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As Brown Vs Board Of Education Turns 70, Fight Against Segregation Not Over

In 1954, the landmark decision by the Supreme Court, Brown versus the Board of Education, established that the segregation of students based on race was no longer legal. Seventy years later, schools remain highly segregated and the education system is becoming more unequal. Clearing the FOG speaks with Jennifer Berkshire, a licensed school teacher, journalist and author of the new book, "The Education War: A Citizen's Guide and Defense Manual," about the forces behind the defunding and privatization of education in the United States. Berkshire describes nontraditional coalitions that are forming at the state level to stop voucher programs. Some are having success. She also explains how rightwing ideology has infected Democrats and liberals in this struggle.

Missing Links In Textbook History: Opposition To War

The inescapable fact is that war has dominated much of U.S. history. According to Freakonometrics–statistician Arthur Charpentier, the United States has been at war 93% of the years since 1776. Nevertheless, as I have noted elsewhere, most of those wars are ignored by both textbooks and media. Informed by experience as a teacher, I’m convinced that students need to study at least the most significant American wars. They need to study why and how those wars were fought, the debates that occurred at the time and why some supported war while others opposed it. Unfortunately, when a war is included in history textbooks or discussed in classes, opposition to that war is generally ignored or misrepresented.

70 Years After Brown, Too Many US Schools Remain Hypersegregated

I was 21 when I started teaching at Hope-Hill Elementary School in Atlanta. I had big dreams and bold ideas — some held, others fettered as the toll of teaching in majority Black schools suffering from resource deprivation took hold. My first year was complicated by the fact that C.W. Hill Elementary closed, or merged with John Hope Elementary, depending on whom you ask. And in an effort to make the devastating change more palatable, John Hope Elementary School became Hope-Hill Elementary School. This was my introduction to austerity measures, or the practices in school districts that justified slashing resources, slimming budgets, and closing schools, which are often in working-class Black communities.

70 Years After Brown Vs. Board Of Ed, Public Schools Still Deeply Segregated

Brown vs. Board of Education, the pivotal Supreme Court decision that made school segregation unconstitutional, turns 70 years old on May 17, 2024. At the time of the 1954 ruling, 17 U.S. states had laws permitting or requiring racially segregated schools. The Brown decision declared that segregation in public schools was “inherently unequal.” This was, in part, because the court argued that access to equitable, nonsegregated education played a critical role in creating informed citizens – a paramount concern for the political establishment amid the Cold War. With Brown, the justices overturned decades of legal precedent that kept Black Americans in separate and unequal schools.

Conservatives Want To Destroy Public Schools

Tulsa, Oklahoma — Ashley Daly still gets angry thinking about the first Oklahoma state board of education meeting she attended. It was August 2022 and the board was preparing to downgrade the accreditation for two school districts, including Tulsa, where Daly’s daughter attends school, over alleged violations of Oklahoma’s new law banning critical race theory. As the board penalized the district for a diversity training that predated the law, the realization struck her: ​“They were punishing a school district of 33,000 kids for political reasons, and I was the only parent from Tulsa in the room.”

Indian Country’s Forever Chemical Problem

Laurie Harper, director of education for the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School, a K-12 tribal school on the Leech Lake Band Indian Reservation in north-central Minnesota, never thought that a class of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, would be an issue for her community. That’s partly because, up until a few months ago, she didn’t even know what PFAS were. “We’re in the middle of the Chippewa National Forest,” she said. “It’s definitely not something I had really clearly considered dealing with out here.” Late last year, tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that her school’s drinking water wells were contaminated with PFAS.

50 Years Older And Deeper In Debt

This year marks the 50th anniversary of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the landmark 5-4 Supreme Court decision that held that education is not a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution. The decision dashed hopes that the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling that ended legal segregation in 1954 would be followed by a sustained federal commitment to making education equality a reality. Demetrio Rodriguez was a sheet metal worker and a member of the Edgewood Concerned Parent Association when he became the lead plaintiff in the case. He thought his three children were being shortchanged by wide disparities in schooling across the sprawling San Antonio school district and the state of Texas.

Largest School District In Texas Eliminates Libraries

The largest public school district in the state of Texas is converting libraries in 28 schools into disciplinary centers and eliminating school librarian positions, local news outlets reported on Thursday. The alarming change comes as part of a sweeping reform program led by the Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) new superintendent Mike Miles, who oversees 85 schools. Of the remaining 57 schools with libraries, the district said each will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, indicating more libraries could be closed. Under Miles’ New Education System (NES) program, libraries in the 28 schools will become “Team Centers,” where “kids with behavioral issues will be sent,” per the Houston-based NBC affiliate, KRPC.

In Los Angeles Schools, Solidarity Strike Scores Big For Both Unions

When Los Angeles educators joined school support staff on the picket lines last month, our solidarity strike helped them clinch a contract with a 30 percent raise. Riding that wave, yesterday educators reached a tentative agreement of our own, with a 21 percent raise, smaller classes, and improved staffing. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho had scoffed in February when support staff voted by 96 percent to authorize a strike. On Twitter he belittled the threat as empty theatrics. “1, 2, 3…Circus,” he wrote, “a predictable performance with a known outcome, desiring of nothing more than an applause, a coin, and a promise of a next show.” But fast-forward one month, and the joke was on him.

Open Mic Protests Plan For AI-Powered Taser Drones In Schools

In May 2022, the company’s own AI Ethics Board voted against a pilot program with law enforcement due to concerns over surveillance and abuse, particularly against people of color. However, weeks later, in the wake of the Uvalde tragedy, Axon announced its intention to embed Taser-equipped drones in schools to stop mass shootings, using AI surveillance and virtual reality simulations. Nine of the thirteen members of the AI Ethics Board resigned, stating they had "lost faith in Axon's ability to be a responsible partner." Axon shareholders are now requesting that the company discontinue the development and plans for sale of a remotely-operated Taser drone system, which poses serious risks to privacy, racial equity, and physical safety.

Organizations File Complaint Against Texas’ Takeover Of Houston Schools

Civil rights organizations have filed a federal complaint on behalf of several parents against the Texas Education Agency because of its plan to replace the Houston Independent School District’s democratically elected school board, claiming the move takes away the rights of Houston voters of color to choose their own school officials. The complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Justice Friday morning, with a claim by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the Houston NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice that the state’s takeover violates the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.

Black Educators Are Reimagining A Better School System

Woodbridge, VA - The plastic sign displayed prominently on De’Ana Forbes’ classroom door is especially fitting this week. In big bold letters: ​“Warning! History Teacher Zone. Your understanding of the past may be corrected at any time.”  It’s early in this sleepy suburb 45 minutes outside Washington, D.C., and the sun is still rising over Freedom High School as students jog inside from late-arriving buses, backpacks half-hung over shoulders with winter coats swinging. They push through crowded hallways and hurry to first period.  Forbes, 28, who teaches U.S. history and social studies, is one of many teachers across the country participating in the annual Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, held this year February 6 – 10.

Oakland Parents Occupy Elementary School To Stop Its Closure

Oakland, California - On the last day of school at Parker Elementary, following tearful moving up ceremonies for fifth and eighth grades, one group of mothers — frustrated over a decision to permanently shutter the school — refused to leave. Over 50 days later, they’re still there, occupying the school alongside a network of community activists and other supporters. In the meantime, they’ve started “Parker Community School,” which offers free summer programming for schoolchildren and adults. Even as the next school year approaches, they’re refusing to back down, with plans to expand their efforts as part of a broader fight against educational racism and inequity in Oakland and across the country. “Our kids are important to us — and that’s the reason why this has to happen,” said Misty Cross, a mother of two in the district who has been one of several parents sleeping at the school.

Valedictorian Rips Into Erosion Of Public Education In Graduation Speech

Los Angeles, CA - On June 6, Axel Brito, Hollywood High School Class of 2022 valedictorian, gave a powerful speech during his senior graduation ceremony at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. His speech is an indictment of the entrenched corruption within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) at the expense of quality education and services for students and the working conditions of teachers and school workers. Video footage of Axel’s speech has gone viral on social media, having been viewed over 2.6 million times on TikTok, over 24,000 times on YouTube and over 11,000 times on Instagram.

Supreme Court Takes ‘Wrecking Ball’ To Separation Of Church And State

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday offered "another example" of the court's "conservative supermajority continuing its politicized agenda," said the head of one of the nation's largest teachers unions as the decision overturned decades of precedent which prohibited educators from leading students in religious displays. In Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which concerned a coach who led prayers on the 50-yard line of a Washington state high school's football field, the court's right-wing majority ruled that the coach's prayers were protected under the First Amendment and that school officials who asked him to stop were not acting in the interest of the nation's bedrock laws separating church and state.
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