Progressive Calendar 12.10.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010 14:26:26 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   12.10.10

1. Palestine vigil 12.10 4:15pm
2. KFAI mission    12.10 6pm
3. RCN8 dinner     12.10 6:30pm
4. Climate         12.10 7pm

5. Stan Karp - Superhero school reform heading your way
6. MIRAc - Chipotle must stop pre-Xmas mass firing of MN Latino workers

--------1 of 6--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 12.10 4:15pm

The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the
intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo
starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs

--------2 of 6--------

From: lydiahowell [at]
From: "KFAI" <info [at]>
Subject: KFAI mission 12.10 6pm

Friday, December 10th: Socialize and Think Mission with KFAI!
You're Invited to Nibble, Reflect, and Imagine with KFAI

KFAI invites you to join our community of listeners, volunteers,
underwriters, sponsors and other stakeholders, to attend its Annual
Meeting on Friday, December 10, 2010, 6pm to 8pm at Open Book , 1011
Washington Avenue.

The Annual Meeting is KFAI' s opportunity to recap successes and
challenges experienced in 2010, as well as engage community members in
specific discussion about KFAI' s strategic plans for 2011-2013. Amy
Batiste, founder of Deep See Consulting , will lead participants througn
an exercise designed to elicit valuable feedback to KFAI. Light
refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Janis
Lane-Ewart, at 612.341.3144 -23 or at janislaneewart [at] .

Street parking is available near and around Open Book. We hope to see you

Mission Statement

KFAI is a volunteer-based community radio station that exists to broadcast
information, arts and entertainment programming for an audience of diverse
racial, social and economic backgrounds. By providing a voice for people
ignored or misrepresented by mainstream media, KFAI increases
understanding between peoples and communities, while fostering the values
of democracy and social justice.

KFAI, Fresh Air, Inc., is supported, in part, by contributing members,
volunteers, underwriters, corporate giving programs, area vendors and
businesses, anonymous donors; funds of The Minneapolis Foundation (an
anonymous fund, The Cooper Schneier Fund, David and Katherine Moore, Joyce
Prudden and Michael Shoop, Moore Family Fund for the Arts, and the Helen
E. and Daniel T. Lindsay Family Fund; Family Memorial Fund); Women's
Foundation of Minnesota; Wassenaar Memorial Fund; Bush Foundation; Benton
Foundation; Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation; Laird Norton Company;
Macalester College; The Minneapolis Foundation; St. Paul Foundation;
Tomorrow Foundation; United Arts Fund; the Northwest Area Foundation;
Sundance Pay It Forward Foundation; the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting; AMPERS, a network of Independent Public Radio stations; the
State of Minnesota; and Community Shares d onors. This activity funded, in
part, by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by
the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of
Minnesota on November 4th, 2008.  National Federation of Community
Broadcasters Independent Public Radio Member of Community Shares of
MNTriangle Park Creative IpHouse

KFAI Fresh Air Inc. | 1808 Riverside Avenue | Minneapolis | MN | 55454

--------3 of 6--------

From: info [at]
Subject: RCN8 dinner 12.10 6:30pm

RNC8 Dinner/Event Series at Waite House
December 10: The Forest For the Trees and music by Shannon Murray
Dinner at 6:30pm, Content at 7:00pm
Waite House, 2529 13th Ave. S., Minneapolis
$5-15 sliding scale, kids $2
Vegan and gluten-free options; childcare provided

December 10: The Forest For The Trees and Shannon Murray: A Green Scare
Political Prisoner Benefit

Film Screening of a Documentary about Environmental Activist and Labor
Organizer Judi Bari and her Legal Battle against the FBI & Performance by
Radical Folk Singer Shannon Murray

Judi Bari brought timber workers and environmentalists together in defense
of ancient Redwood trees in Northern California in the 80's and 90's. A
member of both Earth First and the Industrial Workers of the World (the
Wobblies), Bari was nearly killed by a bomb planted under the driver seat
of her car in 1990 and was then framed as a terrorist by the FBI. Bari and
co-defendant Darryl Cherney were finally exonerated in 2002 through a
civil rights lawsuit, five years after Judi died of breast cancer.

Shannon Murray is a folk-punk singer and organizer from Bemidji, MN and a
member of Riot Folk Collective.

Co-sponsored by The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Twin Cities
Branch (

--------4 of 6--------

From: Alliance for Sustainability <sean [at]>
Subject: Climate 12.10 7pm

Fri Dec 10th - 7:00 pm Perspectives on Climate Change: Featuring Dr. Qin
Dahe and Dr. Elizabeth Wilson, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs,
Cowles Auditorium.

Dr. Qin Dahe will share information about his climate research in
cryospheric sciences (the study of frozen water on a planet surface) and
Dr. Wilson will provide an update on her energy and climate research she
conducted in China this past year.

--------5 of 6--------

[The film "Waiting for Superman" is having a widespread anti-public school
influence. Odds are some one (or two or three...) people you know, people
you thought were rational and just, have swallowed this nasty corporate
propaganda hook line and sinker. This article will help prepare you to
argue against them and for public schools. -ed]

Superhero School Reform Heading Your Way
Now Playing in Newark, NJ
By Stan Karp
Source: Not Waiting for SupermanFriday, December 10, 2010

Long before director Davis Guggenheim jumped out of a phone booth in his
Superman costume, I spent three decades as a high school teacher in
Paterson, one of New Jersey's poorest cities. Paterson had its own 15
minutes of school reform fame in the 1980s, thanks to Principal Joe Clark,
whose bullhorn and baseball bat were featured in another superhero school
movie, Lean on Me, a sanitized version of Clark's reign of error at
Eastside High School.

Watching this year's rise to fame of Michelle Rhee, the former Washington,
D.C., schools chancellor who is one of the heroes of Guggenheim's Waiting
for "Superman," I was struck by how the targets had changed. Clark's
baseball bat was aimed at the young black males who were demonized as a
criminal element in the schoolyard. Rhee's weapon was a broom to sweep
away all those lousy teachers and their unions. 1

But what hasn't changed is the use of emotionally charged images and
simplistic rhetoric to frame complicated issues about public education in
ways that promote elite agendas.

Across the country, Waiting for "Superman" has mobilized celebrity star
power and high-profile political support for an education "reform"
campaign that is destabilizing even relatively successful schools and
districts while generating tremendous upheaval in struggling ones.

The now-familiar buzzwords are charter schools, merit pay, choice, and
accountability. But the larger goal, to borrow a phrase from the Democrats
for Education Reform (DFER), a political lobby financed by hedge fund
millionaires that is a chief architect of the campaign, is to "burst the
dam" that has historically protected public education and its $600 billion
annual expenditures from unchecked commercial exploitation and
privatization. 2

The larger goal is to "burst the dam" that has historically protected
public education and its $600 billion annual expenditures from unchecked
commercial exploitation and privatization.

In New Jersey, an odd alliance of Oprah, Facebook billionaire Mark
Zuckerberg, Republican Gov. Chris Christie, and "rock star mayor" Cory
Booker have put Newark in the forefront of this effort to impose business
model ed reform. But the campaign is headed for a district near you, if it
hasn't arrived already, and the stakes are high. "I don't think it will
kill public education," the dean of Seton Hall University's College of
Education told a New Jersey columnist. "But it already has maimed it". 3

Superman Lands in New Jersey

Superman landed in New Jersey last September during a two-week media
circus that included the premiere of the film; two over-the-top Oprah
episodes filled with self-congratulatory hype from Rhee, Guggenheim, and
Bill Gates; and an appearance by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who
tried (and failed) to explain why the release of the film was "a Rosa
Parks moment". 4 This all led up to the bizarre spectacle of Oprah
announcing from Chicago on national TV a $100 million donation from
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to fund a "takeover" of the Newark public
schools by Mayor Corey Booker.

Booker, a longtime proponent of private school vouchers and a member of
the DFER national advisory board who has been instrumental in moving the
Democrats to the right on education issues, 5 was on hand to accept the
gift along with Chris Christie, the most anti-public education governor
New Jersey has ever had. In less than a year, Christie, a Karl Rove
protege and rising star in the Republican Party, has presided over $1.2
billion in cuts to state school aid while pounding teachers and their
unions as greedy, overpaid public employees responsible for the state's
fiscal problems. When Oprah asked Zuckerberg why he chose Newark, he said,
"I believe in these guys".

For Christie, Zuckerberg's gift was a chance to change the conversation
after weeks of embarrassing criticism for sabotaging New Jersey's $400
million Race to the Top application. At the last minute, Christie had
scrapped a deal his education commissioner Bret Schundler worked out with
the New Jersey Education Association (in which Schundler said the state
conceded "almost nothing".) It later came out that Christie "said he
didn't care about the money," because there was no way he was going to
cooperate with the NJEA. When New Jersey eventually lost $400 million by
three points, Christie clumsily tried to cover up the details and fired
Schundler as a scapegoat. 6

Zuckerberg's donation did help Christie change the topic - even though it
came with a web of strings and was less than the governor's combined cuts
in municipal and school aid to Newark. 7 Spread out over five years, the
grant, even when matched, will amount to about 4 percent of the district's
nearly $900 million annual budget. It also will be channeled through a
newly created private foundation raising a host of legal and public
accountability issues. 8

The day after Oprah's TV extravaganza, Guggenheim, Zuckerberg, Booker, and
Christie all came to Newark for a special screening of Waiting for
"Superman". The event was held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center,
one block from the offices of the Education Law Center (ELC) where I work.
9 ELC is one of the nation's leading advocacy groups supporting equity in
school funding and won a series of landmark court decisions requiring the
state to increase aid to the poorest urban districts (more below). It
represents some 300,000 students and their families in New Jersey's urban
districts, including Newark.

In response to Oprah's announcement, reporters asked ELC's Executive
Director David Sciarra about the governance arrangement for Newark
schools, which have been under state control since 1995. Sciarra explained
there was no legal basis in New Jersey for mayoral control. Neither the
mayor nor the governor could make policy or spending decisions for the
school district since the takeover law invested that authority in the
state commissioner of education and the local advisory board. It also
outlined a clear process for restoring control to a locally elected school
board, which had been moving steadily forward until Zuckerberg and his
checkbook arrived. 10

"I'm Coming"

This legal analysis did not sit well with Gov. Christie, who was the
featured speaker at the Waiting for "Superman" showing. Sounding more like
Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry than Superman, Christie declared:

"You just watched that film and so did I - I'm going to fight as hard as
I can against those who believe that that is the status quo we're
protecting. ... There is nothing more important to the future of our state
and the future of our country than this fight, because this is the fight
that will define all of the other fights - the fight for America to
remain a dominant force for good in the world". 11

He continued with a veiled threat for ELC: "I have a message for the
lawyers who have made a lifetime out of suing us into failure: I'm

Christie hammered home his message that public education was failing
because of bad teachers protected by their unions - which, in fact, is
the central message of the film.

With the film as backdrop and Guggenheim in the room, Christie hammered
home his message that public education was failing because of bad teachers
protected by their unions - which, in fact, is the central message of the
film. The governor echoed themes he has promoted across the state and the
country: charters, vouchers, merit pay, and eliminating tenure constitute
the urgent reform agenda not only in struggling urban districts, but
everywhere as well.

A week later Christie made a campaign-type stop at a New Jersey charter
school with another Superman star, Geoffrey Canada, CEO of the Harlem
Children's Zone (HCZ). They spoke at Elysian Charter School in Hoboken, a
successful school that stands out as the charter with the largest
disparity in the state between the number of high-needs students served by
the school and the much higher number in the host district. 12 Christie
used the occasion to promote legislation that would allow for-profit
charter companies to expand into New Jersey and provide $360 million in
tax credits for private tuition vouchers.  13

Canada was there to support the governor's "reform agenda". When Christie
asked him to explain why the HCZ's widely praised model of
cradle-to-college supports works, Canada did not highlight the expanded
social services, class sizes under 15 with two certified teachers,
extended school days, or 11-month school years. He did not explain that
HCZ receives two-thirds of its funding from private sources or that, like
all the highly selective, privately subsidized charter schools featured in
Guggenheim's film, Canada's Promise Academies spend considerably more than
the public schools around them. Instead, Canada said, "We fire people who
don't work for our kids". (He didn't add that sometimes the people he
fires are the students. Several years ago an entire class of 7th graders
was dismissed for poor academic performance.) 14

"I love this guy," said the governor.

A "Wretched" System?

By conventional measures, New Jersey's public schools are among the most
successful in the nation. It has the highest high school graduation rate
and ranks in the top five states in every grade and subject tested by the
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). It is one of the few
states where test score gaps among student subgroups have closed in recent
years. As Linda Darling-Hammond summarized:

Today, New Jersey, a state where 45 percent of students are of color,
ranks first in the nation in writing performance on NAEP and among the top
five states in every other subject area. ... Taking demographics into
account, New Jersey is arguably the highest achieving state in the nation.
It has cut its achievement gap in half over the last decade, and its
African American and Hispanic students outscore the average student in
California. And it did so in a state that is considered a strong teachers
union state, a factor that many reformers believe is reason one why
systemic improvement cannot happen.  15

New Jersey is also near the top in both educational investment and the
equitable distribution of those resources. The court decisions won by ELC
in what's known as the Abbott case produced the highest funding levels in
the country for poor urban districts. For ten years, roughly between 1998
and 2008, some 30 urban districts received per-pupil parity with the
richest suburban districts in a state that ranked at or near the top in
school spending. They also received extra funding for supplemental
programs including full-day, high-quality preschool, extended school days
and years, concentrated early literacy programs, a multi-billion dollar
program of school construction, and an unprecedented set of health and
social service supports.

The Abbott districts were the only place in the United States where the
kind of supplemental supports now universally praised in the Harlem
Children's Zone - which, as noted above, gets two-thirds of its funding
from private sources - were mandated for all high-needs students and
sustained, at least for a while, with public dollars.

As a result of these mandates, more than 40,000 3- and 4-year-olds now
attend the highest quality pre-K program in the country (which Christie
called "babysitting" during his election campaign 16). Fourth-grade test
score gaps have narrowed significantly, and New Jersey has some of the
nation's highest graduation rates for African American and Hispanic
students, despite persistent gaps with white and Asian students. There are
problematic aspects to each of these statistics, but they are not small
accomplishments. 17

To be sure, there have been many issues. The Abbott mandates never had the
sustained support of the state government or the Department of Education
which led to ongoing implementation and accountability concerns. Abbott
did not fix the school funding system for the state's other 575 school
districts, which have struggled with shrinking state aid and high local
property taxes. The Court decisions also did not undo NJ's pervasive
racial and class segregation, leaving some to debate whether Abbott was
the "Brown v. Board of Education" of school funding cases or more like
"Plessy v. Ferguson," a kind of reparations for a system of separate and
unequal education that remains intact even as the reparations disappear.

Perhaps most critically, the legal victories were never effectively
matched by the sustained political mobilization of the communities with
the most at stake and whose participation was crucial to turning the Court
mandates and increased funding into successful systems of district
schools. While many Abbott schools and districts made impressive gains,
others did not, and the state never conducted the systematic evaluation
that might explain the differences. 18

Still, Abbott led to major progress after decades of separate and unequal
schooling, and it was a sharp setback when first Democratic Gov. Jon
Corzine and then his successor Christie responded to growing state budget
pressures by moving to dismantle the Abbott programs.

Christie, however, has gone much further, linking his attacks on urban
schools to efforts to drive down the cost of public education statewide.
While the governor has repeatedly called Newark schools "an obscenity" and
Abbott a "failure," his spokesman declared the entire system "wretched".
"The NAEP rankings are irrelevant," an administration aide said. "We
should not take solace in the fact that we score well in a wretched system
that fails to adequately teach such a high percentage of children.." 19

Even wrapped in the gloss of Guggenheim's pseudo-documentary, it's clear
that Christie's education agenda is mainly about reducing spending,
cutting the cost of teacher salaries and benefits, shifting state aid from
urban to suburban districts, and privatizing public services. He balanced
his first budget by rolling back a millionaire's tax and cutting virtually
every education and social program in the state budget - except state aid
for charter schools. He has proposed paying for his merit pay plans with
savings from firing low-rated teachers, and sees the mostly nonunion, less
stable, and cheaper charter school teaching staff as a model for reducing

"You are masters at doing more with less," Christie told the state's
charter association last spring, and less is clearly the point. 20 Andrew
Rotherham, another former DFER board member and prominent proponent of
neoliberal education reform told the Wall Street Journal, Christie is "on
to something big - that the huge cost for public schools is no longer
sustainable". 21

"New Jersey is the canary in the coal mine," added Frederick Hess,
education policy director at the American Enterprise Institute. 22

"Bursting the Dam"

DFER and its allies have spent years putting in place the dynamite charges
it hopes will soon "burst the dam" and open the way to fundamentally
changing the landscape of U.S. public education. A recent DFER strategy
paper, subtitled Why the Next 24 Months Are Critical for Education Reform
Politics, describes the explicit targets as the "special interests
(primarily but not limited to teachers unions)" that "are able to assert
de facto veto power over the kinds of changes that could fundamentally
alter the way education is delivered in our communities". 23

These are the structures DFER & Co. want to replace with a market-based,
consumer-driven system. Merit pay, charters, tenure reform, and mayoral
control are steps along the way.

But in fact, the "dam" consists of the public, nonprofit character of
public schools, their control by local boards of education and districts,
their funding by public dollars, and their accountably, however imperfect,
to some degree of democratic oversight and decision-making. It also
includes decades of effort, and at times fierce struggle, to hold schools,
districts, and states accountable to mandates requiring equal access to a
free public education for all children. These are the structures DFER &
Co. want to replace with a market-based, consumer-driven system. Merit
pay, charters, tenure reform, and mayoral control are steps along the way.
As DFER sees it, "Change must be pushed at all levels and all across the
map in order to make the most of current opportunity for reform". 24

Additional clues about where this policy train is headed come from Andy
Smarick, one of Christie's newly installed assistant education
commissioners. Smarick is a former George W. Bush education official who
served as a policy analyst for the American Enterprise and Fordham
institutes, where he proposed replacing "failing schools" and districts
with market-based reforms inspired by the corporate world. He came to NJ
because, "I'm especially excited to get to lend a hand to the effort to
improve Newark's schools. The city has a set of superb charter
organizations, a remarkably strong nonprofit support infrastructure, and a
hard-charging mayor". 25

Smarick"s signature ideas are that investing in low-performing schools is
a "waste of human capital" and that charters are "the wave of the future".
He has written that "our relentless preoccupation with improving the worst
schools actually inhibits the development of a healthy urban public
education industry". Key to developing this "industry" is the rapid
expansion of charter schools and government subsidies for private and
religious schools. To clear the way for innovation, Smarick says schools
that do not meet the test scores targets in the federal No Child Left
Behind law should be given "only one option - closure". 26

Smarick does not see charters as either a vehicle for improving existing
schools and districts or even a compatible co-existing sector.
"Chartering's potential extends far beyond the role of stepchild or
assistant to districts," he says. "The only course that is sustainable,
for both chartering and urban education, embraces a third, more expansive
view of the movement's future: replace the district-based system in
America's large cities with fluid, self-improving systems of charter
schools. The system is the issue. The solution isn't an improved
traditional district; it's an entirely different delivery system for
public education: systems of chartered schools". 27 [Sort of like factory
farms. -ed]

This kind of radical right-wing social engineering is based on free-market
myths like the power of "churn": "The churn caused by closures isn't
something to be feared," says Smarick, "On the contrary, it's a familiar
prerequisite for industry health. Churn generates new ideas, ensures
responsiveness, facilitates needed change, and empowers the best to do
more. New entrants not only fill gaps, they have a tendency to better
reflect current market conditions. They are also far likelier to introduce
innovations: Google, Facebook, and Twitter were not products of
long-standing firms".

This market mythology overlooks the substantial record of charter school
failure and, at times, malpractice and corruption. It sees schools not as
outposts of local democracy or centers of civic activity, but as
disposable franchises that come and go as the market "churns," disrupting
communities and families who are viewed as consumers, not the collective
citizen-managers of a public institution. The trendy references to Google
and Facebook obscure less benign corporate "innovations" introduced by the
likes of Halliburton, Enron, and BP.

Turmoil in Christie's education department has led to speculation that
Smarick may follow his former boss and also make an early exit. But his
blueprint still bears attention:

If charter advocates carefully target specific systems with an exacting
strategy, the current policy environment will allow them to create
examples of a new, high-performing system of public education in urban

Here, in short, is one roadmap for chartering's way forward: First, commit
to drastically increasing the charter market share in a few select
communities until it is the dominant system and the district is reduced to
a secondary provider. The target should be 75 percent. Second, choose the
target communities wisely. Each should begin with a solid charter base (at
least 5 percent market share), a policy environment that will enable
growth (fair funding, nondistrict authorizers, and no legislated caps),
and a favorable political environment (friendly elected officials and
editorial boards, a positive experience with charters to date, and
unorganized opposition).

Third, secure proven operators to open new schools. To the greatest extent
possible, growth should be driven by replicating successful local charters
and recruiting high-performing operators from other areas. Fourth, engage
key allies like Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools, and
national and local foundations to ensure the effort has the human and
financial capital needed. Last, commit to rigorously assessing charter
performance in each community and working with authorizers to close the
charters that fail to significantly improve student achievement.

In total, these strategies should lead to rapid, high-quality charter
growth and the development of a public school marketplace marked by
parental choice". 28

Something like this scenario is now playing out in Newark - with eerie
echoes of Michelle Rhee's recent tenure in D.C. Twelve percent of Newark
students are already enrolled in charters. A few of these schools are high
performing, but most are struggling at or below the levels of the
district's public schools, despite enrolling fewer numbers of the highest
needs students.  29

Although the narrative of Newark school failure has been used to drive
Christie's agenda, the reality is much more mixed. Progress in some Newark
schools has been remarkable, while in others poor school performance
persists amidst concentrated poverty rates of 80 percent or more. For
example, in the narrow test scores terms in which soundbite school
progress is usually measured, Newark cut the urbansuburban gap in half
between 2000 and 2008 at 4th grade and reduced the math gap at 11th grade
by 25 percent; language arts gaps remained unchanged. 30 The district is
also the site of some promising reform efforts, including an ambitious
Global Village project initiated by the national Broader Bolder Approach
and led by Pedro Noguera. The effort links seven neighborhood schools in a
comprehensive inside/outside strategy of supplemental services and
school-based change.  31

"Chartering" Newark

Nevertheless, Booker and Christie support rapid charter expansion in
Newark fueled by the same foundations and "key allies" mentioned in
Smarick's scenario with large infusions of money from hedge fund managers,
national and local foundations and now Zuckerberg.

Booker, however, has also been forced to draw some cautionary lessons from
the recent defeat of his friend, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, whose loss in a
September primary was seen as a vote of no confidence in Rhee and led to
her early exit as chancellor. Rhee was rejected by a voter revolt against
her dictatorial style and often arbitrary decisions to close schools, fire
teachers, and impose top-own reforms that wowed business leaders but
brought mostly turmoil and disruption to school communities. Like Joel
Klein in New York, Rhee's claims of success are based on illusory test
score gains that evaporate upon close inspection. 32 But ultimately it was
her inability to convince the city's voters and parents that her business
model reforms served their best interests that led to her sudden political
defeat. "Cooperation, collaboration, and consensus-building are way
overrated," Rhee once said. D.C. voters didn't agree. 33

Lacking the kind of Mayoral control that Fenty used to install Rhee,
Booker has entered into a fragile alliance with a volatile Republican
Governor, complicating relations with both NJ Democrats and the Newark
electorate. He has strong opposition on the city council and faces a
deepening municipal fiscal crisis that will only grow worse under
Christie. To drive local school policy into unchartered territory, (pun
intended) Booker needs a stronger base than a budget-cutting Governor and
rich out-of-town friends. 34

On Nov. 1, with the help of DFER's newly formed NJ chapter and $1 million
in private funds, Booker launched the Partnership for Education in Newark
designed to mobilize local support for his education plans. A two-month
campaign of "relentless outreach," including community meetings and
door-to-door canvassing is supposed to lead to a set of reform
recommendations in January. But longtime local activists are skeptical and
have started their own Coalition for Effective Newark Public Schools to
press for things they have been fighting for for years: adequate
resources, student-centered curriculum, better-prepared teachers,
partnerships with parents, and "new standards of accountability and new
practices to assure fairness for educators, and success for all children".
35 Many believe the plans for the Facebook millions have already been
drawn up behind closed doors. "The only question," said one former member
of the local advisory board, "is how much more privatization will go on".

The Uses of "Failure"

Using the failures of public education in high-poverty urban communities
as an opening for a broader policy of disinvestment and privatization has
become a key link in the market reformers campaign.

Using the failures of public education in high-poverty urban communities
as an opening for a broader policy of disinvestment and privatization has
become a key link in the market reformers campaign. Moreover, the
narrative of public education as a failing system has been strengthened in
recent years by shifting national policies away from the federal
government's historic role as a promoter of access and equity in public
education through support for things like integration, Title I funding for
high-poverty schools, and services for students with special needs, to a
very different and less equitable set of mandates promoting high-stakes
testing, the closing or "reconstituting" of schools, and the distribution
of federal funds through competitive grants to "winners" at the expense of
"losers". These policies, embodied in No Child Left Behind and Race to the
Top, have helped to erode the common ground a universal system of
democratic public education needs to survive.

As Christie himself has said, "This is an incredibly special moment in
American history, where you have Republicans in New Jersey agreeing with a
Democratic president on how to get reform". 36

If public education is in crisis today, however, it is not because of
generalized failure. In some respects it's the nation's most successful
democratic institution and has done far more to reduce inequality and
offer hope and opportunity than the country's financial, economic,
political and media institutions.

But its Achilles' heel - which in fact is the Achilles' heel of the whole
society -  is acute racial and class inequality. And while this
inequality once spurred a clarion call to expand government and public
sector programs to address it, today a massively well-financed set of
campaigns, groups, and projects is driving an agenda that flies the banner
of reform but promotes proposals that are likely to do for education what
market reform has done for health care, housing, and employment: produce
fabulous profits for a few and unequal access for the many. Waiting for
"Superman" is not only blind to this agenda, it presents some of its key
architects as heroes.


1 See Time magazine, Joe Clark, 2/1/88,,16641,19880201,00.html and Michelle
Rhee, 12/8/08,,16641,20081208,00.html

2 Bursting the Dam: Why the Next 24 Months Are Critical for Education
Reform Politics,

3 N.J. education experts worry over latest brand of school reform, Robert
Braun, Star Ledger,

4 Arne Duncan.s .Rosa Parks Moment., Jim Horn, Schools Matter

5 Dana Goldstein, The Democratic Education Divide, American Prospect,
also see .Booker Seeks Vouchers., Sarah Garland, 2/20/07. and .Liberal Love
for Right Wing Corey Booker. by Margaret Kimberly, Black Commentator,

6 Ex-education chief says Christie was focused on battle with NJEA in Race
to the Top application, The Star Ledger, 7/10/10,

7 Gov. Chris Christie.s budget cuts add to Newark.s economic hardships,
Star Ledger,
and Friending Schools in Newark, NJ Policy Perspective, 10/4/10

8 How Will Newark Turn Zuckerberg.s $100 Million Worth Of Facebook Shares
Into Cash? Forbes,
& The $100 million gift, Paul Tractenberg North

9 All views expressed in this article are the author.s and do not reflect
positions of the Education Law Center.

10 Facebook-Driven Newark Overhaul Lurches Forward, Catherine Gewertz,
Education Week,

11 I.m Coming: Governor Christie on Education Reform,

12 Elysian serves 22% free/reduced lunch students compared to 69% in its
host district, Hoboken. It has 25% Hispanic students, 11% African American
students and 57% white students compared to district populations of 59%
Hispanic, 15% African American and 22% white. Education Law Center, Oct.

13 N.J. Gov. Christie pushes for more charter schools,

14 Gov. Christie seeks private companies to operate charter schools, Star
& Lauded Harlem Schools Have Their Own Problems Sharon Otterman 10/12/10.
New York

15 Linda Darling-Hammond National Journal Expert Blogs,


17 Abbott Pre-K Hailed As National Model,
& Diplomas Count, Education Week, June 2010

18 Fulfilling the Promise of Abbott, David Sciarra, Star Ledger,
and Lessons From New Jersey, Gordon MacInness, American Prospect, 6/13/10

19 Education commissioner Schundler dismisses U.S. test ranking N.J. at
the top in reading, math. Star Ledger, 5/10/10

20 Christie says charter schools have friend in N.J. Statehouse, NJ

21 Governor Christie.s Ultimate Test, Wall Street Journal,

22 Wall Street Journal, 10/22/10

23 Bursting the Dam,

24 Three Candles for DFER, 6/8/10 See also Ken Libby.s
excellent DFER Watch

25 Flypaper, Thomas B. Fordham Institute blog post,

26 The Turnaround Fallacy, Andy Smarick, Education Next, Winter, 2010

27 Wave of the Future: Why charter schools should replace failing urban
schools, Andy Smarick, Education Next, Winter, 2008,

28 Smarick, Wave of the Future

29 Report shows fourth-grade students in N.J. public, charter schools have
same passing rates, Star Ledger, 11/10/10,

30 Learning from Newark.s Best Schools, Gordon MacInness, NJ Spotlight,
10/19/10, & data charts
from Education Law Center

31 Newark educators release plan to turn around low-performing schools
Star Ledger,

32 Michelle Rhee.s Testing Legacy: An Open Question, Washington Post,
Re Klein seeStandards Raised, More Students Fail Tests, New York Times,

33 Michelle Rhee.s Greatest Hits, Washington Post, 10/14/10

34 Booker and Christie jointly agreed to dismiss the current
state-appointed Newark Superintendent, Clifford Janey, who ironically was
fired by Fenty several years ago as DC schools chief so he could install
Rhee. Oprah suggested that Rhee be hired to run Newark schools. Christie
has offered her the job of state Education Commissioner. As of Dec.1, she
had not accepted

35 Draft platform, Coalition for Effective Newark Public Schools

36 New Jersey Education Reforms Unveiled, Star Ledger,

Stan Karp (stan [at] ) is a Rethinking Schools editor.

--------6 of 6--------

From: MIRAc <miracmn [at]>
Subject: MIRAc demands that Chipotle stop their cruel pre-Christmas mass
    firing of Latino workers in MN

Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc)
651-389-9174 | | miracmn [at]

December 9, 2010
For immediate release

MIRAc demands that Chipotle stop their cruel pre-Christmas mass firing of
Latino workers in MN

Minneapolis, MN - The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc)
denounces Chipotle restaurant's cruel mass firing of Latino immigrant
workers at their restaurants throughout the Twin Cities this week. We have
confirmation that multiple Latino workers have been fired this week at the
Chipotle restaurants on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, at Seven Corners and
Downtown skyway in Minneapolis, in Golden Valley, in Coon Rapids, Richfield,
Stillwater, and Hudson. These are just the cases we have directly confirmed,
which in all add up to over 50 workers fired. There are more cases we have
heard about but not confirmed. Please contact us if you have information on
any other firings.

These mass firings seem to be part of an immigration-related audit, where
Latino workers are singled out and fired if they can't immediately verify
their immigration status. The workers fired so far include many long time
dedicated workers who have worked at Chipotle for up to 10 years.

According to Brad Sigal of MIRAc, "We denounce Chipotle for acting like
immigration agents and attacking their own long-term dedicated workers. This
mass firing of Latino workers right before Christmas is unconscionable. We
demand that Chipotle immediately stop this cruel wave of firings."

MIRAc asks people to contact Chipotle management and demand that they stop
firing Latino workers in Minnesota. You can contact Chipotle at 303-595-4000
(press 0 to talk to a person) or email mediarelations [at]

We also encourage people in Minnesota to boycott Chipotle until these
targeted firings of Latino workers stop.

One Chipotle worker at a store that has not yet had any firings this week
wondered if the firings were timed so that Chipotle wouldn't have to pay
workers their promised Christmas-season bonus. It is also worth noting that
after 3 years workers at Chipotle get vacation time, so this mass firing
conveniently removes large numbers of employees with vacation time and
replaces them with new workers who get no vacation time.

About MIRAc

The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc) organizes Latino
immigrants and allies to fight for legalization and full equality for all.
MIRAc is currently working on the No More Deportations campaign to stop
deportations via the criminal justice system in Hennepin County.


See also: coverage in City Pages


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
                     over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02
              please send all messages in plain text no attachments

                          vote third party
                           for president
                           for congress
                           for governor
                          now and forever

                           Socialism YES
                           Capitalism NO

 To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg
 --------8 of x--------
 do a find on

 Research almost any topic raised here at:
  Dissident Voice
  Common Dreams
 Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones

  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.