“We are losing millions of our children to inferior schools and catastrophically misguided and ineffective so-called education reforms. Our schools are being destroyed by politics, profit, greed and lies….Instead of evidence-based practices, money has become the engine of education policy, and our schools are being hijacked by politicians, non-educators and for-profit operators. Parents, teachers, citizens and community elders must arm ourselves with the best evidence and take back control of our children’s public education before it is too late. We all must work together to improve our public schools, not on the basis of profit or politics, but on the basis of evidence, and on the basis of love for America’s children.”—James Meredith
“It took no courage to do what I did. Jackie had the courage. If it had been me, a white man, trying to be the only one in the black leagues, I couldn’t have done it. What he had to endure, the criticism, the catcalls — I wouldn’t have had the courage.”—Former Brooklyn Dodger shortstop Pee Wee Reese to a reporter when asked about his public support of Jackie Robinson
Obama's "Promise Zones" help the wealthy before the impoverished
Old-school Democrats used to declare war on poverty and bring the powers of the state against it. New-school Democrats merely retread Republican deregulatory delusions and cloak them in “anti-poverty” language. Take President Obama’s latest anti-poverty program:
Crucially, no new federal money will be allocated.
It should come as no surprise that what might be Obama’s most significant second-term anti-poverty strategy operates through deregulation and tax breaks rather than real redistribution of wealth. The policy itself is couched in the language of individual uplift and self-reform. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s FAQ on the policy reminds us that “there’s a basic bargain in America … no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re willing to work hard and play by the rules you should be able to find a good job, feel secure in your community, and support a family.”
The burden for social mobility lies firmly with the residents of the zones and, to a lesser extent, on charity and businesses. The implicit diagnosis is one of over-regulation and over-taxation, rather than structural unemployment, racism, and a hollowed-out welfare state.
Call me old-school, but I will take a weak dose of LBJ any day over a strong dose of BO.
“America and most of its newspapers applauded me in Montgomery. And I stood before thousands of Negroes getting ready to riot when my home was bombed and said, ‘We can’t do it this way.’ They applauded us in the sit-in movement–we non-violently decided to sit in at lunch counters. They applauded us on the Freedom Rides when we accepted blows without retaliation. They praised us in Albany and Birmingham and Selma, Alabama. Oh, the press was so noble in its applause, and so noble in its praise when I was saying, ‘Be non-violent toward Bull Connor’ …. There’s something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say, ‘Be non-violent toward [southern segregationists],’ but will curse and damn you when you say, ‘Be non-violent toward little brown Vietnamese children.’”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The discourse of entitlement is a discourse of rights, of human agents claiming what’s theirs instead of asking permission from the powerful. It’s a tradition that regards paternalism and noblesse oblige as pejoratives. Dignity, not charity, is the animating principle. People earn access to the rudiments of life (food, healthcare, shelter) by virtue of their humanity. Rights language invites the beggar to rise from his knees and, without equivocation or supplication, demand his humanity be recognized. Workers are entitled to a living wage. Children are entitled to grow up free from poverty. Homeless people are entitled to a home.”—Sean Gude, In Defense of ‘Entitlements’
“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”—Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
“A new sports venue presents no guarantee of urban renewal. If you doubt that, look at the scarred neighborhoods surrounding the Georgia Dome and Turner Field. That’s why the contention by [Mayor Kasim] Reed…that a new Falcons stadium will turn around the area comes off as such bunk. If the city really wanted to commit millions to develop new businesses and mixed-use development around the Georgia Dome, it could have done so without a new football stadium.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A theatrical performance or a staged confidence game requires a thorough scripting of the spoken content of the routine; but the vast part involving “expression given off” is often determined by meager stage direction …. the details of the expressions and movements used do not come from a script but from command of an idiom, a command that is exercised from moment to moment with little calculation or forethought.”—Erving Goffman, The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life, pp. 73-74
“The mantras of neoliberalism are now well known: Government is the problem; Society is a fiction; Sovereignty is market-driven; Deregulation and commodification are vehicles for freedom; and Higher education should serve corporate interests rather than the public good. In addition, the yardstick of profit has become the only viable measure of the good life, while civic engagement and public spheres devoted to the common good are viewed by many politicians and their publics as either a hindrance to the goals of a market-driven society or alibis for government inefficiency and waste.”—Henry A. Giroux
“Typically, we blame developers. And god knows, they have much to answer for. But it’s time we take a closer look at their handmaids at City Hall: the planners. They are the real experts.”—How Toronto planners ensure mediocrity
“Residents that want to close their street for a block party are required to get a permit that requires the approvals of their Community Board and police precinct. A live performance on a residential street should be permitted in the same way. By leveraging the capabilities and structure of a Community Board, neighbors’ concerns are more likely to be anticipated and their interests protected. Although it’s a touchier subject, thought must also be given to how residents should participate in the economic side of a for-profit production like the Video Music Awards. They are, after all, being asked to make a sacrifice for a private business, and have a right to be compensated, even if indirectly (for instance, through the producers funding a community project).”—Gib Veconi, A Tale of Two Shindigs (re: impact of VMAs on Brooklyn neighborhoods)
“Because they are mostly free to do what they want, mega-foundations threaten democratic governance and civil society (defined as the associational life of people outside the market and independent of the state). When a foundation project fails—when, say, high-yield seeds end up forcing farmers off the land or privately operated charter schools displace and then underperform traditional public schools—the subjects of the experiment suffer, as does the general public. Yet the do-gooders can simply move on to their next project. Without countervailing forces, wealth in capitalist societies already translates into political power; big philanthropy reinforces this tendency.”—Joanne Barkan
“Few persons can bear to be outdone in reasoning or declamation or wit, or sarcasm or repartee or satire, and all these things are very apt to grow out of public debate. In this way in a course of years, a nation becomes full of a man’s enemies, or at least of such as have been galled in some controversy, and take a secret pleasure in assisting to humble and mortify him.”—John Adams (as quoted by Jon Meacham)
“Like all significant causes, education reform bears the mark of its time. These days we trust markets and mistrust institutions, especially of the state, so education reform proposes to take apart the main structures of schooling in America—a network of districted public schools and a unionized teaching corps. It proposes, as an urgently necessary national project, to replace them with a school system governed by metrics, choice, incentive compensation, and personnel reductions. It is roughly the same prescription that activist investors would apply to an industrial corporation of the same vintage as the education system. And this is no coincidence: many of the leaders of education reform are activist investors. The proselytizing and structure-building proclivities of the social reformers of a century ago are nowhere to be seen in education reform.”—Nicholas Lemann
“if you look at the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) there has been overall an increase in student achievement over the past four decades …. But if you listen to the constant drumbeat from the people promoting Common Core, you would think we were living in an age of educational failure. That’s simply not the case. If we want more people going to college, then we should reinforce the availability of college to people, and make it more affordable. Instead we’re focusing on tests, as if tests are going to somehow magically transform our landscape.”—Anthony Cody
“For the neoliberal camp, the future of the American city is clear: In the coming decade, mayors, business elites, philanthropists and university presidents must build metropolitan economies based on innovation, competitiveness and growth. Unfortunately, something is missing from this picture: working people, and the labor unions and grassroots community groups that advocate for them. This omission is consequential. Absent their voices, the chances are slim of creating urban growth whose benefits are broadly shared.”—Amy Dean, A Top-Down Urban Revolution
“I’ll tell thee what, Prince: a college of wit-crackers cannot
flout me out of my humor. Dost thou think I care for a satire
or an epigram? No. If a man will be beaten with brains, he
shall wear nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I do
purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that
the world can say against it, and therefore never flout at me
for what I have said against it. For man is a giddy thing, and
this is my conclusion.”—Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5, Scene 4
“In city after city, [Teach For America] has largely abandoned its earlier mission of staffing hard-to-fill positions in public schools, serving instead as a placement agency for urban charters. In Chicago, however, TFA’s role appears to go far beyond providing labor for the fast-growing charter sector. An internal TFA document indicates that the organization has a plan to dramatically expand the number of charter schools in the city.”—Jennifer Berkshire (a.k.a., “EduShyster”)
How is the post-Reagan, neo-liberal agenda of deregulation and giving more power to businesses working out for you?
According to the bureau, more U.S. workers are getting fewer paid vacation days than they were 20 years ago.
But there has been some compensation: While fewer workers enjoy paid vacations, employers are increasingly providing access to sick leave, personal leave, and family leave, according to the study.
So, essentially we are getting less time off to do things we enjoy, but we are getting more time off to be sick, which we are more because we work more, because the deregulated products businesses sell are making us sicker and because we have less access to preventive health care.
Wow. Thanks, business. Thanks, government, which is controlled by business.
“The assault on teachers unions and on teachers’ competence and caring (gender is a key element of the attack) should be seen in light of education being the final sector of the economy that is public and unionized. Education is being restructured in a global project to ‘marketize’ schooling, using the rhetoric of ‘modernization’ and ‘putting students first.’ Throughout the world we see the same footprint of reform, which includes privatization and loss of democratic oversight; use of standardized testing to control what is taught and turn teachers into contract labor; increasing costs to ‘users’ while simultaneously limiting access.”—This Labor Day, thank a teacher
“If the public knew what the government was doing, the government wouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore is a perfect description of a “Fourth Estate situation.” That’s when we need a journalist to bring the hidden facts to light and put public opinion into play, which then changes the equation for people in power.”—Jay Rosen
“The day after Thanksgiving 1960, Edward R. Murrow broadcast a report called “Harvest of Shame,” documenting the plight of migrant farmworkers. Temp workers today face many similar conditions in how they get hired, how they get to work, how they live and what they can afford to eat. Adjusted for inflation, those farmworkers earned roughly the same 50 years ago as many of today’s temp workers …. In fact, some of the same farm towns featured in Murrow’s report have now been built up with warehouses filled with temps.”—The Expendables, ProPublica
“The only winners in the financial crisis that brought Detroit to the brink of state takeover are Wall Street bankers who reaped more than $474 million from a city too poor to keep street lights working.”—Bloomberg
“God forbid a student or a family should decide not to take the test! In more than few school districts, children who have chosen to opt out have been have been browbeaten, insulted, threatened with loss of extracurricular activities and access to honors programs, told they will never get into college, told they are jeopardizing their teachers jobs, told they will be responsible for lowering real estate values in their neighborhood, even in a few instances, told they are unpatriotic and giving aid and comfort to terrorists!”—WITH A BROOKLYN ACCENT