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Myths about Teachers: We Need More Police in Our Public Schools

By Bill Ayers, Crystal Laura, and Rick Ayers

In “You Can’t Fire the Bad Ones“: And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, educators Bill Ayers, Crystal Laura and Rick Ayers flip the script on many enduring and popular myths about teachers, teachers’ unions, and education that permeate our culture. By unpacking these myths, the authors aim to challenge readers to rethink their assumptions about teachers. Praxis Center shares an excerpt from Myth 16: Teachers Are Unable to Deal Adequately with the Disciplinary Challenges Posed By Today’s Youth, and We Need More Police in Our Public School Buildings to Do the Job and Maintain Law and Order.

“Teachers Are Unable to Deal Adequately with the Disciplinary Challenges Posed By Today’s Youth, and We Need More Police in Our Public School Buildings to Do the Job and Maintain Law and Order.”

Public schools are plagued by gangs and fighting, assault and battery, drug dealing, and other criminal behavior, including, in extreme instances, actual shoot-outs between students. All of these hard realities demand an active and alert police presence to maintain safety, order, and discipline.

Schools must be safe havens for all kids, as well as for all school personnel. The good kids who want to learn and feel secure must be shielded from the actions of a minority of bad kids who get no discipline at home and have no respect for their classmates, the teacher, or learning itself. Suspending kids for bad behavior and sending them home may have made sense decades ago, but it’s no longer an adequate control: too often parents don’t believe in strong management and probably aren’t home anyway because the mother may be working two jobs, and in many cases the father isn’t home because he has left or is in prison.

Why I Declined an Award from My University

By Therese Quinn

Open Letter to The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education

April 29, 2017

Office of the Dean
The University of Illinois at Chicago
1040 W. Harrison St. (MC 147)
Chicago IL 60607

Dear Dean Alfred Tatum and College of Education Community:

I am writing to thank the Department of Curriculum & Instruction for selecting me to receive public honor as a graduate of the College of Education (COE). However, after discussions with members of the College’s Decolonize Education Coalition, reviewing the data and analyses posted on the group’s Tumblr (Views From the Silenced), and reflection on my experiences as a COE graduate student, I feel that I must decline this award as well as participation in the honoree events. Because of my high regard for the COE, I don’t take this decision lightly. Yet, as the Nicaraguan poet Giocanda Belli wrote, “Solidarity is the tenderness of the peoples.” I offer this open letter to explain why I have chosen to forego this award and stand in solidarity with the students of COE and the Decolonize Education Coalition.

Resisting the Trump/DeVos Education Agenda: What Will It Take?

By Pauline Lipman

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a millionaire privatizer, made her name in Michigan with for-profit charter schools and a preference for private Christian schools. Her vision is to gut public education and teacher unions and replace public schools with vouchers. But to be clear, the ground for De Vos’ frontal assault on public education was prepared by the neoliberal policies of previous administrations. Neoliberal restructuring of public education has been a bi-partisan agenda in the U.S., going back to Ronald Reagan, so the challenges we face today are, in some ways, not new.

Hip hop, grit, and academic success This impassioned talk explains how students who identify with Hip Hop culture have been ignored or deemed deficient in schools because of mainstream misconceptions associated with Hip Hop culture. Through Hip Hop, these students embody the characteristics of grit, social and emotional intelligence, and the act improvisation- all of which are proven to be predictors for academic success. So where is the break down between formalized education and the potential for success for these students? Dr. Love argues that ignoring students’ culture in the classroom is all but an oversight; it’s discrimination and injustice that plays out in our culture in very dangerous ways.

#decolonizingonebeadatatime: Resistance with Nicole Cardinal from the Dakelh Nation

By Shayna Plaut

Nicole Cardinal is a self-described “matriarch-in-training” from the Dakelh Nation and “a First Nations and Indigenous Studies Warrior.” Deeply committed to her schooling as a mature undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), her number one priority is raising her two young girls with her husband “in the most traditional way possible in urban Vancouver.” In 2015, she made the short four-minute film Resistance as a part of her Indigenous film class at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The film has gained a life of its own that extends far beyond the classroom walls. Resistance details Nicole’s journey into disrupting the ongoing colonial educational system and how she reclaims space – and truths – inside and outside of the classroom through traditional and Western knowledges and practices.

Law, Protest, and Social Movements

This course is for students interested in learning how to create social change through collective action. The dual aims of the course are to enrich our understanding of the mechanics of social change and to critically examine the relationship between law, lawyers, and social movements. Together, we will develop a nuanced understanding of law as a complex tool that has the potential to both coopt social movements and support liberation. We will take a historical and theoretical case-study approach, with emphasis on the civil rights and Black Power movements in the United States. We will also draw lessons from contemporary movement-building efforts. Throughout the semester, guest speakers on the front lines of racial and economic justice movements here in Michigan will join us to share their insights and ground our discussion. Syllabus here. Dr. Amanda Alexander University of Michigan

Historic Federal Guidance on Transgender Students

By Transgender Law Center

Thanks to the Transgender Law Center for providing insightful commentary on the federal government’s historic guidance on transgender students issued last week on May 13, 2016. Please visit the TLC blog for up to date reports about legal battles and policies affecting trans people.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter, the Department of Education and Department of Justice issued guidance today making it clear that schools must treat transgender students according to their gender identity in all respects and cannot ban transgender students from using facilities that match the gender they live as every day.

Invisible Battlefields: A Call to Stand with Community Colleges on the Frontlines of Resistance

By Amanda Loos

On February 4th, the faculty of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) delivered a vote of no confidence in mayor-appointed Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. At Harold Washington College (HWC) where I have taught arts and humanities with women’s/gender studies/social justice themes for the last 13 years, 114 out of 116 full-time faculty cast a ballot. Of those, 93% voted “no confidence.” We were triggered by sudden changes that will have devastating effects on students, faculty, and Chicago’s communities – made by CCC District Administration over the Summer of 2015 without any faculty or student input or warning. These sweeping changes include, a dramatic increase in tuition for part-time and international students, changes to registration deadlines for our most vulnerable populations, and “consolidation” and closing of academic and professional programs. Calls by faculty and students for open communication, shared decision-making, transparent justification and the data for these “data-driven” decisions were repeatedly denied, prompting the vote as one possible measure toward justice.