Just News from Center X – February 17, 2023

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Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

The Push for a $60K Base Teacher Salary Gains Steam as Bernie Sanders Signs On

Madeline Will, Education Week

Sen. Bernie Sanders will soon introduce legislation to pay teachers a minimum of $60,000 a year, complementing similar efforts in the House as the conversation about low teacher wages picks up steam. Sanders, the independent from Vermont who is the chairman of the Senate’s health, education, labor, and pensions committee, announced his plans to introduce the Pay Teachers Act at a town hall that he hosted on Monday evening. During the conversation, Sanders and the presidents of the two national teachers’ unions decried what they called the “teacher pay crisis,” arguing that it was a primary reason for ongoing staff shortages in schools across the country.

LAUSD bus drivers, food workers, teacher aides give union OK to call strike if talks fail

Howard Blume, LA Times

Members of the union that represents most nonteaching employees in Los Angeles schools — cafeteria workers, custodians and teacher assistants — have overwhelmingly voted to allow their leaders to call a strike if negotiations don’t lead to an agreement. The 30,000 workers represented by Local 99 of Service Employees International Union include bus drivers, campus security aides and gardeners — all essential to operations in the nation’s second-largest school system.

In Memoriam:  Julian Nava (1927-2022)

John Broesamle, Perspectives on History

Julian Nava’s remarkable life showed how a historian can flourish professionally and make history at the same time. Nava, who taught on the faculty of California State University (CSU), Northridge, for 43 years, died at age 95 on July 29, 2022. “I could have . . . chosen the quiet life of a tenured professor,” he told an audience in 1970, but “I wasn’t satisfied with the world as it is. I want to change it.”

Language, Culture, and Power

Hammer and Hope:  Toward a radical new future

Jen Parker and Keenanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Hammer and Hope

We live in a time of catastrophe. Tyre Nichols screamed for his mother as cops in Memphis beat him to death. Parents in the world’s richest country must drive for hours to find formula to feed their babies. Lawmakers are banning books and censoring knowledge in schools about race, gender, and sexuality. Around the world, millions of bereaved children have lost a parent or caregiver to the coronavirus, while capitalism accelerates the climate crisis — as flash floods wash away towns, and the elderly and disabled people die first during otherworldly heat waves. But we also live in a time when there is enormous potential for change. Millions of people rebelled after the murder of George Floyd in 2020, demanding a new kind of politics, one that attends to people’s basic needs and establishes a sense of common purpose. They risked their lives during a deadly pandemic to call for collective care, for an end to evictions, for reinvesting police budgets into housing for all — demands situated in a critique of capitalism. Mainstream media and the political class shrugged off the rebellion, and multinational corporations tried to co-opt it, but the conditions that propelled millions into the streets are still with us. People still yearn for a radical new future.

The Book That Exposed Anti-Black Racism in the Classroom

Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic

In 1925, teachers at the Negro Manual and Training High School of Muskogee, Oklahoma, made what they thought was an appropriate choice of textbook: The Negro in Our History, by the Harvard-trained Black historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson had written this “history of the United States as it has been influenced by the presence of the Negro” to supply the “need of schools long since desiring such a work,” as he wrote in the book’s preface. Upon learning of this textbook choice, White segregationists on the school board sprang immediately into action. They decreed that no book could be “instilled in the schools that is either klan or antiklan,” insinuating that Woodson’s Black history textbook was “antiklan.” The school board banned the book. It confiscated all copies. It punished the teachers. It forced the resignation of the school’s principal.

Hmong is a ‘dying’ language – but it’s being preserved at this Fresno school

Ashleigh Panoos, Ed Source

It’s presentation day in a fifth grade classroom at Vang Pao Elementary School in Fresno, and some students are more shy than others. But 11-year-old Irene Her stands in front of the classroom, confidently weaving Hmong words together to talk about the “lub vab,” a basket tool used in the Southeast Asian culture. Irene is among the inaugural class of students who began kindergarten in Fresno Unified’s Hmong Dual Language Immersion Program in 2018. Billed as the most extensive of its kind in the nation, the program is building up each year, welcoming new students into TK and kindergarten, while the other classes move up.

Whole Children and Strong Communities

Teen girls and LGBTQ+ youth plagued by violence and trauma, survey says

Rhitu Chatterjee, NPR

Adolescent girls across the country are facing record levels of violence, sadness and despair, according to new survey data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And teens who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning and other non-heterosexual identities also experience high levels of violence and distress, the survey found. “There is no question from this data [that] young people are telling us that they are in crisis,” says Kathleen Ethier, director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health. “And there is this growing wave of violence and trauma that’s affecting young people, especially teen girls and LGBTQ+ youth.”

Kentucky high school students walk out in protest of anti-LGBTQ legislation

Jess Clark, WKU Public Radio

Students at Atherton High School in Louisville walked out of class Tuesday in protest of a flurry of anti-LGBTQ bills filed by Republicans in the Kentucky Legislature. Hundreds of high schoolers spilled onto the lawn during their sixth-period class, chanting, waving pride flags or carrying signs with the words “Say Gay” in bold marker. Tenth-grader Elliott Kozarovich, who is trans, organized the protest after he heard about House Bill 173 and its companion bill in the state Senate, which would make it difficult to talk about LGBTQ identities in public schools.

From school to the State House: Mass. teens skip class for climate activism [Audio]

Kana Ruhalter and Arun Rath, WGBH

Anaya Raikar, 15, is a Massachusetts Field Representative for Our Climate, a nonprofit that empowers youth to win science-based, equitable and intersectional climate change justice policy. She and her peers skipped school last week to demand climate action at the State House, and she joined All Things Considered host Arun Rath to discuss the experience.

Access, Assessment, Advancement

How public schools can stop wasting millions of dollars

Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

States spend millions of dollars every year to purchase standardized tests in an exercise that has come under strong criticism in recent years for reasons including the quality of the exams and the often invalid ways that districts and states use the scores. While the billion-dollar testing industry is undergoing changes, with a bigger share of its spending going to the purchase of digital exams, the same questions remain, including: Are states wasting money? The federal government requires annual statewide tests in reading/language arts and mathematics for all students in grades three through eight and once in high school, and some states tack on other standardized exams. A decade ago, one analysis found that states spent a combined $1.7 billion on these exams, and experts say the total has only gone up.

HBCUs have been underfunded for decades. A history of higher education tells us why [Audio]

Ayesha Rascoe and Adam Harris, NPR

The state of facilities at historically Black colleges and universities, also known as HBCUs, again made headlines in recent weeks. Student protests broke out at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona, Fla., over unsanitary conditions, as well as mold and rat-infested dorms. Adam Harris is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He’s also the author of “The State Must Provide: A Narrative History Of Racial Inequality In Higher Education.” And he joins us now. Welcome to the program.

The Blindness of Colorblindness

Ira Katznelson, Boston Review

First published in 2005, my book When Affirmative Action Was White answered a question Lyndon Johnson posed at Howard University’s graduation ceremony in June 1965: Why had the large gap between Black and white income and wealth at the end of World War II widened during two decades marked by dramatic economic growth and widespread prosperity? The book told the story of sanctioned racism during and just after the Great Depression and World War II. During this period, master politicians from the South proudly protected their region’s entrenched white supremacy by passing landmark laws that made the great majority of Americans, the overwhelming white majority, more prosperous and more secure, while leaving out most African Americans, in full or in part. Ever since, many persons left behind have continued to experience deep poverty, together with social and spatial isolation.

Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

Why School Desegregation Still Matters (a Lot)

Sean F. Reardon, Erin Fahle, Heewon Jang, Ericka Weathers, Educational Leadership

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that state-mandated racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional. But the desegregation of Southern schools was delayed by state and local resistance. It was not until the late 1960s, when the federal government and the courts began to enforce the Brown v. Board of Education decision, that desegregation began in earnest. This process resulted in both short- and long-term benefits for Black students. Recent research clearly shows that desegregation raised Black students’ high school and college attendance and graduation rates, increased Black students’ wages as adults, lowered their incarceration rates, and improved their health. This was because desegregation offered Black students access to better-resourced schools, with smaller class sizes and more funding.

Robbing From the Poor to Educate the Rich

Jack Schneider & Jennifer C. Berkshire, The Nation

The assault on public education currently unfolding in state legislatures across the United States stands to annually transfer tens of billions of dollars from public treasuries to the bank accounts of upper-income families. Those dollars, which otherwise would have gone to public schools, will instead reimburse parents currently paying private school tuition. It’s a reverse Robin Hood scheme that Americans would hate if they fully understood what was going on.

How Educators Secretly Remove Students With Disabilities From School

Erica L. Green, New York Times

Jessica LaVigne was nervous but hopeful on a recent afternoon that the team managing her son’s special education plan at Roseburg High School would tell her something she had dreamed of for more than a decade: He would be able to attend a full day of school for the first time since second grade. During her son’s elementary years, Ms. LaVigne was called almost daily to pick him up hours early because he was having “a bad day.” By middle school, he was only attending an hour a day. By high school, he was told he had to “earn” back two class periods taken off his schedule by proving he was academically and socially ready.

Democracy and the Public Interest

Book banning not acceptable

Interfaith clergy, Montclair Local

We are writing representing a diverse and interfaith collection of clergy who have congregants in Glen Ridge. It has come to our attention that a group, under the moniker of Citizens Defending Education, has been advocating the removal of six books from the Glen Ridge Public Library, all of which deal with LGBTQ+ themes. We are writing to strongly encourage the board to reject their proposal and keep these books in rotation.  Each of our traditions, in their own way, value thoughtful discourse. Our goal is to learn from everyone, to access their wisdom and to add to our own.  At the center of that effort are our public libraries. There is no place else with as much collected knowledge. If each book opens us to a new world, then its shelves contain a universe of possibility. Anytime a book is banned, it limits the possibility of growth for us and our congregants.

As red states target Black history lessons, blue states embrace them

Hannah Natanson, Washington Post

Even as lessons on Black history draw complaints from Republican governors, who argue the instruction is ideological, several blue states are moving in the opposite direction — mandating classes in African American, Latino and Puerto Rican studies — and setting up a uniquely American division over how we teach our past. Since 2019, partly in response to the murder of George Floyd, at least four reliably Democratic states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine and Rhode Island — have passed laws requiring instruction on Black history, according to a database maintained by the research agency Education Commission of the States. Connecticut’s law says African American, Puerto Rican and Latino studies must be included in the social studies component of all public school curriculums. Delaware’s mandates that school districts offer instruction on Black history. Maine’s says that African American studies and the history of genocide must be included in state testing standards. And Rhode Island’s orders schools to include a unit on African History and Heritage.

The forces underlying the public school enrollment drop

Abbie Cohen, Phi Delta Kappan

The headlines are ubiquitous: The New York Times has reported on a “kindergarten exodus” ; students who were “lost” during remote learning; and a “seismic hit” to public school enrollments fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. An analysis from Chalkbeat and The Associated Press found that 500,000 students across 33 states left public schools from September 2019 to September 2020. A 2020 Census Bureau survey found an increase in homeschooling in 2020 , and the libertarian CATO Institute released survey results displaying a rise in private school enrollment. Ultimately, a 2022 national tracking survey found that 1.2 million students left public schools since the start of the pandemic

Other News of Note

An Appeal for Human Rights [1960]

Roslyn Pope et al.,  Atlanta Journal Constitution

We, the students of the six affiliated institutions forming the Atlanta University Center — Clark, Morehouse, Morris Brown, and Spelman Colleges, Atlanta University, and the Interdenominational Theological Center — have joined our hearts, minds, and bodies in the cause of gaining those rights which are inherently ours as of the human race and as citizens these United States. We pledge our unqualified support to those students in this nation who have recently been engaged in the significant movement to secure certain long-awaited rights and privileges. This protest, like the bus boycott in Montgomery, has shocked many people throughout the world. Why. Because they had not quite realized the unanimity of spirit and purpose which motivates the thinking and action of the great majority of the Negro people. The students who instigate and participate in these sit-down protests are dissatisfied, not only with the existing conditions, but with the snail-like speed at which they are being ameliorated. Every normal being wants to walk the earth with dignity and abhors any and all proscriptions placed upon him because of race or color. In essence, this is the meaning of the sit-down protests that are sweeping this nation today.

Roslyn Pope, 84: Co-Author of “Appeal to Human Rights” Catalyzed Atlanta Student Movement

History News Network

Roslyn Pope, who as a senior at Spelman College in Atlanta wrote a 1960 manifesto that set the stage for dramatic advances in civil rights in the city and inspired generations of activists around the country, died on Jan. 19 in Arlington, Texas. She was 84. Spelman College confirmed the death. The Atlanta Student Movement, of which Dr. Pope was a founding member, was one of several civil rights groups to spring up across the South in the months after a group of Black students in Greensboro, N.C., captured national attention in February 1960 with their sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter.

Come In:  A call and response between the artist Carrie Mae Weems and the poet Ashley M. Jones

Hammer and Hope

Start here. Once you cross the threshold, you’re home. The door
is what brings you from out to in. The door: