Education

How to Fight White Supremacy: Charlottesville, SPLC Offer Blueprints

by Sher Watts Spooner – The rise of white supremacy in the United States, with Donald Trump as its head cheerleader, has heightened tensions across the country. The “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the killing of Heather Heyer when a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, has spurred marches, vigils, and actions nationwide to counter the hate speech of the white supremacist crowd. But many feel lost, wondering about the most effective methods of fighting racial hatred. Racial bias and hatred are nothing new in this country, but since the rise and election of Donald Trump, white supremacist groups have become emboldened to spew their specific brands of hate both online and in person. They are using any excuse to target minorities of any kind. The removal of statues honoring Confederate Civil War leaders is just the latest spark igniting publicity-seeking actions, often by heavily armed participants. What...

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University of Texas at Austin Removes its Confederate Statues Overnight

by Kelly Macias – If America is the land of opportunity, then it could surely be said that it’s a country filled with people who are opportunists. While opportunists are generally known for taking advantage of a situation to gain some benefit without regard to ethics or morals, every once in a while even the most calculating ones can do the right thing. Politicians, who are the most notorious opportunists out there, have used the violence in Charlottesville to seize the moment when it comes to removing Confederate monuments. Last week, Baltimore removed its monuments in the middle of the night and other cities are planning to follow suit. And the University of Texas at Austin also joined the club, removing several of its Confederate statues from campus on Sunday night. Workers began removing the statues of Robert. E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan from the university’s main plaza late Sunday night. The news was delivered to the campus community via...

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Clooney Foundation To Open 7 Schools For 3,000 Syrian Refugee Kids

By Amanda Froelich – The Clooney Foundation for Justice agreed to donate $2.25 million to build 7 public schools, which will educate approximately 3,000 refugee children in Lebanon. Thanks to actor George Clooney and his wife Amal, Syrian refugee children who have faced unimaginable hardship will soon receive an education. This is because the Clooney Foundation for Justice agreed to donate $2.25 million to build 7 public schools, which will educate approximately 3,000 refugee children in Lebanon. The donation was made as part of an educational campaign in partnership with Google and Unicef. The ultimate goal is to provide relief to children and their families during one of the most arduous humanitarian crises since WWII. The couple said in a statement to AP: “They have been victims of geography and circumstance, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. Our goal with this initiative is to help provide Syrian refugee children with an education and put them on a...

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Hundreds of German Choir Boys Abused

Victims describe time at prison-like school as marked by helplessness and fear, says lawyer probing cases. Priests and teachers physically or sexually abused more than 500 boys at a Catholic choir school in Germany between 1945 and 1992, according to a report. Allegations in Tuesday’s report involving the Domspatzen choir at the Regensburg Cathedral Sparrows school were among a spate of revelations of abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in Germany that emerged in 2010. Many of the 547 victims remembered their time at the school as “the worst time of their lives, marked by fear, violence and helplessness”, said lawyer Ulrich Weber, who was commissioned two years ago by the diocese to probe the cases. The victims said the school was “prison, hell and a concentration camp”, he added. The report counted 500 cases of physical violence and 67 of sexual violence, committed by a total of 49 perpetrators. The lead investigator criticised...

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‘We Will Be Fearless’: Teachers Vow to Defend Students From Trump and Devos

by Jake Johnson – “I do not trust their motives. I do not believe their alternative facts. I see no reason to assume they will do what is best for our students and their families.” In a speech during the National Education Association’s (NEA) annual meeting in Boston 0ver the weekend, Lily Eskelsen García—the organization’s president—delivered a searing rebuke to President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who she accused of pushing a “profoundly disturbing” agenda that could have devastating effects on children. Addressing 7,500 educators, Garcia declared that the NEA, the nation’s largest labor union, will not cooperate with the White House. She also implicitly criticized union leaders who have been persuaded by Trump’s seemingly pro-worker, pro-union rhetoric. “I will not allow the National Education Association to be used by Donald Trump or Betsy DeVos,” García said. She continued: I do not trust their motives. I do not believe their alternative facts. I see...

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Zero Tolerance Policies don’t Prevent Violence at Schools

by Casey Quinlan – There is no reason for schools to abandon behavioral interventions and rely on suspension as a deterrent. In Upstate New York’s Syracuse School District, the stabbing of a teacher has sparked debate over the district’s approach toward student discipline. The district changed its policy shortly before the incident in an effort to keep students engaged at school and reduce racial disparities in student discipline, after an investigation from the New York attorney general’s office. But the stabbing of a teacher by a student in May has reinvigorated opposition to the school’s discipline approach — even though there isn’t any evidence to suggest that the school’s former policy would have prevented a serious incident such as this one. There were already many critics of Syracuse’s plan, part of a four-year agreement with the attorney general, to change its approach to focus on using restorative practices to resolve conflicts, teaching staff about cultural competency and implicit...

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Yet Another Study Shows that—Surprise!—’abstinence-only’ Sex Education Just Doesn’t Work

by Meteor Blades – High teen pregnancy rates are usually associated with lower levels of education and poverty. But new research conducted by Dr. Julie DeCesare of the University of Florida’s OB-GYN residency program in Pensacola has shown that’s not all that’s going on. While national rates of teen pregnancy have fallen, they’ve fallen much less in Texas. DeCesare and her co-authors found that in the Dallas and San Antonio areas, teen pregnancy rates are 50 percent and 40 percent respectively above the national average. Federal funding for abstinence-only programs began in 1982 with a small amount of money for the Adolescent Family Life Act. But with passage of welfare reform in 1996, abstinence-only education programs exploded despite a steady stream of evidence from studies showing they are ineffective and leave out information crucial to young people’s health. The feds have poured $1.5 billion into these failed programs over the past two decades. Under an amendment to Title...

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Notre Dame Students are Protesting the Vice President’s Commencement Speech

by Casey Quinlan – Students say they deserve a commencement that respects LGBTQ and undocumented graduates. Notre Dame seniors will stage a walkout to protest Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement speech at the Indiana university on Sunday. Students say they are expressing solidarity with LGBTQ, undocumented, low-income, and female students affected by Pence’s policies. Students plan to stand up when Pence begins speaking and quietly leave the ceremony. Fifty to 100 people could walk out on Sunday, student organizers say. Protesters are using the hashtag #WalkOutND to bring attention to the protest on social media. “During his time as governor of the state of Indiana and now as a Vice-President, Pence has targeted the civil rights protections of members of LBGT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities,” said the student activist group organizing the protest, We StaND For,...

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Michelle Obama Offers Great Question To Ask Trump: ‘What Is Wrong With You?’ (VIDEO)

by Jon Queally – After seeing one of her signature efforts go backwards under new Republican administration, former First Lady wants to know, ‘Why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school?’ With her focus on nutritious foods and making sure access to them was expanded to all children in the nation during her time in the White House, former first lady Michelle Obama is asking some serious questions now that President Donald Trump has moved to go backwards on efforts designed to promote healthier school lunches and reduce childhood obesity. Just months after former president Barack Obama left office, as Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the Trump administration issued orders that weakened standards set by the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act,” which Ms. Obama championed and her husband signed into law in 2010. The Obama-era statute repealed by Trump had set guidelines and added funding that would...

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It’s Becoming More Common for Young Adults to Live at Home – and for Longer Stretches

by RICHARD FRY – Through both recession and recovery, the share of young adults living in their parents’ home continues to rise. Today’s young adults are also more likely to be at home for an extended stay compared with previous generations of young adults who resided with their parents, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. census data. As of 2016, 15% of 25- to 35-year-old Millennials were living in their parents’ home. This is 5 percentage points higher than the share of Generation Xers who lived in their parents’ home in 2000 when they were the same age (10%), and nearly double the share of the Silent Generation who lived at home in 1964 (8%). It doesn’t appear that a lack of jobs is keeping Millennials at home. As of the first quarter of 2016 (when the living arrangements data were collected), only 5.1% of older young adults...

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USDA Rolls Back School Lunch Guidelines Championed by Michelle Obama

by Lauren McCauley – The nutrition rules were long abhorred by industry groups who now have a friend in the White House. In one of his first orders of business, President Donald Trump’s newly confirmed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue took steps to weaken school lunch standards championed by former First Lady Michelle Obama. In an interim final rule, announced by Perdue while he visited an elementary school in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Leesburg, Virginia on Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is rolling back nutrition rules that were part of Obama’s Let’s Move campaign that was abhorred by food industry groups. Specifically, Perdue is postponing a regulation that would have required schools to lower the sodium content in lunches. The order has also eliminated requirements that schools serve 100 percent whole-grain rich products, and another that forbade sugary, flavored, one percent milk. As The Hill explains: “Sodium levels in...

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Climate Denial Textbooks, Coming Soon to a Public School Near You

by Dartagnan –  It’s bad enough that a hateful propaganda site like Breitbart News has its sordid tentacles entwined with the critical mental functions of the current White House occupant. It’s even worse when one of its featured columnists mates with a right-wing think tank to spawn poison aimed at our children in the public schools. The Heartland Institute is a tool of major fossil fuel producers and the Koch Brothers network of polluters salivating to maximize their profits with a clueless, malleable dupe like Donald Trump in the White House and a compliant Congress eager to serve them. Heartland propaganda is at the core of the climate denial industry which still seeks to convince the American public that there is some type of “debate” among scientists about the science of climate change. The latest well-funded salvo from this noxious organization comes in the form of a thin, glossy book, titled...

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100 Days of Deconstruction: Part Two

by STEVEN HARPER – Through key cabinet appointments, Trump is gutting federal agencies that have improved citizens’ daily lives in ways that most Americans will no longer take for granted. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment. — STEVE BANNON TO HISTORIAN RON RADOSH ON NOV. 12, 2013 (ACCORDING TO RADOSH) Beware of the enemy within. With respect to the US government, the ultimate inside job is well underway. Through key cabinet appointments, Trump is gutting federal agencies that have improved citizens’ daily lives in ways that most Americans will no longer take for granted. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos In her confirmation hearing, billionaire Betsy DeVos made the world painfully aware that she isn’t an educator or expert in curriculum. She’s not familiar with the decades-old Individuals with Disabilities Act, or the fraudulent...

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100 Days of Deconstruction

by STEVEN HARPER – At CPAC, Steve Bannon declared that key members of Trump’s Cabinet were “selected for a reason.” In the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency, that reason has become clear. Editor’s Note Donald Trump may be a racist, misogynist, sexual predator, liar and bully, but he is still president of the United States, and we underestimate him at the nation’s peril. Viewed in isolation, his policies seem idiosyncratic and incoherent. Viewed in context, they reveal a strategy to plunder the government of what is profitable to Trump’s family and minions and leave what remains smoldering in the ruins. This series — “100 Days of Deconsruction” — seeks to provide that context. If Trump succeeds, little of what makes America great survives. But knowledge is power, so read these essays and keep fighting in this decisive battle for our country’s heart and soul. Their author, Steven J. Harper, produced...

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Sanders and Perez to Launch Nationwide ‘Come Together & Fight Back’ Tour

by Nadia Prupis – ‘At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans.’ Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez will kick off a multi-state tour in Maine on Monday, where they are expected to outline the progressive plan to strengthen the party, bolster grassroots activism, and resist President Donald Trump. “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans, not just Wall Street, multi-national corporations, and the top 1 percent,” Sanders and Perez said in a joint statement. The circuit is officially named the “Come Together and Fight Back” tour. Sanders won Maine’s presidential caucuses by nearly two-thirds when he ran in the 2016 primaries against Hillary Clinton. The tour is expected to take him and Perez through Maine,...

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Dept of Ed Hires Anti-Civil Rights Crusader to Protect Student’s Nonexistent Civil Rights

by Steven Singer – Candice Jackson is a victim of oppression. When she was attending Stanford University in the mid-1990s, a minority calculus tutoring group refused to help her because she was white. Sure she could probably afford to pay for private tutoring, but it was the point of the  thing. She came from a family where both parents ran medical practices. Her dad, Dr. Rick Jackson, even unsuccessfully ran for Congress. You know – just like black families redlined into the ghetto and struggling to find work because of their African-sounding names. Why shouldn’t the limited amount of tutoring spaces serve her as well as people from traditionally less privileged backgrounds? White lives matter, ya’ll. “I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” she wrote in the Stanford Review. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming...

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Anti-Defamation League Offers to Teach Spicer About the Holocaust

by Ned Resnikoff – In an open letter, the group says they can do a training at his convenience. The premier U.S. organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism has offered to clear up any lingering confusion White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer might have over what occurred during the Holocaust. Earlier this week, Spicer said during a White House press briefing that Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons against “his own people.” When stunned reporters pointed out that Hitler’s regime slaughtered Jews en masse using lethal gas, Spicer amended his remarks to acknowledge Nazi Germany’s use of “Holocaust centers” — a strange, apparently novel euphemism for the death camps. In an open letter to Sean Spicer, the Anti-Defamation League offered to conduct a Holocaust education training “at your convenience for you, your staff, and anyone at the White House who may need to learn more about the Holocaust.” Kyle Griffin ✔@kylegriffin1 .@ADL_National has sent...

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Malala Yousafzai Made an Honorary Canadian Citizen

by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours – The advocate for girls’ right to education worldwide is only the sixth person to ever receive the symbolic title. Ottawa, Canada – Pakistani human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has become only the sixth person, and the youngest, to ever receive honorary Canadian citizenship. Canada bestowed the title on Yousafzai, 19, during an honorary citizenship ceremony in Ottawa on Wednesday. “I’m humbled to accept honorary citizenship of your country,” she said in the House of Commons, where she received several standing ovations from parliamentarians and members of the public that packed the gallery. Malala and Satyarthi receive joint Nobel “While I will always be a proud Pashtun and a proud citizen of Pakistan, I’m grateful to be an honorary member of your nation of heroes,” Yousafzai said. “Though I still require a visa, but that’s another discussion,” she added, with a laugh. Yousafzai...

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With Gorsuch Sworn In as Supreme Court Justice, a New Conservative Era Begins

by Deirdre Fulton – Neil Gorsuch could immediately make an impact on cases dealing with religious freedom, gun rights, and immigration. After a bruising Senate confirmation battle, former federal judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in Monday as the 113th Supreme Court justice, restoring a 5-4 conservative balance to the nation’s high court. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath at 9:00am in a private ceremony; later Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy—for whom Gorsuch formerly clerked—will ask his new colleague to take a second oath in a public ceremony at the White House. Watch below: Gorsuch “is widely expected to shift the ideological balance of the court to the right,” wrote Lydia Wheeler for The Hill, “with his views seen as mostly in line with the man he is replacing: the late Justice Antonin Scalia.” However, she continued, “some court watchers say Gorsuch may be even more conservative than Scalia, his mentor...

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Poised to Make History, New York on Cusp of Tuition-Free College

by Andrea Germanos – The plan “shows the difference that government can make,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. New York is on the verge of becoming the first state in the nation to offer tuition-free state and city colleges for low- and middle-income students. The plan is part of the budget the Democrat-controlled New York State Assembly passed on Saturday; and the Republican-controlled state Senate is set to vote on it Sunday evening. It follows a compromise reached Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and lawmakers. Under the plan, the Excelsior Scholarship would kick off this fall with a three-year phase-in. In 2017, it would cover tuition at the state’s community colleges or four-year universities for students from families making up to $100,000 annually; the threshold moves up to $110,000 in 2018, and $125,000 in 2019. A statement from Cuomo’s office says that more than 940,000 families would be...

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