Kids in the hallway smile more than they have in the past. Laughs are a little louder than they once were, teachers say. Student pride – and the graduation rate – are on the upswing at Santee’s public school. School leaders trace that success to a new effort to teach the tribe’s culture – the very thing that the education system, generations ago, banned Santee Dakota students from learning. Now, a new cultural program immerses students in the tribe’s language, history and customs for as long as an hour each school day. The program, embraced by most teachers and students, has boosted student attendance and helped the iSanti Community School in Niobrara hit a perfect, 100% graduation rate two years running, school leaders say. This move to embrace the Santee culture at the main school on the Santee Dakota Reservation hasn’t always gone smoothly.
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The surge of strike energy has reached Philadelphia. Just a few weeks after Philly’s art museum workers struck and won, this past Friday Temple University’s graduate students voted overwhelmingly to strike — by a margin of 99 percent. Contribute to their strike fund here TUGSA — Temple University Graduate Student Association — represents about 750 Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Research Assistants (RAs) across the campus. They’ve been negotiating for 10 months, and working without a contract since February. They’ve been stonewalled by Temple’s bosses. TUGSA is demanding badly needed changes to their pay and working conditions. Looking at Temple’s own math on its new anti-union website, grad student workers and RAs make just $20,000 a year in a city where average rent is around $1,900 a month.
Colorado - Colorado voters are largely in favor of Proposition FF, which would provide the state’s students with free school meals — no matter their families’ incomes. With tax deduction limits in place, the price tag would fall on wealthy Coloradans. About 55% of voters backed the measure, with 1,011,114 votes, as of 9:07 a.m. on Wednesday, according to unofficial results on the Colorado Secretary of State Office’s website. That number includes all 64 counties, although post-election reporting is still in progress. The initiative would establish and fund the Healthy School Meals for All Program. It would boost taxes for households with incomes higher than $300,000 by curbing state income tax deductions. The move would impact about 114,000 joint and single-filer tax returns, or about 5% of those filed in Colorado.
Kent, Ohio - On October 15 and 16, members of the New Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) from across the United States gathered for their annual national convention at Kent State, Ohio. Roughly 90 students from SDS chapters and affiliates listened to speakers and gave workshops, summing up their victories and losses over the past year. The convention was united under the slogan of, “Not Another Step Back!” in reference to the year-long fight to keep rights such as the right to an abortion, but also to win even more. They featured national SDS’ commitments to, “Fight for Black lives, defend Roe v. Wade, and stop homophobic and transphobic attacks.” The location was particularly poignant to New SDS, as local students and faculty membered the four students who were killed on campus by the National Guard in 1970 for protesting the Vietnam War.
Penn’s band was wrapping up its halftime show, and moments before the third quarter was set to begin, protesters rushed the field, holding three banners: “Save The UC Townhomes” “Divest from Fossil Fuels” “PAY PILOTs” The protesters occupied the center of the field while security guards swarmed around them. At the top of the stadium, another group of students held a banner where Yale fans sat that asked: “Which side are you on?” Approximately 75 student protesters, members of the Fossil Free Penn organization, planned the action after an ongoing fight with Penn’s administration over climate issues and community justice. Penn did not comment on the protest, but the students believe the university knew about it beforehand.