Border Security

…a place in which all residents feel safe…

Views from Alongside a Border

kites-on-the-border-wallThis past Saturday was a glorious day to be out and about in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, here in South Texas. It was the first cool day we have had in two seasons.

I spent some of the morning at Hope Park, looking through the bars of the border wall and across the Rio Grande to Mexico. I was with a reporter and a photographer from Le Monde, the French equivalent, I am thinking, of the New York Times.

Also enjoying the cooler weather were a couple of women setting up some performance art. They were planning to fly some kites that had been created by Brownsville children, at the same time that some neighbors in Matamoros, the Mexican sister city to Brownsville, were going to launch their own kites. It was a gentle way to create yet another bridge with Mexico.

Earlier during the week, the…

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Privatizing California’s Public Schools

tultican

The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and the Republican machine destroying public education in California or at least trying to privatize it; are promoting their jaded cause.

Three key players in the assault on California’s public schools are Walmart heiress, Carrie Walton Penner, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings and nativist republican politician, Steve Poizner. In 2001, they started EdVoice a lobbying organization that claims California schools are broken and must be reformed. In 2003 Poizner founded the CCSA. Walton Penner and Hastings remain as board members of both EdVoice and CCSA.

About These Key Players

In a 2008 Sacramento Bee Article announcing Poizner’s run for governor, it said, “Poizner, 51, sold a high-tech business in 2000 for $1 billion and has spent more than $24 million of his own money to launch his political career. A socially moderate, pro-choice Republican, Poizner has gone to great lengths to woo the conservative…

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Nikole Hannah-Jones Explores Dilemma of Segregation, Inequality, Gentrification

Segregation in Public Schools

janresseger

I continue to think about Nikole Hannah-Jones’ piece that appeared in Sunday’s NY Times Magazine, Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City.  Hannah-Jones is the reporter these days who has covered school integration with more expertise than almost anyone else.  Here she describes her and her husband’s journey as they chose where to educate their own daughter in New York City. Hannah-Jones grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, where she believes she benefited from the opportunity to be bused for school integration. Her husband was educated in the naturally integrated schools that serve the children of the American military in the U.S. and around the world.

Today the family lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “a low-income, heavily black, rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of brownstones in central Brooklyn.”  “In a city where white children are only 15 percent of the more than one million public-school students, half of them are…

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The Charter School Swindle – Selling Segregation to Blacks and Latinos

gadflyonthewallblog

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 4.22.46 PM

Segregation now!

 

Higher suspension rates for black students!

 

Lower quality schools for Latinos!

These may sound like the campaign cries of George Wallace or Ross Barnett. But this isn’t the 1960s and it isn’t Alabama or Mississippi.

These are the cries of modern day charter school advocates – or they could be.

School choice boosters rarely if ever couch their support in these terms, but when touting charter schools over traditional public schools, this is exactly what they’re advocating.

According to the Civil Right Project at UCLA, “The charter school movement has been a major political success, but it has been a civil rights failure.”

It’s choice over equity.

Advocates have become so blinded by the idea of choice that they can’t see the poor quality of what’s being offered.

Because charter schools DO increase segregation. They DOsuspend children of color…

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Watching Out

At that point, perhaps, my fellow Americans would begin to watch out for them.

Views from Alongside a Border

0894f-cross02“Look, but do not stare,” I tell myself, as our group was walked into a circle of hell.

There were about forty of us, advocates in different ways for the immigrants who have made their way to our country. Several of the organizations had been working for years to make the Border Patrol transparent and responsible for its policing actions. The quarterly meetings with Border Patrol leadership had resulted in scant change. Since 2010, at least forty-six people have died as the result of an encounter with US border agents. The discussions between the immigrant advocates and the Border Patrol typically take place in Washington, DC, but, this time the meeting was being held in McAllen, Texas.

The McAllen Border Patrol processing center achieved infamy for the shameful way thousands of Central American children were treated in the summer of 2014. The nation’s largest police agency, even with its…

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Resistance

Crease and Resist
“The gods of resistance smile”

Views from Alongside a Border

7abfa-10sanfelipeskies2008I answered the quiet knock at the door. The very tall, very thin visitor was from Quebec, working on a Master’s thesis in geology. He had emailed me a couple of weeks before, wanting to discuss my experiences of living and working in a border region.

He had said, “I am interested in learning how people living in difficult circumstances organize themselves against oppression.”

I was glad to have that sort of discussion and invited him to our home for a talk.

One of the benefits of living alongside an international border is the number of academics who make their way here, anxious for a conversation, looking for an insight, and searching for a new notion about things they have invested a lot of time researching. They are students of public health and of public education. They are sociologists and anthropologists. Every now and again, they can seem arrogant, but…

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Dear Mark

Save Maine Schools

Dear Mark,

You probably don’t remember me, but we were students together at Phillips Exeter Academy fifteen years ago. I was a lower (sophomore) when you were a senior, so our paths didn’t overlap much, but I do believe we had one class together – Latin with Mr. Morante.

I’m writing for two reasons: first, a quick thank you for Facebook. I’ve always enjoyed it as a social tool, but recently I have discovered how powerful it can be as networking tool to gather people around a common cause.  Lately, I’ve connected with parents, teachers, administrators, bloggers, and other activists around the country who are all working passionately toward one goal: getting our local schools back from the powerful corporate and political interests that now strangle them. We share notes and research, triumphs and setbacks, inspiration and outrage, and lately it seems – incrementally at least – that we may…

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The Reformers’ War on Language and on Democracy

Words can kill public schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

Maybe it is just me, but I find myself outraged by the “reformers'” incessant manipulation of language.

“Reform” seldom refers to reform.

“Reform” means privatization.

“Reform” means assaults on the teaching profession.

“Reform” means eliminating teachers’ unions, which fight for better salaries and working conditions.

“Reform” means boasting about test scores by schools that have carefully excluded the students who might get low scores.

“Reform” means using test scores to evaluate teachers even though this practice has negative effects on teacher morale and fails to identify better or worse teachers.

“Reform” means stripping teachers of due process rights or any other job security.

“Reform” means that schools should operate for-profit and that private corporations should be encouraged to profit from school spending.

“Reform” means acceptance of privately managed schools that operate without accountability or transparency.

“Reform” means the incremental destruction of public education.

I am reminded of George Orwell’s lines…

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An alternative to high stakes testing works. New York schools have proven it.

It’s not the kids who are the problem. It’s the disconnect between what we want kids to do and what we have them do.

Seattle Education

consortium

71 percent of English language learners in New York Performance Standards Consortium schools graduated on time in 2015, versus 37 percent across New York City, where all but two of the consortium schools are located.

This is a model that teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle have been studying, traveling to New York to learn how to implement the New York Performance Standards Consortium program described below. This collaborative relationship is highlighted in the film “Beyond Measure.

From the Hechinger Report:

NYC schools that skip standardized tests have higher graduation rates

An interview with the woman overseeing the group defying convention

After almost 30 years at an alternative high school, Ann Cook now heads a consortium of New York public high schools that assess students with little reliance on standardized tests. After almost 30 years at an alternative high school, Ann Cook now heads a consortium of New York public high schools that assess students with little reliance on standardized tests.

The role of standardized tests is one of the most contentious subjects in public education…

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