California Educator Honored with Social Justice Activist Award
California Educator Jose Lara Honored with Social Justice Activist Award
NEA awarded the Social Justice Activist Award to Jose Lara, a social studies teacher at Santee Education Complex High School in Los Angeles, for his work in educational justice. The award was presented on Sun., July 5 at NEA’s Representative Assembly in Orlando.
The award is given to an NEA member who demonstrates the ability to lead, organize and engage educators, parents, and the community to advocate on social justice issues that impact the lives of students, fellow educators, and the communities they serve.
In his remarks to the delegate assembly, Lara said, “Social Justice is a verb. It is a sense of community and responsibility that goes beyond the classroom. It is fighting for the most vulnerable in our society. And today, it is precisely those students, the most vulnerable and historically oppressed, who are left out of our curriculum.”
Lara has a long history of social justice activism, from helping to organize a bus caravan of students and educators to protesting an Arizona law that legalized racial profiling to speaking against local school closings and the distribution of pink slips. But even as a boy, he knew there was something amiss with the world.
“I remember learning from my teachers: ‘This is America. If you want to make it, you must work hard.’ But we weren’t making it,” says Lara, who remembers seeing his mother work hard everyday, yet struggled, as a single parent, to raise her family.
To help make a difference, Lara pursued a profession in education. “I came into teaching to change the world,” he says. “I thought I could do that within my classroom, but I saw that I had to go outside of it.”
He’s gone far since that realization, too, becoming vice president of the El Rancho Unified School Board in the city of Pico Rivera, where his children attend school; dean of students, where he teaches; and a board member of his local Association, the United Teachers Los Angeles.
His most recent efforts led to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
It started in 2013. As a school board member in El Rancho, he quickly worked to get a resolution passed to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement. The district is thought to be the first school system in the state to have made such a requisite. Now, the class of 2016 must take and pass an ethnic-studies course before graduating.
With much success and support from the community, Lara formed the Ethnic Studies Now Coalition, which set out to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement in Los Angeles, which it did in 2014.
Data from the California Department of Education shows that ethnic studies courses are offered at 19 out of 94 of its senior high schools. This means that only 691 out of a total of nearly 153,000 high school students are taking ethnic studies courses.
NEA awarded the Social Justice Activist Award to Jose Lara, a social studies teacher at Santee Education Complex High School in Los Angeles, for his work in educational justice. The award was presented on Sunday, July 5 at NEA’s Representative Assembly in Orlando.
I will be talking about Confederate flags direct from the NEA RA on WBAI radio Monday morning.
JULY 5, 2015
I’m not sure who expected that race and racism, the Confederate flag and Confederate war memorials would take center stage at the annual Representative Assembly of the National Education Association in Orlando.
But it has.
Following Friday’s vote to adopt New Business Item B on the fight against institutional racism, Saturday featured a two hour debate over the display of the Confederate flag and Confederate symbols.
The debate produced the largest number of “requests for information,” a parliamentary maneuver that allows argument and debate by other means, in the history of 153 years of Representative Assemblies.
It was in response to my New Business Item 11 on Confederate flags and symbols.
I will be interviewed on WBAI’s Morning Show hosted by Michael G. Haskins and Jed Brandt on Monday, July 6th at 7AM EDT.
ESEA Reauthorization Leaves Parents with Less Power
Time to make your phone calls tomorrow and send to all your social media contacts. The vote for reauthorization is scheduled in the Senate is Tuesday, July 7, 2015. Here is information on why this 800 page bill (with no co-sponsors) must be defeated:
Dr. Sandra Stotsky gives an overview on how the reauthorization places the power into the hands of state educational agencies, not parents. She also talks about how the bill received no input from the parents whose children will be subjected to the mandates.
The American Principles Project listed fatal problems with the bill in The Every Child Achieves Act–A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. It masquerades as giving states more control in their educational development/delivery but it solidifies not only mandatory approval of state reforms, it also cements a common core requirement into the act:
Allegations Surface: DC Principal Receives Monthly Wine Shipment at NW Elementary School
Tubman Elem. School wine delivery
By Candi Peterson, WTU General Vice President
There aren’t many employers that would allow you to have your "wine of the month" shipment delivered to your job. Surely having a wine shipment sent to your elementary school likely will earn you a reprimand, even your walking papers.
When a local school principal (allegedly) received a monthly wine shipment from Last Bottle of Napa, California at her NW elementary school, here in DC– it caught the attention of a Fed-X employee who informed school staff. A picture of one of the wine deliveries sent May 15, 2015 was provided to The Washington Teacher.
Pay attention to the shipping label on the box (pictured left) which reveals the shipment was delivered to Amanda Delabar at 3101 13th Street NW, District of Columbia 20010, which is the address of Tubman Elementary school where Delabar is the principal. The label is stamped home pre-paid ALCOHOL and requires an adult signature.
One might ask what’s wrong with having wine delivered to you at your place of employment, which just so happens to be an elementary school? As an educational leader, principals are models of leadership for teachers and students and should maintain standards of exemplary professional conduct.
“If a principal would reprimand one of his/her staff for a similar type of offense then they too should refrain from engaging in such behavior”, stated a DC principal who wished to remain anonymous.
The Child, Youth, Safety and Omnibus Amendment Act of 2004 requires criminal background checks for certain DCPS employees who work with students prior to the commencement of employment, and reasonable suspicion drug/alcohol testing. This act led to the creation of theDCPS 2013 Employee Mandatory Drug and Alcohol Testing Policywhich has certain provisions that also prohibit intoxicants at work.
With Common Core and other issues hanging in the balance, as many as seven of the eight elected members of Louisiana’s top school board will be on the Oct. 24 primary ballot.
The biggest question mark is Chas Roemer, who is president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and is a leading backer of the controversial Common Core standards in reading, writing and math.
“I have just not decided yet,” said Roemer, who lives in Baton Rouge and holds the District 6 seat on BESE.
Two other hopefuls say they plan to run for Roemer’s spot.
Jay Guillot, who lives in Ruston, is the lone elected board member who has said he is not running again. He represents District 5.
Qualifying for the eight seats is Sept. 8-10. Runoffs, if needed, will be Nov. 21.
BESE has 11 members, with three named by the governor and eight chosen by voters. It sets policies for about 720,000 public school students statewide.
Those expected to run are:
Carolyn Hill, of Baton Rouge, who holds the District 8 slot and is expected to get opposition.
Lottie Beebe, who lives in Breaux Bridge and holds the District 3 seat.
Holly Boffy, a Youngsville resident who already has an opponent for the District 7 post.
Jim Garvey, a Metairie lawyer who will be opposed in District 1 by Lee Barrios, who has run before and lost.
Kira Orange Jones, who lives in New Orleans and holds the District 2 post.
Mary Harris, principal of a top-rated elementary school in Shreveport, who is seeking her first full term in the District 4 slot. At least two others are expected to challenge her.
BESE has endorsed Common Core twice, but that sentiment may change depending on how the eight races come out.
The new academic benchmarks could be a defining issue in at least four of eight contests — for the seats now held by Roemer, Hill, Boffy and Garvey.
“Over the past two years, the whole issue of standards has exploded,” said Barry Erwin, president of the pro-Common Core group Council for a Better Louisiana.
“Now you have people who are definitely recruiting candidates to get into the race on that issue, on both sides of it,” Erwin said.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson seemingly has something he wishes to hide.
Johnson filed a restraining order request against the city of Sacramento to prevent theSacramento News and Review from gaining access to e-mails he sent as mayor. Johnson claims that the release would harm him and the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM), of which he was once vice president and president. He named the NCBM as a co-plaintiff.
Yet Vanessa Williams, executive director of NCBM, said angrily, “We want nothing to do with Kevin Johnson. He’s not even a member. He tried to ruin this organization. I dare Kevin Johnson to find one person with this organization who supports him. Just one! Everybody with this organization hates Kevin Johnson. Nobody gave him permission to sue for us.”
Mayor Asks For Restraining Order Against City To Stop Email Release
KTXL - Sacramento
James Sanchez, the attorney for the city of Sacramento, agreed with the June 12 request from the Sacramento News and Review that the e-mails are a matter of public record. As a result, the city plans to release the e-mails to the media on July 6, prompting Johnson’s request.
Johnson and his lawyers argue that the e-mails are a matter of “attorney client privilege,” adding that their release would NCBM “irreparable harm.”
Jeff vonKaenel, publisher of the SN&R, was shocked that Johnson would try to pull an end-run, telling KCRA, “I don’t get it. I think the Mayor thinks he’s intimidating, but I think he’s a slow learner … This one is so ridiculous, it didn’t take much backbone for us, actually, for us to stand up. I’m just stunned the Mayor would do this.”
Asked by KCRA why Johnson is attempting to suppress the e-mails, Johnson’s spokesman, Ben Sosenko, protested, ”“We don’t feel the mayor is going through great lengths to protect them. This is just a regular, necessary, legal step…I don’t think there’s anything in those emails that would be disparaging to the mayor. But that’s not the issue. The issue is that he has a relationship that’s protected with his attorney as he was going through these legal proceedings with the National Conference of Black Mayors.”
Accusations against Johnson for requiring staffers to perform work unrelated to their employment have been made in the past.
Johnson’s attorney, Peter Haviland, wrote:
The writ petition filed today by the National Conference of Black Mayors, the Chapter 7 Trustee for the Estate of the National Conference of Black Mayors, and Mayor Kevin Johnson in his capacity as former President of the National Conference of Black Mayors, is not a lawsuit against anyone for damages nor is it an action to prevent the release of public records. It is only a “writ”—a common and simple procedure designed to protect attorney-client privileged documents. All of the parties who filed this writ, including Mayor Kevin Johnson, are committed to transparency and disclosure of all appropriate public records. They are equally committed to the bedrock principle of attorney-client privilege, which is recognized in the public records request statute.
United Opt Out National serves as a focused point of unyielding resistance to corporate ed. reform. We demand an equitably funded, democratically based, anti-racist, desegregated public school system for all Americans that prepares students to exercise compassionate and critical decision making with civic virtue.
Stephen Krashen is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southern California. He is best known for developing the first comprehensive theory of second language acquisition, introducing the concept of sheltered subject matter teaching, and as the co-inventor of the Natural Approach to foreign language teaching. He has also contributed to theory and application in the area of bilingual education, and has done important work in the area of reading. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from UCLA, was the 1977 Incline Bench Press champion of Venice Beach and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He is the author of The Power of Reading (Heinemann, 2004, second edition). His recent papers can be found at his website.
Saturday Morning Keynote
(The following portions of Chris’s biography were originally posted atTruthdig.)
Chris Hedges, whose column is published weekly on Truthdig, has written twelve books, including his latest book, Wages of Rebellion, published in May, 2015. Hedges previously spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and The University of Toronto. He currently teaches prisoners at a maximum-security prison in New Jersey. Hedges began his career reporting on the Falkland War from Argentina for National Public Radio. He went on to cover the war in El Salvador and Nicaragua for five years, first for The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio and later The Dallas Morning News.
Following six years in Latin America, he took time off to study Arabic and then went to Jerusalem and later Cairo. He spent seven years in the Middle East, most of them as the bureau chief there for The New York Times. He left the Middle East in 1995 for Sarajevo to cover the war in Bosnia and later reported the war in Kosovo. Afterward, he joined the Times’ investigative team and was based in Paris to cover al-Qaida. He left the Times after being issued a formal reprimand for denouncing the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.
In 2012, Hedges notably sued President Barack Obama after the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration appealed, and the decision was overturned. In 2014 the the Supreme Court denied to review Hedges v. Obama. The act still allows for presidential authority for indefinite detention without habeas corpus.
Hedges holds a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif. Hedges speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and studied classics, including ancient Greek and Latin, at Harvard. In 2014, Chris Hedges was ordained as a minister at the Second Presbyterian Church. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey and is married to the Canadian actress Eunice Wong with whom he has two children. He also has two children from a previous marriage. Please read Chris’s complete biography atTruthdig.
Saturday Afternoon Keynote
Dr. Antonia Darder is a distinguished international Freirian scholar. She holds the Leavey Presidential Endowed Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles and is Professor Emerita of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Her scholarship focuses on issues of racism, political economy, social justice, and education. Her work critically engages the contributions of Paulo Freire to our understanding of inequalities in schools and society. Darder’s critical theory of biculturalism links questions of culture, power, and pedagogy to social justice concerns in education. In her scholarship on ethics and moral issues, she articulates a critical theory of leadership for social justice and community empowerment. Her work also engages issues of culture and its relationship to recent developments in neuroscience.
She is the author of numerous books and articles in the field, including Culture and Power in the Classroom (20th Anniversary edition), Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love, A Dissident Voice: Essays on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power and Freire and Education. She is also co-author of After Race: Racism After Multiculturalism; and coeditor of The Critical Pedagogy Reader, Latinos and Education: A Critical Reader, and the forthcoming International Critical Pedagogy Reader.
Sunday Morning Keynote
Mercedes Martínez is an ESL teacher from Puerto Rico. She has been in the Teachers Federation as an active member since 2007. In 2008 she participated with thousands of teachers in a 10 day strike, requesting a fair contract for teachers. As a direct result, wages were raised through Law 109.
She became the Toa Baja Teachers Federation Union President from 2009-2012, where she led many protests against unfair treatment to teachers, requesting better working conditions, claiming for a diverse curriculum, a smaller class size, and providing legal support to teachers in need.
In 2012 she became a Teachers Federation Area Representative, and provided services to teachers from Bayamón, Toa Baja, Cataño and Guaynabo. She participated in the Pension System protests that won over the cuts that were proposed by the government. She participated in a civil disobedience activity, defending teachers’ rights to a fair pension, and participated nationwide in strikes and protests with other union members.
In 2014 a great Opt Out movement came to life in Puerto Rico, led by the Teachers Federation, where the 1st testing day, 20% of the expected students were absent. The movement was preceded by hundreds of talks and meetings with parents islandwide, defending public education against corporate testing and privatization.
As of July 1st, 2015, she is now the President of the Teachers Federation Union, leading a struggle against the announced school closures in Puerto Rico. One hundred schools are proposed to be shut down. Thirty schools have struggled and maintained open. Many people are currently in permanent vigils in front of their schools, fighting against this crime on education, along with community members and union members of the Teachers Federation. Mercedes is one of the founders of Opt Out En Español National.
Sunday Afternoon Keynote
William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament. A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is a past vice-president of the curriculum studies division of the American Educational Research Association.
Ayers’ articles have appeared in many journals including the Harvard Educational Review, the Journal of Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, Rethinking Schools, The Nation, Educational Leadership, the New York Times and the Cambridge Journal of Education. His books include Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident, with Ryan Alexander-Tanner To Teach: The Journey in Comics , with Bernardine Dohrn Race Course: Against White Supremacy, with Rick Ayers Teaching the Taboo: Courage and Imagination in the Classroom, Teaching toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom, with Kevin Kumashiro, Erica Meiners, Therese Quinn, and David Stovall Teaching toward Democracy: Educators as Agents of Change, A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court,Fugitive Days: A Memoir, On the Side of the Child: Summerhill Revisited, Teaching the Personal and the Political: Essays on Hope and Justice, The Good Preschool Teacher: Six Teachers Reflect on Their Lives, andTo Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, (Teachers College Press, 1993) which was named Book of the Year in 1993 by Kappa Delta Pi, and won the Witten Award for Distinguished Work in Biography and Autobiography in 1995.
He lives in Hyde Park, Chicago with Bernardine Dohrn, partner, comrade, friend, co-parent and grand-parent, inspiration, co-author, lover, and soul-mate for close to half a century. Read more on Bill Ayers at his website.
Friday 5:00-8:00 p.m. Welcome Reception Stephen Krashen
Saturday 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Registration 9:00 – 10 a.m. Meet and Greet with UOO Leaders 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Keynote with Chris Hedges 11:00 – 12:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions 12:00 – 12:45 p.m. Lunch 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Panel #1 Global Privatization and “the Advancing Endgame Result!” 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions 3:00 – 3:45 p.m. Panel #2 Civil rights: Reclaiming the Narrative 3:45 – 4:00 p.m. Break 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Keynote with Antonia Darder
Sunday 9:00 -10:00 a.m. Keynote with Mercedes Martinez 10:00 to 10:15 break 10:15 – 11:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions 11:15 – 11:30 break 11:30-12:30 Keynote with Bill Ayers 12:45 – 1:15 p.m. Closing Remarks from UOO leaders
BREAKOUT SESSION TOPICS
Book Talk with Ricardo Rosa and Joao J. Rosa: Capitalism’s Educational Catastrophe: And the Advancing Endgame Revolt! Community Empowerment Student Activism Opt Out 101 Black Lives Matter Teachers of Professional Conscience Media and Messaging Our Demands: What’s Next? Union Caucus Building More TBD soon!
Hotels: We will have a block of rooms available at Homewood Suites University City, 4109 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 very soon – check back here on July 6th! Hotel has shuttle and is only five blocks away from conference location!
Meet the UOO TEAM (click pic to enlarge):
Top row left to right: Morna McDermott McNulty, Michael Pena, Denisha Jones, and Peggy Robertson.
Bottom row left to right: Ceresta Smith, Tim Slekar, Ruth Rodriguez and Rosemarie Jensen