The longest running Martin Luther King, Jr. rally and march on the West Coast.
Source: Sea MLK Jr Coalition
The longest running Martin Luther King, Jr. rally and march on the West Coast.
Source: Sea MLK Jr Coalition
Too often, educators of color are burdened with leading and supporting anti-racist work in schools and districts—perhaps even more so during COVID-19 and this year’s widespread calls for such work. These resources can help white educators and administrators take action now, carry their fair share of this work and ensure they’re in it for the long haul.
Teaching Tolerance has been knocking it out of the park with high-quality anti-racist resources that are pretty much classroom-ready for teachers.
Zinn’s decision to not report his male students’ grades to the Selective Service System is one eloquent moment in the history of educators who defied the grading policies of those allegedly in charge (Thanks to Rethinking Schools for republishing this gem, which scholar Robert Cohen found in the archives at NYU, where Zinn’s papers are kept!)
We can create safe and thriving communities by joining the growing number of cities who are re-appropriating funds from a punishment-based system and re-aiming them towards a new system that builds thriving communities.
I was unfamiliar with the work of Seattle teacher and activist, Jesse Hagopian before reading this opinion piece he wrote for the Seattle Times last week. The story of his personal involvement with police violence and the lawsuit he won against the Seattle Police Department is important background for this piece too. A quick Twitter search reveled this gif of the author being maced by SPD as he was trying to make a phone call. WTF?
Does anyone know the salary of Seattle police officer Sandra Delafuente (the cop who pepper sprayed me in the face at 2015 Martin Luther King rally)? pic.twitter.com/QGAUlKoc68
— Jesse Hagopian (@JessedHagopian) June 23, 2020
Beginning in December 1951, Ernesto “Che” Guevara took a nine-month break from medical school to travel by motorcycle through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. One of his goals was gaining practical experience with leprosy. On the night of his twenty-fourth birthday, Che was at La Colonia de San Pablo in Peru swimming across the river to join the lepers. He walked among six hundred lepers in jungle huts looking after themselves in their own way.
Che would not have been satisfied to just study and sympathize with them – he wanted to be with them and understand their existence. Being in contact with people who were poor and hungry while they were sick transformed Che. He envisioned a new medicine, with doctors who would serve the greatest number people with preventive care and public awareness of hygiene. A few years later, Che joined Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement as a doctor and was among the eighty-one men aboard the Granma as it landed in Cuba on December 2, 1956.
This is a fantastic article by Don Fitz, the author of the book pictured above, which I would really like to read. I “rediscovered” my interest in Che Guevara recently when I used a brief version of his biography as the core of an EFL tutorial. That lesson can be found at this website. It’s a broad brush bio in about two paragraphs meant for English learners not already familiar with his story. So, naturally it leaves a lot out. But the episode Fitz relates at the beginning of this CounterPunch article is one that I certainly don’t remember from reading the biography of Che that came out in the mid-1990s when I was in high school, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, by Jon Lee Anderson, a journalist at the New Yorker.
I could be wrong, I do remember there being a section on Che’s becoming a doctor and his famous motorcycle tour. I could be conflating Anderson’s account with the fictionalized film version “Diarios de motocicleta” (2004). I was certainly more interested in the guerrilla fighter aspect of El Che than I was in the more practical embodiments of his revolutionary character. I suppose, I was tricked by CIA propaganda that depicted a one-dimensional figure, a dangerous killer, Fidel Castro’s right-hand man.
But Fitz does a great job of re-calibrating the machinery here, centering Che’s liberatory social health work, against the present day back-drop of post-Cold War Cuba’s breakthrough medical mutual aid in the midst of the AIDS crisis, and now COVID-19.
The figure of Doctor Che is almost too perfect, to have served in the most lasting, arguably most successful anti-capitalist revolution in the Western Hemisphere, if not the world. But I suppose that’s why the man is a legend. My intuition is that there are plenty of teachers who have also acted in some respect as revolutionaries in their own times and places. But who has had the conviction to risk their own life, to abandon prospects of career and personal gain to lend what power they possess to a larger cause. I guess it is Che’s selflessness that I am most impressed by, and his ability to adapt to the conditions he saw in the world around him, whether as a medical student in a leper colony, or as a revolutionary fighter suddenly at the reigns of a new country’s financial system.
Whoever wants to know a thing has no way of doing so except by coming into contact with it, that is, by living (practicing) in its environment… If you want knowledge, you must take part in the practice of changing reality. If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself… If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution. All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.
Mao Tse Tung “On Practice” (July 1937), Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 299-300.
This is the best clarification of the global situation with Covid-19 I’ve read so far. Is it a “Chinese Virus” a “Market Virus” or a “Value Virus” we have on our hands? Andy Liu’s writing about China’s role in a global capitalist nexus is stellar. This essay reminds me of David Foster Wallace in its attention to detail and moral clarity. Excellent!
My daddy sent me a link to this video, which has, I’m sure, made the rounds of the sometimes charming redneck circles he moves in ( currently sheltering in place) in Western N.C. The part that tickled me the most is the deadpan delivery of the line from the King James Version of the Book of Proverbs, which I had to look for online to recognize.
22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
The utility of this particular proverb, which goes on to countenance shutting up and letting the princes take care of things, is probably best left to the ancient Israelites who decided to write it down originally; but the genius and also the wisdom of the redneck duo quoting it in the present moment lies in their willingness to remind their listeners of a time in living memory when indoor plumbing (let alone toilet paper) was a luxury broad swaths of America couldn’t afford. After all, “there are all kinds of ways you can clean yourself,” including leaves, grass, or the coveted Sears Catalog. Less than a century ago, and perhaps now, once again, “toilet paper is for the rich!”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but these ridiculous (if somewhat talented) heehaws do what major network news media are all failing to do: they point out the class ramifications of the current global crisis.
Here Trump doles out paper towels in the wake of massive hurricane damage in Puerto Rico in 2017. I want so badly for this to become America’s “let them eat cake” moment– a symbol of the decadence of the current regime in the face of overwhelming poverty. I want people to finally connect Trump’s imbecility with the greed and bigotry that capitalism always foment. So, among the new rituals of hygiene we have all begun practicing– replace “social distancing” with SOLIDARITY and instead of toilet paper, maybe we can just wipe ourselves with the rich!
Just wanted to share a few documents as souvenirs of my last few days as a teacher in Hiroshima Prefectural public high school. These may be of interest to anyone who is interested in the recent unilateral school closings instituted by Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe last Thursday evening, and effective tomorrow (March 2, through the end of this month).
These closings, which were initiated at the highest level of Japanese national government came as a surprise to everyone, both Japanese and non-Japanese. But as an American expat, the breadth and scope of such a policy being instituted from the top-down was and is unimaginable in an American context.
The closest American analog I can think of would be the closures that have taken place in certain States or local jurisdictions after natural disasters– Hurricane Katrina, for instance, in Louisiana, or perhaps Sandy in the Northeastern U.S. But, to my knowledge, if there were blanket school closures in these instances, they were initiated at the State level, if not the local (e.g. city or county level). It begs the question: does the executive branch of the U.S. government have the power to close schools across the United States? This is a question that I won’t be able to answer here definitively. Somehow I doubt it. My instinct, given the contentiousness of “states rights” along educational lines, is that even if a U.S. President tried to make a move like Mr. Abe’s last week, that it would meet resistance if not outright defiance from some jurisdictions on ideological if not practical grounds.
One of the most glaring problems that these school closures have left is the problem of what working parents are supposed to do with their elementary-school-aged children, who are suddenly at home for the next month. Will they get parental leave of some kind? Will the state intervene again to provide care or those students who may need it?
The documents I have linked to this post provide a bit of a backdrop against which we can pose these bigger labor questions, and evaluate this specific school-closure policy in the face of an admittedly dangerous disease. They could also serve as a useful body of evidence in a critique of authoritarian, centralized, top-down, bureaucratic education systems, which are kind of “a thing” here in Asia.
A brief outline of each document follows.
1) 保険だより Dated 2/2/20 This is the periodic (monthly? twice-monthly?) newsletter of the school nurse’s office. Last week, when this was released the school was getting over a bout of the flu. Several students in each class had been absent. And so this helpful brief outlines proper “manners” for dealing with cold and flu symptoms. It recommends gargling as well as frequent hand-washing, and wearing masks. These are all common sense habits, really. But they are being more frequently referenced in public these days, like on the train, I’ve noticed.
2) Special Events 教育長より Dated Reiwa 2/ 2/ 27 This message from the Superintendent of Hiroshima Schools advises caution in the carrying out of large events in the prefecture– meant to include in particular things like graduation ceremonies. March 1st is the date for the majority of graduation ceremonies around Japan. This doc is similar to the School Nurse’s newsletter in content, but it has the force of a policy memo.
It recommends limiting the face-to-face interactions of participants, making preventative measures like alcohol disinfectant spray available, and limiting the number of participants to those directly participating in events.
*It was the evening of 2/27 that Mr. Abe made his announcement of the school closures.
3) 臨時休校について （連絡）Memo Regarding the Temporary Closure of Schools
This doc came down the pike in the middle of the day last Friday 2/28 along with the letter (Document 4) to be sent home with students. In gives the dates 3/3 to 3/19 of the initial closure. Closure is the wrong word though– teachers are still expected to be at work. There will be no club or sports meetings. Students are to check the school homepage twice daily for any updates, but emails will also be sent through the emergency email system.
4) Dated 2/28 This is the offcial letter from the Superintendant of Hiroshima Prefectural Schools outlining in broad strokes the information provided in greater detail by our individual school in number 3. It’s labeled 通知– “Notice” interestingly– not 連絡, “communication” or “memorandum,” which I take to mean that it is merely an official communication of the Prime Minister’s announcement of the previous evening. The details are left to the individual school to work out within the framework set out by those actors higher up the bureaucratic chain– in this case stretching all the way up to the top!
So, that wraps up this batch of documents. It hope it was at least a little enlightening.
This is a fantastic short article geared towards teachers. It’s also a great reminder of what a wonderful resource the website, Teaching Tolerance is.
In the piece, we are reminded of the intersecting meanings of being “civil,” meanings that may have to do with a mutual respect, but also may be couched in colonialist stories about “savages.” So, in just one word, students and teachers alike might find a radical connection between Black History in the 20th century– the so-called “Civil Rights Movement”– and the anti-colonialist struggles of indigenous people in the Americas. Brilliant!
I am reminded again of Wayne Ross’s conceptualization of K-12 social studies curriculum in terms of a focus on “dangerous citizenship.” My hunch is that this configuration of citizenship education has applications even more broadly across curriculums. What I am trying to get at, I think, is the necessity of historicisation of curriculum, or the necessity of teachers’ bringing a historical awareness to their lessons– whatever they are teaching. It’s a historicity that need not be confined to social studies, but one which includes things like etymologies (in the literal, linguistic sense of the histories of the meanings of words) as well as the historiographies of curriculum– the changing ways in which teachers and students have thought about their lessons over time. Such a historicisation is the big first step in bringing the focus of public education back to the progressive as well as more radical social reconstructivist aims that have guided it since the beginning.
Source: Tolerance.org Who Decides What’s “Civil”?