In October 2021, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) held a seminar on the pandemic and education systems. Strikingly, 99% of the students in the region spent an entire academic year with total or partial interruption of face-to-face classes, while more than 600,000 children struggled with the loss of their caregivers due to the pandemic. It is further estimated that the crisis could force 3.1 million children and youth to drop out of school and force over 300,000 to go to work. At the seminar, Alicia Bárcena, the executive secretary of ECLAC, said that the combination of the pandemic, economic turbulence in the region, and the setbacks in education have caused ‘a silent crisis’.Continue reading
GOP Bans On Teaching About Racism Drive Out Educators
Date on which the Florida Senate Education Committee gave initial approval along party lines to a bill sponsored by Republican state Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. and championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that would prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” when teaching about racism: 1/18/2022
Number of days later that a Florida school district canceled a college professor’s seminar for teachers on the history of the civil rights movement, citing in part concerns over critical race theory: 1
Month in which DeSantis held a campaign-style event in which he called critical race theory — a decades-old academic movement examining the intersection of race and law — “crap” and said he’d press for legislation banning it from being taught in his state’s schools: 12/2021Continue reading
Why Are D.C. Cops Recruiting And Deputizing High School Students?
On Nov. 18, in the library of Ballou Senior High school, an audience of students, parents, school faculty, journalists, and city officials gathered for a press conference held by the District of Columbia’s Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser and chief of police Robert Contee, who were at the high school to announce new legislation.
Behind the podium where Contee and Bowser gave their address stood three rows of 10 teenagers in Metropolitan Police Department cadet uniforms, most of whom were not even 18 years old. Thirty children staged behind Contee and Bowser in police uniforms provided a perfect backdrop for the announcement of the relaunch of the High School Cadet Program (HSCP), one of MPD’s many programs aimed at conditioning, propagandizing and recruiting youth.Continue reading
Bus Drivers Go On Strike To Protest Low Pay
Bus drivers in the Jefferson Davis County went on strike Friday morning after the school board approved paying $25 an hour to emergency drivers as an incentive to help with driver shortage. The item was approved 4-1 at a recent board meeting. “I have zero problem with having anyone that is willing to drive our busses,” said District 2 School Board Member Bobby Wilson. “I do have a problem with $25 an hour. I would like to know why we are doubling the salary for certified personnel to drive versus the $12-$15 for our regular drivers.”
According to Superintendent Ike Haynes, the district is facing a severe labor shortage and his solution was to reach out to former bus drivers, coaches, teachers, etc. to help fill in the gaps. “There are several former drivers in the district that have CDLs,” said Superintendent Haynes. “The $25 an hour is simply an enticement in our time of need.”Continue reading
Divestment Campaigns And Reinvestment Efforts Gain Strength
With over 80 percent of the world’s population experiencing extreme weather linked to climate change, university endowments have become a focal point for students, faculty, and community members eager to snuff out their schools’ support for the fossil fuel companies most responsible for fueling the climate crisis.
Major universities, including Boston University, the University of Minnesota, and Harvard University — which boasts the largest endowment of any school in the world — are among the latest to commit to pull billions from fossil fuel funds. In their wake, others are following suit. In July, Maine became the first U.S. state to legally require divestment of public funds from fossil fuel assets.Continue reading
Let Us Turn Our Anger At Biden Into Organization
We should take the examples of the Biden administration reversing course on unpopular decisions — refusing to extend the student loan moratorium, refusing to send masks, etc — as but a taste of the power we could have if we used our rage to get organized. Biden and his cronies are far more scared of our power as workers than they are of our tweets. So, what concessions have been given, have been given to stave off the birth of a social movement that could win a lot more.Continue reading
Critical Race Theory Is Dangerous
Glenn Youngkin, the new governor of Virginia, announced during his first day in office this month that he is banning discussion of critical race theory in his state. Many expect him to forbid discussion of the impact of viruses in causing the coronavirus next.
Rather than running away from it, the Democratic Party leadership must embrace critical race theory as the basis for educating our young people – and many of their parents – to overcome the divisions that are tearing this country apart and paving the way for a right-wing takeover. America’s culture warriors subscribe to the idea that ignorance is bliss, that is until Covid kills you or a member of your family. Their efforts to suppress history plays a similar role, enforcing ignorance, maintaining the status quo, and suppressing efforts to create a just society.Continue reading
Deepening The Higher Education Divide
American mythology promises upward mobility, and college can provide an important first step up the class ladder. With the rise of the “knowledge economy” and the decline of industrial jobs and unions, some insisted that education is the answer to economic displacement. If you can’t earn a stable, living wage as a steelworker, go to college and become a nurse or a computer programmer. And if you didn’t make that choice, it’s your own fault that you’re struggling. After all, college was affordable, accessible, and varied. You could commute to campus, take evening classes, cover tuition with loans and grants, and work part-time or even full-time while you completed the degree that would transform your life.Continue reading
School Privatization Groups Are Exploiting COVID Closure Debates
Schools around the country have once again been forced to make tough decisions about returning to remote learning due to the explosion of new COVID-19 infections resulting from the highly contagious omicron variant. Despite a recent poll showing that 56% of parents support the suspension of in-person learning to slow the spread of the disease, a counter-narrative has emerged, pushed hard by the mainstream media, that pits teachers (and particularly teachers’ unions) against parents. Earlier this week, in fact, in New York Magazine, liberal pundit Jonathan Chait defended Nate Silver’s widely criticized argument that likened schools moving to remote learning during a deadly pandemic to the Iraq War and placed the blame on “The Democratic Party’s left-wing vanguard” and teachers’ unions.Continue reading
Student Debt Cancellation Is A Racial Justice Issue
With many of President Biden’s legislative priorities stalled, pressure is mounting on the administration to use executive authority to cancel student debts — a move that would substantially narrow racial wealth gaps.
In a recent House floor speech, Rep. Ayanna Pressley pointed out that the student debt crisis disproportionately impacts the Black community.
“But for too long,” Pressley said, “the narrative has excluded us and the unique ways in which this debt is exacerbating racial and economic inequities, compounding our gender and racial wealth gap.”
Pressley joined Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer in a December letter to Biden asking that he consider using executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debts.Continue reading
No-Brainer Child-Care Programs Proving Popular
After decades of contentiousness, it’s surprising how quickly Canada’s new national child-care program has become as familiar and comfortable as your dog’s favourite squeeze-toy.
Or maybe it isn’t surprising. Why wouldn’t Canadians welcome a program that makes their lives as parents so much easier, giving them the freedom to work if they want while sparing them the exorbitant costs—often compared to a second mortgage—of child care?
Now that it’s arrived, the $30-billion national child-care program, announced by the Trudeau government last April after years of Liberal stalling and Conservative opposition, seems like a no-brainer. The aim is to provide $10-a-day child care across the country by 2026.Continue reading
Wisconsin’s Rural Schools In ‘Crisis Mode’
No matter who you ask, whether it’s education association officials, university professors, researchers or the teachers themselves, they’ll all tell you the same thing:
The number one problem facing Wisconsin’s rural school districts is finding — and keeping — enough teachers to teach in those districts.
“The teacher shortage is an issue all across the country,” says Kim Kaukl, who worked for more than 30 years as a school administrator before becoming the executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WIRSA). “But it’s really exasperated out in the rural areas because of the location of many of our rural districts, especially when you’re trying to attract young people to come out to more remote areas.”Continue reading
As Omicron Rages, Teachers And Students Fight For Safety Measures
Chicago Teachers Union members voted by 77 percent on January 4 to go fully remote until effective Covid mitigations to protect educators and students were approved by members and enacted, or until the current Covid surge subsided.
Within a week they had a tentative agreement on mitigation measures. Members ratified it January 12 by 56 percent and returned to in-person teaching.
With citywide positivity rates over 20 percent and hospitals overwhelmed, Chicago Public Schools had already faced staffing shortages the first few days of the year. When the district failed to implement adequate testing protocols, CTU members determined that the safety of students and educators once again required remote learning.Continue reading
Strikes And Student Walkouts Spread Across US As Omicron Surges
Across the US, Omicron infections continue to explode, as “more children are being admitted to hospitals than ever before,” according to *CNN.* Vaccination rates among children remain low and community spread, accelerated by the holiday season and the return to in-person instruction, is rippling across the social terrain; hitting teachers, parents, and family members. In just the Los Angeles school district, “Approximately 65,000 students and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to mandatory testing conducted by the district during the winter break.” The drastic spike in COVID cases has also been coupled with increasing shortages of medical staff, which has hindered the ability of many people to get tested and receive medical attention.Continue reading
NYC Public High School Student: ‘The Situation Is Beyond Control’
As the Omicron variant continues to surge, despite 90,132 new positive cases reported in New York on Saturday and one in three Covid-19 tests coming back positive in New York City, schools have been forced to stay open with insufficient safety measures as many students, and staff continue to test positive. Eleven members of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Solidarity Caucus filed a lawsuit seeking mandatory remote learning until all students and workers can be tested, but Mayor Eric Adams continues to insist that schools must stay open at all costs, and even that schools are the safest place for students to be. Students and teachers are being forced to return to extremely unsafe conditions so that parents can go back to work and the economy can go “back to normal.”Continue reading