Edward S. Herman
Obama vs. Romney
Pennies For Your Thoughts
Psychologists Subvert Democracy
Bruce E. Levine
Citizens United and Walker
Cocaine, Power, and Gaza
Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder
No Such Thing As Rape
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Behind the Chicago Teachers Strike
Moderator@Portside.org emailed the following article by Theresa Moran (labornotes.org):
With throngs of red-shirted union members flanking the doors, CTU officers emerged from the union office at 10 PM to announce the strike, which came after nine months of contentious negotiations with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his appointed school board. Not a half hour before, school board President David Vitale was visibly shaking as he announced that talks had broken down. CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey made clear, however, that for the union, it wasn’t about money in teachers’ pockets. Sharkey cited, in particular, a new evaluation process that could cause 28 percent of teachers to lose their jobs within two years.
Recall rights for teachers displaced by school closures is another of the union’s top priorities, though not an issue they’re able to strike over. By law, the teachers can only walk out over unfair labor practices or mandatory subjects of bargaining like wages or health benefits. Bargaining improved in recent weeks, the union said, with the city withdrawing its attempt to institute merit pay, reinstating some scheduled raises based on education and experience, and annual raises each year of the four-year deal instead of the initial proposal for a one-time 2 percent bump. CTU said the city offered 3 percent the first year and 2 percent each following year.
More important than economics or the teacher evaluations, said Sharkey, are “pedagogical issues” like small class sizes; a curriculum of language, art, music, and physical education for all students; and nursing and social-work services inside schools to address the many needs that poor students bring to the schoolhouse—and that hurt academic performance when unaddressed.
While teachers raised issues from evaluations to school privatization to class size to explain why they backed the strike, they were in solid agreement on one thing: public education in
Emanuel and the school board say the best way to deal with struggling public schools is to close them or turn them over to private charter operators. The problem they see isn’t a lack of resources or a “drill-and-kill” test- based curriculum, but bad teachers. The solution is to use students’ standardized test scores to identify—and then get rid of— both schools and teachers who are “failing.” Job protections like tenure and seniority rights, to education privatizers, are roadblocks on the path to wiping out public schools.
The corporate plan for education is not just about ideology, however. It’s also about money. Charter schools can be lucrative investment opportunities, and glitzy new charters are placed in gentrifying neighborhoods, serving as a magnet for newcomers while excluding local children. Eliminating job protections and evaluating teachers based on student test scores is also about saving money, says high school teacher Adam Heenan, “designed to make teachers cheap” by firing experienced educators. Another money-saving move is alternative teacher certification programs like Teach for
Lewis says the revolving door of teachers is bad for kids, who often have chaotic home lives plagued by hunger, homelessness, and violence. “Job security is stability for our students,” she argued. The union singles out poverty as one of the biggest roadblocks to academic achievement. CTU has insistently pointed to disparities within the city, particularly the lack of resources in schools serving low-income Black and Latino students. The union says 160 schools have no library, and many lack playgrounds. Problems in the schools themselves, the union argues, can be solved by fully funding them, providing a rich curriculum and the wraparound services students need. Class size matters, too. Kindergarten and first-grade classrooms in
The strike has been “a long time coming,” Heenan said.
See labornotes.org for the full text of this article
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
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MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
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LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
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