includes:
Marxist thought: Still primus inter pares for understanding and opposing the capitalist system
Education versus schooling as a commodity fetish
Use of multicultural children’ book and narratives in teacher preparation
Blanca Caldas Chumbes
Plotting inequality, building resistance
Toward a dialectical materialist approach in education
Faith Agostinone-Wilson (with Gina Stiens and Adam Renner)
Thanks to RF News Editor Adam Renner for putting together another great issue.
Check out the new issue of the Rouge Forum News #17 here [pdf].
Read past issues of the RF News here.
The Little Red Schoolhouse
Linda Lovelace Sucks Money Out of San Francisco Schools: Ms. Lovelace was in charge of administering contracts between the school district and Bay Area Community Resources. According to her termination letter, she signed contracts on behalf of officials who had not given her authorization and submitted false claims that she had worked 12-hour days during the school year.
“Your conduct in intentionally requesting and receiving an additional four hours of compensation every single day is tantamount to stealing,” stated the dismissal notice, which was written by Roger Buschmann, the chief administrative officer. “Particularly at a time when the district faces a multimillion-dollar deficit and forced layoffs of many skilled and diligent professionals, such conduct is appalling.”
Detroit School Union Boss: “We’re Shortchanged so Let’s Attack….Students”: The president of the Detroit Public Schools teachers union wants substitute teachers to stop developing lesson plans, grading assignments and participating in parent-teacher conferences. The move is meant to send a message to Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, who hasn’t restored pay and benefits of substitute teachers serving as a daily classroom teachers due to teacher shortages this year, said Keith Johnson, president of Detroit Federation of Teachers.
Next Target, after merit pay, abolition of tenure, mass racist layoffs, etc.—Teacher Pension Funds: Today there is an almost $500 billion shortfall for funding teacher pensions, and that gap is growing. Why should you care? Because ultimately taxpayers are on the hook for that money. But the problem doesn’t just end there. The way teacher pensions operate is badly suited to today’s teacher workforce, where 30-year careers are no longer the norm. The current setup penalizes teachers who move between states, switch to private or public-charter schools that do not participate in the pension system or leave teaching altogether. Meanwhile, it becomes financial suicide for teachers to change careers after a certain point, even if they no longer want to teach or are not good at it.
Weaker Dollar Won’t Help Workers: Another reason increased sales abroad might not translate into American jobs is that American companies have moved steadily overseas in recent decades. The number of workers employed by American companies abroad more than doubled from 1989 to 2008, to 10.5 million, according to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis. Companies mostly wanted to open up foreign markets, and in some cases take advantage of cheaper labor, studies show, but less vulnerability to currency movements was an important fringe benefit.
Hot Damn! Cheap American Workers For Sale! GREER, S.C. —When German automaker BMW put out the call recently to hire a thousand factory workers here, the people who responded reflected the upheaval occurring in the U.S. economy. Among the applicants: a former manager of a major distribution center for Target, a consultant who oversaw construction projects in four Western states and a supervisor at a plastics-recycling firm. Some held college degrees and résumés in other fields where they made more money. But they’re all in the factory now making $15 an hour — about half of what the typical German autoworker makes.
The trade debate in the United States usually focuses on the jobs lost to factories in the developing world. But the recession has forced countless skilled workers in this country to consider jobs they would have rejected in the past. They now offer foreign manufacturers a resource that was far less common just a few years ago: cheaper wages for better talent…At GM and Chrysler, new hires make $14 an hour, or half the amount that existing workers take home. Likewise, at the BMW plant, which is not unionized, new workers earn a little more than half of what those hired earlier make. Some still seemed stunned by their change of circumstances. But they are almost uniformly grateful for the opportunity.
Read the full Rouge Forum Update here.
Rouge Forum Update: The Education Agenda is a War Agenda. (Read full update here.)
The Little Red Schoolhouse
Chicago Whittier Sitdowners Hold Strong For Complete Victory:
“I was ignored, laughed at, intimidated and treated like a criminal by CPS.”
Part of Arceli Gonzalez’s opening remark Wednesday during her allotted time at the Chicago Public Schools board meeting is no longer true. The parents and activists protesting at Whittier Elementary School are not being ignored.
After her contentious exchange with schools CEO Ron Huberman, Gonzalez and over a dozen other supporters of the protest filtered out of the board chamber. In the hallway, a gaggle of media crowded around for an impromptu press conference where Gonzalez said the sit-in would not end even if they received Huberman’s promised letter outlining prior agreements to preserve the field house they call “La Casita.”
For the last 43 days, parents and activists from Pilsen have been living in the field house at Whittier, 1900 W. 23rd St., to protest the plan to demolish the decades-old building – deemed unsafe by CPS – and replace it with green space. It was to be the final part of $1.4 million in improvements to Whittier in the last year. The group demands a library for the school, one of over 160 in the system without a formal library.
“We don’t want 10 books in the school, we want a full top-of-the-line library for our kids, just like other schools are getting,” said Evelin Santos, a DePaul student from Pilsen who has been very active in the protests.
Male figure: Let’s begin today’s collaborative planning meeting with successes and challenges. Who would like to volunteer some successes? You are all required to volunteer successes.
Female voice: My students are not understanding verse structure. We have been working on it for three days….
Male voice: That is not a success. You need to mention a success for this week.
Female voice: There have not been any this week. Today is Tuesday and Monday was a holiday.
Male voice: See, it was not hard to find a success. Stop being so negative and we can get more done. Does anyone have a challenge to volunteer?
The Education Agenda is a War Agenda: CHULA VISTA, CA – Southwestern College today announced a major new partnership with the U.S. Navy and Department of Labor to train students for long-term, well-paying careers in ship maintenance and repair. The new program is the only one of its kind in California and open to anyone interested in becoming part of the Navy’s civilian workforce.
“Our students want an education that translates into a career. With this new partnership, they have yet another way to get it,” Dr. Raj K. Chopra, Superintendent/President of Southwestern College, said. “Working with our federal partners, Southwestern College is proud to offer diverse learning opportunities to our students and community.”
The program, called the Southwest Regional Apprenticeship Program, is based at the Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado. It includes academic and trade-based training, and provides its graduates U.S. Navy and Department of Labor Journeyworker certifications and a Certificate of Proficiency from Southwestern College.
So You Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities? (Poignant video)
Another Creative Video by Jerry “Gangs in the Hat!”
Stroker Mathis Sentenced: Former Detroit Public School Board President Otis Mathis was sentenced today to two years probation for misconduct in office related to accusations he fondled himself during a private meeting with the woman who was then serving as the district’s superintendent.
More Detroit School Administrator/Gangsters Charged: A federal grand jury today whacked a former Detroit Public Schools executive with new charges in a public corruption scandal involving inflated million-dollar invoices, kickbacks and expensive parties that were thrown on the school district’s dime.
Charged in the superseding indictment was Stephen Hill, 59, a former executive director of the Risk Management Department of the DPS, who allegedly accepted and demanded kickbacks from a vendor accused of looting more than $3 million from the school district by over-billing for inadequate work. Hill also accepted kickbacks in the form of a brand-new Mustang GT convertible in 2005, and a new Dodge Durango SUV in 2006, the indictment said.
Hill also is charged with conspiring to use DPS funds to pay for his $40,000 retirement party when he temporarily left DPS in September 2005.
Also charged in the superseding indictment were Sherry Washington, her sister Gwendolyn Washington, Marilyn White, and Sally Jo Bond — all of whom were partners in company called “Associates for Learning.”
According to the indictment, Associates for Learning contracted with Hill to facilitate a wellness program for DPS employees that was supposed to cost $150,000. The company ended up billing DPS more than $3 million for the program, and gave Hill 5% of the total amount as a kickback, the indictment said.
Read full update here.
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.
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.
(Scott Stringer, Manhattan borough president: “The entrance fee to live here is a million-dollar condo.” — The New York Times, July 4)
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,”
Said Emma Lazarus — but time passes,
And the poor go back to being wretched refuse
For which the condo captains have no use.
And so the needy are forced again to disperse,
To search for ill-lit tenements, or worse,
From which their outcast children may behold
The soaring towers built of glass and gold.
Little Red Schoolhouse
An Interchange: Why are Today’s Students Apathetic? Young people also know almost nothing about the history of American imperialism, nor do they know about the rich (and bipartisan!) antimilitarist tradition in America. Years of government school has only served to leave Uncle Sam looking strapping in his camouflage. This is probably why inanities like “they hate us for our freedom” have such currency in America…. Finally, most young people are more interested in remaining in the good graces of those around them than learning about the world.
The Idiosyncratic Nature of Teaching and Learning: “The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning-styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing,” the researchers concluded. Ditto for teaching styles, researchers say. Some excellent instructors caper in front of the blackboard like summer-theater Falstaffs; others are reserved to the point of shyness. “We have yet to identify the common threads between teachers who create a constructive learning atmosphere,” said Daniel T. Willingham, a psychologist at the University of Virginia and author of the book “Why Don’t Students Like School?”But individual learning is another matter, and psychologists have discovered that some of the most hallowed advice on study habits is flat wrong.
More of Detroit’s School Thieves to the Hoosegow: Detroit — A former payroll manager for Detroit Public Schools was sentenced Thursday to 24 months in prison for defrauding the district of hundreds of thousands of dollars by writing payroll checks to dead employees and another who was receiving disability payments. Toni D. Gilbert, 46, of Detroit was also ordered to pay $672,762 in restitution, according to United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.
Can Anything Halt the Tragic Collapse of Detroit and its University? He described as disappointing the university’s low ranking in the latest U.S. News and World Reports annual listing of colleges in the U.S., saying “the view from the basement isn’t good.” He also addressed the university’s low graduation rates, saying the good news is that “the problem was recognized some time ago, and we have a number of creative programs that are working to alleviate this problem.”
Why Have School? We’re teaching kids what it means to be a citizen in our country. And what I fear we’re doing is teaching them that what it means to be an American is that you accept authority without question and that you have absolutely no rights to question punishment. It’s very Big Brother-ish in a way. Kids are being taught that you should expect to be drug tested if you want to participate in an organization, that walking past a police officer every day and being constantly under the gaze of a security camera is normal. And my concern is that these children are going to grow up and be less critical and thoughtful of these sorts of mechanisms. And so the types of political discussions we have now, like for example, whether or not wiretapping is OK, these might not happen in 10 years.
Michigan and the RaTT Shell Game Saps (wither the vaunted lobbying power of the MEA? You Got the Law, and Zero Dough) Pay for performance as a part of teacher compensation is coming soon to your school district as part of a series of new laws enacted in Michigan’s failed bid to win federal Race to the Top funds.
The new laws were enacted prior to Michigan’s first application for Race to the Top funds. The laws are expected to remain, even though the state did not receive money in the first or second rounds of federal funding.
Time Mag Shills for Comerica Bank’s “Partnership” with Detroit Public Schools (Not a privatization, but a near seamless merger of the corporate world and the government schools) Some background: At Detroit Cristo Rey, the student body is 85 percent Black and 35 percent Hispanic. (sic…Time is numerically challenged). T he training was held as part of the school’s corporate work study program, in which students maintain jobs at local Detroit organizations. The students work to contribute funds to pay for their education, while also gaining valuable experience….
Plus Susan Ohanian on the Six Degrees from Obamagogue to Superman Film: … Davis Guggenheim, who wrote and directed “Waiting for Superman, made a bio of Barack Obama’s mother, which premiered at the 2008 Democratic National Convention before Barack Obama’s speech accepting his party’s nomination. He also directed an Obama infomercial which aired in 2008. Guggenheim is best known as director of the blockbuster “Inconvenient Truth.” (2006)
San Diego State Adds to the Proud Casino Gambling Program, The Sports Management Program, and the Homeland Security Program–Troops to Teachers (will they get attacked like Teach for America?) The California branch of the federal Troops to Teachers program formally opened its new headquarters Thursday on the San Diego State University campus. Jointly funded by the Department of Education and the Department of Defense, the program is designed to recruit veterans into teaching programs and provide them with academic advising, counseling and financial services.
SDSU Profs Resort to FlashMobs To Do Research: … to fill a void that has disadvantaged research on campus through a lack of advocacy and perpetual misunderstanding/misrepresentation of researcher needs…Among possible upcoming efforts planned by the group, a ten-minute “flash mob” demonstration by the professors in front of Manchester Hall, where the administration is housed, and multiple Public Records Act requests to the university regarding its grant-funding practices.
Rouge Forum Update: Happy Labor Day and Back to School Edition
Reminder: Nominations for the Rouge Forum Steering Committee go to Community Coordinator Adam Renner at by September 15th.
Mayday Is the Real Labor Day! Here’s a Fine Poem Anyway:
Workers of the world, awaken!
Rise in all your splendid might
Take the wealth that you are making,
It belongs to you by right.
No one will for bread be crying
We’ll have freedom, love and health,
When the grand red flag is flying
In the Workers’ Commonwealth
Putting a Noose on the Core (Regimented/Nationalist) Curriculum–States Take Bribe to Push More Tests: The Department of Education on Thursday awarded $330 million to two groups of states to design new standardized tests to replace the end-of-year reading and math exams used over the past decade to measure achievement under the federal No Child Left Behind law. The new tests, which are to be aligned with the common academic standards that nearly 40 states have adopted in recent months, are to be ready for the 2014-15 school year, the department said.
In Detroit, School Will Open but Where are the Teachers to Be? Hundreds of teachers without job assignments for the fall converged at a Detroit hotel Monday seeking a classroom spot before students return to school next week.Detroit Public Schools issued layoff notices to about 2,000 teachers earlier this year as it grapples with a $363 million budget deficit and declining enrollment. While some teachers had already been brought back, hundreds without assignments were asked to report to the Hotel St. Regis on Monday, the first day of school for teachers.
But Who Gets Laid off And How if, predictably, The Kids Don’t Show Up for the DPS Mess? The “Special Authority” provision of the contract allows the district to protect itself from incurring a deficit in the event student enrollment drops significantly, resulting in the district having more teachers than it needs to staff classrooms.
More Corruption in Detroit Schools–a Principal, an Accountant, and a Cop: A former principal, former school accountant and a former police officer will face felony charges in connection with embezzling nearly $150,000 from the Detroit Public Schools, officials announced today.
Connecting the War/Education Lies: As schools began to open for the 2010-11 year, two lies that need to be connected were kept apart in the for-profit media. On August 30, 2010, ABC News “This week,” chaired by Christiane Amanpour offered the usual tripe about educational reform, virtually praising the White House Race to the Top (RaTT) project. Washington D.C.’s school tyrant, Michelle Rhee, joined Obama errand-boy Arne Duncan and the American Federation of Teacher’s boss Randi Weingarten in a celebration of reform under the guise that “We are all in this together for the children.”
Read full update here.