Tuesday, June 2, 2020

CURMUDGUCATION: Successful School Reopening Plans Will Have One Thing In Common

CURMUDGUCATION: Successful School Reopening Plans Will Have One Thing In Common

Successful School Reopening Plans Will Have One Thing In Common


Plenty of folks have thoughts about the conditions under which schools should be opened. The CDC thinks desks should be six feet apart. The American Enterprise Institute suggests that districts might want to get all staff members over fifty-five to take early retirement. Senator Bill Cassidy has called for aggressive testing and contact tracing.

Over the next few months, we’ll see many plans floated for opening schools in the fall. The successful ones will have one thing in common.

They will be written—or at least co-written—by teachers.

Reopening schools will be the ultimate exercise in devil-concealing detail work. A recommendation like “put all student desks at least six feet apart” is easy to make, but it will take the people who actually know the configurations of rooms in the building to turn it into a workable plan

The plans will hinge on nitty-gritty details, not sweeping policy ideas. In a district with few students who walk to school, how do you get them to the building without stuffing them into a means of transportation? If you are, as some suggest, checking temperatures as they enter the building, how do you do it without creating a crowd outside? Where are the bottlenecks in your building, and how might scheduling help reduce them? If one source of bottlenecks is, in fact, the doorway into each classroom, how do you manage that traffic issue?

How will students move from class to class? How does an elementary teacher move a line of fifteen kids, all six feet apart, through the halls? In a high school, how do you dismiss different classes at CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Successful School Reopening Plans Will Have One Thing In Common

Thurmond Calls for Action to Address Racism - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Thurmond Calls for Action to Address Racism - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Calls on Schools and Communities to Take Action to Address Institutional Racism and Educational Inequities


SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today responded to the death of George Floyd by calling on communities across the state and nation to take action to dismantle institutional racism and inequities in public schools. He also invited students, educators, families, and partners to participate in an upcoming series of honest, courageous conversations that can help inform the work ahead.
“Given the gravity of what has happened, it is important to me to take some time to talk about the important need for us to have racial justice in California and in this country,” said Thurmond. “It has been difficult for me to make sense of how a man can beg and plead for his life and still have his life snuffed out. It has been hard for me, as a black man, who every day thinks about the impact of race. It has been difficult for me, as a parent raising African American children, to know what to say, how to answer their questions when they ask me, ’Dad, why did this happen?’ And to know that I have to confront my own vulnerability: that when they ask me, ‘Could this happen to them?’ that I might not be able to keep them safe.”
To the loved ones of George Floyd, Thurmond addressed them directly: “I believe that you deserve more than condolences and prayers. I believe that you deserve action that leads to racial justice.”
“We know that bias exists in every sector of society,” Thurmond added. “Now is our time to speak, and to address racism and implicit bias in education.”
An archived video broadcast of the State Superintendent’s full remarks can be found on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook page.
In his remarks, the State Superintendent noted that public education can play an important role in better exploring the connection between issues of educational equity and implicit bias in the classroom and the systemic racism that persists throughout society. Black and brown students are more likely to be suspended and expelled and fall behind academically, for example, and schools that serve communities of color are often the most under-resourced.
The State Superintendent announced that he and the CDE will be launching a series of discussions that will include superintendents and educational leaders from across California, students, teachers, school support staff, parents, and caregivers. Thurmond also intends to convene stakeholders in discussions of implicit bias beyond schools to include leaders of statewide and national law enforcement organizations, elected officials, civic community leaders, and more. Details of these gatherings and how to participate will be forthcoming.
Thurmond also announced that he has created an outlet—createracialjustice@gmail.com—that will allow for additional voices and ideas to be heard. CDE will use this collected feedback to develop a new online resource that will be an extension of these conversations. More details will come later.
# # # #
Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100
Thurmond Calls for Action to Address Racism - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

U.S. Policing a Systemic, not a “Bad Apple” Problem – radical eyes for equity

U.S. Policing a Systemic, not a “Bad Apple” Problem – radical eyes for equity

U.S. Policing a Systemic, not a “Bad Apple” Problem


Here are the two foundational and enduring problems with policing in the U.S.:
(1) U.S. police forces are hypermilitarized and have been killing 1000+ people a year since 2013 (other countries do not have these numbers or rates for police killing citizens; see Germany).
police kill 1000 per year
The New York Times
(2) Black people are killed at disproportionate rates compared to whites (Black people at a rate of 30/million v. white people at 12/million) even though in the U.S. there are 5-6 white people for every Black person.
police kill Blacks at higher rate
The Washington Post
These are not “bad apple” problems, but systemic problems.
U.S. Policing a Systemic, not a “Bad Apple” Problem – radical eyes for equity

Politico: States Divided About Following DeVos Guidance to Fund Private Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Politico: States Divided About Following DeVos Guidance to Fund Private Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Politico: States Divided About Following DeVos Guidance to Fund Private Schools


Politico Morning Education reports that states are divided about whether to take Betsy DeVos’ advice and distribute federal funds based on enrollment, not need. This is her way of sending federal money to private schools, including elite private schools. She has been rebuked by both Republican leaders like Lamar Alexander and Democrats including Patty Murray and Bobby Scott. DeVos is not backing down and is trying to find a way of mandating her wishes, despite Congressional objections.
STATES PUSH BACK AGAINST STEERING CORONAVIRUS FUNDS TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Despite DeVos’ call to allow private school kids access to coronavirus stimulus funds, Republican-led states like Oklahoma, Mississippi and Indiana are refusing to, and so are Maine, Washington, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Wisconsin.
— DeVos told states that they should steer a greater share of their coronavirus relief to private school students than would be usual under federal education law. She CONTINUE READING: Politico: States Divided About Following DeVos Guidance to Fund Private Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Schools Re-open in Israel | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Schools Re-open in Israel | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Schools Re-open in Israel


After nine weeks of closure, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that schools be re-opened within 48 hours. On May 3rd the first phase of re-opening occurred. A national system of schooling, the Ministry of Education had issued numerous guidelines and directives for opening schools balancing health and safety with the need to get children learning and parents back to work.
But guidelines and directives are one thing; it is up to principals and teachers to do the daily work. Or as one teacher put it: “You can’t just turn on the faucet. You have to organize the school, disinfect the building, organize small groups, prepare lesson plans …. The most talented principal can’t do all this in the time allotted.”
And parents worried.
On the first day that Israel’s schools reopened nine weeks after closing to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Kalanit Taub’s 8-year-old daughter stayed home.
As a third-grader, her classes were among the first wave of those to resume. But her 10-year-old brother’s classes hadn’t yet resumed, and Taub was recalling how both children had been exposed to the virus at school back in March.
“If there is another exposure, what will we do?” she asked. “My husband and I are back to working at our workplace. Can we put the whole family in CONTINUE READING: Schools Re-open in Israel | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

CURMUDGUCATION: Toxic Ideas

CURMUDGUCATION: Toxic Ideas

Toxic Ideas


Here are two views of the word that are loose in this country:

The way the world works is (or is supposed to be) that you get what you deserve. Make bad choices? You get bad consequences. Your success or failure is completely up to you-- it's the result of the choices that you make. 

And this:

It's not about high ideals or honor or empathy or care for your fellow human. It's about power, and the people who do (or don't) have the balls to take it and use it. 

The first is more familiar, because the myth of the strong, rugged individual who makes it on his own and pulls himself up by his own bootstraps (which he carved out of a tree trunk with his bare hands) is an American favorite. It is every person who clutched their pearls when Obama dared to suggest that they "didn't build that" by themselves. It is every opponent of the social safety net believing that people who are poor are poor because it's their own damn fault. (Heck, I know people who believe that if someone is sick--any kind of sick--has only themselves to blame.) "Cut all welfare," they say, "and Those People will go get jobs and support themselves. They're just taking advantage."

Even the working poor are their own fault. If that job doesn't pay enough to live on, then get a different job. Never mind what the pandemic has made clear-- that there are certain jobs that we absolutely need and expect someone to do, but we expect those people to be poor.

The second is less familiar to us as a society, though plenty of our high level officials certainly get it. It has certainly been a guiding principle of Donald Trump's life. It doesn't matter what the norms CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Toxic Ideas

With Revenue Down, ACT’s CEO Exits | deutsch29

With Revenue Down, ACT’s CEO Exits | deutsch29

With Revenue Down, ACT’s CEO Exits


On May 28, 2020, ACT announced a “leadership change” involving the departure of CEO Marten Roorda, who will be replaced by ACT’s chief operating officer (COO), Janet Godwin:
IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT, the nonprofit organization that develops and delivers the ACT test, announced today a change in leadership and a series of cost-cutting measures to enable it to continue to serve students into the future, despite the current negative business impact of COVID-19.
CEO Marten Roorda is leaving ACT, with Chief Operating Officer Janet Godwin selected to serve as interim chief executive officer. Godwin is a 30-year veteran of ACT, with a distinguished record of personal and professional dedication to helping students achieve education success.

Leadership Change

Janet Godwin will succeed Marten Roorda, who arrived at ACT in 2015 after serving as CEO of Cito, a major testing organization in the Netherlands. During Roorda’s ACT tenure he broadened the nonprofit’s scope to include learning, measurement and navigation, increasing the impact of ACT’s mission of “Helping people achieve education and workplace success.”
Godwin, who was appointed interim CEO, began her ACT career in 1990. Over the past three decades she has held progressively responsible positions in test development, information technology, and client CONTINUE READING: With Revenue Down, ACT’s CEO Exits | deutsch29

Who will be selected as the next NYS Commissioner of Education? From within NYS? The acting Commissioner? A National Leader?  Will Principals/Teachers/Parents be part of the search process? | Ed In The Apple

Who will be selected as the next NYS Commissioner of Education? From within NYS? The acting Commissioner? A National Leader?  Will Principals/Teachers/Parents be part of the search process? | Ed In The Apple

Who will be selected as the next NYS Commissioner of Education? From within NYS? The acting Commissioner? A National Leader?  Will Principals/Teachers/Parents be part of the search process?


At the July Regents Meeting Commissioner Elia announced she is resigning her position as state commissioner  effective August 31st.
The only shock about the resignation Monday of state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia is that it came so soon. 
Tension between Elia and the Regents that had been building for more than a year hit a new peak at the board’s June monthly meetings.



The Board of Regents appointed Beth Berlin, a highly effective deputy as acting commissioner. A few months later Berlin left the Department for a job as COO at SUNY Empire College; somewhat surprisingly the Board appointed Shannon Tahoe, the Board attorney as acting commissioner.
On Thursday, May 28th, the position was posted  with a quick return date of Monday, June 8th.
The Board seeks an individual who will bring visionary, transformative, inclusive, equitable, and decisive leadership to the position as the Board’s chief executive officer.

Outside Agitators and Bad Apples | Bill Ayers

Outside Agitators and Bad Apples | Bill Ayers
Outside Agitators and Bad Apples


We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.
~~~Frantz Fanon, Provocateur.


I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.
~~~Martin Luther King Jr., Outside agitator.
Can liberals even hear themselves?
Yes, yes, all the liberal commentators, observers, and political operatives rightly point out that Trump incites violence with his lies and his threats and his racist dog-whistles, including calling demonstrators “thugs” and warning (with a sly and evil wink) that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

But then their narrative goes—predictably—wrong: protests against the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police are legitimate, say the commentators, observers, and political operatives, and “effective,” but a rebellion against the system of oppression (including systemic police violence) that led to the murder is inappropriate and will “never work.” Who are these people? And how do they know “what works”? Colin Kaepernick courageously took a knee years ago, and it was powerful and important, but did it “work” in their terms? Why would anyone look to the powerful for guidance on strategy and tactics? Note the framing: not a lynching by armed agents of the state, the latest in a pattern of serial-assassinations and a continual series of state-sanctioned murders, but an isolated incident. The cop in Minneapolis was a “bad apple,” they say, but this is entirely upside down: the whole barrel is rotten, the cop culture corrupt, the code of silence a license to kill, and, sure, there are likely a few random “good apples” in there, but the good apple is the exception, not the rule.
Listen up: do not tell oppressed people and the victims of white CONTINUE READING: 
Outside Agitators and Bad Apples | Bill Ayers

With A Brooklyn Accent: The Rage of the Young at a Compromised Future Adds Fuel to the Flames

With A Brooklyn Accent: The Rage of the Young at a Compromised Future Adds Fuel to the Flames

The Rage of the Young at a Compromised Future Adds Fuel to the Flames


Let me be blunt, I am frightened by the level of violence that protests have attained in my own city, and in cities throughout the country.
But I am also acutely aware that I have little or no influence on the people out in the streets doing the worst damage. What we have going on here looks more and more like a generational uprising as well as a protest against police violence
It is why so many protesters are not listening to people like me who tell them that looting stores and firebombing cars undermines the moral force of their protests. Here is the argument I am hearing more and more.
"You are in no moral position to talk about looting. Your generation looted the country so much that all we have left is student debt, low paying, dangerous jobs, and a militarized police force to keep us under control in cities which have been handed over to the rich. You tossed our generation on the garbage heap and now it's time for payback."
If you look at the collective distribution of income wealth and opportunity in our society, can you really say this argument is wrong, especially since the Pandemic has given a fatal blow to the hopes of many already living precarious lives. There are millions of unemployed, out of school young people in this country who have nothing to lose and huge amount of anger at their position,
No one is organizing these protests. And their very spontaneity CONTINUE READING: With A Brooklyn Accent: The Rage of the Young at a Compromised Future Adds Fuel to the Flames

Monday, June 1, 2020

America Has Failed in Every Way But One | gadflyonthewallblog

America Has Failed in Every Way But One | gadflyonthewallblog

America Has Failed in Every Way But One


This year has been a disaster.
We are living through a global pandemic yet have inadequate health screenings, medical equipment or a viable vaccine.
We are witness to public lynchings of black people at the hands of law enforcement yet our legal system continues to be slow to act if at all.
Our schools and hospitals are starved for resources yet police have riot gear, tear gas and army surplus tanks to patrol the streets.
Climate change causes unprecedented storms, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes and other extreme weather yet our policymakers refuse to take any action to change it or even acknowledge it’s happening.
We’re experiencing record unemployment and a stalled economy yet the super rich loot and pillage recovery efforts to record profits.
White supremacists are terrorizing our communities yet we ignore it until someone is killed and refuse to see any  CONTINUE READING: America Has Failed in Every Way But One | gadflyonthewallblog

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Philanthropy Backs Testing

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Philanthropy Backs Testing

FL: Philanthropy Backs Testing



Has there ever been a time when it was more obvious that the Big Standardized Test is waste of time and money? Do you hear anybody out on the street over the last week declaring, "What we need is some standardized testing to show systemic racism, because otherwise, how will we know?" But education amateurs still believe in testing's magic power, and nowhere is the Cult of Testing more firmly entrenched than in Florida.

So here comes Bill Hoffman in the Tampa Bay Times to explain "Why we still need standardized testing."


This guy.
Who is this guy? Hoffman is the head honcho of the Florida Philanthropic Network, and, of course, has no actual background in education. He graduated from the University of South Florida in 1976 with a bachelors in Marine Biology, then got himself a Master in the same. He rose through the ranks at Associated Marine Institutes, Inc, a "$65M international non-profit education and juvenile justice organization." In 2002 he landed in the Hillsborough Education Foundation, another one of those business-and-philanthropy self-appointed school oversight groups. He was there until 2011, and if Hillsborough rings a bell, that may because it was the site of one of the Gates Foundation experiments in teacher evaluation (from which Gates ultimately pulled out, leaving his tab unpaid and the district with issues). Hillsborough entered that Gates adventure in 2009.

Hoffman moved on to the National School Foundation Association, "the industry's primary thought leader, convener, and advocate." By "industry" they apparently mean the "education foundation" industry. NSFA started a Education Foundation Leader Certification Program at National University, and Hoffman teaches a couple of courses part time for that. Also in 2011 he set up Bill Hoffman and CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Philanthropy Backs Testing

‘Teaching for Black Lives’ -- a handbook for educators to fight racism - The Washington Post

‘Teaching for Black Lives’ -- a handbook for educators to fight racism - The Washington Post

‘Teaching for Black Lives’ — a handbook to fight America’s ferocious racism in (virtual or face-to-face) classrooms


On July 10, 2018, I wrote about a book that had just been published titled “Teaching for Black Lives,” a collection of writings that helps educators humanize blacks in curriculum, teaching and policy and connect lessons to young people’s lives. At that time, President Trump was busy normalizing racism with repeated comments in which he disparaged people of color. Now, with the country in turmoil after the death of yet another unarmed black man at the hands of police, let’s take a new look at the book.
This is how the introduction starts, as relevant today as ever:
Black students’ minds and bodies are under attack. Fifteen-year-old Black student Coby Burren was in geography class at Pearland High School near Houston in the fall of 2015. As he read the assigned page of his textbook, he noticed something that deeply disturbed him: A map of the United States with a caption that said the Atlantic slave trade brought “millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.” Coby took a picture of his textbook and texted it to his mother, adding, “We was real hard workers wasn’t we,” along with a sarcastic emoji. Not only had the McGraw-Hill textbook re­placed the word “slave” with “workers,” they also placed the chapter on the enslavement of Africans in the chapter of the book titled “Patterns of Immigration” — as if Africans came to the United States looking for a better life. …From the North to the South, corporate curriculum lies to our students, conceals pain and injustice, masks racism, and demeans our Black students. But it’s not only the curriculum that is traumatizing students.
Last week, a 42-year-old father of two named George Floyd died in Minneapolis, handcuffed, with his arms behind his back, on the ground, with an officer’s knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, almost one-third of that time he was non-responsive, according to court documents. That officer has been charged with third-degree murder but three other officers with him — two of whom were also holding down Floyd — have not been charged.
Protests against police brutality and endemic racism have erupted in cities around the country, with some saboteurs breaking the peace of the demonstrations with violence. Police and the National Guard have flooded streets in a number of urban areas.
“Teaching for Black Lives,” edited by Dyan Watson, Jesse Hagopian and Wayne Au, is designed to show how educators “can and should make their classrooms and schools sites of resistance to white supremacy and anti-blackness, as well as sites for knowing the hope and beauty in blackness.” But the truth is that the book can educate anybody who picks it up and reads it.
Here, with permission, is the introduction to “Teaching for Black Lives” and two chapters from the book.
Watson, social studies coordinator for the secondary program in teacher education at Lewis & Clark College, is an editor at Rethinking Schools, a national publisher of educational materials. She is also a member of the organization’s executive board. She began her professional career as a GED instructor for young mothers in Portland and then taught social studies at Sunset High School in Beaverton, Ore., where she developed and taught the first African-American history course and helped create and implement a school-within-a-school program for freshmen and sophomores. Watson is also CONTINUE READING: ‘Teaching for Black Lives’ -- a handbook for educators to fight racism - The Washington Post
A quick lesson on what MLK and Rosa Parks said about protests - The Washington Post - https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/06/01/quick-lesson-what-mlk-rosa-parks-really-said-about-protests/
Sixty-Four Years After the Montgomery Bus Boycott The City Leads ...

Russ on Reading: Instruction for the Vulnerable Reader: Word Work

Russ on Reading: Instruction for the Vulnerable Reader: Word Work

Instruction for the Vulnerable Reader: Word Work


Last week's post addressed one aspect of the question Why Johnny Can't Read, the issue of quality of instruction. Quality instruction, I argue, is balanced instruction. Balanced instruction includes word work, read aloud, shared reading and writing, guided reading, and independent reading and writing.

Today, I would like to focus on word work. Here are some posts from over the years that address the decoding and sight words. Other posts will deal with other aspects of word work, namely, spelling and vocabulary. Underpinning any word work is student oral language, so I began this listing with my post on that issue. Once students begin to develop some proficiency in word work, fluency instruction can help them "read the words so they CONTINUE READING: 
Russ on Reading: Instruction for the Vulnerable Reader: Word Work

NANCY BAILEY: Reimagine Schools after Covid-19? Bring Children Together!

Reimagine Schools after Covid-19? Bring Children Together!

Reimagine Schools after Covid-19? Bring Children Together!

In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no-how. I can’t seem to get over that line. ~ Harriet Tubman
Public schools can bring us together. When children learn to care for each other with tolerance and understanding, they will grow to respect one other as adults. Honor the memory of George Floyd and black citizens who have unjustly died, by reconsidering our past efforts to integrate public schools. One place to start is by reading Gerald Grant’s book, Hope and Despair in the American City: Why There are No Bad Schools in Raleigh.  
Learn how, once upon a time, Raleigh brought children together to learn, thereby reducing the gap between the rich and poor (92).
Vouchers and charters divide. Private schools and charter schools segregate. Remote learning, or learning at home or anyplace anytime, does little to bring students together.
This country needs strong public schools that unite students and families.
Who’s considering how to address the growing racial chasm that, along with the virus, CONTINUE READING: Reimagine Schools after Covid-19? Bring Children Together!

Minnesota governor Tim Walz draws on his career as a public school teacher to prepare for reckoning after George Floyd's murder — PS connect

Minnesota governor Tim Walz draws on his career as a public school teacher to prepare for reckoning after George Floyd's murder — PS connect

Minnesota governor Tim Walz draws on his career as a public school teacher to prepare for reckoning after George Floyd's murder

Before I was in elected office, I was, I’m a public school teacher by trade. I spent 20 years doing that.
One of the things I was most proud of--and I think as Minnesotans, many of you across the world maybe getting your first look at who we are and that’s unfortunate but it’s real, and it will take that look--but one of the things of public schools I’m most proud of--our public schools consistently rank at or near the top. We’re a state that extends from the Canadian border. We have lakes so clear and pristine, they’re 40 foot deep and you can see the bottom and drink from them. We have iron ore mining that the steel was used to build this country. We’re a top agriculture producer. We’re home to a higher concentration of Fortune 500 companies than almost anywhere else and we’re home to the Mayo Clinic. We Innovate. We’re passionate people. And again, get back to that statistic, as governor, I like to talk about this in the things that we say, we don’t just rank at the top on educational attainment, we rank at the top on personal incomes, on home ownership, on life expectancies, things that make this—and one that came out a while back, we ranked second in a survey of the 50 states, second in happiness behind Hawaii.
We rank at the top on educational attainment, we rank at the top on personal incomes, on home ownership, on life expectancies—All those statistics are true if you’re white. If you’re not, we rank near the bottom.”
— Minnesota Governor Tim Walz
But if you take a deeper look and peel it back, which this week has peeled back, all those statistics are true if you’re white. If you’re not, we rank near the bottom. And what this week has shown all of us is  those two things can’t operate at the same place. You cannot continue to say you’re a great place to live if your neighbor, because of the color of their skin, doesn’t have that same opportunity. That will man[ifest] itself in things that are the small hidden racisms. It will manifest itself in a child of color not getting the same opportunities or a black community not being able to acquire wealth through home ownership because of lending practices. And as we all saw last week, the ultimate end of that type of behavior is the ability to believe that you can murder a black man in public and it is an unusual thing that murder charges were brought days later.
So what I would like to say and, again, I want to thank everyone who participated in our ability to restore trust to our streets. It was incredibly complex. It was CONTINUE READING: Minnesota governor Tim Walz draws on his career as a public school teacher to prepare for reckoning after George Floyd's murder — PS connect

Imagine a Unites States … – radical eyes for equity

Imagine a Unites States … – radical eyes for equity

Imagine a Unites States …



People often either over-idealize or reject as a “bad” song the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” but the concept serves a useful purpose.
Imagine a United States where the public and political leadership took seriously Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protests against the racially inequitable policing and justice system in the US.
Malcolm X knee
Imagine white America taking action because they listened, believed, and truly wanted an equitable and just country.
Imagine the many Black lives that would be with us today, alive and mostly anonymous in those lives.
Imagine no marches, no protests or signs emblazoned with “George Floyd” or “Black Lives Matter.”
But, instead, white America attacked Kaepernick, retreated into their comfortable white denial.
But, instead, white America today points accusatory fingers at “riots” and CONTINUE READING: Imagine a Unites States … – radical eyes for equity

glen brown: “Out of Control: Taking Liberties with Autonomy During a Pandemic” by Alfie Kohn

glen brown: “Out of Control: Taking Liberties with Autonomy During a Pandemic” by Alfie Kohn

“Out of Control: Taking Liberties with Autonomy During a Pandemic” by Alfie Kohn


“Warren Buffett famously commented that when the tide goes out, we can finally see who has been swimming naked. By the same token, when a pandemic arrives, we are confronted with a vivid display of just what kind of society we’ve really had all along:
“We see the implications of having lacked a robust public health system or national health care. We truly understand the impact of extreme economic inequality: Even many in the middle-class have been skating close to the edge, just a paycheck or two away from penury. And we get a really good look at our culture’s belief systems: the virtually theological devotion to the free market and abhorrence of the public sector, the tendency to worship individual ‘liberty’ and slight the common good.
“From a worldwide perspective, the United States is an outlier in its fixation on self-sufficiency. Our ethical code seems to begin and end with noninterference and personal choice. Our suspicion of collective enterprises was apparent to Tocqueville nearly two hundred years ago. Our popular entertainments celebrate heroes acting independently rather than interdependently.
“In contrast even with other Western societies, America is defined by an absence of commitment to shared values and to the value of what is shared. We are divided from each other, cast back upon ourselves to the point that it is profoundly unsettling to acknowledge our alienation. Yet CONTINUE READING: glen brown: “Out of Control: Taking Liberties with Autonomy During a Pandemic” by Alfie Kohn

George Floyd: Grief and anger and a cry for justice - Lily's Blackboard

George Floyd: Grief and anger and a cry for justice - Lily's Blackboard

George Floyd: Grief and anger and a cry for justice


We are watching the protests in Minneapolis and across the country and we are all in shock.  Again.  And yet again.
And as I say this, I know it seems right to be stunned and appalled.  We want to be shocked, but honestly, are we?
How can we be shocked at what is routine?  How can we pretend to be surprised at such callous cruelty by those charged with protecting and serving us when it has been an essential part of our American landscape since before our founding?
The senseless murder of George Floyd – a man whose life mattered – was the result of a country steeped in white supremacy.  The loss of his life and so many others is a cause for grief and anger but also a cry for justice.
Our merged affiliate, Education Minnesota, reached out to NEA and AFT and we will coordinate our response and work with local and national organizations to move justice forward in this angry and betrayed community.
We are proud to offer our hearts and hands to bring any assistance that can help us take action, hold those in power accountable and to begin to heal.  Unfortunately, we’ve been called on to do this work too many times before and this week proves that racial justice is still out of reach and our work continues.


But we are not deterred.  We are determined.  We stand with justice communities, unions, educators, parents, faith communities… we are not alone in this fight.  We applaud Education Minnesota for leading in their state, and for being racial justice leaders
within our union.  But we know that this is not only a local issue.  It’s not only a state issue.  It is a cancer on our nation, and we must stand together to find the cure. CONTINUE READING: George Floyd: Grief and anger and a cry for justice - Lily's Blackboard