Los Angeles students protesting neglect of poorer schools took to the streets, and brought their desks with them.
Some 375 empty desks blocked a downtown street, blocking traffic for several hours Tuesday outside the Los Angeles Unified School District offices.
Organizers say the number represents the count of students who drop out of district schools each week.
Protesters want a student voice on the school board, and more funding for English language learners, foster children and low income students.
District officials declined comment on the protest.
Source

Los Angeles students protesting neglect of poorer schools took to the streets, and brought their desks with them.

Some 375 empty desks blocked a downtown street, blocking traffic for several hours Tuesday outside the Los Angeles Unified School District offices.

Organizers say the number represents the count of students who drop out of district schools each week.

Protesters want a student voice on the school board, and more funding for English language learners, foster children and low income students.

District officials declined comment on the protest.

Source

Facing austerity cuts, students & faculty occupy Univ. of Southern MaineMarch 22, 2014
Faculty and students launched an occupation of a Maine university building Friday to demand a halt to mass faculty layoffs and department slashes that they say are part of the austerity cuts devastating public education nation-wide.
Over 100 people launched a late-morning occupation of the hallway outside the Portland office of the University of Southern Maine provost Michael Stevenson — the hallway that faculty passed through Friday on their way to receive lay-off letters.
People sat on the floor and leaned against walls as chants and even songs broke out amid discussions about “next steps” for holding the university accountable. “We’re using this as a space to organize,” said Meaghan LaSala, student in Women and Gender Studies, in an interview with Common Dreams.
Occasionally, laid-off faculty addressed the crowd in emotionally-charged statements just moments before or after receiving notice.
Meanwhile, at a nearby university event for gubernatorial candidate Michael Michaud, students took to the microphone to speak out against budget cuts.
"I’m staying here as long as it takes," Jules Purnell, junior in Women and Gender Studies, told Common Dreams while occupying the hallway. “We’re in a scarcity economy, and we are all terrified right now, but we have to think about solutions.”
Protesters said 11 to 15 full-time faculty members at the university were handed letters on Friday notifying them that they were being “retrenched” or forced out of their jobs, and USM President Theo Kalikow and Provost Stevenson announced plans to lay off more faculty and staff and eliminate four programs: American and New England studies, geosciences, arts and humanities at the school’s Lewiston-Auburn College facility, and recreation and leisure studies.
Wendy Chapkis, professor in Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies who participated in the occupation, told Common Dreams that the lay-offs hit faculty of color the hardest. “We’ve been agitating for years for the university to hire women of color,” said Chapkis. “Now they are laying off dozens of faculty members, starting with the most recent hires. Out of the 8 people I know who were laid off, three of them are minority faculty.”
John Eric Baugher, associate professor in sociology who received a lay-off notice Friday after 9 years at USM, told Common Dreams that “university management is pressuring senior faculty to retire to save the jobs of younger faculty” — in what he said amounts to “emotional blackmail.”
"This is potentially precedent-setting," he warned. "There are colleges and universities across the country modeling themselves on the corporate world. If they can get rid of fully tenured, salaried faculty, what will this mean for other universities?"
Administrators have sought to place the blame on a tuition freeze and a multi-million dollar shortfall as the state of Maine, under Governor Paul Lepage, flat-lines funding for the Maine university system. Students say they are fighting for more state and federal funding for USM and demanding that universities facing cuts “chop from the top” rather than force students and workers to bear the brunt of austerity.
"A lot of students here are non-traditional and come here as workers and parents," said LaSala. "By instating these cuts they are saying that students in southern Maine have no right to a diverse education. We want our human right to education. This is happening across the country."
A recent report by public policy organization Demos finds that, across the U.S., states used the 2008 recession to justify austerity cuts to higher education funding, and universities are increasingly turning to business models based on rising tuition rates. “In less than a generation, our nation’s higher education system has become a debt-for-diploma system—more than seven out of 10 college seniors now borrow to pay for college and graduate with an average debt of $29,400,” reads a summary of the report.
Yet, students and faculty expressed hope that growing movements can buck what they say is a war on public education. “We need to believe in each other, because we are each other’s only hope,” wrote Purnell in a statement circulated at the protest. “If we are committed to one another and making lasting change, we can do this.”
SourcePhoto

Facing austerity cuts, students & faculty occupy Univ. of Southern Maine
March 22, 2014

Faculty and students launched an occupation of a Maine university building Friday to demand a halt to mass faculty layoffs and department slashes that they say are part of the austerity cuts devastating public education nation-wide.

Over 100 people launched a late-morning occupation of the hallway outside the Portland office of the University of Southern Maine provost Michael Stevenson — the hallway that faculty passed through Friday on their way to receive lay-off letters.

People sat on the floor and leaned against walls as chants and even songs broke out amid discussions about “next steps” for holding the university accountable. “We’re using this as a space to organize,” said Meaghan LaSala, student in Women and Gender Studies, in an interview with Common Dreams.

Occasionally, laid-off faculty addressed the crowd in emotionally-charged statements just moments before or after receiving notice.

Meanwhile, at a nearby university event for gubernatorial candidate Michael Michaud, students took to the microphone to speak out against budget cuts.

"I’m staying here as long as it takes," Jules Purnell, junior in Women and Gender Studies, told Common Dreams while occupying the hallway. “We’re in a scarcity economy, and we are all terrified right now, but we have to think about solutions.”

Protesters said 11 to 15 full-time faculty members at the university were handed letters on Friday notifying them that they were being “retrenched” or forced out of their jobs, and USM President Theo Kalikow and Provost Stevenson announced plans to lay off more faculty and staff and eliminate four programs: American and New England studies, geosciences, arts and humanities at the school’s Lewiston-Auburn College facility, and recreation and leisure studies.

Wendy Chapkis, professor in Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies who participated in the occupation, told Common Dreams that the lay-offs hit faculty of color the hardest. “We’ve been agitating for years for the university to hire women of color,” said Chapkis. “Now they are laying off dozens of faculty members, starting with the most recent hires. Out of the 8 people I know who were laid off, three of them are minority faculty.”

John Eric Baugher, associate professor in sociology who received a lay-off notice Friday after 9 years at USM, told Common Dreams that “university management is pressuring senior faculty to retire to save the jobs of younger faculty” — in what he said amounts to “emotional blackmail.”

"This is potentially precedent-setting," he warned. "There are colleges and universities across the country modeling themselves on the corporate world. If they can get rid of fully tenured, salaried faculty, what will this mean for other universities?"

Administrators have sought to place the blame on a tuition freeze and a multi-million dollar shortfall as the state of Maine, under Governor Paul Lepage, flat-lines funding for the Maine university system. Students say they are fighting for more state and federal funding for USM and demanding that universities facing cuts “chop from the top” rather than force students and workers to bear the brunt of austerity.

"A lot of students here are non-traditional and come here as workers and parents," said LaSala. "By instating these cuts they are saying that students in southern Maine have no right to a diverse education. We want our human right to education. This is happening across the country."

recent report by public policy organization Demos finds that, across the U.S., states used the 2008 recession to justify austerity cuts to higher education funding, and universities are increasingly turning to business models based on rising tuition rates. “In less than a generation, our nation’s higher education system has become a debt-for-diploma system—more than seven out of 10 college seniors now borrow to pay for college and graduate with an average debt of $29,400,” reads a summary of the report.

Yet, students and faculty expressed hope that growing movements can buck what they say is a war on public education. “We need to believe in each other, because we are each other’s only hope,” wrote Purnell in a statement circulated at the protest. “If we are committed to one another and making lasting change, we can do this.”

Source
Photo

How education reform drives gentrificationMarch 8, 2014

Public school teachers in Portland, Ore., and their students are doing a victory lap. Nearly a year after unveiling a contract proposal that would have put the squeeze on the 2,900-member Portland Association of Teachers (PAT), the Portland School Board on March 3 approved a contract that acceded to virtually every demand from the teachers’ union.
The board was acting as a stalking horse for corporate attacks on unions and public education nationwide. It initially wanted to saddle teachers with higher health care costs, fewer retirement benefits, more students and a greater workload in a city where 40 percent of teachers already work more than 50 hours a week (PDF). The board also demanded expansive management rights (PDF) and allegedly wished to link teacher evaluation more closely to standardized testing. The PAT opposed the board, arguing that low-income and minority students would pay the heaviest price as their classes grew larger, more time was devoted to testing and resources for curriculum preparation and teacher development got slashed.
Only after 98 percent of the PAT voted to strike starting Feb. 20 — and students vowed to join the picket line — did the board blink. Alexia Garcia, an organizer with the Portland Student Union who graduated last year, says students held walkouts and rallies at many of the city’s high schools in support of teachers’ demands because “teachers’ working conditions are our learning conditions.”
The deal is a big victory for the teachers’ union in a state where business interests, led by the Portland Business Alliance, call the shots on education policy. The school board had brought out the big guns, authorizing payments of up to $360,000 to a consultant for contract negotiations and$800,000 to a law firm, despite already having a full-time lawyer on its payroll. But, emulating Chicago teachers who prevailed in an eight-day strike in 2012, the PAT went beyond contract numbers, winning community support by focusing on student needs and rallying to stop school closures in underserved communities. 
Most significant, the teachers helped expose the role of education reform in gentrifying the city, making it nearly impossible for every neighborhood to have a strong school. This is a process playing out nationwide, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. But it is particularly striking in Portland, so noted for quirkiness and tolerance it has spawned a hit television show, “Portlandia,” During a public forum on the contract negotiations, one teacher observed that the show was a reflection of how “we march to our own beat in Portland.” This has held true for the teachers’ approach to education.


Test scores by ZIP code


The current fight over public schools began in January 2013 when teachers, parents and students successfully blocked the board from closing or merging half a dozen schools, mainly in the historically African-American neighborhood of Northeast Portland, which had already seen two schools shut down the previous year. This helped to mobilize community support behind a vision of public education that contrasted starkly with the Portland School Board’s ideas.
The tussle over teacher contracts has underscored how cozy the board is with corporate interests that promote school ratings, standardized testing and school choice, which allows students to freely transfer to other public schools. Touted as a way to use market forces to improve schools, school choice instead creates a two-tier system.
The racial effect of school choice is stark in Northeast Portland, where more than 40 percent of the black population has been pushed out since 2000, and which is 70 percent white today. City documents reveal that more white children in the area opt for charter, magnet and public schools in other parts of the city than attend their assigned neighborhood school. For African-American children, barely one-fourth access those choices.
Sekai Edwards is a sophomore at Jefferson High School in Northeast Portland, the only African-American-majority school in the city. It’s ranked in the bottom 15 percent of the state’s schools. Edwards says Jefferson is “portrayed as failing, as having a lot of violence and gang activity, so fewer kids want to come here.” Jefferson has about 500 students, a third of the size of some other high schools in the city. Since funding is tied to enrollment, Edwards says the only foreign language offered is Spanish, and her anatomy and physiology class has 43 students in it. She says, “I just want to focus on schooling,” but with constant fears of her school being shut down, she adds, “I don’t think I’ll get that at Jefferson.”
Full article

How education reform drives gentrification
March 8, 2014

Public school teachers in Portland, Ore., and their students are doing a victory lap. Nearly a year after unveiling a contract proposal that would have put the squeeze on the 2,900-member Portland Association of Teachers (PAT), the Portland School Board on March 3 approved a contract that acceded to virtually every demand from the teachers’ union.

The board was acting as a stalking horse for corporate attacks on unions and public education nationwide. It initially wanted to saddle teachers with higher health care costs, fewer retirement benefits, more students and a greater workload in a city where 40 percent of teachers already work more than 50 hours a week (PDF). The board also demanded expansive management rights (PDF) and allegedly wished to link teacher evaluation more closely to standardized testing. The PAT opposed the board, arguing that low-income and minority students would pay the heaviest price as their classes grew larger, more time was devoted to testing and resources for curriculum preparation and teacher development got slashed.

Only after 98 percent of the PAT voted to strike starting Feb. 20 — and students vowed to join the picket line — did the board blink. Alexia Garcia, an organizer with the Portland Student Union who graduated last year, says students held walkouts and rallies at many of the city’s high schools in support of teachers’ demands because “teachers’ working conditions are our learning conditions.”

The deal is a big victory for the teachers’ union in a state where business interests, led by the Portland Business Alliance, call the shots on education policy. The school board had brought out the big guns, authorizing payments of up to $360,000 to a consultant for contract negotiations and$800,000 to a law firm, despite already having a full-time lawyer on its payroll. But, emulating Chicago teachers who prevailed in an eight-day strike in 2012, the PAT went beyond contract numbers, winning community support by focusing on student needs and rallying to stop school closures in underserved communities. 

Most significant, the teachers helped expose the role of education reform in gentrifying the city, making it nearly impossible for every neighborhood to have a strong school. This is a process playing out nationwide, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. But it is particularly striking in Portland, so noted for quirkiness and tolerance it has spawned a hit television show, “Portlandia,” During a public forum on the contract negotiations, one teacher observed that the show was a reflection of how “we march to our own beat in Portland.” This has held true for the teachers’ approach to education.

Test scores by ZIP code

The current fight over public schools began in January 2013 when teachers, parents and students successfully blocked the board from closing or merging half a dozen schools, mainly in the historically African-American neighborhood of Northeast Portland, which had already seen two schools shut down the previous year. This helped to mobilize community support behind a vision of public education that contrasted starkly with the Portland School Board’s ideas.

The tussle over teacher contracts has underscored how cozy the board is with corporate interests that promote school ratings, standardized testing and school choice, which allows students to freely transfer to other public schools. Touted as a way to use market forces to improve schools, school choice instead creates a two-tier system.

The racial effect of school choice is stark in Northeast Portland, where more than 40 percent of the black population has been pushed out since 2000, and which is 70 percent white today. City documents reveal that more white children in the area opt for charter, magnet and public schools in other parts of the city than attend their assigned neighborhood school. For African-American children, barely one-fourth access those choices.

Sekai Edwards is a sophomore at Jefferson High School in Northeast Portland, the only African-American-majority school in the city. It’s ranked in the bottom 15 percent of the state’s schools. Edwards says Jefferson is “portrayed as failing, as having a lot of violence and gang activity, so fewer kids want to come here.” Jefferson has about 500 students, a third of the size of some other high schools in the city. Since funding is tied to enrollment, Edwards says the only foreign language offered is Spanish, and her anatomy and physiology class has 43 students in it. She says, “I just want to focus on schooling,” but with constant fears of her school being shut down, she adds, “I don’t think I’ll get that at Jefferson.”

Full article

Arizona’s law banning Mexican-American studies is constitutional, judge rulesFebruary 25, 2014
A court upheld most provisions of an Arizona state law used to prohibit a controversial Mexican-American Studies curriculum in Tucson on Friday.
The ruling dealt a blow to supporters of the suspended classes, who had hoped the courts would overturn a 2010 law championed by Arizona conservatives determined to shut down the unconventional courses.
“I was really surprised at the decision,” Jose Gonzalez, a former teacher of Tucson’s suspended Mexican-American Studies classes, told The Huffington Post. “But as a student and teacher of history, I know in civil rights cases like this there’s always setbacks.”
The experimental Tucson curriculum was offered to students in different forms in some of the local elementary, middle and high schools. It emphasized critical thinking and focused on Mexican-American literature and perspectives. Supporters lauded the program, pointing to increased graduation rates, high student achievement and a state-commissioned independent audit that recommended expanding the classes.
But conservative opponents accused the teachers of encouraging students to adopt left-wing ideas and resent white people, a charge the teachers deny. Aiming squarely at Tucson’s Mexican-American Studies program, the Arizona legislature passed HB 2281 — a law banning courses that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, foster racial resentment, are designed for students of a particular ethnic group or that advocate ethnic solidarity.
Federal Judge Wallace Tashima said the plaintiffs failed to show the law was too vague, broad or discriminatory, or that it violated students’ first amendment rights.
The news wasn’t all bad for supporters of the suspended classes. Tashima ruled that the section of the law prohibiting courses tailored to serve students of a particular ethnicity was unconstitutional.
Originally filed in October of 2010 on behalf of the program’s former teachers, who lost standing because they are public employees, the case is currently brought by former Mexican-American Studies student Nicholas Dominguez and his mother Margarita Dominguez. They will likely appeal the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals within the next 30 days, their lawyer Richard Martinez told The Huffington Post.
“This case is not over,” Martinez said. “It’s not only important to Arizona, but to the country as a whole that this statute be addressed.”
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne began a campaign to eliminate the Mexican-American Studies program from Tucson Unified School District in 2006, when he was serving as the state’s Superintendent of Public Education.
Angered that Mexican-American civil rights leader Dolores Huerta had said that “Republicans hate Latinos” in a speech to Tucson students, Horne sent Deputy Superintendent Margaret Dugan, a Latina Republican, to give an alternate view. But the intellectual exercise turned confrontational when students, who said they were not allowed to ask Dugan questions, sealed their mouths with tape and walked out of the assembly room.
“As superintendent of schools, I have visited over 1,000 schools and I’ve never seen students be disrespectful to a teacher in that way,” Horne said in an interview last year.
The final product of his efforts was House Bill 2281, which then-State Sen. John Huppenthal (R) helped pilot through the Arizona legislature. Huppenthal, who succeeded Horne as state superintendent of schools, then found Tucson out of compliance with the new law and ordered the district to shut Mexican-American Studies down or lose 10 percent of its annual funding — some $14 million over the fiscal year. In January of 2012, the school board complied, voting 4 to 1 to discontinue the classes.
The decision drew national attention as administrators plucked Latino literature that once belonged to the curriculum from classrooms, explicitly banning seven titles from instruction.
Full articlePhoto

Arizona’s law banning Mexican-American studies is constitutional, judge rules
February 25, 2014

A court upheld most provisions of an Arizona state law used to prohibit a controversial Mexican-American Studies curriculum in Tucson on Friday.

The ruling dealt a blow to supporters of the suspended classes, who had hoped the courts would overturn a 2010 law championed by Arizona conservatives determined to shut down the unconventional courses.

“I was really surprised at the decision,” Jose Gonzalez, a former teacher of Tucson’s suspended Mexican-American Studies classes, told The Huffington Post. “But as a student and teacher of history, I know in civil rights cases like this there’s always setbacks.”

The experimental Tucson curriculum was offered to students in different forms in some of the local elementary, middle and high schools. It emphasized critical thinking and focused on Mexican-American literature and perspectives. Supporters lauded the program, pointing to increased graduation rates, high student achievement and a state-commissioned independent audit that recommended expanding the classes.

But conservative opponents accused the teachers of encouraging students to adopt left-wing ideas and resent white people, a charge the teachers deny. Aiming squarely at Tucson’s Mexican-American Studies program, the Arizona legislature passed HB 2281 — a law banning courses that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, foster racial resentment, are designed for students of a particular ethnic group or that advocate ethnic solidarity.

Federal Judge Wallace Tashima said the plaintiffs failed to show the law was too vague, broad or discriminatory, or that it violated students’ first amendment rights.

The news wasn’t all bad for supporters of the suspended classes. Tashima ruled that the section of the law prohibiting courses tailored to serve students of a particular ethnicity was unconstitutional.

Originally filed in October of 2010 on behalf of the program’s former teachers, who lost standing because they are public employees, the case is currently brought by former Mexican-American Studies student Nicholas Dominguez and his mother Margarita Dominguez. They will likely appeal the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals within the next 30 days, their lawyer Richard Martinez told The Huffington Post.

“This case is not over,” Martinez said. “It’s not only important to Arizona, but to the country as a whole that this statute be addressed.”

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne began a campaign to eliminate the Mexican-American Studies program from Tucson Unified School District in 2006, when he was serving as the state’s Superintendent of Public Education.

Angered that Mexican-American civil rights leader Dolores Huerta had said that “Republicans hate Latinos” in a speech to Tucson students, Horne sent Deputy Superintendent Margaret Dugan, a Latina Republican, to give an alternate view. But the intellectual exercise turned confrontational when students, who said they were not allowed to ask Dugan questions, sealed their mouths with tape and walked out of the assembly room.

“As superintendent of schools, I have visited over 1,000 schools and I’ve never seen students be disrespectful to a teacher in that way,” Horne said in an interview last year.

The final product of his efforts was House Bill 2281, which then-State Sen. John Huppenthal (R) helped pilot through the Arizona legislature. Huppenthal, who succeeded Horne as state superintendent of schools, then found Tucson out of compliance with the new law and ordered the district to shut Mexican-American Studies down or lose 10 percent of its annual funding — some $14 million over the fiscal year. In January of 2012, the school board complied, voting 4 to 1 to discontinue the classes.

The decision drew national attention as administrators plucked Latino literature that once belonged to the curriculum from classrooms, explicitly banning seven titles from instruction.

Full article
Photo

Black students at University of Michigan demand action on campus diversity
January 22, 2014

Some members of the University of Michigan’s Black Student Union issued a list of seven demands to college administrators Monday calling for improved racial diversity and inclusion on campus. The participants gave the university seven days to meet their requests before they consider a ‘physical’ form of activism to spur reforms.

Demands include an increase in black representation to equal 10 percent of the university population and more affordable housing on campus for those of lower socioeconomic status.

The Black Student Union launched the ‘Being Black at University Michigan’ movement last fall to spark a dialogue about race on campus and gained national attention when their hashtag #BBUM trended on Twitter.

Students displayed their demands on the steps of Hill Auditorium where speakers like University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and entertainer and civil rights activist Harry Belefonte spoke at an event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Source

Thousands of teachers in Puerto Rico strike against pension cuts
January 15, 2014

Thousands of teachers across Puerto Rico walked off their jobs Tuesday in a noisy two-day strike over cuts to their pensions that the island’s government says are necessary to avert financial disaster but that educators say will force many of them into poverty.

The teachers gathered with tambourines, cowbells and bullhorns outside public schools across the island on the first day of classes after winter break, forcing hundreds of schools to close. 

Aida Diaz, president of Puerto Rico’s Teachers’ Association, condemned the law that was approved on Christmas Eve and calls for switching from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution system, among other changes. She noted that teachers in Puerto Rico do not collect U.S. Social Security, and that many would see a decrease in their pension.

“This is the most important fight in our history,” she said. “It’s about protecting and defending the only source of income we have upon retirement.”

Source
Photos

Cooper Union trustees vote on $20,000 tuition next fall
January 15, 2014

Cooper Union trustees rejected a last-ditch effort to keep the New York City college free. 

Their vote Friday makes it all but certain, following months of controversy, that the college’s legacy of free education will end for incoming students this fall. Opponents predict the $20,000 tuition will badly hurt the college, which was founded by industrialist Paul Cooper to educate the working class and has become a well-regarded training ground for artist, architects and engineers.

“I went in to try and prevent a murder, but I arrived to find a corpse,” Kevin Slavin, a trustee who tried to keep the college free, said in an online post after Friday’s vote, in which he blamed years of poor management and predicted a dire future. “A corpse from a tragedy that happened years ago.”

According to Slavin’s account, trustees overwhelmingly rejected an 18-member working group’s plan to keep the college free.

Slavin, who joined the board last year to champion its tuition-free model, called the working group plan “the Plan that Sucks” because of the cuts it would have forced. But he voted for it anyway to try to save the tuition-free legacy.

The plan to charge tuition, announced last April, set off a two-month student occupation of the president’s office. In a deal that ended the occupation, administrators agreed to make a “good faith effort” to rethink the highly controversial tuition plan. In December, the working group of alumni, administrators, faculty, students and trustees released its report. It concluded that the college could not only avoid financial ruin but actually end up better off without charging tuition by making a series of cuts and taking steps to raise revenue from things other than undergraduate tuition.

But several allies of the administration released their own “minority report” that threw cold cold water on the full report and argued that Cooper Union’s solvency depended on charging students. That argument carried the day Friday.

“The Working Group plan puts forward a number of recommendations that are worth pursuing under any financial model,” the board said in a statement Friday. “However, we believe that the contingencies and risks inherent in the proposals are too great to supplant the need for new revenue sources. Regrettably, tuition remains the only realistic source of new revenue in the near future.”

The board said it might try to make Cooper Union tuition free again if it could. Backers of the tuition plan also point out the college plans to offer aid to the lowest-income students trying to live in expensive New York City, something it doesn’t do now, which could make it easier for some to attend even with the tuition. But Slavin and others portrayed tuition as a grave wound to the college.

Michael Borkowsky, an alumnus whose 17 years as a trustee ended in December, fears for the future.

“When you have something that is unique in all the world, giving that up, seems to me, as a very desperate move,” he said in a telephone interview Sunday.

Borkowsky said the administration, now led by President Jamshed Bharucha, never really considered alternatives to charging tuition. He said pro-tuition trustees may not appreciate how important free tuition is to the college’s standing and predicted a decline in student quality.

“It seems to me that that’s inevitable: with tuition you’re not going to get the level of applications you get without tuition, so the selectivity will drop over time,” Borkowsky, a 1961 graduate, said.  He said the majority of the board and the administration are simply not accounting for this long-term risk. “If you’re dipping down further down in the applicant pool to get the students who can afford to pay, that’s your risk, that your quality is no longer the same,” he said.

Full article
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London’s biggest university bans student protestsDecember 9, 2013
The University of London - a body representing London universities including University College London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Birkbeck and the London School of Economics - has banned protests on its campus for the next six months.
Students who hold sit-in protests in an area in Holborn, central London, including the Senate House, the student union building, and the buildings of SOAS and Birkbeck, can be imprisoned.
The president of the University of London student union, Michael Chessum, told Channel 4 News it was a “draconian” reaction and “a sign that the university had lost the argument”.
The court order obtained on the 4 December by the University of London bans “occupational protest” in the area for the next six months. Anyone breaching the order can be charged with contempt of court.
Chris Cobb, Chief Operating Officer at the University of London said: “This is a regrettable but necessary step that we have taken in order to prevent the type of violent and intimidating behaviour that we have seen by protesters at Senate House recently.”
Protest ‘ended in violence’
The University of London obtained the court order just after a sit-in protest at the student union on the 4 and 5 December. It was ended by police in violent scenes which resulted in 41 arrests. So far one protester has been charged with common assault, and the remaining 40, including three members of the union leadership, have been released on bail pending further investigations.
The protest had a series of demands calling for the university to pay sick pay to cleaners and asking the university to take a stand on the “marketisation” of higher education. It was supported but not organised by the student union.
The Metropolitan Police said that three police officers suffered minor injuries in the events that unfurled on the 4 December. The Met described what happened that evening this way: “The officers became aware of a large group, of up to 300 people, gathered and making their way along Malet Street. Some had their faces covered, others carrying home made shields. Smoke bombs and other unknown objects were thrown at police.”
Mr Chessum said that police behaviour in dispersing the protest was “at a level of violence beyond anything I’d ever seen before.”
Mr Chessum described the behaviour of some officers and security guards as “like a pub brawl”. He said: “I’ve seen people having their teeth punched out. The police were not turning up with horses and batons they were just swinging punches.”
An official statement from the student union reported violent scenes: “Initial reports indicate that protesters were assaulted by both police and security: thrown to the ground, kicked and punched, and dragged to the ground by their hair. When supporters gathered outside to show support for the occupation, they were beaten back and assaulted.”
Mr Chessum said that the union were also looking into the role that university security staff and administrators played in ending the protest. The union were compiling evidence with a view to making complaints he said.
The police said they have received no complaints regarding the behaviour of officers from anyone involved in this week’s protests and so are not investigating anything. But they have added that they will review what happened.
"As with all large public order incidents, a range of material will now be subject to review in order to establish the full facts," a statement said.
Source

London’s biggest university bans student protests
December 9, 2013

The University of London - a body representing London universities including University College London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Birkbeck and the London School of Economics - has banned protests on its campus for the next six months.

Students who hold sit-in protests in an area in Holborn, central London, including the Senate House, the student union building, and the buildings of SOAS and Birkbeck, can be imprisoned.

The president of the University of London student union, Michael Chessum, told Channel 4 News it was a “draconian” reaction and “a sign that the university had lost the argument”.

The court order obtained on the 4 December by the University of London bans “occupational protest” in the area for the next six months. Anyone breaching the order can be charged with contempt of court.

Chris Cobb, Chief Operating Officer at the University of London said: “This is a regrettable but necessary step that we have taken in order to prevent the type of violent and intimidating behaviour that we have seen by protesters at Senate House recently.”

Protest ‘ended in violence’

The University of London obtained the court order just after a sit-in protest at the student union on the 4 and 5 December. It was ended by police in violent scenes which resulted in 41 arrests. So far one protester has been charged with common assault, and the remaining 40, including three members of the union leadership, have been released on bail pending further investigations.

The protest had a series of demands calling for the university to pay sick pay to cleaners and asking the university to take a stand on the “marketisation” of higher education. It was supported but not organised by the student union.

The Metropolitan Police said that three police officers suffered minor injuries in the events that unfurled on the 4 December. The Met described what happened that evening this way: “The officers became aware of a large group, of up to 300 people, gathered and making their way along Malet Street. Some had their faces covered, others carrying home made shields. Smoke bombs and other unknown objects were thrown at police.”

Mr Chessum said that police behaviour in dispersing the protest was “at a level of violence beyond anything I’d ever seen before.”

Mr Chessum described the behaviour of some officers and security guards as “like a pub brawl”. He said: “I’ve seen people having their teeth punched out. The police were not turning up with horses and batons they were just swinging punches.”

An official statement from the student union reported violent scenes: “Initial reports indicate that protesters were assaulted by both police and security: thrown to the ground, kicked and punched, and dragged to the ground by their hair. When supporters gathered outside to show support for the occupation, they were beaten back and assaulted.”

Mr Chessum said that the union were also looking into the role that university security staff and administrators played in ending the protest. The union were compiling evidence with a view to making complaints he said.

The police said they have received no complaints regarding the behaviour of officers from anyone involved in this week’s protests and so are not investigating anything. But they have added that they will review what happened.

"As with all large public order incidents, a range of material will now be subject to review in order to establish the full facts," a statement said.

Source

Hempstead Independent School District (ISD) in Texas has confirmed that a middle school principal has been placed on leave after Hispanic students said that she forbid the entire school from speaking Spanish.

A group of students told KHOU that Hempstead Middle School Principal Amy Lacey announced over the intercom on Nov. 12 that they were no longer to use their native language in order to “prevent disruptions.”

It was over two weeks later before the superintendent sent a letter home insisting that “neither the district or any campus has any policy prohibiting the speaking of Spanish.”

But the students said that the effect of the ban had been chilling.

“People don’t want to speak it no more, and they don’t want to get caught speaking it because they’re going to get in trouble,” sixth-grade student Kiara Lozano explained to KHOU.

Some students felt that the principal gave teachers permission to discriminate against them.

“She was like no speaking Spanish,” eighth-grader Yedhany Gallegos recalled. “I was like that’s my first language. She said, well you can get out.”

….

I grew up in a border town in Texas where almost half of the kids in my class lived in Mexico,  & I had multiple grade school teachers who also banned speaking Spanish in the classroom. This discrimination happens all too often in many schools & it just absolutely cripples the student’s ability to learn.

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

Three students charged with hate crimes at California collegeNovember 23, 2013
Three university students in California accused of taunting their black roommate with racial slurs and references to slavery, once trying to clamp a bicycle lock on his neck, have been charged with hate crimes in an incident that has roiled the campus.
The three freshmen have also been suspended from their school, San Jose State University, in Northern California, east of the tech hub of Silicon Valley, where student protests erupted this week after the accusations came to light.
A fourth student was suspended Friday in connection with the incidents.
"I applaud the campus for its ongoing efforts to begin the healing process that is necessary," SJSU Chancellor Timothy White said in a statement Friday. "(University) President Qayoumi has already reached out to African-American leaders in the Bay Area for their counsel and assistance.
Logan Beaschler and Collin Warren, both 18, and 19-year-old Joseph Bomgardner, have been charged with misdemeanor hate crime and battery, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Erin West said.
The three men, who lived with the 17-year-old victim in a four-bedroom dormitory suite they shared with four other students, allegedly began harassing their black roommate starting at the beginning of the school year in August.  
At first, the suspects nicknamed the victim “Three-fifths” and “Fraction,” referring to the way the U.S. government once counted a slave as three-fifths of a free person, police said.
According to a police report, they outfitted their suite with a Confederate flag, barricaded the victim in his room, and placed a U-shaped bicycle lock around his neck and claiming they lost the key.
The victim hasn’t been named at his parents’ request.
Beaschler has surrendered to authorities and Warren and Bomgardner were expected to do so this week, West said. Each could face a year in jail if convicted at trial.
"When I look at all of this together, there’s really no other conclusion but that it was motivated by hate," she said. "Its hard to imagine in 2013 that a young black man could go to college and be subjected to this kind of torment."
West said the alleged victim’s parents became aware of the situation when they dropped him off at school after a weekend at home and saw the Confederate flag, along with a racial slur written on a white board.
The parents called San Jose State housing administrators, who contacted university police.
"I think the truth of it is, he was scared," West said of the alleged victim. "He was scared for his physical safety. He would lock his door at night and every time he came back into that suite he didn’t know what (to expect)."
She said that, in interviews with police, the three men had described the incidents as pranks.
"Let me be clear: I am outraged and saddened by these allegations. They are utterly inconsistent with our long cherished history of tolerance, respect for diversity and personal civility," University President Mohammad Qayoumi said in a statement issued on Thursday as students held a protest march and rally on campus grounds.
Qayoumi also announced that after meeting Friday morning with the Rev. Jethroe Moore, president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the NAACP, he is taking a number of steps in response to the allegations, including: hosting a campus forum in December to discuss racial intolerance at SJSU; offering a lecture series next spring on diversity and tolerance; and a review of the university’s practices related to students’ well-being.
Qayoumi and Moore will hold a press conference on the campus at noon Monday to discuss the pending criminal charges.
"We are deeply disturbed by the horrific behaviors that have taken place against our son," the family of the alleged victim, who is now 18, wrote in a statement released to the San Jose Mercury News. “Our immediate focus is his protection.”
Source

Three students charged with hate crimes at California college
November 23, 2013

Three university students in California accused of taunting their black roommate with racial slurs and references to slavery, once trying to clamp a bicycle lock on his neck, have been charged with hate crimes in an incident that has roiled the campus.

The three freshmen have also been suspended from their school, San Jose State University, in Northern California, east of the tech hub of Silicon Valley, where student protests erupted this week after the accusations came to light.

A fourth student was suspended Friday in connection with the incidents.

"I applaud the campus for its ongoing efforts to begin the healing process that is necessary," SJSU Chancellor Timothy White said in a statement Friday. "(University) President Qayoumi has already reached out to African-American leaders in the Bay Area for their counsel and assistance.

Logan Beaschler and Collin Warren, both 18, and 19-year-old Joseph Bomgardner, have been charged with misdemeanor hate crime and battery, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Erin West said.

The three men, who lived with the 17-year-old victim in a four-bedroom dormitory suite they shared with four other students, allegedly began harassing their black roommate starting at the beginning of the school year in August.  

At first, the suspects nicknamed the victim “Three-fifths” and “Fraction,” referring to the way the U.S. government once counted a slave as three-fifths of a free person, police said.

According to a police report, they outfitted their suite with a Confederate flag, barricaded the victim in his room, and placed a U-shaped bicycle lock around his neck and claiming they lost the key.

The victim hasn’t been named at his parents’ request.

Beaschler has surrendered to authorities and Warren and Bomgardner were expected to do so this week, West said. Each could face a year in jail if convicted at trial.

"When I look at all of this together, there’s really no other conclusion but that it was motivated by hate," she said. "Its hard to imagine in 2013 that a young black man could go to college and be subjected to this kind of torment."

West said the alleged victim’s parents became aware of the situation when they dropped him off at school after a weekend at home and saw the Confederate flag, along with a racial slur written on a white board.

The parents called San Jose State housing administrators, who contacted university police.

"I think the truth of it is, he was scared," West said of the alleged victim. "He was scared for his physical safety. He would lock his door at night and every time he came back into that suite he didn’t know what (to expect)."

She said that, in interviews with police, the three men had described the incidents as pranks.

"Let me be clear: I am outraged and saddened by these allegations. They are utterly inconsistent with our long cherished history of tolerance, respect for diversity and personal civility," University President Mohammad Qayoumi said in a statement issued on Thursday as students held a protest march and rally on campus grounds.

Qayoumi also announced that after meeting Friday morning with the Rev. Jethroe Moore, president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the NAACP, he is taking a number of steps in response to the allegations, including: hosting a campus forum in December to discuss racial intolerance at SJSU; offering a lecture series next spring on diversity and tolerance; and a review of the university’s practices related to students’ well-being.

Qayoumi and Moore will hold a press conference on the campus at noon Monday to discuss the pending criminal charges.

"We are deeply disturbed by the horrific behaviors that have taken place against our son," the family of the alleged victim, who is now 18, wrote in a statement released to the San Jose Mercury News. “Our immediate focus is his protection.”

Source

Teachers’ Day protests in Turkey met with violent police repressionNovember 23, 2013
Hundreds of teachers faced a police crackdown on Nov. 23 as they joined in a march in Ankara to protest the government’s policies on education on the occasion of Teachers’ Day. Seven protesters were injured during the crackdown, while one female teacher sustained cerebral trauma due to the impact of a gas canister fired by the police.
The teacher, Aslı Akdemir, has been transferred to the hospital. Doctors said although severe, her injury wasn’t life-threatening.
The demonstrators, who came to Ankara from all over Turkey, assembled at the iconic Tandoğan Square on a call from the teachers’ union Eğitim-Sen. However, the police did not allow the crowd to pursue their march past Kızılay Square, resorting to tear gas and water cannons after the demonstrators forced police barricades,  aiming to pursue their protest.
Police chased the teachers in side streets surrounding Kızılay Square. Two people were detained, the Daily Hürriyet reported.
Tension on education rose this week after the government announced plans to change the status of test prep institutions, known as dershanes, transforming them into private schools. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said they would not back down on the measure. The test prep institutions have been criticized for favoring the high-income families.
Source

Teachers’ Day protests in Turkey met with violent police repression
November 23, 2013

Hundreds of teachers faced a police crackdown on Nov. 23 as they joined in a march in Ankara to protest the government’s policies on education on the occasion of Teachers’ Day. Seven protesters were injured during the crackdown, while one female teacher sustained cerebral trauma due to the impact of a gas canister fired by the police.

The teacher, Aslı Akdemir, has been transferred to the hospital. Doctors said although severe, her injury wasn’t life-threatening.

The demonstrators, who came to Ankara from all over Turkey, assembled at the iconic Tandoğan Square on a call from the teachers’ union Eğitim-Sen. However, the police did not allow the crowd to pursue their march past Kızılay Square, resorting to tear gas and water cannons after the demonstrators forced police barricades,  aiming to pursue their protest.

Police chased the teachers in side streets surrounding Kızılay Square. Two people were detained, the Daily Hürriyet reported.

Tension on education rose this week after the government announced plans to change the status of test prep institutions, known as dershanes, transforming them into private schools. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said they would not back down on the measure. The test prep institutions have been criticized for favoring the high-income families.

Source

Latino activists want Texas schools to address institutionalized racismNovember 20, 2013
Latino activists in Texas are demanding a public school curriculum that reflects the student body, calling on the State Board of Education to offer high schoolers courses in Mexican-American Studies.
At a board meeting Wednesday, activists will ask for Mexican-American history and literature classes to be added to the list of high school courses that can be taken for college credit, as well as to the list of “endorsed” special topics in the arts and humanities.
Despite the fact that more than half of the nearly 5 million students in Texas public schools are Latino, Mexican-American Studies are not currently in the state’s planned curriculum. Librotraficante, a group founded to protest the Arizona legislature’s dismantling of a controversial Mexican-American Studies curriculum in Tucson, says the Republican-majority Texas board could help institutionalize the field by including it.
“We’re not asking for any laws to be changed,” Tony Diaz told The Huffington Post. “Mexican-American Studies is an accepted field of study.”
The idea has resonated with historian Emilio Zamora, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
“I think it’s high time for our public schools to demonstrate greater interest in the history and culture of Mexican-Americans, primarily because it makes pedagogical sense,” Zamora told HuffPost. “It’s going to encourage the kids and it’s going to provide a very creative perspective to study U.S. history.”
But the chair of the State Board of Education, Barbara Cargill (R), says supporters of Mexican-American Studies should pursue the idea through local districts, rather than asking the state to mandate the development of new courses.
“It takes a long, long time to develop a course,” Cargill said. “In the future, it could be a consideration, but just boom, developing a course like that by the time we’re going to vote in January, is not possible.”
Some high schools already partner with community colleges to offer Mexican-American Studies. Other programs are in development.
Tony Villanueva, the chair of Behavioral Sciences at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, began exploring the possibility of teaming up with local high schools to offer Mexican-American Studies courses for dual credit last year. The plan is still in development.
“Four schools immediately jumped in and said ‘Oh yeah, that would be great,’” Villanueva said. “And it’s not exclusive to Mexican-American kids, it should be for anybody. We are a very Hispanic community here in South Texas, so it behooves all of us.”
Juan Tejeda, an instructor of Music and Mexican-American Studies at Palo Alto, is spearheading the dual credit effort. He doesn’t oppose the idea that education in Mexican-American Studies should emanate from initiatives like his, but he says he’d like to see the education board take a more active role.
“Ultimately I would feel better if it were a sanctioned discipline and approved by the State Board of Education,” Tejeda says. “It would be an affirmation.”
Tejeda pointed to the comparatively high dropout rate among Hispanics as evidence for the need for a greater emphasis on Mexican-American Studies. The graduation rate for Latino students stood at 84.3 percent for the class of 2012, according to the Texas Education Agency, while it was 93 percent for white students.
“Unfortunately, there’s some institutionalized racism in our educational system that needs to be addressed,” Tejeda said. “Students are not seeing themselves reflected positively in the textbooks … If the schools are making you feel bad about who you are, you’re not going to be able to succeed.”
SourceIllustration by Julio Salgado

Latino activists want Texas schools to address institutionalized racism
November 20, 2013

Latino activists in Texas are demanding a public school curriculum that reflects the student body, calling on the State Board of Education to offer high schoolers courses in Mexican-American Studies.

At a board meeting Wednesday, activists will ask for Mexican-American history and literature classes to be added to the list of high school courses that can be taken for college credit, as well as to the list of “endorsed” special topics in the arts and humanities.

Despite the fact that more than half of the nearly 5 million students in Texas public schools are Latino, Mexican-American Studies are not currently in the state’s planned curriculum. Librotraficante, a group founded to protest the Arizona legislature’s dismantling of a controversial Mexican-American Studies curriculum in Tucson, says the Republican-majority Texas board could help institutionalize the field by including it.

“We’re not asking for any laws to be changed,” Tony Diaz told The Huffington Post. “Mexican-American Studies is an accepted field of study.”

The idea has resonated with historian Emilio Zamora, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

“I think it’s high time for our public schools to demonstrate greater interest in the history and culture of Mexican-Americans, primarily because it makes pedagogical sense,” Zamora told HuffPost. “It’s going to encourage the kids and it’s going to provide a very creative perspective to study U.S. history.”

But the chair of the State Board of Education, Barbara Cargill (R), says supporters of Mexican-American Studies should pursue the idea through local districts, rather than asking the state to mandate the development of new courses.

“It takes a long, long time to develop a course,” Cargill said. “In the future, it could be a consideration, but just boom, developing a course like that by the time we’re going to vote in January, is not possible.”

Some high schools already partner with community colleges to offer Mexican-American Studies. Other programs are in development.

Tony Villanueva, the chair of Behavioral Sciences at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, began exploring the possibility of teaming up with local high schools to offer Mexican-American Studies courses for dual credit last year. The plan is still in development.

“Four schools immediately jumped in and said ‘Oh yeah, that would be great,’” Villanueva said. “And it’s not exclusive to Mexican-American kids, it should be for anybody. We are a very Hispanic community here in South Texas, so it behooves all of us.”

Juan Tejeda, an instructor of Music and Mexican-American Studies at Palo Alto, is spearheading the dual credit effort. He doesn’t oppose the idea that education in Mexican-American Studies should emanate from initiatives like his, but he says he’d like to see the education board take a more active role.

“Ultimately I would feel better if it were a sanctioned discipline and approved by the State Board of Education,” Tejeda says. “It would be an affirmation.”

Tejeda pointed to the comparatively high dropout rate among Hispanics as evidence for the need for a greater emphasis on Mexican-American Studies. The graduation rate for Latino students stood at 84.3 percent for the class of 2012, according to the Texas Education Agency, while it was 93 percent for white students.

“Unfortunately, there’s some institutionalized racism in our educational system that needs to be addressed,” Tejeda said. “Students are not seeing themselves reflected positively in the textbooks … If the schools are making you feel bad about who you are, you’re not going to be able to succeed.”

Source
Illustration by Julio Salgado

CUNY brings in cops & District Attorney to file criminal charges against student activists
November 17, 2013

There is now a new and unprecedented escalation in repression against the CUNY movement and the campaign to save the Morales / Shakur Center at the City College of New York (CCNY).

Earlier this week, Tafadar “Taffy” Sourov and Khalil Vasquez, two student leaders suspended without a hearing by CCNY, were ordered by the New York State Police and the New York County District Attorney’s office to present themselves downtown to be arrested. They were told that criminal charges would be filed against them, as a result of three-week-old allegations against them from the October 24 demonstration at CCNY to save the Morales / Shakur Center.

Preempting its own student disciplinary process, which has yet to run its course for Taffy and Khalil, CUNY brought in the cops and the District Attorney to punish these two student activists. This represents a heightening of collaboration that is without precedent between CUNY and the cops, between the University and the Repressive State. This is an attack on the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee (RSCC), Taffy and Khalil’s organization which has been at the forefront of the CUNY movement.

More than any other recent event, this embodies the entire trend in CUNY towards increasing repression and militarization. The appointment of ex-General David Petraeus to a teaching position at the CUNY Honors College. The raid and seizure of the Morales / Shakur Center, the last autonomous student space in CUNY. The draft “Policy on Expressive Activity” proposed by the CUNY administration severely restricting free speech on campus. The deployment of massive numbers of cops and barricades against demonstrations.

Now, the CUNY administration is overtly collaborating with the criminal legal system to punish student protesters. The CUNY administration is planning for a future where not only will student protesters be suspended, but they will be arrested and given criminal charges as well. Our student leaders, the CUNY movement, and the University must be defended against this repression.

On Monday, November 18, Taffy and Khalil will present themselves at the District Attorney’s office to be arrested and held in jail for 24 hours. On Tuesday, November 19, they will see a judge for their first court appearance. Students, faculty, and community must turn out from throughout CCNY, CUNY, and New York City to stand with our courageous young leaders in court.

PREVIOUS TIMELINE

On Sunday, October 20, the CCNY administration illegally raided and seized the Guillermo Morales / Assata Shakur Community Center, a space that has existed at CCNY for more than 20 years and was first won in 1989 through a mass student strike and occupations throughout CUNY.

On Thursday, October 24, Taffy and Khalil participated in a demonstration on campus to save the Morales / Shakur Center.

On Monday, October 28, CCNY VP of Student Affairs Juana Reina suspended Taffy and Khalil without a hearing or due process. As they were leaving their Monday morning classes, Taffy and Khalil were stopped and removed from campus by CCNY Public Safety officers.

On Friday, November 8, after being suspended already for two weeks, unable to go to class and threatened with arrest if they stepped back onto campus, Taffy and Khalil attended their first scheduled disciplinary hearing at CCNY. About a hundred people rallied outside to support them, with a large red banner reading, “LIBERATE CUNY FOR THE PEOPLE / LIBERAN CUNY PAL PUEBLO.”

No observers were allowed to attend the closed hearing. Taffy and Khalil’s lawyers made motions for a public open hearing, for a chance to review the evidence against them before going forward, and for other elements of due process for a more fair hearing. Following the motions, the chair of the disciplinary committee adjourned the process to another date, to be scheduled.

Taffy and Khalil remain suspended from CCNY.

On Tuesday, November 12, Taffy and Khalil were told that the New York State Police and the New York County District Attorney’s office was demanding their arrest and prosecution for criminal charges.

Source

Stand with CUNY student activists!
Tuesday, November 19 at 8:45 AM Manhattan Criminal Court, 100 Centre Street, Arraignment Part AR1 or AR2

A sit-in and protest at the the City College of New York turned confrontational Thursday afternoon. One protester was pepper-sprayed and arrested for endangering the welfare of a minor, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. Another was detained and cited for disorderly conduct.
The protest took place outside City College’s recently closed Morales-Shakur Center, which CCNY abruptly converted into a “career center” on Sunday. The arrests happened when a crowd of protesters tried to force their way inside the North Academic Center (NAC), where the Morales-Shakur center used to be.
The arrested, pepper-sprayed person was CCNY alumnus and activist David Suker. It’s his second CCNY-related arrest of the week; Suker was previously arrested Sunday morning while sitting outside the center’s doors and refusing to move. Suker attended Thursday’s protest with his toddler son, who was left in the care of another protester after his arrest. A little while later, the police could be seen escorting both the child and the protester inside, away from the crowd.
Follow what’s going on in the Liberate CUNY Front & the fight to stop the demilitarization of the campus here.

A sit-in and protest at the the City College of New York turned confrontational Thursday afternoon. One protester was pepper-sprayed and arrested for endangering the welfare of a minor, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. Another was detained and cited for disorderly conduct.

The protest took place outside City College’s recently closed Morales-Shakur Center, which CCNY abruptly converted into a “career center” on Sunday. The arrests happened when a crowd of protesters tried to force their way inside the North Academic Center (NAC), where the Morales-Shakur center used to be.

The arrested, pepper-sprayed person was CCNY alumnus and activist David Suker. It’s his second CCNY-related arrest of the week; Suker was previously arrested Sunday morning while sitting outside the center’s doors and refusing to move. Suker attended Thursday’s protest with his toddler son, who was left in the care of another protester after his arrest. A little while later, the police could be seen escorting both the child and the protester inside, away from the crowd.

Follow what’s going on in the Liberate CUNY Front & the fight to stop the demilitarization of the campus here.