Activists say no to another ‘School Desert’ in ChicagoDecember 4, 2013
After dozens of Chicago Public Schools slated for closure were shuttered this fall, education activists in the city’s South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville decided to focus on holding on to one last high school in the neighborhood: Dyett High. Late last month organizers with the new Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School launched a campaign to persuade Chicago Public Schools to listen to the community’s plans to hold on to the neighborhood public school.
Activists have been using the phrase “school deserts,” borrowing from the food justice lingo of “food deserts” which refer to the dearth of healthy food options in low-income communities to describe what happens when school closures sweep across neighborhoods.
The campaign has taken on a new significance since Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced last week that the district will not close any more schools this coming year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. This year’s halt comes with a proposed five-year moratorium on school closures, just months after the district finished closing 50 district schools. 
The moratorium wouldn’t save Dyett, and without it, there would be no public high school in the area. “If Dyett leaves, we wouldn’t have no neighborhood high school where students can go,” says Diamond McCullough, a 17-year-old senior at the school who’s joined the campaign. According to Jitu Brown, a member of the coalition and an education organizer with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, the closest institution would be Phillips Academy, a charter school some 2 1/2 miles away.
Chicago Public School officials designated the school for phase-out—an education world euphemism for being marked for a slow death—in February of last year. While it won’t officially close until 2015, Dyett is not receiving new students and the already under-resourced school is bleeding programs and district support. 
The District’s Rationale
In voting to shutter the school, Chicago school officials cited Dyett’s chronically low standardized test scores and graduation rates, and the expensive underutilization of the school building. Indeed, the district’s graduation rate average is 65.4 percent, but at Dyett this year, just 38 percent of seniors graduated. But, say neighborhood education advocates, the district has starved Dyett of resources undercutting the school’s ability to improve its test scores. What’s more, 100 percent of the students at Dyett are designated low-income, according to the district, and a quarter of the students have special needs. Yet in the last five years, the school’s well-loved AVID college-prep program and its remedial Read 180 program were axed. Today, the only honors courses at the school are administered online, says McCullough. Even physical education is taught from inside the school’s computer lab via online courses.
Instead of closing the school, coalition members, which include parents, students, school council representatives, education activists and academics, want to reorganize it as Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School. They’re working with education professors at the University of Illinois-Chicago to craft a plan to present to CPS in January. Among their allies are the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), which has spoken out about Chicago’s rash of school closures. Part of the CTU’s interest is that school closures directly impact their membership. But, says Norine Gutekanst, coordinator of CTU’s organizing department, neighborhood public schools are more likely to employ aides, teachers and staff from the neighborhoods they serve than the charters popping up all over Chicago’s South Side. 
Black and Brown Schools Are Most Likely to Close
School closures are not evenly distributed across the city. A map of Chicago’s recent school closures is a rough proxy for marking the city’s poor black and Latino neighborhoods. “What we have seen is the closures overwhelmingly take place in communities that are black communities and Latino communities, and we feel the school closings represent a disinvestment in the community that just accelerates problems,” CTU’s Gutekanst says. “We know they would not do this in more middle class communities and communities that are majority white.”
When the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 53 schools this spring, it was the largest round of school closings at one time, according to WBEZ. Black students were, by far, most likely to go to schools marked for closure. They make up 43 percent of the city’s school district enrollment, but were 88 percent of the students affected by school closings. Latino students are 44 percent of the district and were 10 percent of those affected by the latest round. Meanwhile white students, who make up 7 percent of Chicago Public Schools, were 0.7 percent of those whose schools were closed, according to the Opportunity to Learn Campaign.
Coalition member Brown says the closures are unfair. “People that pay taxes don’t have a public school in their immediate area,” he says, citing the shuttered Price Elementary in the North Kenwood neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side. Since the school closed in 2012, “You have neighborhoods now that for more than a square mile there is not a school to serve the needs of the children.” 
But in the slash-and-burn ethos of school district officials, keeping “failing” schools open is too expensive a burden. Better to shut down schools and relocate students across the district, the logic goes. But school closures haven’t proven to be a helpful education reform tactic. And they instead destabilize an entire community, activists argue. 
Going to a school on the chopping block isn’t easy, Dyett senior McCullough says. “It sends the message that you’re a failure, and your school doesn’t deserve to be open, so you gotta close,” she says. “It might not be your school today, but it might be your school eventually.”
Source

Activists say no to another ‘School Desert’ in Chicago
December 4, 2013

After dozens of Chicago Public Schools slated for closure were shuttered this fall, education activists in the city’s South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville decided to focus on holding on to one last high school in the neighborhood: Dyett High. Late last month organizers with the new Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School launched a campaign to persuade Chicago Public Schools to listen to the community’s plans to hold on to the neighborhood public school.

Activists have been using the phrase “school deserts,” borrowing from the food justice lingo of “food deserts” which refer to the dearth of healthy food options in low-income communities to describe what happens when school closures sweep across neighborhoods.

The campaign has taken on a new significance since Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced last week that the district will not close any more schools this coming year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. This year’s halt comes with a proposed five-year moratorium on school closures, just months after the district finished closing 50 district schools. 

The moratorium wouldn’t save Dyett, and without it, there would be no public high school in the area. “If Dyett leaves, we wouldn’t have no neighborhood high school where students can go,” says Diamond McCullough, a 17-year-old senior at the school who’s joined the campaign. According to Jitu Brown, a member of the coalition and an education organizer with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, the closest institution would be Phillips Academy, a charter school some 2 1/2 miles away.

Chicago Public School officials designated the school for phase-out—an education world euphemism for being marked for a slow death—in February of last year. While it won’t officially close until 2015, Dyett is not receiving new students and the already under-resourced school is bleeding programs and district support. 

The District’s Rationale

In voting to shutter the school, Chicago school officials cited Dyett’s chronically low standardized test scores and graduation rates, and the expensive underutilization of the school building. Indeed, the district’s graduation rate average is 65.4 percent, but at Dyett this year, just 38 percent of seniors graduated. But, say neighborhood education advocates, the district has starved Dyett of resources undercutting the school’s ability to improve its test scores. What’s more, 100 percent of the students at Dyett are designated low-income, according to the district, and a quarter of the students have special needs. Yet in the last five years, the school’s well-loved AVID college-prep program and its remedial Read 180 program were axed. Today, the only honors courses at the school are administered online, says McCullough. Even physical education is taught from inside the school’s computer lab via online courses.

Instead of closing the school, coalition members, which include parents, students, school council representatives, education activists and academics, want to reorganize it as Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School. They’re working with education professors at the University of Illinois-Chicago to craft a plan to present to CPS in January. Among their allies are the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), which has spoken out about Chicago’s rash of school closures. Part of the CTU’s interest is that school closures directly impact their membership. But, says Norine Gutekanst, coordinator of CTU’s organizing department, neighborhood public schools are more likely to employ aides, teachers and staff from the neighborhoods they serve than the charters popping up all over Chicago’s South Side. 

Black and Brown Schools Are Most Likely to Close

School closures are not evenly distributed across the city. A map of Chicago’s recent school closures is a rough proxy for marking the city’s poor black and Latino neighborhoods. “What we have seen is the closures overwhelmingly take place in communities that are black communities and Latino communities, and we feel the school closings represent a disinvestment in the community that just accelerates problems,” CTU’s Gutekanst says. “We know they would not do this in more middle class communities and communities that are majority white.”

When the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 53 schools this spring, it was the largest round of school closings at one time, according to WBEZ. Black students were, by far, most likely to go to schools marked for closure. They make up 43 percent of the city’s school district enrollment, but were 88 percent of the students affected by school closings. Latino students are 44 percent of the district and were 10 percent of those affected by the latest round. Meanwhile white students, who make up 7 percent of Chicago Public Schools, were 0.7 percent of those whose schools were closed, according to the Opportunity to Learn Campaign.

Coalition member Brown says the closures are unfair. “People that pay taxes don’t have a public school in their immediate area,” he says, citing the shuttered Price Elementary in the North Kenwood neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side. Since the school closed in 2012, “You have neighborhoods now that for more than a square mile there is not a school to serve the needs of the children.” 

But in the slash-and-burn ethos of school district officials, keeping “failing” schools open is too expensive a burden. Better to shut down schools and relocate students across the district, the logic goes. But school closures haven’t proven to be a helpful education reform tactic. And they instead destabilize an entire community, activists argue. 

Going to a school on the chopping block isn’t easy, Dyett senior McCullough says. “It sends the message that you’re a failure, and your school doesn’t deserve to be open, so you gotta close,” she says. “It might not be your school today, but it might be your school eventually.”

Source

On November 19, twelve undocumented immigrants and allies temporarily stopped a bus that was headed toward O’Hare Airport to drop off a group of people set to be deported that day. Six of the participants stopped the bus by attaching ourselves to one another and to the vehicle with lock-boxes. 
Inside the bus was Octavio Nava-Cabrera, who several participants in the action had gotten to know through the work and support they had provided for his anti-deportation campaign. Also on the bus was Brigido Acosta, who has a decades-old removal order. 
After an hour, the participants were detached and the bus made its way to O’Hare. Octavio and Brigido, along with the others on the bus, were deported. We will continue to support our families and continue to demand deportations stop. 

On November 19, twelve undocumented immigrants and allies temporarily stopped a bus that was headed toward O’Hare Airport to drop off a group of people set to be deported that day. Six of the participants stopped the bus by attaching ourselves to one another and to the vehicle with lock-boxes.

Inside the bus was Octavio Nava-Cabrera, who several participants in the action had gotten to know through the work and support they had provided for his anti-deportation campaign. Also on the bus was Brigido Acosta, who has a decades-old removal order.

After an hour, the participants were detached and the bus made its way to O’Hare. Octavio and Brigido, along with the others on the bus, were deported. We will continue to support our families and continue to demand deportations stop. 

Kshama Sawant is the first socialist candidate in 22 years to advance to the general-election ballot for Seattle City Council
August 12, 2013

When was the last time a Seattle City Council candidate argued there was nothing extraordinary about herself? Or volunteered details about her recent arrest? Or freely admitted she expects her opponent to raise more money — by tens of thousands of dollars?

It’s been awhile, if ever, is the safe bet, which is also the answer to yet another question about the curious campaign of Kshama Sawant: When was the last time a socialist advanced to the city’s general-election ballot?

Sawant — who last week did just that by winning more than a third of the vote in a three-candidate primary field for the Position 2 council seat — is not your conventional candidate. And that’s exactly what she’s aiming for.

“There are some things that really set us apart from your-business-as-usual, corporate election campaigns,” said the 40-year-old Seattle Central Community College economics instructor and latest challenger to four-term incumbent Richard Conlin.

“Those campaigns revolve around the single-minded goal of advancing the political career of an individual. Everything else — including the needs of the people — is sacrificed.”

In a recent interview, Sawant largely deflected questions about herself, the individual, to instead focus squarely on the collective — or what she describes as her party’s primary goals: “fighting for social and economic justice.”

“There’s nothing unique about me,” she added. “I don’t want the main ideas of what we’re fighting for to be distracted by my stuff.”

What Sawant did offer, begrudgingly, about her own background were some generalities from an immigrant’s life that helped shape her into the activist she is today.

Born in Pune, India, Sawant largely grew up in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, India’s most populous city now with some 20 million residents.

“I grew up in an apolitical family full of doctors and engineers and mathematicians,” she said. “I wasn’t exposed to any particular ideology.”

She earned a graduate degree in computer science. But rather than seeking a well-paid career, Sawant sought answers to deeper social questions that resonated during her formative years, and became more pronounced after she came to America.

“Coming from India, what was striking is that you expect that in the wealthiest country in the history of humanity, there shouldn’t be any poverty; there shouldn’t be any homelessness,” Sawant said. “ … But when I came here, I found it was exactly the opposite.”

Growing divide
The gap between rich and poor — and the social and political constructs that created it — fascinated and appalled her, Sawant said. After obtaining a Ph.D. in economics from North Carolina State University, in 2006 she moved to Seattle, where the social divide became even more stark.

“The vast majority of Seattle people are facing a city that is becoming increasingly unaffordable for them,” she said.

Sawant became active in immigrant-rights causes and with other progressive movements, before finding what would become her political party in 2008.

Formed in Europe in the mid-1980s, Social Alternative is an independent political organization that came to America with the working-class immigrants who supported it. In the 1990s, the group took root in cities with strong labor unions, including New York, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Now active in at least 15 major U.S. cities, the group denounces Republicans and Democrats as the puppets of big business. Its website declares it’s “fighting in our workplaces, communities, and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day.”

In 2011, Socialist Alternative caught fire behind the “Occupy” movement, which articulated the frustrations among the politically and economically disenfranchised who blame corporate America for society’s failures.

Sawant became a key political organizer in Occupy Seattle.

“Our decision to run a candidate in 2012 came out of that experience and the prominence that Kshama played in the whole Occupy movement,” said Philip Locker, Sawant’s political director.

Sawant’s first campaign challenged Democrat state Rep. Jamie Pedersen in the 2012 primary. But she moved on as a write-in candidate to the general election in a different 43rd Legislative District race, against House Speaker Frank Chopp. She lost, taking 29 percent of the vote.

Now, in her second bid for office, Sawant advanced from last week’s primary as the runner-up in the Position 2 council race. She’ll face Conlin, who failed to crack 50 percent against two challengers.

Two decades ago
It has been 22 years since the last socialist advanced to the general election in a Seattle council race, city archivist Scott Cline said. In 1991, Yolanda Alaniz, a Freedom Socialist Party member, faced incumbent Sue Donaldson and lost badly.

Beyond Seattle, Socialist Alternative candidates are running this year in Boston and Minneapolis. But Sawant’s campaigns are hailed by her party as its most successful to date.

Although she touts her campaign results as signs of political momentum, Sawant still lost each race by double-digits.

Sawant has vowed she won’t take money from corporate executives or political-action committees but insists she can mount a legitimate grass-roots campaign against the well-financed Conlin.

Sawant’s campaigning so far has largely taken her to worker-rights rallies and other protests. In late July, deputies arrested her among a group peacefully protesting the eviction of a South Park man from his foreclosed home.

“If I’m elected, I would make my first order of business introducing an ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour,” she said. “Others may talk about it, but I’m the only candidate who’s committed to doing it.”

Sawant also said she’d seek to reform the city’s tax system to impose a fee on millionaires that would pay for public transit and would implement rent control.

She vows to “take only the average worker’s salary” — what she estimates at $40,000 — from a council member’s $120,000 of annual pay. The rest would go to social-justice causes, she said.

“It’s a scandal the City Council is paid that much,” she said.

Source

The above video is an interview with Sawant conducted by Bill Bianchi. He speaks with the Seattle city council candidate on her past and present campaigns and the state of party politics, March 24, 2013.

As schools starve, Rahm Emanuel finds $5 million for hot dogs….July 10, 2013
On June 11 Mayor Emanuel officially recommended giving about $5 million to Vienna Beef to move its hot dog factory from the north side to Bridgeport. The mayor hailed it as a shrewd investment that will keep at least 250 jobs in Chicago for the next 15 years.
Three days later the mayor’s school board fired Eron Easter, a 34-year-old special education teacher in a high-poverty school in Humboldt Park. Easter was one of 850 Chicago Public Schools employees fired by the mayor when he closed 50 schools.
So if you’re keeping track on your scorecards at home, the mayor is down about 600 in the job-retention department for the last month—a fact you’ll never see him mention in any of the dozens of press releases he routinely sends out.
As you might expect, Vienna’s $5 million comes from the tax increment financing program. That’s the one in which you, the taxpayer, cough up more in property taxes in the name of things you want, like schools, so that the mayor has more to spend on things you don’t want.
Like $5 million for Vienna Beef.
Yet the Vienna Beef project is by no means the dumbest waste of TIF money I’ve seen through the years. In fact, I think I could concoct a plausible justification for it, if coerced.
Good job, Mr. Mayor! Every now and then you manage to do something almost right, even as you mess up everything else.
Feel free to use that as a slogan in your coming reelection campaign.
In the case of Vienna, it’s a “globally recognized manufacturer of hot dogs and other specialty food products, including corned beef, roast beef and soups,” according to a report by the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development.
Since 1972, Vienna has operated out of a facility on the northeast corner of the very busy three-way intersection of Damen, Elston, and Fullerton.
The city is realigning Elston—moving it to the east—in order to unclog the traffic artery, so to speak. As part of that plan, the city will buy a portion of Vienna’s property.
So Vienna could stay and deal with all that traffic. Or it could get the hell out.
Since the company chose option two, we’ll give them the $5 million to buy a vacant factory—once owned by Sara Lee—at 1000 W. Pershing.
The project was praised at the June 11 meeting of the Community Development Commission, a mayoral advisory board, where a city planner noted that Vienna Beef “has been courted to relocate to other states.”
Hey, teachers, maybe the mayor will give you money if you threaten to move to Indiana.
"The relocation of this business would retain Vienna in the city and continue a long tradition of manufacturing its globally recognized product in Chicago," according to the city report.
The CDC voted to accept the mayor’s proposal to award the $5 million subsidy—and afterward Vienna passed out Polish sausages to everyone!
Not really. But it’s the least they could have done for the handout.
The City Council is expected to ratify the deal sometime in the next few months, since the council always ratifies the mayor’s deals.
The mayor says there are a number of benefits to the deal, including a provision that requires Vienna to employ at least 250 full-time employees.
Let’s hope someone in the city is keeping track, because no one did when TIF funds were handed out in the past to companies like Republic Windows and Doors, which took the money and ran out of town.
Moreover, the city’s report says the Vienna project will “expand the tax base because the investment in the property will result in an increase in its assessed value.”
That’s a compelling point—and exactly the opposite of what will happen with the mayor’s biggest TIF project, the DePaul basketball arena/hotel deal. In that case, Mayor Emanuel is planning to reduce the tax base by spending $55 million to buy taxable land and build a facility that’s tax exempt.
So much for the good news on the city’s job-retention front. Now for the bad news: those 850 CPS employees getting the ax, including about 600 teachers, according to the Chicago Teachers Union.
That figure doesn’t include dozens of teachers the mayor will be firing in the next few months thanks to various employee-reduction schemes.
Apparently, Mayor Emanuel thinks we have too many teachers in the workforce and not enough hot dog factory employees.
Source

As schools starve, Rahm Emanuel finds $5 million for hot dogs….
July 10, 2013

On June 11 Mayor Emanuel officially recommended giving about $5 million to Vienna Beef to move its hot dog factory from the north side to Bridgeport. The mayor hailed it as a shrewd investment that will keep at least 250 jobs in Chicago for the next 15 years.

Three days later the mayor’s school board fired Eron Easter, a 34-year-old special education teacher in a high-poverty school in Humboldt Park. Easter was one of 850 Chicago Public Schools employees fired by the mayor when he closed 50 schools.

So if you’re keeping track on your scorecards at home, the mayor is down about 600 in the job-retention department for the last month—a fact you’ll never see him mention in any of the dozens of press releases he routinely sends out.

As you might expect, Vienna’s $5 million comes from the tax increment financing program. That’s the one in which you, the taxpayer, cough up more in property taxes in the name of things you want, like schools, so that the mayor has more to spend on things you don’t want.

Like $5 million for Vienna Beef.

Yet the Vienna Beef project is by no means the dumbest waste of TIF money I’ve seen through the years. In fact, I think I could concoct a plausible justification for it, if coerced.

Good job, Mr. Mayor! Every now and then you manage to do something almost right, even as you mess up everything else.

Feel free to use that as a slogan in your coming reelection campaign.

In the case of Vienna, it’s a “globally recognized manufacturer of hot dogs and other specialty food products, including corned beef, roast beef and soups,” according to a report by the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development.

Since 1972, Vienna has operated out of a facility on the northeast corner of the very busy three-way intersection of Damen, Elston, and Fullerton.

The city is realigning Elston—moving it to the east—in order to unclog the traffic artery, so to speak. As part of that plan, the city will buy a portion of Vienna’s property.

So Vienna could stay and deal with all that traffic. Or it could get the hell out.

Since the company chose option two, we’ll give them the $5 million to buy a vacant factory—once owned by Sara Lee—at 1000 W. Pershing.

The project was praised at the June 11 meeting of the Community Development Commission, a mayoral advisory board, where a city planner noted that Vienna Beef “has been courted to relocate to other states.”

Hey, teachers, maybe the mayor will give you money if you threaten to move to Indiana.

"The relocation of this business would retain Vienna in the city and continue a long tradition of manufacturing its globally recognized product in Chicago," according to the city report.

The CDC voted to accept the mayor’s proposal to award the $5 million subsidy—and afterward Vienna passed out Polish sausages to everyone!

Not really. But it’s the least they could have done for the handout.

The City Council is expected to ratify the deal sometime in the next few months, since the council always ratifies the mayor’s deals.

The mayor says there are a number of benefits to the deal, including a provision that requires Vienna to employ at least 250 full-time employees.

Let’s hope someone in the city is keeping track, because no one did when TIF funds were handed out in the past to companies like Republic Windows and Doors, which took the money and ran out of town.

Moreover, the city’s report says the Vienna project will “expand the tax base because the investment in the property will result in an increase in its assessed value.”

That’s a compelling point—and exactly the opposite of what will happen with the mayor’s biggest TIF project, the DePaul basketball arena/hotel deal. In that case, Mayor Emanuel is planning to reduce the tax base by spending $55 million to buy taxable land and build a facility that’s tax exempt.

So much for the good news on the city’s job-retention front. Now for the bad news: those 850 CPS employees getting the ax, including about 600 teachers, according to the Chicago Teachers Union.

That figure doesn’t include dozens of teachers the mayor will be firing in the next few months thanks to various employee-reduction schemes.

Apparently, Mayor Emanuel thinks we have too many teachers in the workforce and not enough hot dog factory employees.

Source

34 people were shot in Chicago on July 4

July 6, 2013

As the country celebrated July 4, Chicago saw another day where gun violence claimed dozens of victims, with six people killed and 28 left wounded. The youngest of those wounded included two boys, ages 5 and 7, who were celebrating the holiday with their families.

Chicago has had a particularly terrible record on gun violence the last couple years. In 2012, it had more gun homicides than New York City despite having one-third the population. And on Father’s Day Weekend this year, another 46 people were shot in one of Chicago’s deadliest 72 hours of 2013.

Despite these numbers, police say Chicago gun violence for the first half of 2013 is at its lowest in nearly 50 years, with about 25 percent fewer shootings and murders compared to the same period in 2012. Even though Chicago is experiencing fewer gun homicides this year, the violence disproportionately costs low-income, minority communities the most: Close to 90 percent of murders and violent crimes occur in low-income areas where mostly black and Latino people live, and nearly half of Chicago homicide victims are under age 25.

Loose gun laws in surrounding areas do not help the matter, since the firearms recovered by police are almost always traced back to other states or parts of Illinois. Now, Illinois is moving to overturn the last concealed carry ban in the country with legislation that Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL) has slammed as being far too permissive for gun-holders.

Source

When will there be an honest conversation about poverty and racism and inequality that hinders the delivery of an education product in our school system? When will we address the fact that rich white people think they know what’s in the best interest of children of African-Americans and Latinos, no matter what the parents’ income or education level?
Karen Lewis, Chicago Teacher’s Union president on the school closure crisis in Chicago.
From Chicago to LA, students mass for racial justiceMay 26, 2013
1. Chicago Students Stage Citywide Boycott to Protest School Closings
On Monday, May 20, the Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools organized a citywide boycott so that students could join a three-day march in protest of school closures. More than two hundred students participated from high schools across the city. In the morning, students met at Williams Elementary, which the school system ordered to be put on lockdown. From there, we marched three miles downtown, where 26 activists were occupying City Hall in an act of civil disobedience. The action ended with a large rally at Daley Plaza, with speakers ranging from teachers union president Karen Lewis to third grader Asean Johnson. On May 22, as activists occupied the central lobby, Chicago’s unelected board of education voted to close 50 schools. Students and allies are overwhelmingly upset—but the fight for these schools is not over.
—Israel Muñoz
2. After Thousands Walk Out, Philly Student Union Heads to Chicago
I was one of the 2,000 Philadelphia students who walked out of school on Friday, May 17, to assert a student voice in the face of school closings and disinvestment. By Saturday, I was in Chicago joining the struggle against school closings there. Chicago’s closings, like Philadelphia’s, are primarily in black and Latino neighborhoods. After marching through the north, west and south sides of the city, I spoke alongside students from Chicago at Daley Plaza. Next, we marched and held hands around City Hall—where teachers and community members were arrested for sitting in. Students from Philly, Boston, Baltimore and Detroit came to support Chicago’s fight. As students, we will continue fighting in every city until we have the schools we deserve.
—Sharron Snyder
3. Sparked by the LAPD, USC Mobilizes Against Racial Profiling
On May 4, the Los Angeles Police Department deployed 79 officers in riot gear to shut down a peaceful graduation celebration attended primarily by black and Latino students at the University of Southern California. Nine student leaders were arrested, six spent the night in police custody and others were herded off the block and physically assaulted. Charges against arrested students are still pending and await court proceedings on May 30. This incident, along with a string of similar happenings, sparked what has become known as the #USChangeMovement. On May 6, more than 200 students, faculty and local residents sat-in at Tommy Trojan to protest and exchange stories of discrimination and racial profiling at USC and in the greater Los Angeles area. On May 7, more than 1,000 people attended an on-campus discussion with students, the LAPD, the USC Department of Public Safety, the HR Commission and USC senior administration members to seek answers and draft joint solutions. USC students are propelling citywide movement to end racial profiling, excessive force and selective law enforcement—all while embracing peace, intellect and understanding.
—USChangeMovement
4. In South LA, Students Defend Community Schools
In October 2012, Crenshaw High School received notice from LA superintendent John Deasy that the school would undergo a “transformation” starting this summer. Under the transformation, more than half of Crenshaw’s teachers—many of whom are older, black or active in the union—have been rejected from returning. The conversion of Crenshaw into three magnets means students have to reapply—likely pushing many out. This move comes at a time when Crenshaw has been showing improvements through its innovative Extended Learning Cultural Model, which prioritizes culturally relevant education and project-based learning. Connecting Crenshaw with recent upheaval at other black and Latino high schools in South LA, the Crenshaw community has been organizing against the transformation. As part of the Coalition for Educational Justice, Taking Action and the school’s Sierra Club, we’ve given presentations and developed a survey to ask our fellow students about their experiences at the school. The data from the 500 students we’ve collected will be presented at a forum on May 28 for students to voice their opinions about school transformations all over South LA.
—Jonathan Alvarado, Keeja Stewart, Tauheedah Shakur, James Law and Erick Galvan
5. In Sacramento, Trans Justice Hits the Senate
On April 29, dozens of Gay-Straight Alliance club activists joined together in Sacramento for Queer Youth Advocacy Day to rally for middle schools and high schools where all students can succeed. We spoke to legislators about the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266), which makes sure California schools know that transgender students have the full right to participate in all school programs. Students shared their experiences of how not being included with students of the gender they identify with can have disastrous consequences such as forcing them to drop out of school. Others talked about school districts that do allow them to participate fully, like LA Unified, which shows that implementation of this bill is possible and positive experiences can come from it. The bill has now passed through the assembly and is headed for the senate, where we will continue to advocate to keep all students in school.
—Keanan Gottlieb and Logan Henderson
6. Across California, Students Put the School Police State on Trial
When students in California have problems like not getting to class on time, fighting or breaking school rules, schools handle these situations with suspensions, expulsions, and school police tickets that hit youth of color hardest. For the past five years in LA, the Community Rights Campaign has built a student movement that organizes on buses, in our neighborhoods and at city hall and the school district board. We led a fight against the top school police citation—$250 truancy and tardy tickets—and won big changes to that policy last year. We have now joined with other youth and community groups, allies and advocates across the state around a new legislative agenda. Last year we passed five bills to reform zero tolerance policies. This year, in response to the post-Newtown push for more police in schools, we are trying to pass AB 549, a bill that would help limit the role of police in school districts and prioritize funding for counselors, intervention workers and other mental health services. The bill will be headed for a full assembly floor vote if it clears its final committee hearing this week.
—Carlos Elmo Gomez
7. Investments on Check at Middlebury
On Nakba Day, in solidarity with global demonstrations for Palestinian rights, a coalition including Palestinian, Israeli, and American Jewish students staged a checkpoint at Middlebury to call on the college to divest from companies doing business with Israel. At Middlebury, Justice for Palestine has united with an array of campus groups, including environmentalists calling for the college to divest from fossil-fuel companies, to make the call. Politicized by the trustees’ failure to honor their initial commitment to vote on divestment in May, students are refusing to budge from an intersectional analysis of oppression in divestment organizing—for which four students were arrested in March and five were nearly expelled in the fall—and are gearing up for escalation.
—Jay Saper
8. A New Union at Penn
On March 28, after a year of planning and relationship building, subcontracted dining hall workers at the University of Pennsylvania went public with the Justice on the Menu campaign, demanding higher wages and more paid sick days. Alongside student allies in the Penn Student Labor Action Project, workers held a large rally in March, launched a website and video and were featured almost weekly in the campus newspaper this spring. Students also collected over 1,100 signatures in a petition delivered to University President Amy Gutmann. The semester ended with a successful unionization process with Teamsters Local 929 for workers at Falk Dining Commons. As contract negotiations take place in the coming months, students and workers will continue pushing for improved job standards and working conditions on campus.
—Penny Jennewein and Leslie Krivo-Kaufman
9. How Long Will Sallie Mae Profit Off Student Debt?
On May 9, twenty students from the United States Student Association, the Student Labor Action Project and allied organizations met with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to discuss the DOE’s relationship with Sallie Mae, the largest private owner of student debt in the country. Sallie Mae made $84 million in profit on federal loan servicing contracts last year alone. The students came to the table to pressure Secretary Duncan to break Sallie Mae’s contract or incentivize the companies processing federal loans to enroll debtors in programs like Income Based Repayment that prioritize helping people with student debt get back on their feet. On May 30, students from across the country are going to Sallie Mae’s shareholder meeting in Newark, Delaware. We plan to pressure Sallie Mae to open up about their relationship with ALEC and their process for paying their top executives.
—John Connelly
10. How Long Will Students Wait for Arne Duncan?
On June 1 and 2, student debt advocates from across the Midwest are coming together in Chicago to discuss a national student debt campaign, the first of a series of regional meetings to tackle educational debt. The campaign’s focus and strategy will be hammered out this summer with participating organizations. Based on existing conversations, the initial goals and strategies revolve around a commitment to quality higher education as a public good that should be affordable and accessible to all. Three areas to advance this long-term goal include: providing support to borrowers currently paying off the existing $1 trillion in debt; addressing causes of declining affordability and quality, including changes to state funding and financial aid policies; and addressing the role of Wall Street and the growing financialization and privatization of higher education without the burden of financial hardship.
—Nelini Stamp
Source
Student power!

From Chicago to LA, students mass for racial justice
May 26, 2013

1. Chicago Students Stage Citywide Boycott to Protest School Closings

On Monday, May 20, the Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools organized a citywide boycott so that students could join a three-day march in protest of school closures. More than two hundred students participated from high schools across the city. In the morning, students met at Williams Elementary, which the school system ordered to be put on lockdown. From there, we marched three miles downtown, where 26 activists were occupying City Hall in an act of civil disobedience. The action ended with a large rally at Daley Plaza, with speakers ranging from teachers union president Karen Lewis to third grader Asean Johnson. On May 22, as activists occupied the central lobby, Chicago’s unelected board of education voted to close 50 schools. Students and allies are overwhelmingly upset—but the fight for these schools is not over.

—Israel Muñoz

2. After Thousands Walk Out, Philly Student Union Heads to Chicago

I was one of the 2,000 Philadelphia students who walked out of school on Friday, May 17, to assert a student voice in the face of school closings and disinvestment. By Saturday, I was in Chicago joining the struggle against school closings there. Chicago’s closings, like Philadelphia’s, are primarily in black and Latino neighborhoods. After marching through the north, west and south sides of the city, I spoke alongside students from Chicago at Daley Plaza. Next, we marched and held hands around City Hall—where teachers and community members were arrested for sitting in. Students from Philly, Boston, Baltimore and Detroit came to support Chicago’s fight. As students, we will continue fighting in every city until we have the schools we deserve.

—Sharron Snyder

3. Sparked by the LAPD, USC Mobilizes Against Racial Profiling

On May 4, the Los Angeles Police Department deployed 79 officers in riot gear to shut down a peaceful graduation celebration attended primarily by black and Latino students at the University of Southern California. Nine student leaders were arrested, six spent the night in police custody and others were herded off the block and physically assaulted. Charges against arrested students are still pending and await court proceedings on May 30. This incident, along with a string of similar happenings, sparked what has become known as the #USChangeMovement. On May 6, more than 200 students, faculty and local residents sat-in at Tommy Trojan to protest and exchange stories of discrimination and racial profiling at USC and in the greater Los Angeles area. On May 7, more than 1,000 people attended an on-campus discussion with students, the LAPD, the USC Department of Public Safety, the HR Commission and USC senior administration members to seek answers and draft joint solutions. USC students are propelling citywide movement to end racial profiling, excessive force and selective law enforcement—all while embracing peace, intellect and understanding.

—USChangeMovement

4. In South LA, Students Defend Community Schools

In October 2012, Crenshaw High School received notice from LA superintendent John Deasy that the school would undergo a “transformation” starting this summer. Under the transformation, more than half of Crenshaw’s teachers—many of whom are older, black or active in the union—have been rejected from returning. The conversion of Crenshaw into three magnets means students have to reapply—likely pushing many out. This move comes at a time when Crenshaw has been showing improvements through its innovative Extended Learning Cultural Model, which prioritizes culturally relevant education and project-based learning. Connecting Crenshaw with recent upheaval at other black and Latino high schools in South LA, the Crenshaw community has been organizing against the transformation. As part of the Coalition for Educational Justice, Taking Action and the school’s Sierra Club, we’ve given presentations and developed a survey to ask our fellow students about their experiences at the school. The data from the 500 students we’ve collected will be presented at a forum on May 28 for students to voice their opinions about school transformations all over South LA.

—Jonathan Alvarado, Keeja Stewart, Tauheedah Shakur, James Law and Erick Galvan

5. In Sacramento, Trans Justice Hits the Senate

On April 29, dozens of Gay-Straight Alliance club activists joined together in Sacramento for Queer Youth Advocacy Day to rally for middle schools and high schools where all students can succeed. We spoke to legislators about the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266), which makes sure California schools know that transgender students have the full right to participate in all school programs. Students shared their experiences of how not being included with students of the gender they identify with can have disastrous consequences such as forcing them to drop out of school. Others talked about school districts that do allow them to participate fully, like LA Unified, which shows that implementation of this bill is possible and positive experiences can come from it. The bill has now passed through the assembly and is headed for the senate, where we will continue to advocate to keep all students in school.

—Keanan Gottlieb and Logan Henderson

6. Across California, Students Put the School Police State on Trial

When students in California have problems like not getting to class on time, fighting or breaking school rules, schools handle these situations with suspensions, expulsions, and school police tickets that hit youth of color hardest. For the past five years in LA, the Community Rights Campaign has built a student movement that organizes on buses, in our neighborhoods and at city hall and the school district board. We led a fight against the top school police citation—$250 truancy and tardy tickets—and won big changes to that policy last year. We have now joined with other youth and community groups, allies and advocates across the state around a new legislative agenda. Last year we passed five bills to reform zero tolerance policies. This year, in response to the post-Newtown push for more police in schools, we are trying to pass AB 549, a bill that would help limit the role of police in school districts and prioritize funding for counselors, intervention workers and other mental health services. The bill will be headed for a full assembly floor vote if it clears its final committee hearing this week.

—Carlos Elmo Gomez

7. Investments on Check at Middlebury

On Nakba Day, in solidarity with global demonstrations for Palestinian rights, a coalition including Palestinian, Israeli, and American Jewish students staged a checkpoint at Middlebury to call on the college to divest from companies doing business with Israel. At Middlebury, Justice for Palestine has united with an array of campus groups, including environmentalists calling for the college to divest from fossil-fuel companies, to make the call. Politicized by the trustees’ failure to honor their initial commitment to vote on divestment in May, students are refusing to budge from an intersectional analysis of oppression in divestment organizing—for which four students were arrested in March and five were nearly expelled in the fall—and are gearing up for escalation.

—Jay Saper

8. A New Union at Penn

On March 28, after a year of planning and relationship building, subcontracted dining hall workers at the University of Pennsylvania went public with the Justice on the Menu campaign, demanding higher wages and more paid sick days. Alongside student allies in the Penn Student Labor Action Project, workers held a large rally in March, launched a website and video and were featured almost weekly in the campus newspaper this spring. Students also collected over 1,100 signatures in a petition delivered to University President Amy Gutmann. The semester ended with a successful unionization process with Teamsters Local 929 for workers at Falk Dining Commons. As contract negotiations take place in the coming months, students and workers will continue pushing for improved job standards and working conditions on campus.

—Penny Jennewein and Leslie Krivo-Kaufman

9. How Long Will Sallie Mae Profit Off Student Debt?

On May 9, twenty students from the United States Student Association, the Student Labor Action Project and allied organizations met with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to discuss the DOE’s relationship with Sallie Mae, the largest private owner of student debt in the country. Sallie Mae made $84 million in profit on federal loan servicing contracts last year alone. The students came to the table to pressure Secretary Duncan to break Sallie Mae’s contract or incentivize the companies processing federal loans to enroll debtors in programs like Income Based Repayment that prioritize helping people with student debt get back on their feet. On May 30, students from across the country are going to Sallie Mae’s shareholder meeting in Newark, Delaware. We plan to pressure Sallie Mae to open up about their relationship with ALEC and their process for paying their top executives.

—John Connelly

10. How Long Will Students Wait for Arne Duncan?

On June 1 and 2, student debt advocates from across the Midwest are coming together in Chicago to discuss a national student debt campaign, the first of a series of regional meetings to tackle educational debt. The campaign’s focus and strategy will be hammered out this summer with participating organizations. Based on existing conversations, the initial goals and strategies revolve around a commitment to quality higher education as a public good that should be affordable and accessible to all. Three areas to advance this long-term goal include: providing support to borrowers currently paying off the existing $1 trillion in debt; addressing causes of declining affordability and quality, including changes to state funding and financial aid policies; and addressing the role of Wall Street and the growing financialization and privatization of higher education without the burden of financial hardship.

—Nelini Stamp

Source

Student power!

Today is a day of mourning for the children of Chicago. Their education has been hijacked by an unrepresentative, unelected corporate school board, acting at the behest of a mayor who has no vision for improving the education of our children. Closing schools is not an education plan. It is a scorched earth policy. Evidence shows that the underutilization crisis has been manufactured. Their own evidence also shows the school district will not garner any significant savings from closing these schools.

This is bad governance. CPS has consistently undermined school communities and sabotaged teachers and parents. Their actions have had a horrible domino effect. More than 40,000 students will lose at least three to six months of learning because of the Board’s actions. Because many of them will now have to travel into new neighborhoods to continue their schooling, some will be victims of bullying, physical assault and other forms of violence. Board members are wishing for a world that does not exist and have ignored the reality of the world we live in today. Who on the Board will be held responsible? Who at City Hall will be held responsible?

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis commenting on today’s news that the Board of Education has voted to close 50 Chicago public schools.

While only around 40 percent of children in Chicago are black are Latino, 90 percent of children whose schools will be shuttered are black or Latino.

On May 17, 18 & 19 hundreds of people including parents, students and teachers have taken to the streets in Chicago, US, to protest against local education authority’s plan to close public schools
May 19, 2013

The protest, organized by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), started on Saturday and is set to last until Monday evening.  This comes after the Chicago Central District released a list of 54 elementary and middle schools to be closed before the next school year. The Chicago Board of Education is planning to vote on the closures in the coming days. 

City officials say the closures are needed in order to deal with a one-billion-dollar annual deficit. In March, thousands of activists, union leaders, teachers, parents, and students participated in a similar protest in the city.

The closures involve the highest number of schools to be closed down in a single year in any city in the United States. The plan will shift about 50,000 students to different schools, while threatening the careers of more than 1,000 teachers.  Over the past decade, at least 70 cities in the US have closed down public schools. 

Source

Capitalism’s austerity is diminishing our education infrastructure. I desperately hope to see an escalation of education activism in this country – from unsustainable student loan debt to busted teachers’ unions to mass school closures & the school-to-prison-pipeline. We need a movement to demand massive, drastic, radical reform to the way we address education in this country. I think it’s obvious that people’s frustration is growing. 

Fast food strike wave spreads to Detroit, St. LouisMay 10, 2013
St. Louis, and last month’s in New York and Chicago, today’s work stoppage is backed by a local coalition including the Service Employees International Union, and the participants are demanding a raise to $15 an hour and the chance to form a union without intimidation.
Organizers say that over a hundred workers joined the St. Louis strike between Wednesday and Thursday. That included a group of Jimmy John’s workers who alleged that management humiliated them by requiring them to hold up signs in public with messages including “I made 3 wrong sandwiches today” and “I was more than 13 seconds in the drive thru.”
“Sometimes I walk for more than an hour just to save my train fare so I can spend it on Ramen noodles,” St. Louis Chipotle worker Patrick Leeper said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “I can’t even think about groceries.”
A spokesperson for Jimmy John’s declined to comment on Thursday’s strike; McDonald’s and Wendy’s did not respond to inquiries last night.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the fate of the fast food strike wave carries far-reaching implications: Fast food jobs are a growing portion of our economy, and fast food-like conditions are proliferating in other sectors as well. Organizers say the fast food industry now employs twice as many Detroit-area workers as the city’s iconic auto industry. These strikes also come at a moment of existential crisis for the labor movement, a sobering reality that was brought into sharp relief in December when Michigan, arguably the birthplace of modern US private sector unionism, became the country’s latest “Right to Work” state.
Along with a shared significant supporter—SEIU—the campaigns in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit have apparent strategies in common. Rather than waiting until they’ve built support from a majority of a store’s or company’s workers, they stage actions by a minority of the workforce designed to inspire their co-workers. Rather than publicly identifying the campaign and its organizers with a single international union, these union-funded efforts turn to allied community groups to spearhead organizing. Rather than training all their resources on a single company, they organize against all of the industry’s players at once. And—faced with legal and economic assaults that have weakened the strike weapon—these campaigns mount one-day work stoppages that are carefully tailored to maximize attention and minimize, but not eliminate, the risk that workers will lose their jobs.
Whether these strategies can ever compel a fast food giant to negotiate with its employees remains to be seen.
“After what I would consider well over three decades of wage suppression, workers in this particular industry—and then I think it’ll go to others—are realizing that their only way up the wage ladder is through their own organizations,” CUNY labor studies lecturer Ed Ott said Wednesday. Ott, a board member of the community organizing group that spearheaded the New York fast food strike, added, “The only way these workers are going to be able to advance these jobs is through unionization. And I think that idea has finally gotten traction.”
Update (9:15 AM Friday): According to the campaign, a walkout by twenty workers at Detroit’s 10400 Gratiot Avenue McDonald’s prevented the store from operating. Some workers brought in as strikebreakers to replace those striking workers chose to join the strike instead.
Organizers say that by day’s end, today’s strike could be the largest fast food work stoppage yet, topping last month’s 400-strong strike in New York.
Source

Fast food strike wave spreads to Detroit, St. Louis
May 10, 2013

St. Louis, and last month’s in New York and Chicago, today’s work stoppage is backed by a local coalition including the Service Employees International Union, and the participants are demanding a raise to $15 an hour and the chance to form a union without intimidation.

Organizers say that over a hundred workers joined the St. Louis strike between Wednesday and Thursday. That included a group of Jimmy John’s workers who alleged that management humiliated them by requiring them to hold up signs in public with messages including “I made 3 wrong sandwiches today” and “I was more than 13 seconds in the drive thru.”

“Sometimes I walk for more than an hour just to save my train fare so I can spend it on Ramen noodles,” St. Louis Chipotle worker Patrick Leeper said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “I can’t even think about groceries.”

A spokesperson for Jimmy John’s declined to comment on Thursday’s strike; McDonald’s and Wendy’s did not respond to inquiries last night.

As I’ve written elsewhere, the fate of the fast food strike wave carries far-reaching implications: Fast food jobs are a growing portion of our economy, and fast food-like conditions are proliferating in other sectors as well. Organizers say the fast food industry now employs twice as many Detroit-area workers as the city’s iconic auto industry. These strikes also come at a moment of existential crisis for the labor movement, a sobering reality that was brought into sharp relief in December when Michigan, arguably the birthplace of modern US private sector unionism, became the country’s latest “Right to Work” state.

Along with a shared significant supporter—SEIU—the campaigns in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit have apparent strategies in common. Rather than waiting until they’ve built support from a majority of a store’s or company’s workers, they stage actions by a minority of the workforce designed to inspire their co-workers. Rather than publicly identifying the campaign and its organizers with a single international union, these union-funded efforts turn to allied community groups to spearhead organizing. Rather than training all their resources on a single company, they organize against all of the industry’s players at once. And—faced with legal and economic assaults that have weakened the strike weapon—these campaigns mount one-day work stoppages that are carefully tailored to maximize attention and minimize, but not eliminate, the risk that workers will lose their jobs.

Whether these strategies can ever compel a fast food giant to negotiate with its employees remains to be seen.

“After what I would consider well over three decades of wage suppression, workers in this particular industry—and then I think it’ll go to others—are realizing that their only way up the wage ladder is through their own organizations,” CUNY labor studies lecturer Ed Ott said Wednesday. Ott, a board member of the community organizing group that spearheaded the New York fast food strike, added, “The only way these workers are going to be able to advance these jobs is through unionization. And I think that idea has finally gotten traction.”

Update (9:15 AM Friday): According to the campaign, a walkout by twenty workers at Detroit’s 10400 Gratiot Avenue McDonald’s prevented the store from operating. Some workers brought in as strikebreakers to replace those striking workers chose to join the strike instead.

Organizers say that by day’s end, today’s strike could be the largest fast food work stoppage yet, topping last month’s 400-strong strike in New York.

Source

the-lone-pamphleteer

the-lone-pamphleteer:

Meet Network News Service, the ABC-, CBS-, and Fox- owned cooperative that brings you the same canned local news, no matter where you live or what network you’re watching
May 1, 2013

If you’ve ever seen the video above, or this one or this one, you’ve probably wondered just how it happens that local news stations on different networks around the country report the same stories… in exactly the same ways.

Wonder no more, because the lone pamphleteer did some digging and and came up with some pretty interesting dirt on the Network News Service (NNS), a “pioneering” organization formed in 2000 by ABC News One (owned by Disney), CBS Newspath, and Fox News Edge with the goal of cutting costs for all three networks by pooling resources and sharing footage. Over 500 affiliates of the three networks were members as of 2005, meaning they receive the prepackaged footage, soundbites, and scripted leads to which the local stations could add their own original spin.

To get around the appearance of colluding (and presumably to avoid criminal liability for anti-competitive behavior) NNS doesn’t allow the same footage to flow to two competing affiliates in the same city, although affiliates of each network could play the same footage at the same time as long as they are all in different cities.

Much of this information comes from a very revealing CBS blog post about NNS from 2005, which relates the obvious reasons for why all three networks would want to enter into this deal. They only have to set up one camera at events, for one, and they all tend to voluntarily share with each other “because of the cooperative nature of NNS”— “they know they must participate in order to reap the organization’s benefits.” And, of course, it gives the three networks a competitive edge over NBC and CNN.

Three of the largest American media conglomerates cooperating in the production and distribution of news sounds like a great business plan to me, but doesn’t that violate Federal Communications Commission rules about competition and monopoly? It probably would have before the FCC deregulated the telecommunications industry, first under Reagan, and then further under Clinton following the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Now, as this chart demonstrates, a handful of massive corporations owns and controls most of our media, from initial production to final distribution— and with little regulatory oversight. And, lest you think we might start correcting this dangerous course soon, this just in: Obama’s new pick for FCC chairman has been a top lobbyist for the cable industry since 1979 (and more recently for wireless companies), probably championing a lot of the policies that led to such drastic consolidation.

In an even more dystopic twist on its business model, NNS began employing what appears to be robots in 2008 (or earlier). Generation Technologies Corporation (GTC) provides NNS with its “next generation network newsroom and affiliate content management system. The system known as NIM™ is based on GTC’s Newsroom Information Model.”

[GTC’s products] include software and hardware for all aspects of managing a network television newsroom from the assignment desk to the contribution and distribution of video clips and news wires. GTC provides industry tested bundled solutions using a standards-based, open-architecture framework.

If you can figure out what that means, let me know.

Unsurprisingly, in 2010, TV Newser (slogan: “And Now the News… About TV News”) reported that NNS was laying off a number of (living) employees as part of a series of “’sensible adjustments that reflect the partners’ needs as NNS evolves,’ and that new IP transmission technology changed the needs of the organization.” I think that means computers took over the production and distribution of the news, but I could be wrong. According to another press release,

Generation Technologies will use a combination of NIM ‘n-tier’ newsroom technology, Microsoft’s NT and Microsoft’s SQL replication technologies and will provide the main Fox News Edge, CBS Newspath and ABC NewsOne affiliate newsrooms with full metadata replication. Generation Technologies will be interfacing to NNS’s high end Montage video servers.

Again, let me know.

I’m not quite sure what to make of my new found knowledge about Network News Service or the murky underworld of corporate news manufacturing that it reveals, but it certainly deepens my distrust and skepticism of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, it looks like the Koch Brothers are about to buy up the Tribune Company, which would include The Chicago Tribune, The L.A. Times, and The Baltimore Sun. I bet that’s one headline that won’t be syndicated ad nauseum on the news tonight.

-The Lone Pamphleteer

This is so terrible. But thank you, the-lone-pamphleteer, for your hard work on putting this together & posting this.

Never be deceived that that rich will allow you to vote their wealth away.

Lucy Parsons, the Haymarket Square widow who internationalized the struggle for the eight-hour day and whose work led to the May Day rallies held around the world. Happy May Day!

Check this out for more on the Haymarket Martyrs, the origins of May Day, and Lucy Parsons: Lucy Parsons: An American Revolutionary

Chicago is having a busy, revolutionary day today. From worker walkouts due to the terrible working conditions in the service-industry sector to this:

HAPPENING NOW! Hundeds of Chicago Public School students walk-out of testing day in protest of over-testing and the impending mass school closures to happen the beginning of next school year.

SOLIDARITY!

Source