Tag Archives: teachers

“When Bennett and Kaep are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!”

Video of Jesse Hagopian addressing the rally for Michael Bennett and Colin Kaepernick
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Nikkita Oliver addresses the rally for Michael Bennett, Colin Kaepernick, and Black lives.

On Sunday, September 17th, before the Seattle Seahawks first home game against the San Francisco ‘49ers, organizers from the NAACP and the Social Equality Educators (SEE) sponsored a rally in support of ex ‘49er Colin Kaeprnick and Seahawk Michael Bennett. The rally was coordinated with a national call to support Kaeprnick and featured Reshaud Bennett, Michael Bennett’s younger brother; Katrina Johnson, Cousin of Charleena Lyles who was killed by Seattle police;  Nikkita Oliver, teaching artist, attorney, organizer and former mayoral candidate. Gerald Hankerson, Seattle/King County NAACP president; Jesse Hagopian, teacher, author, and editor for Rethinking Schools; and Dave Zirin, The Nation sports editor and co-author of Michael Bennett’s forthcoming book, “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.” 12sBlackLivesRally

Kaepernick and Bennett have been at the forefront of the rebellion for Black lives that has erupted in the NFL. It started last season when Kaepernick made the courageous decision to draw attention to police brutality and oppression by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Because of his willingness to speak truth to power, Kaepernick is actively being blackballed from playing in the NFL and no team will sign him.

Seattle Seahawks’ Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion Michael Bennett has been one of the biggest supporters of Kaepernick and one of the most prominent NFL players supporting the movement for Black lives. Bennett sat during the national anthem during the entire preseason, and vowed to continue for the entire season, in an effort to highlight the unjust murder of Black people by police and the rising white supremacy that was on display in Charlottesville, Virginia.

On the morning of August 27th, Michael Bennett experienced police injustice first hand when a Los Vegas police officer put him on the ground and threatened his life. The incident occurred when a reported shooting on the Vegas strip led to many people running for cover, including Bennett. Instead of the police helping Bennett, video and photographic evidence shows that Las Vegas police targeted Bennett, put him on the ground in handcuffs while the primary officer took out a weapon and placed it near the back of his head. According to Bennett, the officer said that if Bennett moved, he would “blow [his] fucking head off.” Bennett was then put in a police car, and after a period of time let go without charges.   After threatening his life, the Vegas police decided they would then attempt to assassinate his character by accusing him of lying about the events of that evening.  But thankfully people are rising up to support Bennett.  Dave Zirin recently published a letter of solidarity for Bennett that was signed by a couple dozen leading athletes, authors, artists, activist, and academics.  The signatories included, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, Colin Kaepernick, Cornel West, Naomi Klein, Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Opal Tometi (Co-founders, Black Lives Matter), actor Jesse Williams.  In addition, Seattle athletes and artists, Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, and Macklemore, signed the letter. The September 17th rally for Kaepernick and Bennett swelled to some two hundred protesters who wanted to show their support because of all these two activist athletes have done to give back to their communities—and the people of Seattle have seen Michael’s efforts up close. Bennett supported and publicly endorsed the victorious movement for ethnic studies in the Seattle Public Schools. He supported the “Black Lives Matter at School” day initiative on October 19, 2016, showing up to speak about issues of race and education at the evening rally. Bennett has backed the Freedom School program at Rainer Beach High School, contributing financially and inviting the program to his training camp to speak with them about social issues and education. Bennett commitment to food justice has led him to start a community garden initiative at a Seattle Interagency school and the current youth jail.  And Bennett helped organize a powerful solidarity rally with the family of Charleena Lyles to demand accountability for her death at the hands of Seattle police. It is because of Bennett’s unyielding contributions to the struggles for justice that the many protesters stepped into the street and marched to the Seahawks Century Link Field chanting, “When Bennett and Kaep are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!”BennettBanner_12sBlackLivesRally.jpg_large

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stand in solidarity with Sarah Chambers and the education justice movement

SarahChambers_micCelebrate national teacher appreciation day today by supporting one of the true champions of social justice education in the country! Below is a statement of solidarity by leading educators around the nation in defense of Sarah Chambers from the trumped up charges levied against her. Help Sarah today by sharing the below statement on social media and by signing the online petition.

We stand in solidarity with Sarah Chambers and the education justice movement

Sarah Chambers is an award winning special education teacher in Chicago’s Saucedo Academy. Sarah is a local leader a national figure in the fight to defend and transform public education against the corporate education reform attack. She is a relentless advocate for special education students and LGBTQ students. Sarah is a published author, organizer, and speaker on issues of education reform and social justice.

Now Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has accused her of encouraging students to opt out of the PARCC Test, a wholly unsubstantiated charge.  While Sarah has long been a proponent of promoting critical thinking over drill-and-kill standardized testing, her advocacy has always been directed at consciousness raising among her colleagues to help change policy, not telling kids what to do about the tests. It is clear that CPS has suspended her and is moving to fire her for her courageous advocacy on behalf of her students.

Moreover, this attack on Sarah Chambers is an attack on the entire movement for education justice, the movement for authentic assessment over standardized testing, and an attack on union organizers generally.

We the undersigned demand that the Chicago Public Schools drop their erroneous charges against Sarah Chambers and instead use their resources to better support the social, emotional, and academic development of Chicago students.

Wayne Au
Professor, School of Educational Studies, University of Washington
Editor, Rethinking Schools

Bill Bigelow
Curriculum Editor, Rethinking Schools
Co-Director, Zinn Education Project

Nancy Carlsson-Paige
Professor Emerita Lesley University

Michelle Fine
Distinguished Professor of Critical Psychology, American Studies and Urban Education, The Graduate Center CUNY

Jesse Hagopian
Editor of the book, More Than a Score Editor, Rethinking Schools
Editor, Rethinking Schools

Julian Vasquez Heilig
Professor of Educational Leadership, Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership, California State University Sacramento. California NAACP Education Chair.

Brian Jones
Educator and activist, New York City
Doctoral candidate in Urban Education, City University of New York Graduate Center

Journey for Justice (J4J)
An alliance of grassroots community, youth, and parent-led organizations in 24 cities across the country

Kevin Kumashiro
Former Dean, University of San Francisco School of Education

Jia Lee
Elementary School teacher, Earth School, NYC
Organizer, Movement of Rank-and-file Educators

Jose Luis Vilson
Author, This is Not a Test
Executive Director of EduColor

Lois Weiner
Professor, New Jersey City University
Director, Urban Education and Teacher Unionism Police Project

“Turning the Streets Into Our Classroom”: Vote for May Day Strike!

dearbornPublished by The South Seattle Emerald

by Jesse Hagopian 

By Wednesday this week every school in Seattle will have held a union vote to decided if our Seattle Education Association (SEA) should go out on strike on May Day—International Worker’s Day—to demand full funding for education, to support our immigrant students, and to defend union rights.

I am voting yes!—and I hope that the rest of the educators join me in authorizing this walkout for the schools our students deserve.

Here in Washington State, our state Supreme Court ruled in the McCleary decision that our state legislature was in violation of the state Constitution’s “Paramount Duty” to amply provide for education.  The court has fined the legislature and found them in contempt of court for failing to support public education.  And yet we have seen our legislature continue to funnel money to the wealthiest corporations in our state, giving away billions in tax breaks to Boeing and maintaining tax loopholes for the rich.  Washington State is one of only a few states without an income tax and ranks dead last with most regressive tax structure in the nation.  The year 2017 was the final year that the state Supreme Court gave the legislature to fix the funding problem and it is clear that the legislature has no plans to start following the law anytime soon. ft-teachers-washington

We have tried emailing, calling and asking nicely for the legislature to follow the law and fund education. That hasn’t worked.

Now it’s time to show the collective power of labor.  We held a one-day walkout two years ago as part of a rolling strike wave across the state to pressure the state legislature. That was an important action that raised awareness, brought families into the streets with teachers in a common struggle, and gave teachers a glimpse of their power.  But this one-day strike has the potential to have a much bigger impact than the last because the Martin Luther King County Labor Council passed a resolution calling on all the locally affiliated unions to go out on May Day. As the Seattle Weekly reported,

SEA isn’t the only union flirting with a May Day strike. UAW Local 4121 is also voting on strike action, according to the op-ed. (We’ve got a line out to the union.) And the Martin Luther King County Labor Council voted last week in favor of a resolution supporting strikes and other direct actions (for instance, teach-ins) on May Day in cooperation with organizers of the labor and immigrant marches.

Many unions are looking to the SEA to see if we strike. If we do, others could follow and it could become a mass outpouring of labor solidarity that truly has the power to shake up the one percent and their political representatives in the legislature and make them heed our demands for education and union rights.

In addition to the urgency around education funding in our state, the May 1st Coalition in Seattle has called on workers to strike for immigrant rights on May Day, and there will be a massive outpouring of humanity at a rally that day to stand against Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. All the anti-immigrant rhetoric and deportations are demoralizing our students, splitting them apart from their families, and leading to hate crimes. Moreover, there is a push by the Trump administration and within the federal government to ratify anti-union, so-called “right to work” legislation, that would gut union protections.

I am voting to strike because I believe we as educators should join the struggle for immigrant rights and I see that as a vital component to a better education system.

I’m not content to teach students about the mass strikes and boycotts of the past that won social programs and the right to unionize–I know we actually need to bring back that history and make it real for our students by demonstrating what it looks like in practice. I’m ready to make the streets my classroom on the first of May and teach a lesson about union power and collective struggle that the rich and powerful won’t soon forget.

EDUCATORS STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH CHICAGO TEST REFUSERS

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In a public petition released today, more than fifty educators and researchers, including some of the most well-respected figures in the field of education, pledged support for the boycott of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) by teachers at two elementary schools in Chicago, Saucedo Scholastic Academy and Drummond Elementary School and called on Chicago’s mayor and schools chief to rescind threats of punishment for those who participated in the action.

Among the signers of the statement are former US Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, and activist and educator William Ayers.

Today, Monday March 10, the Chicago Teachers Union is calling for a Day of Action to support the boycotting teachers. The CTU is encouraging members and supporters to wear red and attend a rally in Chicago at 4pm. Supporters outside of Chicago can call the Board of Education at 773-553-1600 and say:

“I’d like to leave a message for all members of the Chicago Board of Education. I support families boycotting the ISAT and there should be no retaliation against teachers who stood up for their students on the ISAT.”

To add your name to the petition, send an email to educatorsolidarity@gmail.com.

*

PETITION TO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL & CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS CEO BARBARA BYRD-BENNETT:

CELEBRATE CHICAGO’S TEACHERS OF CONSCIENCE, DON’T PUNISH THEM!

Teachers at two public elementary schools in Chicago, Saucedo Scholastic Academy and Drummond Elementary School, have refused to administer the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). By taking this bold action at great personal risk, these teachers are standing up for authentic teaching, learning, and assessment. We believe that these teachers are heroes who are worthy of praise and thanks, not punishment and censure.

The teachers at these schools believe that boycotting this test is in the best interest of their students. Hundreds of parents and students agreed. At Drummond, 112 students out of 178 students refused to take the test. At Saucedo, roughly 450 of 1200 students refused also. For teachers who declined to administer the test, this was not a day off — they were able to conduct actual lessons with students who opted out. Threatening to punish teachers who prefer to teach rather than give standardized tests is not in the best interest of students.

The ISAT test is being phased out, and will not be given next year. The results from this test will not be used to improve teaching and learning, to determine grades or promotion in Chicago Public Schools. It’s only purpose is to satisfy the accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. NCLB demands that schools raise test scores every year, pressure which has led to an abusive over-emphasis on standardized test preparation nationwide.

Like early participants in the Civil Rights Movement, the teachers at Saucedo and Drummond who have refused to administer the ISAT have taken an enormous risk for what they believe is right. And like those early Civil Rights protesters, they are facing intimidation and threats that they may be fired or lose their teaching licenses.

We, the undersigned, call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to stop all threats and punishments directed at the teachers of conscience at Saucedo Scholastic Academy and Drummond Elementary.

Signed*:

Curtis Acosta
Founder
Acosta Latino Learning Partnership, Tucson

Mary Adams
School Board Member
Rochester, NY

Dohra Ahmad
Associate Professor of English
St. John’s University

Wayne Au
Associate Professor of Education
University of Washington, Bothell

William Ayers
Retired
University of Illinois

Ann Berlak
Retired
San Francisco State University

Kenneth Bernstein
Teacher
North County High School, Glen Burnie

Bill Bigelow
Curriculum Editor
Rethinking Schools

Elizabeth Bishop
Drop Knowledge Project

Stephen Brier
Professor
Ph.D. Program in Urban Education
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Phyllis A. Bush
Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education, Fort Wayne

Kristi Butkovich
Executive Director
Denver Alliance for Public Education

Duane Campbell
Professor of Education, Emeritus
California State University, Sacramento

Alex Caputo-Pearl
Teacher
Frida Kahlo High School, Los Angeles

Julie Cavanagh
Teacher
Public School 15, Brooklyn

Sumi Cho
Professor of Law
DePaul University College of Law

Noam Chomsky
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Linda Christensen
Rethinking Schools

Anthony Cody
Co-Founder
Network for Public Education

Rocío Cordova
Association of Raza Educators, San Diego chapter

Tammy Oberg De La Garza
Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy
College of Education
Roosevelt University, Chicago

Rosalie DeFino
Educator, Chicago

Bertis Downs
Board Member
Network for Public Education

John W. Duffy
Retired
Illinois Education Association

Allan Dyen-Shapiro
Educator
Estero, FL

Lisa Edstrom
Barnard Education Program
Barnard College, Columbia University

Stephanie Farmer
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Roosevelt University, Chicago

Guillermo Antonio Gomez
Association of Raza Educators

Judith Gouwens
Professor of Elementary Education
College of Education
Roosevelt University, Chicago

Ellen Gradman
Former elementary school teacher and art educator
Chicago

Helen Gym
Asian Americans United/Parents United for Public Education
Rethinking Schools

Jesse Hagopian
Teacher
Garfield High School, Seattle

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters

Marianne Handler
Highland Park, IL

Angela Hanson
Teacher, Minneapolis

Nini Hayes
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Julian Vasquez Heilig
Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning
University of Texas, Austin

Robin Hiller
Executive Director
Network for Public Education

Patricia Johnson
Admissions Counselor and Group Tour Coordinator
AFSCME LOCAL 1989
Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago

Brian Jones
PhD Program in Urban Education
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Denisha Jones
Assistant Professor of Education
Howard University

Stan Karp
Rethinking Schools

Bill Kennedy
Urban Teacher Education Program
University of Chicago

Jeff Kipilman
Teacher
Portland Public Schools

Ari Klein
President
Cleveland Heights Teachers Union

Jonathan Kozol
Author

Connie Krosney
Professor (retired)
Burlington, Vermont

Mark Larson
National Louis University, Chicago

Rosemary Lee
Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education, US section

Karen GJ Lewis
National Board Certified Teacher
President
Chicago Teachers Union

Gerardo R. Lopez
Professor, Department of Political Science
Associate Director for Research, Loyola Institute for Quality and Equity in Education
Loyola University, New Orleans

Tara Mack
CPS parent and Director
Education for Liberation Network

Barbara Madeloni
Educators for a Democratic Union

Eleni Makris
Associate Professor
Northeastern Illinois University

Morna McDermott
Associate Professor
Towson University

Elizabeth Meadows
Associate Professor of Elementary Education
College of Education
Roosevelt University

Marlene Meisels
Associate Professor
Concordia University, Chicago

Deborah Menkart
Executive Director
Teaching for Change

Nicholas M. Michelli
Presidential Professor
Ph.D. Program in Urban Education
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Mark B. Miller
School Board Director
Centennial School District
Pennsylvania School Boards Association

Megan Moskop
Special Education Teacher
New York City Department of Education

Mark Nagasawa
CPS Parent and Assistant Professor
Erikson Institute, Graduate School of Child Development

Hyung Nam
Teachers, Portland Public Schools
NW Teaching for Social Justice Conference Steering Committee

Monty Neill
FairTest

Isabel Nuñez
Associate Professor
Concordia University Chicago

Dani O’Brien
College of Education
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

John Oliver Perry
Seattle

Bob Peterson
President
Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association

Anthony Picciano
Executive Officer
PhD Program in Urban Education
City University of New York – Graduate Center

Bree Picower
New York Collective of Radical Educators

Amira Proweller
Associate Professor
DePaul University, College of Education

Diane Ravitch
Research Professor of Education
New York University

Mary Cathryn D. Ricker
National Board Certified Teacher
President
Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, Local 28

Karyn Sandlos
Assistant Professor of Art Education
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Mara Sapon-Shevin
Professor of Inclusive Education
Syracuse University

Nancy Schniedewind
Professor
State University of New York, New Paltz

Christine Sleeter
Professor Emerita
California State University, Monterey Bay
and Immediate Past-President
National Association for Multicultural Education

Tim Slekar
Dean
School of Education
Edgewood College, Madison

Philip Small
Brooklyn, NY

Deb Stahl
Rockville, MD

Simeon Stumme
Associate Professor
Center for Policy Studies and Social Justice
Concordia University, Chicago

Richard Sugerman
Richmond, CA

Daiyu Suzuki
Doctoral Student
Teachers College, Columbia University

Peter M. Taubman
Professor
Brooklyn College

Dora Taylor
President
Parents Across America

Angela Valenzuela
Professor
University of Texas, Austin

Bob Valiant
Valiant, ETC

Emma Lee Weibel
Lake Oswego, OR

Lois Weiner
Professor
New Jersey City University

Randi Weingarten
President
American Federation of Teachers

Joel Westheimer
University Research Chair and Professor
University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education, Ontario

Barbara Winslow
School of Education
Brooklyn College

Colleen Doherty Wood
Founder
50th No More, Florida

Ken Zarifis
President
Education Austin, Local #2048

Diana Zavala
Change The Stakes

Rebecca Zorach
Professor
University of Chicago

*organizations are listed for identification purposes only

[Updated 3/18/2014 @ 10:16am EST]

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