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Green Dot attempts to close a financially troubled charter school, students organize in opposition

March 30, 2010

Green Dot is arguably the most prominent charter school management company in Los Angeles, with 19 campuses throughout the city. They market themselves as valuing high academic achievement and progressive educational philosophy.

When LAUSD schools fail to meet state standards, Green Dot has often positioned itself to “take over” – firing the existing staff, eliminating union contracts and reshaping the school’s practices. Recently, Green Dot announced that it will shut down one of its new schools, Animo Social Justice, because of low enrollment, financial pressures and sub-par performance.  Animo Social Justice was opened in September of 2006.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported on a protest, one of many, that students have independently organized to advocate against the school closing.  Students walked out of classes and closed down a street in protest.

Check out this video blog by Jose Lara about the issue.

The Chicago Model of Privatization and Educational Inequity

March 30, 2010

Arne Duncan was nominated to be secretary of education by President Barack Obama and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2009. Prior to his appointment as secretary of education, Duncan served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, a position to which he was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley, from June 2001 through December 2008, becoming the longest-serving big-city education superintendent in the country.

Democracy Now recently aired a program exposing Duncan’s vision of privatized education that is currently being exported throughout the nation.  One of the primary methods for imposing this vision is the conditions required for states to receive federal education funding under the recent Race to the Top program. Pauline Lipman, professor of education and policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, elaborates:

“The federal stimulus money that’s being offered now to the states is being offered on the condition that they raise charter school caps, that they tie teacher evaluations to students’ test scores, that they close what they call failing schools, that they turn them over to private turnaround operators. So we have a neoliberal project nationally, which was tested out in Chicago and then is now being pushed out nationally.”

Watch the complete report at Democracy Now’s website.

Video of March 4th Protests

March 23, 2010

Jose Lara speaks from Downtown Los Angeles at March 4 protest & march. He interviews several educators & activists on the scene.

Ethnic studies seen as smart move despite deficit

February 27, 2010

Ethnically diverse: About 90 percent of the students in San Francisco public schools are nonwhite.

By: Mike Aldax
The San Francisco Examiner
February 24, 2010

Ethnically diverse: About 90 percent of the students in San Francisco public schools are nonwhite.

SAN FRANCISCO — While considering hundreds of layoffs and other cutbacks to close an epic budget gap, the Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously agreed to fund a pilot program adding ethnic studies courses to its high school curriculum.

Read more…

National Call for March 4 Strike and Day of Action To Defend Public Education

February 27, 2010

FROM: ucfightsback.blogspot.com (visit this website for a complete list of regional actions in California)

Down Town Los Angeles Rally
• 3pm Rally @ Pershing Square (5th & Hill) in downtown L.A.
• 4pm March from Pershing Square to the Governor’s office
• 5pm Rally @ Governor’s office (300 Spring St.)

UCLA Campus Actions
• Noon- 1pm Walk-Out and rally at Bruin Plaza.
• 1pm- 4pm Student and faculty teach-ins at Royce Quad.
• 4:30-5:30pm Bruin Plaza rally, speakers, petitioning and media.

FROM: defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com

California has recently seen a massive movement erupt in defense of public education — but layoffs, fee hikes, cuts, and the re-segregation of public education are attacks taking place throughout the country. A nationwide resistance movement is needed.

We call on all students, workers, teachers, parents, and their organizations and communities across the country to massively mobilize for a Strike and Day of Action in Defense of Public Education on March 4, 2010. Education cuts are attacks against all of us, particularly in working-class communities and communities of color.

The politicians and administrators say there is no money for education and social services. They say that “there is no alternative” to the cuts. But if there’s money for wars, bank bailouts, and prisons, why is there no money for public education?

We can beat back the cuts if we unite students, workers, and teachers across all sectors of public education — Pre K-12, adult education, community colleges, and state-funded universities. We appeal to the leaders of the trade union movement to support and organize strikes and/or mass actions on March 4. The weight of workers and students united in strikes and mobilizations would shift the balance of forces entirely against the current agenda of cuts and make victory possible.

Building a powerful movement to defend public education will, in turn, advance the struggle in defense of all public-sector workers and services and will be an inspiration to all those fighting against the wars, for immigrants rights, in defense of jobs, for single-payer health care, and other progressive causes.

Why March 4? On October 24, 2009 more than 800 students, workers, and teachers converged at UC Berkeley at the Mobilizing Conference to Save Public Education. This massive meeting brought together representatives from over 100 different schools, unions, and organizations from all across California and from all sectors of public education. After hours of open collective discussion, the participants voted democratically, as their main decision, to call for a Strike and Day of Action on March 4, 2010. All schools, unions and organizations are free to choose their specific demands and tactics — such as strikes, rallies, walkouts, occupations, sit-ins, teach-ins, etc. — as well as the duration of such actions.

Let’s make March 4 an historic turning point in the struggle against the cuts, layoffs, fee hikes, and the re-segregation of public education.

– The California Coordinating Committee

(To endorse this call and to receive more information contact march4strikeanddayofaction@gmail.com )

Teachers for Social Justice, Chicago

February 6, 2010
The struggle for educational justice in our communities and nationally is stronger than ever. The declining economy, increased privatization of schools and lock down on our communities call for us to come together and share resources & energy for revitalizing the education for liberation movement.

Teachersforjustice.org is an innovative new website launched by Teachers for Social Justice in Chicago that will combine teacher-driven news, actions, resources, and research aimed towards strengthening the social justice educator community. We hope that this website can be a tool where educators can find immediate support for their classrooms and communities and help us all connect to the growing network of educators who work for justice and education for all.

Read more…

Teaching about Haiti

February 6, 2010

Teaching about Haiti is a new curriculum featured on the Teaching for Change website.  This lesson includes a booklet that can be downloaded in sections and recommends fiction and non-fiction books for elementary, middle, and high school as well as teaching guides and films.

The Choices Program features another set of lessons and teaching materials about the current situation in Haiti.  The lesson is titled The Haitian Crisis: Thinking Historically.  In order to access the lesson, you must register with the website for free.