Progressive Calendar 04.08.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2008 05:29:24 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    04.08.08

1. RNC/free speech 4.08 11am
2. Human rights    4.08 12noon
3. Peace rally     4.08 2:45pm River Falls WI
4. How govt works  4.08 5pm
5. Iran/US/CTV     4.08 5pm
6. Arabic classes  4.08 6pm
7. Ramsey sheriff  4.08 6pm
8. Salon/Cinquains 4.08 6:30pm
9. Rethinking 9/11 4.08 7pm
10. TACSR/stadium  4.08 7pm
11. Peace book     4.08 7:15pm
12. 3CD Greens CTV 4.08 9:30pm

13. Youth/KFAI     4.09 11am
14. AnimalAg/phew! 4.09 7pm
15. Sex slavery    4.09 7pm
16. Marg.Randall   4.09 7:30pm

17. Stephen Lendman - Destroying public education in America
                      [Stealing America]

--------1 of 17--------

From: greenpartymike <ollamhfaery [at]>
Subject: RNC/free speech 4.08 11am

Communities United Against Police Brutality

As you may remember, Minneapolis and St. Paul have been using some pretty
creative ways to try to deny free speech rights to people who are planning
to protest the RNC in 2008.  They've both formed "free speech working
groups" that are busy crafting new ordinances and resolutions to severely
restrict our ability to protest.

Up to now, the Minneapolis group has held its meetings on Wednesdays.  In
a surprise move, they are holding a working group meeting tomorrow and
will put forward a bizarre ordinance proposal that gives all power to the
Chief of Police to decide who gets permits and allows cops to add
restrictions "on the fly" while events are in progress!

We must oppose this nutty proposal while we still can!

Move heaven and earth to get to this "free speech" working group meeting

"Free Speech" Working Group of the City of Minneapolis
Tuesday, April 8
11:a.m. to 12:00 noon
Minneapolis City Hall
350 S Fifth Street, Room 333

--------2 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Human rights 4.08 12noon

Tuesday, 4/8, noon to 1 pm, Mary Ellingen, Rosalyn Park and Cheryl Thomas
of the Advocates for Human Rights speak on "Transforming Laws and Lives:
15 Years of Global Reform" in women's rights, Brigs and Morgan, MN Room,
2d200 IDS Center , 80 S 8th St, Mpls.  CLE credit available. or 612-341-3302 ext 107 (free, but registration

--------3 of 17--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Peace rally 4.08 2:45pm River Falls WI

Community March and Rally in the River Valley
Tuesday, April 8, 2:45 p.m. (March), 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. (Rally) River Falls
Public Library, 140 Union Street, River Falls, Wisconsin.

Meet at the River Falls Public Library and march south on Main Street to
an anti-war rally at University Center Mall at the University of
Wisconsin, River Falls. Local live music from Sepia Tone and Thea Ennen.
Veteran and activist speakers. Free food. "Support the troops-bring then
home now! Money for jobs and education-not war! Full benefits for
returning veterans! No escalation of violence in the Middle East!"
Sponsored by: the River Falls Anti-War Coalition. FFI: Call Nick,

--------4 of 17--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: How govt works 4.08 5pm

A program of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

James Nobles
Legislative Auditor, State of Minnesota
Bringing Light to How Government Works

Tuesday, April 8, 2008
TIES Administrative Building
1667 Larpenteur (SW corner of Snelling & Larpenteur)
St. Paul

Since 1983, Jim Nobles has diligently served the State of Minnesota as
Legislative Auditor.  The nonpartisan Legislative Auditor provides a
critical link between the inner workings of state government and the

The work of the Legislative Auditor includes financial audits, program
evaluations, and special reviews in cases of alleged misuse of state funds
or resources, or alleged violations of the state code of conduct for
employees in the Executive Branch.  The Legislative Auditors authority
extends to virtually all state funded programs and studies that affect
state government.  As we have recently seen in the news, audits in
progress include the states JOBZ program, Green Acres and agricultural
land preservation programs, charter schools, PERA and financial management
of healthcare programs.  We can also expect a legislative audit of our
states highways and bridges to be released soon.

Though reports of the Legislative Auditor may at times escape the
headlines, they capture the attention of elected officials, bureaucrats
and advocacy groups because of the critical watchdog function played by
Nobles office.

Come meet Jim Nobles and learn more about the mission of this unique agent
of openness, who is responsible to a great extent for transparency in
government, for public disclosure of problems, and for investigative
reports essential to an informed citizenry.

Co-sponsored by Common Cause Minnesota & Minnesota Coalition on Government
Free and open to the public

[How govt works:
1. Lobbyist brings largest basket of bills he can carry.
2. Legislator opens trunk of car. (his work for the week)
3. Lobbyist dumps basket in trunk.
4. Corp XXX gets $6 gobillion of public assets.
    --And they say govt isn't responsive!! Ha!

Next week:
How pigs fly. -ed]

--------5 of 17--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Iran/US/CTV 4.08 5pm

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesdays at 5pm, after
DemocracyNow!, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am.  All households
with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 4/8, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 4/9, 10am "Iran and the US: Myths and
Reality"  Interview of Nasrin Jewell, Iranian born professor at the
College of St. Catherine.  Co-hosted by Karen Redleaf and Eric Angell.

--------6 of 17--------

From: Mizna  <mizna-announce [at]>
Subject: Arabic classes 4.08 6pm

Mizna's 2008 Arabic Classes are filling up fast. Register online to assure
your spot.
 Arabic Language for Beginners Tuesdays, April. 8 - June? 10, 2008 (10
weeks) 6 - 7:30 pm
 Arabic Language II Tuesdays, April. 8 - June 10, 2008 (10 weeks) 7:30 - 9
 Arabic Language III Thursdays, April. 10 - June 12, 2008 (10 weeks) 6 -
7:30 pm
 Arabic Language IV Thursdays, April. 10 - June 12, 2008 (10 weeks) 7:30 -
9 pm

All classes are held in our Northeast Minneapolis office.
Go here to register and find out more information:

Mizna is a forum for Arab American art. Visit our website at

--------7 of 17--------

From: Diane J. Peterson <birch7 [at]>
Subject: Ramsey sheriff 4.08 6pm

Ramsey County Charter Commission Public Meeting
Ramsey County will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 to
discuss a potential amendment to the Ramsey County Home Rule Charter
regarding the appointment vs. election of the Ramsey County Sheriff.  The
hearing will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held in the Third Floor Council
Chambers at St. Paul City Hall/Ramsey County Court House.

If you would like to address the Commission, please call Bonnie Jackelen
at 651-266-8014.  If you are unable to attend, you may provide comments
through e-mail at sheriffcharteramendment [at] or by mail to
Ramsey County Charter Commission, 250 Court House, 15 West Kellogg
Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55102.

--------8 of 17-------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Salon/Cinquains 4.08 6:30pm

Tuesday, April 8, our guest is Morgan Grace Willow, a poet from the Twin
Cities who will not only read her poems, but will show us how to write
"Cinquains", 5 line poetry.  Bring some paper and pen.  It will be really

Another event in the near future will be May 20 will be the discussion
of the book, Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson.  Everyone is reading
this book so hope all of you can get a copy and come to discuss.

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

--------9 of 17--------

From: Dori Ullman <dorijj [at]>
Subject: Rethinking 9/11 4.08 7pm

STRATEGIES THAN GLOBAL WAR  to be shown at the Roseville Public Library.

Michael Andregg, PhD., educator and author, will introduce a documentary
he produced with Ground Zero Minnesota [].  The movie speaks of
the many contradictions cited in the 9/11 Commission's Report and the
evidence seen in the many pictures of the events of 9/11 as well as the
actual testimony of witnesses of 9/11.  He proposes a better way of
achieving an end to world war - the Truth and Reconciliation Program
created by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu used in South Africa
and now being used in Northern Ireland.  In his years of research, Dr.
Andregg has focused on the causes of war since war is a much larger public
health hazard than rare diseases.

The movie will be shown on Tuesday, April 8, beginning at 7:00 PM at
the Roseville Public Library located at the corner of Hamline Ave. and
County Road B.
Presented by the Northeast Suburban Greens.

FFI:  Please call Dori Ullman - 612/414-9528 or dorijj [at]
<mailto:dorijj [at]>/*

--------10 of 17--------

From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at]>
Subject: TACSR/stadium 4.08 7pm

Next Meeting:
Tuesday April 8, at 7pm
The remaining months we will meet the Second Tuesday of every month.
Centennial High School
Red Building - Room 104 4704 North Road Circle Pines, MN
The red building is on the east end of the high school complex, and is set
back furthest from North Road.  Enter on the East side of the building.
The largest parking lots are near this building.

The most recent news is that last week the Senate Tax Committee introduced
and passed a Bill before anyone even knew the Stadium was a subject in
this year's Legislative session.  This is perhaps the sneakiest stadium
move of our legislators to date.  Below is the text excerpted from the
Senate Tax Bill:

 From the Omnibus Tax Bill SF2869

129.13    The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and representatives
of the Minnesota
129.14Vikings shall develop a recommendation for the development and
financing of a stadium
129.15located on the site of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, that, at a
129.16    (1) meets the programmatic requirements of the National Football
129.17    (2) has a retractable roof;
129.18    (3) accommodates NCAA men's and women's championship basketball,
129.19professional and amateur soccer; and
129.20    (4) utilizes financing and funding mechanisms that are borne by
those using or
129.21benefitting from the stadium development.
129.22    The analysis will also include an assessment of the feasibility of
other activities
129.23requiring a climate-controlled venue, including amateur baseball,
trade shows, community
129.24and cultural events, and other events of national and international
significance. The
129.25analysis must also include an evaluation of the use of a new tax on
sports memorabilia to
129.26finance the facility or other public facilities. The recommendation
must contain a report
129.27on the programmatic elements, construction schedule, conceptual and
schematic design,
129.28estimated cost, proposals for financing and funding. Costs of
architects, engineers, and
129.29other design consultants must be shared between the parties and will
be included in the
129.30total stadium project costs. A report on the recommendation must be
presented to the
129.31legislature by January 15, 2009.

We have Senator John Marty to thank who spoke against this latest outrage
in the Committee and wrote an amendment to the bill which was voted on and
removed the pro-stadium language on the Floor of the Senate.

2008 Senate Tax Committee Members

 Chair: Thomas M. Bakk
 Vice Chair: Dan Larson
 Ranking Minority Member: Julianne E. Ortman
 Member: D. Scott Dibble
        Debbie J. Johnson
        Keith Langseth
        Warren Limmer
        John Marty
        Mee Moua
        Lawrence J. Pogemiller
        David H. Senjem
        Katie Sieben
        Rod Skoe

Senator Marty moved to amend S.F. No. 2869 as follows: Page 129, delete
section 24 Amend the title accordingly The question was taken on the
adoption of the amendment. The roll was called, and there were yeas 41 and
nays 22, as follows: Those who voted in the affirmative were: Anderson
Berglin Betzold Bonoff Chaudhary Day Dibble Dille Doll Erickson Ropes
Foley Frederickson Gerlach Gimse Hann Ingebrigtsen Koch Koering Kubly Latz
Limmer Lourey Marty Olseen Olson, G. Olson, M. Ortman Pappas Pariseau Rest
Robling Rummel Saltzman Scheid Sheran Stumpf Torres Ray Vandeveer
Vickerman Wergin Wiger

Those who voted in the negative were: Bakk Carlson Clark Cohen Dahle
Higgins Johnson Jungbauer Langseth Larson Metzen Michel Moua Pogemiller
Rosen Saxhaug Senjem Sieben Skoe Skogen Sparks Tomassoni The motion
prevailed. So the amendment was adopted. If any of these Senators
represent you please contact them and ask them how they voted and why.

Mr. Wilf has not given up on your money and neither should you!

The only question left is: when will our representatives stop entertaining
these giveaway welfare schemes to the richest men they can find at the
expense of our future.

Please join us for another episode in the series: "WHO WILL PAY FOR ZYGI'S
STADIUM?" This could just as well mean a metro wide sales tax, including
the 30 year mortgage at a total of 1.5 billion dollars.  Can someone
calculate how many new bridges that could buy?


Agenda Items Include:
* Website
* What is happening in the 2008 Legislative Session?
* What is happening with our friends to the south metro to stop this, the
newest welfare scheme?

Now would be a good time to write to your representatives to tell them we
do not need to waste more money on stadium giveaways to Billionaires.
Please continue to tell them we want a vote as required by state law for
any tax increase to pay for a stadium.  Write letters to your local paper
too.  If you have done these things already please do it again.
Any Questions, comments contact me at rrholch [at]

[God wants Zygi to have $1.5 billion, and we better give it to him, or
Zygi and family will be embarrased at the next Woodhill Country Club show
and tell. Would we want that on our consciences? I don't think I could
live with myself. -ed]

--------11 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Peace book 4.08 7:15pm

On Tuesday, APRIL 8, 2008 at 7:30 P.M.,
a moving presentation from the new book COST OF FREEDOM will be given at
1666 Coffman Condominium.

This residence of mainly retired University of MN faculty will host a trio
of dynamic speakers as contributors to a lecture series. Poet Leigh
Herrick, Gulf War I Vet/Photographer Chante Wolf and Pastor Henry
Bechthold, author of /Right Wing Politics and Religion: the Unholy
Alliance Exposed/, bring a program of insights as activists and
contributors to the recently released anthology, /Cost of Freedom/.

The book has been endorsed by Harry Belafonte, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn,
and others, this remarkable book from Howling Dog Press is an historic
collection of visuals, press releases, and prose, depicting present-day
processes of peace activism in our land.  A presentation by each of the
guest speakers will be followed by lively discussion.  Copies of Cost of
Freedom and other works will be available for purchase that evening.

Welcome to all who can come.  Arrive by 7:15.  There is no fee.  1666
Coffman is on Larpenteur, east of 280 and just west of Cleveland in St.

--------12 of 17--------

From: alforgreens [at]
Subject: 3CD Greens CTV 4.08 9:30pm

3rd Congressional District Green Party Show
aired on Southwest Cable TV- Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins

Channel 15 - 30 min show
Tune in to learn about Green Party Values and Legislative Issues

All are invited to join our local for monthly meetings on how to regain
our democracy

For the month of April Tuesdays at 9:30 PM and Fridays at 5:30 PM

--------13 of 17--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Youth/active/KFAI 4.09 11am

ITS KFAIs 30TH ANNIVERSARY PLEDGE: HELP keep TTT coming every week!
PLEDGES: CALL 612-375-9030 or online at KFAI.ORG.


OUR SPRING PLEDGE DRIVE celebrates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his
daughter, Naomi, who come to town to talk peace and service to Twin Cities
young people; TTT will spotlight two organizations working to empower
young people in the tradition of Nobel Laureates like Tutu. One, known as
youthrive a nonprofit organization that provides young people with
leadership and service learning opportunities is a co-sponsor of this
years PeaceJam, held at Metropolitan State University the following
weekend. The other is Yo, the Movement. TTTs ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL
MICKELSEN will talk community with three or four young activists and their
mentor plus our Political Science guru, TOM OCONNELL.

  TRACINA COWARD, youthrive representative and a youth co-chair for the
North Minneapolis service project
  DAVE ELLIS, adult co-chair for the North Minneapolis Service Project and
Program Manager for the United Way Nurturing Children and Families Program
  ALICIA STEELE, Yo, the Movement
  TYRUS THOMPSON, Youth Against War & Racism
  TOM OCONNELL, Professor, Metropolitan State University

--------14 of 17--------

From: vegan14ever [at]
Subject: Animal ag/phew! 4.09 7pm

"From Farm to Fork: The Environmental Impacts of Animal Agriculture"
(Free Presentation)

Did you know that animal farming is responsible for more greenhouse gas
emissions than transportation?

Please join us for a multimedia presentation by Gowri Koneswaran, Esq.,
Director of Animal Agricultural Impacts at the Humane Society of the
United States (HSUS). She will reveal the true impact of factory farming
on the environment, our rural communities, and the animals that live in
the farms. Through this eye-opening exploration, Gowri will share
positive, practical ways for regular people to make a difference for our
planet and its inhabitants.

An expert [outstanding?] in her field, Gowri's work focuses on
spotlighting, addressing, and mitigating the environmental and human
impacts of industrial animal agriculture. She engages nonprofit
organizations and individuals from several sectors - environment, worker
safety, consumer advocacy, organic and sustainable agriculture - and helps
develop intersections to more efficiently and effectively combat factory
farms.  Gowri has authored articles in such peer-reviewed journals as
/Environmental Health Perspectives/ and has recently completed a resource
guide for HSUS on factory farming in the United States. She received her
law degree from the University of Arizona.

This is a free event, open to the public. It will be followed by a free,
catered reception and a chance to interact one-on-one with Gowri.

Wednesday, April 9, at 7 p.m.
Bell Museum of Natural History, Auditorium, Minneapolis
More info:

Sponsored by: Compassionate Action for Animals, Minnesota Public Interest
and Research Group (MPIRG), EcoWatch, and the Humane Society of the United

Funding generously provided by: the Graduate and Professional Student
Assembly's Academic Grant and the Student Activities Office Partnership

Gilbert Schwartz Campaign Coordinator Compassionate Action for Animals 300
Washington Ave SE, Rm. 126 Minneapolis, MN 55455
Office: 612-626-5785 Cell: 612-296-9020 gil [at]

[GW Bush was raised on a factory farm. Who knew? We should have guessed
from the smell. Air Force One now proves that pigs can fly.  -ed]

--------15 of 17--------

From: Bryan Cole <bryan_j_cole [at]>
Subject: Sex slavery 4.09 7pm

"Every day, 2,500 women and children around the world are sold into sexual
slavery. Entering the brothels of Bombay with hidden cameras, THE DAY MY
GOD DIED documents the tragedy of the child sex trade, exposing human
rights violations and profiling the courageous abolitionists who are
working towards change" (

See "The Day My God Died"  on Wednesday April 9, 2008 at Mad Hatter Tea
House 7:00-9:00 pm
943 West Seventh Street in St. Paul
Questions: aistpaul640 [at]

Sponsored by Amnesty International St. Paul and Macalester College

--------16 of 17--------

From: Minnesota Cuba Committee <mncuba [at]>
Subject: Margaret Randall 4.09 7:30pm


Margaret Randall will read from her newest book, Stones Witness, at
Macalester College on Wednesday, April 9 at 7:30 pm in the Kagin Ballroom.
Books will be available for sale.

She will be available for Q&A after a screening of the documentary film,
"The Unapologetic Life of Margaret Randall" on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:30 pm
also in Kagin Ballroom.

On Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 pm, Ms. Randall will deliver a public
lecture on Cuba titled "The Artist's Voice: A Cuban Perspective." The
lecture will take place in the Smail Gallery at Macalester College, the
second floor lobby of the Olin Rice building.

This tour is made possible by the departments of American Studies,
International Studies, Women's/Gender/Sexuality Studies, and Hispanic
Studies, and the Center for Scholarship and Teaching at Macalester
College. Margaret Randall (New York, 1936) is a writer, photographer and
social activist. For a quarter century she lived in Mexico, Cuba, and
Nicaragua, where she raised four children, wrote, and participated in
social change. Upon her return to the U.S. in 1984, the government invoked
the 1952 McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act and ordered her
deported because of opinions expressed in some of her books. After an
almost five-year battle, and with the support of the Center for
Constitutional Rights and many good people, she won her case in 1989.

Among her more than 80 books are: Cuban Women Now, Sandino's Daughters,
When I Look Into The Mirror And See You: Women, Terror & Resistance, The
Price You Pay: The Hidden Cost Of Women's Relationship To Money, This Is
About Incest, and Where They Left You For Dead / Halfway Home. Stones
Witness (University of Arizona Press, 2007) is a collection of poems,
first-person narratives, and thirty full color photographs that address
the issue of identity and place. "The Unapologetic Life of Margaret
Randall," is an hour-long documentary film by Lu Lippold and Pam Colby
(Cinema Guild, 2004).

Contact: Prof. Karin Aguilar-San Juan, American StudiesMacalester College,
sanjuan [at], (651) 696-6148

For more information about the Minnesota Cuba Committee and meeting times:

--------17 of 17--------

[Will we continue to gawk like deer in headlights while they steal America
and our lives? -ed]

Destroying Public Education in America
By Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman's ZSpace Page
April 08, 2008

Diogenes called education "the foundation of every state." Education
reformer and "father of American education" Horace Mann went even further.
He said: "The common school (meaning public ones) is the greatest
discovery ever made by man." He called it the "great equalizer" that was
"common" to all, and as Massachusetts Secretary of Education founded the
first board of education and teacher training college in the state where
the first (1635) public school was established. Throughout the country
today, privatization schemes target them and threaten to end a 373 year

It's part of Chicago's Renaissance 2010 Turnaround strategy for 100 new
"high-performing" elementary and high schools in the city by that date.
Under five year contracts, they'll "be held create
innovative learning environments" under one of three "governance

-- charter schools under the 1996 Illinois Charter Schools Law; they're
called "public schools of choice, selected by students and
take responsible risks and create new, innovative and more flexible ways
of educating children within the public school system;" in 1997, the
Illinois General Assembly approved 60 state charter schools; Chicago was
authorized 30, the suburbs 15 more, and 15 others downstate. The city
bends the rules by operating about 53 charter "campuses" and lots more are

Charter schools aren't magnet ones that require students in some cases to
have special skills or pass admissions tests. However, they have specific
organizing themes and educational philosophies and may target certain
learning problems, development needs, or educational possibilities. In all
states, they're legislatively authorized; near-autonomous in their
operations; free to choose their students and exclude unwanted ones; and
up to now are quasi-public with no religious affiliation. Administration
and corporate schemes assure they won't stay that way because that's the
sinister plan. More on that below.

George Bush praised these schools last April when he declared April 29
through May 5 National Charter Schools Week. He said they provide more
"choice," are a "valuable educational alternative," and he thanked
"educational entrepreneurs for supporting" these schools around the

Here's what the president praised. Lisa Delpit is executive director of
the Center for Urban Education & Innovation. In her capacity, she studies
charter school performance and cited evidence from a 2005 Department of
Education report. Her conclusion:  "charter schools....are less likely
than public schools to meet state education goals." Case study examples in
five states showed they underperform, and are "less likely than
traditional public (ones) to employ teachers meeting state certification

Other underperformance evidence came from an unexpected source - an
October 1994 Money magazine report on 70 public and private schools. It
concluded that "students who attend the best public schools outperform
most private school students, that the best public schools offer a more
challenging curriculum than most private schools, and that the private
school advantage in test scores is due to their selective admission

Clearly a failing grade on what's spreading across the country en route to
total privatization and the triumph of the market over educating the
nation's youths.

In 1991, Minnesota passed the first charter school law. California
followed in 1992, and it's been off to the races since. By 1995 19 states
had them, and in 2007 there were over 4000 charter schools in 40 states
and the District of Columbia with more than one million students in them
and growing.

Chicago's two other "governance structures" are:

-- contract (privatized) schools run by "independent nonprofit
organizations;" they operate under a Performance Agreement between the
"organization" and the Board of Education; and

-- performance schools under Chicago Public Schools (CPS) management "with
freedom and flexibility on many district initiatives and policies;"
unmentioned is the Democrat mayor's close ties to the Bush administration
and their preference for marketplace education; the idea isn't new, but it
accelerated rapidly in recent years.

Another part of the scheme is in play as well, in Chicago and throughout
the country. Inner city schools are being closed, remaining ones are
neglected and decrepit, classroom sizes are increasing, and children and
parents are being sacrificed on the alter of marketplace triumphalism.

Consider recent events under Mayor Richard Daley in Chicago. On February
27, the city's Board of Education unanimously and without discussion voted
to close, relocate or otherwise target 19 public schools, fire teachers,
and leave students out in the cold. Thousands of parents protested, were
ignored and denied access to the Board of Ed meeting where the decision
came down pro forma and quick. And it wasn't the first time. For years
under the current mayor, Chicago has closed or privatized more schools
than anywhere else in the country, and the trend is accelerating. Since
July 2001, the city closed 59 elementary and secondary schools and
replaced many of them with charter or contract ones.

                   Nationwide Education "Reform"

Throughout the country, various type schemes follow the administration's
"education reform" blueprint. It began with the No Child Left Behind Act
of 2001 (NCLB) that became law on January 8, 2002. It succeeded the 1994
Goals 2000: Educate America Act that set eight outcomes-based goals for
the year 2000 but failed on all counts to meet them. Goals 2000, in turn,
goes back to the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and
specifically its Title I provisions for funding schools and districts with
a high percentage of low-income family students.

NCLB is outrageous. It's long on testing, school choice, and market-based
"reforms" but short on real achievement. It's built around rote learning,
standardized tests, requiring teachers to "teach to the test," assessing
results by Average Yearly Progress (AYP) scores, and punishing failure
harshly - firing teachers and principals, closing schools and transforming
them from public to charter or for-profit ones.

Critics denounce the plan as "an endless regimen of test-preparation
drills" for poor children. Others call it underfunded and a thinly veiled
scheme to privatize education and transfer its costs and responsibilities
from the federal government to individuals and impoverished school
districts. Mostly, it reflects current era thinking that anything
government does business does better, so let it. And Democrats are as
complicit as Republicans.

So far, NCLB renewal bills remain stalled in both Houses, election year
politics have intervened, and final resolution may be for the 111th
Congress to decide. For critics, that's positive because the law failed to
deliver as promised. Its sponsors claimed it would close the achievement
gap between inner city and rural schools and more affluent suburban ones.
It's real aim, however, is to commodify education, end government
responsibility for it, and make it another business profit center.

Last October, the New York Times cited Los Angeles as a vision of the
future. It said "more than 1000 of California's 9500 schools are branded
chronic failures, and the numbers are growing." Under NCLB, "state
officials predict that all 6063" poor district schools will fail and will
have to be "restructured" by 2014, when the law requires universal
proficiency in math and reading." It's happening throughout the country,
and The Times cited examples in New York, Florida and Maryland. Schools
get five years to deliver or be declared irredeemable, in which case they
must "restructure" with new teachers and principals.

In Los Angeles and around the country, "the promised land of universal
high achievement seems more distant than ever," and one parent expressed
her frustration. Weeks into the new school year, she said teachers focus
solely on what's likely to appear on exams. "Maybe the system is not
designed for people like us," she complained. Indeed it's not.

                       New Millennium Education

That's the theme of Time magazine's December 9, 2006 article on the
National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE). It's on NCEE's New
Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. Time called it "a
high-powered, bipartisan assembly of Education Secretaries, business
leaders and a former Governor" and the pre-K to 12 education blueprint
they released. It's called "Tough Choices or Tough Times," was funded by
the (Bill) Gates Foundation, and below is its corporate wish list:

-- moving beyond charter schools to privatized contract ones; charter
schools are just stalking horses for what business really wants -
privatizing all public schools for their huge profit potential;

-- ending high school for many poor and minority students after the 10th
grade - for those who score poorly on standardized tests intended for high
school seniors; those who do well can finish high school and go on to
college; others who barely pass can go to community colleges or technical
schools after high school;

-- ending remediation and special education aid for low-performance
students to cut costs;

-- ending teacher pensions and reducing their health and other benefits;

-- ending seniority and introducing merit pay and other teacher
differentials based on student performance and questionable standards;

-- eliminating school board powers, all regulations, and empowering
private companies;

-- effectively destroying teacher unions; and

-- ending public education and creating a nationwide profit center with
every incentive to cut costs and cheat students for bottom line gains;
this follows an earlier decades-long corporate - public higher education
trend that one educator calls a "subtle yet significant change toward
(university) privatization, meaning that private entities are gradually
replacing taxpayers as the dominant funding source as state appropriations
account for a lower and lower percentage of schools' operating resources;"
corporations now want elementary and secondary education control for the
huge new market they represent.

The Skills Commission's earlier 1990s work advanced the scheme and laid
the groundwork for NCLB. It came out of its "America's Choice: High Skills
or Low Wages" report on non-college-bound students. It called them
"ill-equipped to meet employer's current needs and ill-prepared for the
rapidly approaching, high-technology, service-oriented future." It
recommended ending an "outmoded model" and adopting a standards-based
learning and testing approach to enforce student - teacher accountability.

Both Commission reports reflect a corporate wish list to commodify
education, benefit the well-off, and consign underprivileged kids to
low-wage, no benefit service jobs. It's a continuing trend to shift
higher-paying ones abroad, downsize the nation, and end the American dream
for millions. So why educate them.

                            School Vouchers

They didn't make it into NCLB, but they're very much on the table with a
sinister added twist. First some background.

It's an old idea dating back to the hard right's favorite economist and
man the UK Financial Times called "the last of the great (ones)" when he
died in November 2006. Milton Friedman promoted school choice in 1955,
then kick-started it in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan. He opposed public
education, supported school vouchers for privately-run ones, and believed
marketplace competition improves performance even though voucher amounts
are inadequate and mostly go to religious schools in violation of the
First Amendment discussed below.

Here's how the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice currently
describes the voucher scheme: it's the way to let "every parent send their
child to the school of their choice regardless of where they live or
income." In fact, it's a thinly veiled plot to end public education and
use lesser government funding amounts for well-off parents who can make up
the difference and send their children to private-for-profit schools.
Others are on their own under various programs with "additional
restrictions" the Foundation lists without explanation:

-- Universal Voucher Programs for all children;

-- Means-Tested Voucher Programs for families below a defined income

-- Failing Schools, Failing Students Voucher Programs for poor students or
"failed" schools;

-- Special Needs Voucher Programs for children with special educational

-- Pre-kindergarten Voucher Programs; and

-- Town Tuitioning Programs for communities without operating public
schools for some students' grade levels.

What else is behind school choice and vouchers? Privatization mostly, but
it's also thinly-veiled aid for parochial schools, mainly Christian
fundamentalist ones, and the frightening ideology they embrace - racial
hatred, male gender dominance, white Christian supremacy, militarism, free
market everything, and ending public education and replacing it with
private Christian fundamentalist schools.

In March 1971, the Supreme Court ruled in Lemon v. Kurtzman against
parochial funding in what became known as the "Lemon Test." In a unanimous
7 - 0 decision, the Court decided that government assistance for religious
schools was unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment's
Establishment Clause. It prohibits the federal government from declaring
and financially supporting a national religion, and the First Amendment
states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...."

That changed in June 2002 when the Court ruled 5 - 4 in Zelman v.
Simmons-Harris that Cleveland's religious school funding didn't violate
the Establishment Clause. The decision used convoluted reasoning that the
city's program was for secular, not religious purposes in spite of some
glaring facts. In 1999 and 2000, 82% of funding went to religious schools,
and 96% of students benefitting were enrolled in them.

The Court harmed democracy and the Constitution's letter and spirit. It
also contradicted Thomas Jefferson's 1802 affirmation that there should be
"a wall of separation between church and state." No longer for the
nation's schools.

              Nationwide Efforts to Privatize Education

In recent years, privatization efforts have expanded beyond urban inner
cities and are surfacing everywhere with large amounts of corporate
funding and government support backing them. One effort among many is
frightening. It's called "Strong American Schools - ED in '08" and states
the following: it's "a nonpartisan public awareness campaign aimed at
elevating education to (the nation's top priority)." It says "America's
students are losing out," and the "campaign seeks to unite all Americans
around the crucial mission of improving our public schools (by using an
election year to elevate) the discussion to a national stage."

Billionaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad put up $60 million for the effort
for the big returns they expect. Former Colorado governor and (from 2001 -
2006) superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District Roy Romer
is the chairman. The Rockefeller (family) Philanthropy Advisors are also
involved as one of their efforts "to bring the entire world under their
sway" in the words of one analyst. Other steering committee members
include former IBM CEO and current Carlyle Group chairman Lou Gerstner;
former Michigan governor and current National Association of Manufacturers
president John Engler; and Gates Foundation head Allan Golston.

"Ed in '08" has a three-point agenda:

-- ending seniority and substituting merit pay for teachers based on
student test scores;

-- national education standards based on rote learning; standards are to
be uniformly based on "what (business thinks) ought to be taught, grade by
grade;" it's to prepare some students for college and the majority for
workplace low-skill, low-paid, no-benefit jobs; and

-- longer school days and school year; unmentioned but key is eliminating
unions or making them weak and ineffective.

In addition, the plan involves putting big money behind transforming
public and charter schools to private-for-profit ones. It's spreading
everywhere, and consider California's "Program Improvement" initiative.
Under it, "All schools and local educational agencies (LEAs) (must make)
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)" under NCLB provisions nearly impossible to
achieve. Those that fail must divert public money from classrooms to
private-for-profit remediating programs. It's part of a continuing effort
to defund inner city schools and place them in private hands, then on to
the suburbs with other "innovative" schemes to transform them as well.

Under the governor's proposed 2008 $4.8 billion education budget cut,
transformation got easier. As of mid-March, 20,000 California teachers got
layoff notices with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack
O'Connell saying this action puts student performance "in grave jeopardy."
Likely by design.

                       Plundering New Orleans

Nowhere is planned makeover greater than in post-Katrina New Orleans, and
last June 28 the Supreme Court made it easier. Its ruling in Meredith v.
Jefferson County (KY) and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle
School District effectively gutted the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of
Education decision that affirmed: segregated public schools deny "Negro
children the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th

In two troubling 5 - 4 decisions, the Roberts Court changed the law. They
said public schools can't seek to achieve or maintain integration through
measures taking explicit account of a student's race. They rewrote
history, so cities henceforth may have separate and unequal education.
Then it's on to George Wallace-style racism with policies like:
"segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" with the High
Court believing what was good for 1960s Alabama is now right for the

The Court also made it easy for New Orleans to become a corporate
predator's dream, and it didn't take long to exploit it. Consider public
schools alone. The storm destroyed over half their buildings and scattered
tens of thousands of students and teachers across the country. Within days
of the calamity, Governor Kathleen Blanco held a special legislative
session. Subject - taking over New Orleans Public Schools (NOPS) that
serve about 63,000 mostly low-income almost entirely African-American
children. Here's what followed:

-- two weeks after the hurricane, US Secretary of Education Margaret
Spellings cited charter schools as "uniquely equipped" to serve
Katrina-displaced students;

-- two weeks later, she announced the first of two $20 million grants to
the state, solely for these schools;

-- then in October 2005, the governor issued an executive order waiving
key portions of the state's charter school law allowing public schools to
be converted to charter ones with no debate, input or even knowledge of
parents and teachers;

-- a month later in November, the state legislature voted to take over 107
(84%) of the city's 128 public schools and place them under the
state-controlled "Recovery School District (RSD);" and

-- in February 2006, all unionized city school employees were fired, then
selectively rehired at less pay and fewer or no benefits; it affected 7500
teachers as well as custodians, cafeteria workers and others.

Within six months of Katrina, the city was largely ethnically cleansed,
the public schools infrastructure mostly gutted, and a new framework was
in place. It put NOPS into three categories - public, charter and the
Recovery School District with the latter ones run by the state as charter
or for-profit schools.

New Orleans Loyola University law professor Bill Quigley described the
plunder and called it "a massive (new) experiment....on thousands of
(mostly) African American children...." It's in two halves.

The first half based on Recovery School District's estimated 30,000
returning students in January 2007:

-- "Half of (these children were) enrolled (in) charter schools." They got
"tens of millions of dollars" in federal money, but aren't "open to every
child....Some charter schools have special selective academic criteria
(and can) exclude children in need of special academic help." Others "have
special administrative policies (that) effectively screen out many
children." This latter category has "accredited teachers in manageable
size classes (in schools with) enrollment caps....These schools also
educate far fewer students with academic or emotional disabilities (and)
are in better facilities than the other half of the children...."

                         "The other half:"

These students were "assigned to a one-year-old experiment in public
education run by the State of Louisiana called the 'Recovery School
District (RSD)' program." Their education "will be compared" to what first
half children get in charter schools. "These children are
effectively....called the 'control group' of an experiment - those against
whom the others will be evaluated."

RSD "other half" schools got no federal funds. Its leadership is
inexperienced. It's critically understaffed. Many of its teachers are
uncertified. There aren't enough of them, and schools assigned students
hadn't been built for their scheduled fall 2007 opening. In addition, some
schools reported a "prison atmosphere," and in others, children spent long
hours in gymnasiums because teachers hadn't arrived. In addition, there
was little academic counseling; college-preparatory math; or science and
languages; and class sizes are too large because returning students are
assigned to too few of them.

Many RSD schools also have no "working kitchens or water fountains (and
their) bathroom facilities are scandalous....Hardly any white children
attend this half of the school experiment." RSD schools are for poor black
students getting short-changed and denied a real education by an uncaring
state and nation and corporations in it for profit.

Quigley described a system for "Haves (and) Have-Nots," and race defines
it. He also exposed the lie that charter schools are public ones. Across
the country, but especially in New Orleans, school officials are
unaccountable, can pick and choose their students, and can decide who gets
educated and who doesn't.

                         Separate and Unequal

In his 2005 book "The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid
Schooling in America," Jonathan Kozol explains a problem getting worse,
not better. Using data from state and local education agencies, interviews
with researchers and policy makers, and the Harvard Civil Rights Project,
his account is disturbing at a time of NCLB and other destructive

Harvard Civil Rights researchers captured the problem in their Brown v.
Board of Education 50th anniversary assessment stating: "At the beginning
of the twenty-first century, American public schools are now 12 years into
the process of continuous resegregation."  Desegregation from the 1950s
through the late 1980s "has receded to levels not seen in three decades."
The percent of black students in majority-white schools stands at "a level
lower than in any year since 1968" with conditions worst of all in the
nation's four most segregated states - New York, Michigan, Illinois and
California. "Martin Luther King's dream is being celebrated in theory and
dishonored in practice" by what's happening in inner-city schools. King
would be appalled "that the country would renege on its promises," and the
Supreme Court would authorize it in their two above cited decisions and an
earlier 1991 one:

-- Board of Education of Oklahoma City v. Dowell that ruled for
resegregating neighborhood schools mostly in areas of the South where
desegregation was most advanced.

According to recent National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data,
blacks and Latinos now comprise about 95% of inner-city students in the
nation's 100 largest school systems - accounting for more than one-third
of all public school students. Kozol writes about "hypersegregation" with
"no more than five or 10 white children (in) a student population of as
many as 3000," and this is the "norm, not the exception, in most northern
urban areas today." It's "fashionable," he says, to declare integration
"failed" and settle for a new millennium version of "Plessey" and its
"separate but equal" doctrine that "Brown" repudiated until now.

Despite high-minded political posturing and programs like NCLB, the truth
is these youngsters are forgotten and abused. They're warehoused in
decrepit facilities, curricula offerings ignore their needs, testing is
unrelated to learning, teachers don't teach, the whole scheme is swept
under the rug, and "educating" the unwanted is "standardized" to produce
good workers with pretty low skill levels for the kinds of jobs awaiting
them. Kozol refers to "school reform" as a "business enterprise with
goals, action plans, implementation targets, and productivity measures,"
and above all what marketplace potential there is.

Separate and unequal is the current inner city school standard. Unless
it's exposed, denounced and reversed, (and there's no sign of it),
millions of poor and minority children will be denied what the "American
dream" increasingly only offers the privileged. And no one in Washington
cares or they'd be doing something about it.

                    Disturbing New Dropout Data

A new Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center report
released April 1 is revealing, disturbing but not surprising. It states
only 52% of public high school students in the nation's 50 largest cities
completed the full curriculum and graduated in 2003 - 2004. This compares
to the national average of 70%. Below are some of the findings:

-- 1.2 million public high school students drop out each year;

-- 17 of the 50 troubled cities have graduation rates of 50% or lower; in
Detroit it's 24.9%; Indianapolis is 30.5%; Cleveland at 34.1%; Baltimore -
34.6%; Columbus - 40.9%; Minneapolis - 43.7%; Dallas - 44.4%; New York -
45.2%; Los Angeles - 45.3%; Oakland - 45.6%; Kansas City - 45.7%; Atlanta
- 46%; Milwaukee - 46.1%; Denver - 46.3%; Oklahoma City - 47.5%; Miami -
49%; and Philadelphia - 49.6%;

-- Chicago barely came in at 51.5%;

-- the data show public education in the 50 largest cities' principal
school districts in a virtual state of collapse;

-- dropout rates for blacks and Latinos are significantly higher than for
white students;

-- dropouts are eight times more likely to end up in prison; family income
is the main problem; in cities most affected, it goes hand in hand with a
lack of good jobs and a sub-standard social infrastructure;

-- key to understanding the overall problem nationwide is the gutting of
social services, widening income gap between rich and poor, exporting
manufacturing and other high-paying jobs abroad, and politicians and
business exploiting the needs of the many to benefit the few;

-- NCLB "reform" is called the solution; Democrats and Republicans are
complicit in promoting it, and no one in government explains the truth -
the report reveals a sinister scheme to end public education, say it
causes poor student performance, and privatize it so the "market" can
provide it to well-off communities and merely exploit the rest for profit.

Why else would the (Bill) Gates Foundation have funded the study and Colin
Powell's America's Promise Alliance have sponsored it. APA is partnered
with business, faith-based (Christian fundamentalist) groups, wealthy
funders, and organizations like the American Bankers Association, right
wing Aspen Institute, Business Roundtable, Ford Motor, Fannie Mae,
Marriott International, National Association of Manufacturers, US Chamber
of Commerce and many other for-profit ones and NGOs.

                  Educational Maintenance Organizations

It's a new term for an old idea that's much like their failed HMO
counterparts. They're private-for-profit businesses that contract with
local school districts or individual charter schools to "improve the
quality of education without significantly raising current spending
levels." They're still rare, but watch out for them and what they're up

An example is the Edison Project running Edison (for-profit) Schools. It
calls itself "the nation's leading public school partner, working with
schools and districts to raise student achievement and help every child
reach his or her full potential." In the 2006-2007 school year, Edison
served over 285,000 "public school" students in 19 states, the District of
Columbia and the UK through "management partnerships with districts and
charter schools; summer, after-school, and Supplemental Educational
Service programs; and achievement management solutions for school

Edison Schools, and its controversial charter schools and EMO projects,
hope to cash in on privatizing education and is bankrolled by Microsoft's
co-founder Paul Allen to do it. The company was founded in 1992, its
performance record is spotty, and too often deceptive. It cooks the books
on its assessments results that unsurprisingly show far more than they
achieve. That's clear when independent evaluations are made.

Kalamazoo's Western Michigan University's Evaluation Center published one
of them in December 2000. Miami-Dade County public schools did another in
the late 1990s. Both studies agreed. They showed Edison School students
didn't outperform their public school counterparts, and they were kind in
their assessment.

Even more disturbing was Edison's performance in Texas. It took over two
Sherman, Texas schools in 1995, then claimed it raised student performance
by 5%. But an independent American Institutes for Research (AIR) study
couldn't confirm it because Edison threatened legal action if its results
were revealed. It was later learned that AIR's findings weren't exactly
glowing and were thus suppressed. However, Sherman schools knew them, and
when Edison's contract came up for renewal, the company withdrew before
being embarrassed by expulsion.

The city's school superintendent had this assessment. He said Edison
arrived with promises to educate students at the same cost as public
schools and would improve performance. In the end, the city spent an extra
$4 million, and students test scores were lower than in other schools. The
superintendent added: "They were more about money than teaching," and
that's the problem with privatized education in all its forms - charter,
contract or EMOs that place profits over students.

Unless public action stops it, Edison is the future and so is New Orleans
in its worst of all forms. It's spreading fast, and without public
knowledge or discussion. It's the privatization of all public spaces and
belief that marketplace everything works best. Indeed for business, but
not people who always lose out to profits.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
lendmanstephen [at] Also visit his blog site at

[America is being stolen from us lock stock and barrel.

The Dem party has supinely "adjusted" itself to this theft, leaving us
with no major party or government to turn to.  -ed]


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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