"Wear green on St. Patrick's Day or get pinched." That pretty much sums up the Irish American "curriculum" that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing. [What is not often taught in schools or known by the many who routinely celebrate St. Patrick's Day, is that throughout the Irish 'Potato famine' there was an abundance of food produced in Ireland, yet the landlords exported it to markets abroad.] What is not often taught in schools or known by the many who routinely celebrate St. Patrick's Day, is that throughout the Irish 'Potato famine' there was an abundance of food produced in Ireland, yet the landlords exported it to markets abroad.
After coming to the brink of what would have been the first strike in their union’s history, Portland, Oregon, teachers are instead voting this week on a contract that reduces workload significantly. Up till the end, administrators had refused to budge on workload, the teachers’ top priority. But the district agreed to hire 150 teachers for next school year, potentially reducing class sizes by more than 5 percent.
High school students walked out in support of Portland teachers as their strike deadline neared. The district agreed to add 150 teachers, which could reduce class sizes more than 5 percent. Photo: Bette Lee.
That’s part of the business model. It’s the same as hiring temps in industry or what they call “associates” at Wal-Mart, employees that aren’t owed benefits. It’s a part of a corporate business model designed to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility. When universities become corporatized, as has been happening quite systematically over the last generation as part of the general neoliberal assault on the population, their business model means that what matters is the bottom line.
Sheffield Strikes Back, a newly formed broad left group of Sheffield students, have occupied the Arts Tower – the tallest university building in the United Kingdom. The group, which includes activists from Sheffield Autonomous Students, Revolutionary Socialists Society, Labour Students, Socialist Students and the Living Wage campaign, walked into the lecture hall at about 7:30pm and have now claimed a major lecture theatre and the building foyer.
The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) released an interview with Noam Chomsky recently in which the noted linguist discussed, among other things, how high student tuition indoctrinates students into corporate culture.
On Sunday, October 20, at 11 a.m., NYPD officers and CUNY security marched into the main academic center at CUNY City College unannounced, put the campus on lockdown and seized files, documents, and personal property. The surprise action by the administration sparked an outcry from students, who gathered nearby to rally with the students who police officers had forced out of the building. In the process, police arrested student activist and US Army Veteran David Suker.
José Urbina López Primary School sits next to a dump just across the US border in Mexico. The school serves residents of Matamoros, a dusty, sunbaked city of 489,000 that is a flash point in the war on drugs. There are regular shoot-outs, and it’s not uncommon for locals to find bodies scattered in the street in the morning. To get to the school, students walk along a white dirt road that parallels a fetid canal. On a recent morning there was a 1940s-era tractor, a decaying boat in a ditch, and a herd of goats nibbling gray strands of grass.
Of course, I was always aware that there was an obvious contradiction in being an anarchist who was working for a state university. However, a lot of the impetus for founding that university had come as a result of the student radicalism of the ‘60s and the demand for “relevance.” I was part of that history when I was a university and graduate student. With this in mind, I saw Sangamon State as an interesting place because it offered possibilities that didn’t exist in other academic settings. Now, you could argue that such an approach essentially involved a recuperation rather than a realization of the radicalism of the student movement.
Parents send their children to school with the best of intentions, believing that’s what they need to become productive and happy adults. Many have qualms about how well schools are performing, but the conventional wisdom is that these issues can be resolved with more money, better teachers, more challenging curricula and/or more rigorous tests.
Last April 19, tens of thousands dissident teachers of the National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers (CNTE) arrived in Mexico City from Oaxaca, Michoacán, Guerrero, Chiapas, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz and Tabasco.
Why did they come? For those willing to listen, their goal is clear: To defend their rights as workers and to defend public education itself.