A Teachable Moment

Former local teacher union pesident Morty Rosenfeld periodically attempts to make sense of the increasingly senseless world of public education.

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Due Process and Proportionality

In my December 8th post, I expressed my discomfort at the inability of Democrats to distinguish between the misdeeds of Al Franken and Roy Moore. Zephyr Teachout has a piece in this morning’s New York Times that expresses the same concerns and which sketches out a mechanism for due process and proportional responses to inappropriate sexual conduct. She, too may not have all of the answers, she is attempting to lead Democrats to firmer ethical and political ground than our Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Teachout continues to be a sane political voice. It’s a pity she can’t seem to get elected to high public office. 2018 could be her year.

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Democrats’ Miscalculation

In their rush to gain the high moral ground, congressional Democrats appear to be staking out a zero tolerance policy for any sexual misbehavior. They, like too many of the TV talking heads do not seem to be capable of discriminating between the misdeeds of Al Franken and a Roy Moore. This calculated political move carries with it a huge political risk that does not seem to have informed their calculation. It is also a perversion of any meaningful concept of justice and proportional punishment.

For a long time, Democrats have had a very hard time with male voters. I fear that if the current stampede to purge all of our elected male officials perceived to have to have acted inappropriately with women continues, the potential gain of women voters will be more than balanced by the further loss of men who will increasingly see these events as a war on males. Such an outcome will neither permit the evolution of new standards of male behavior nor will it widen the possibilities of legal improvements in the status of women in our society. In the end, there is a real risk that it will simply bring about the elections of more people who are as angry about women’s drive for equality as they are about other planks of the progressive agenda. It also runs the real potential to stall the advance of women in the workplace.

I don’t claim to have all of the answers to the problem of male sexual aggression in the workplace and society. It has been my observation that these aggressive tendencies are distributed on a spectrum, that is, with men displaying various degrees of flirtatious aggressiveness. We ought to be able as a society to reasonably draw lines between the annoying, the threatening and degrading and the criminal manifestations of these tendencies. We ought to also be able to find ways to teach all of our children that no job is worth the sacrifice of one’s self-respect. Above all, we need to find ways to advance our society’s norms of sexual behavior without sacrificing our notions of due process and justice.

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Political Depravity

Political Depravity! Supporting someone credibly charged with molesting children to be a Unites States Senator is as depraved a political act as I can remember. There appears to be no end to what Republicans are willing to do to hold on to power. Yesterday, I wrote of how our expressed concern for children falls very short of our actual treatment of them. Now our governing party has publically supported Roy Moore for the Senate, a man banned from his local shopping mall for stalking young girls, a man who appears to have used a public office to exploit children. What’s left for Republicans to disqualify a person for public office? Is Mitt Romney the only national Republican leaders whose conscience remains intact? “Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.”

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The Tax Giveaway

I’ve always been struck by the cruel discrepancy between Americans’ stated reverence for children and the way we actually treat them. Throughout my life I’ve listened to pious platitudes from the left and right of the political spectrum about our obligation to care for our nation’s children, at their most extreme including those in utero. This sanctimony has cloaked the grim reality that almost a quarter of America’s children live in poverty and have very limited opportunities for escape. Add to this reality the fact that many of these children bear the additional burden of belonging to a racial minority and concern for the welfare of children is revealed as one of the lies we tell ourselves about our exceptionalism.

Senate passage of the tax giveaway to the rich has reminded me of our indifference to the welfare of our nation’s children. Forgetting for a moment that over 60 percent of the tax reductions will go to the top 1 percent of incomes, this bill has been designed to gradually financially cripple our government’s ability to provide for the neediest among us. For some of its supporters, the goal is to shrink the size of government by starving it. For most, however, the aim is to destroy America’s frayed social safety net to satisfy a deeply held belief that recipients of these programs are not worthy of receiving their benefits. We saw glimpses of the Republican plan during the debate on the Senate tax bill. Take Senator Grassley’s comments, for example, who asked to justify cutting the estate tax for the super rich found himself blurting out that the rich know what to do with the extra money whereas working people will only spend the money “…on booze, women and movies.” Or Senator Hatch’s exchange with Sherrod Brown, in which fatigue having weakened his internal censor, he talked about how liberals have taught many people to expect the government to take care of them and won’t do anything to help themselves.

Beyond doubt, while this giveaway to the rich will have profoundly negative effects on our country for years to come, potentially inflicting permanent damage to our society, its effects will fall disproportionately on neediest children who will have an even lesser chance at a better life than their parents than they have today.

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Creative Insubordination

I was reading the latest column of my local union’s president, a dirge to the decline in the satisfaction from their work that her members are getting from their work. While here in the East salaries are respectable compared to the rest of the nation, teaching that is done for a salary alone is like bread made without salt – flat. Most of my successor’s lament can be subsumed under the heading of micromanagement, that corrosive need of insecure management to interfere in the minutest aspects of the work at hand. It creates an environment in which worker morale is on an ever downward slope and conversations between workers incline towards retirement rather than professional issues.

In our best days as teacher unionists, we organized to resist the administrative impediments to enjoying our work, believing that we had a right to practice our craft in a manner that maximized our pleasure in the practice of it. When we saw that spending a period monitoring a lunchroom full of teenagers could literally ruin one’s day, we slowly and quietly stopped going, ignoring the accusatory notes we often found in our letterboxes. When summoned to meetings with building administrators to explain our absence from these duties, we took pride in explaining how we had used the time for better purposes. Warned to attend, we often did for a day or two, only to start the insubordination process all over again. The more of us who ignored the duty, the more we were positioned to have a serious conversation with management about a more appropriate use of our professional time. When I was a high school building rep, I had an honor roll bulletin board in the teachers’ cafeteria to which I pinned administrative letters of admonishment for breaking stupid rules.

Workplace problems don’t have to wait for grievances or contract negotiations. They are best soled at the most local level by organized resistance. Today’s union teachers have to learn this lesson again.

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Combating Sexual Abuse

Walk down the halls of any American high school and you can observe to a reasonable degree of certainty the boys who will grow into abusers of women. Over the years I taught, I took dozens of girls aside to let them know that the publically physical behavior of the boys they were attached to was not only not indicative of real affection but was also an ominous sign of a pattern of behavior that tends to grow worse over time. I would try to get girls to understand that physical abuse is not an appropriate price to pay for male attention and the social status that tends to accrue to high school girls who have it.

While our nation is focused on the sexual misbehavior of some of the powerful males in our society, it’s appropriate to think seriously about what we do in our schools to acculturate boys to constrain their impulses and respect the right of girls to be free from undesired, sexually aggressive male behavior. While the misbehavior of the famous and powerful is deeply troubling, it can tend to mask the broad prevalence of violence against women in our society and our failure to as yet come up with an approach to stem it. Surely, if we can observe the budding of this behavior in the boys in our public schools, we are ethically obliged to think through a program to combat it.

I know that some of my readers are fuming at my suggestion of adding one more job to the teaching day. That’s not what I’m about. I’m well aware that the expectations for what teachers are to accomplish in a workday far exceed what time will allow. Rather that suggesting an extra job, I believe the socialization of children central to the mission of public schools. Surely part of that socialization process needs to be the inculcation of appropriate norms of male/female interactions.

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Tax Bill a Shot at Public Education

I’ve seen little in the criticism of the Republican’s legislation to redistribute income to the wealthiest Americans about the threat it poses to the financing of public education. Limiting the deductibility of state and local taxes and mortgage interest payments will have a profoundly negative effect on the ability of school districts to raise the revenue necessary to maintain quality. Under the current federal tax law, there has been a growing reluctance of people to shoulder an ever growing property tax burden leading to support for property tax caps in states like New York and California.

The deductibility of state and local taxes and mortgage interest has been part of a conscious federal effort to encourage home ownership. Had these policies not been put in place, our suburbs would undoubtedly look very different than they do today. Removing these inducement to home ownership will not only make the already difficult job of financing public education in our suburbs more difficult, it will probably also slow or end the appreciation of real estate in suburban communities, further enraging homeowners as the equity in their houses fails to meet their expectations.

There is no doubt about it. This so-called tax reform redistributes income upwards while it takes a retributive shot at blue states that support public education and quality government services.

I’m off to California for a few says. I’ll be back here on the 27th.

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Diversity and School Calendars

For most of my career teaching in suburban Long Island, there was always a yearly struggle to build the school calendar for the following school year. This entailed balancing the demands of religious constituencies for their holidays off along with the overarching needs of parents and staff for the longest possible spring, winter and February breaks. Some of the hardest feelings were generated by the slightest adjustments to the school calendar that were perceived by one group or another as an intentional slight. Over the years, superintendents of schools and boards of education have bowed to political pressures and increased the number of school holidays, attempting to assuage bad feelings but making it increasingly difficult to construct a school calendar.

In recent years, our community has grown more diverse, with an influx of Asian immigrants of varying ethnicity and religion. It’s not surprising, therefore, that they have begun to exert political pressure for the inclusion of their holidays into the school calendar. Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists have holidays which in their home countries are days of celebration free from work and school. Their rights to their holidays are no less than the majority’s. How should a secular institution respond to the growing demands for religious days off?

Most people will accept a school calendar that is objectively fair. Most, in an arrangement that is fair, will accept the loss of some holidays they currently have, holidays that their religious leaders teach can be observed without refraining from work and school. It should be possible to bring the leaders of the various groups together and negotiate an understanding that gives every constituency what they must agree is a fair number of holidays when school is closed. Possible doesn’t mean that is will be easy. It surely won’t, but the alternative to building such a consensus is much worse. People who feel themselves aggrieved don’t go away. Their grievances are magnified the more reasonable accommodations of their needs are not met. This would be an excellent time for the leaders of the majority faiths in our community to come forward and lead the way to a solution that all community members may not like but have to admit is fair.

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The Party of Reactionaries

It’s disturbingly fascinating to watch the Republican Party become the home of white reactionaries, people for whom the pace of change of modern life threatens their very identity. Faced with the fact that white people will soon be a minority, challenged by the demands of women for political and economic equality, revolted by a world in which gender boundaries are adumbrated, aghast at a country that grows progressively more secular and terrified by an economy that technologically displaces workers faster than they can be retrained, today’s Republicans increasingly appear to embrace an authoritarianism predicated on blood and soil. They want to believe that they can wall off the United States from the modern world and its threats to their way of life, decadent though it may be. This retreat from modernity has been going on for some time. Donald Trump didn’t invent it. He just saw in it an opportunity to be exploited. In Alabama, Roy Moore’s supporters will vote for a child molester rather than chance the possibilities of progressive change.

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ConCon Gave Us an Organizing Success

The vote against holding a constitutional conventional in New York was over 80 percent – 80 percent! That massive outpouring of voters is largely attributable to the efforts of the state’s unions that both educated their memberships to the dangers posed by a convention and organized them to work against it. The work to defeat the convention was the best union organizing we’ve seen in a long time. It should serve as an example to a weakened labor movement of what can still be done when memberships are led to take on difficult issues that threaten them.

The kind of effort that went into the defeat of the constitutional convention can and must be replicated to insulate ourselves from the threat of the loss of agency fee and due s deduction. Why hasn’t every public sector union developed an organizing campaign against the worst possible outcomes of an adverse decision in the Janus Case currently before the Supreme Court? Why aren’t plans in place to protect our unions from the loss of dues deduction? Why do we appear to be accepting the conventional wisdom that says that public sector unions can expect to lose upwards of 30 percent of their membership from an adverse decision in Janus?

Before I left office in my local, I started a process of signing members up each year in anticipation the real possibility of losing agency fee. My local has continued that process. Should we lose agency fee tomorrow, 100 percent of our members are signed up for next year. The card signing process in addition to protecting the local has served to educate members to the ongoing threat from the so-called Right to Work Movement to eviscerate what remains of our labor movement so as to strip from American workers the rights and protections a century or more of union struggle has provided. It is additionally empowering to a membership to know that they have collectively worked to protect themselves. That membership success makes it easier to organize the next collective effort.

The constitutional convention issue awakened the organizing talents of our unions. Those talents must now be unleashed on the continuing existential threats before us.

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The High Tech Swindle

The November 3rd New York Times carried a front page article entitled “How Silicon Valley Plans to Conquer the Classroom.” The article, while focused on the Baltimore County schools, exposes the massive sales campaign of America’s high tech companies to infiltrate the public school market, using marketing ploys similar to those used by the drug companies on physicians on public school decision makers. Trips, meals and other ethically challenged ploys are used to convince school leaders of the necessity of massive investments in computers and software despite the fact that there is almost no hard evidence that these technology expenditures have any positive effect on student learning.

The publication of this article is a sign of the growing awareness of the abject stupidity of contemporary education policy that has witnessed massive expenditures of public funds on the fool’s errand of attempting to keep our schools equipped with the latest technological devices in the belief that we are preparing students for the jobs of the future. Once hooked on being technologically current, school districts effectively surrender significant portions of their tight budgets to high tech peddlers. Even more significantly and essentially unappreciated, they surrender control of what and how children are taught to corporate decision makers rather than knowledgeable and experienced educators.

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Helping Young Immigrants Fit In

The emerging picture of Sayfullo Saipov is of an immigrant who comes to the United States with great expectations but whose dreams rapidly fade as he cannot seem to fit in to a society so fundamentally different from his own. Trained in Uzbekistan for the hotel industry and never being able enter that business here, Saipov bounces around from place to place driving trucks for his living and said to be growing angrier and angrier as his need to feel he belongs leads him to a distorted understanding of Islam.

The human desire to fit in is embedded in our DNA. People who are unable to fit into the mainstream of society will usually find some other niche, the need to belong overpowering their powers of judgment, particularly in the young. My impression is that we do a very poorer job of acculturating immigrant young people to our society. Walk into the cafeteria of any American public high school with immigrant students and you will see kids grouping themselves by their ethnicity. While they do so out of a natural inclination to belong, we ought to be imaginatively structuring their school experience to have them interacting with American kids throughout their school day, giving them positive experiences that bring them a growing sense of being American. We ought to be talking to them from the time they arrive in our schools about aiming to become U.S. citizens, guiding them on the steps to citizenship. To the extent this is happening at all, it is the result of the altruism of some good teachers and administrators. However, we need to make it a core mission of our public schools.

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Remembering

For years, I’ve counseled against using union war stories to attempt to acculturate new members to the union cause. Yet, that’s exactly what I found myself doing on Saturday. Along with my friend Ken Ulric, a former union president too, I met with three groups of Long Island union representatives to talk about the early days of teacher unionism on Long Island. These representatives had spent their morning listening to and questioning presenters on the problems related to an impending decision in the Janus Case, an expected Supreme Court decision that will abridge public sector unions’ right to collect agency fees and potentially requiring them to re-sign members up each year.

Ken and I had a very good time recalling the birth of our movement. Comments from the audience seemed to suggest that they found our remembrances of things past interesting. Yet in the end, I find myself depressed by the experience and left wondering how it is that a movement that was birthed by such creative spirit and energy could have decayed to the point where the threat of the loss of agency fee is seen to pose an existential threat to our organizations.

Clear to me from talking to some of the workshop participants is that union militancy today is wearing a tee shirt with a union message on it, turning out to a meeting of a board of education or filing a grievance. The idea of asserting our collective power to advance our union agenda appears to be unthinkable. I’m not even sure we have an agenda beyond organizational survival. When I expressed the belief that school principals serve at the pleasure of the staff in the building, workshop participants looked at me as though I were joking. When I went on to explain that I had organized numbers of successful campaigns to rid our district of administrators who treated us badly, I had the distinct impression that many in the audience thought I was fabricating a union tale. No wonder we have contracts that remain unsettled six, eight even ten years. No wonder that signing members up each year is seen as a herculean task, one doomed to significant failure.

I hope I’m wrong about the state of our movement. I hope the Janus Case will serve as a challenge to a new generation of public sector unionists who will meet the challenge head on and emerge from it with a renewed sense of their power to shape their work-life. I hope we can go from a talking union to one of direct action, one in which members are willing to struggle and fight not only to preserve what we have won but to reclaim their right to participate in determining the quality of their time at work.

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They Want to Wire the Students Now

The search for the magic bullet that will enable all students regardless of their genes, socio-economic background, parenting and physical and mental health to achieve equally is rapidly reaching the creepily absurd. News that the Edsurge Company is in talks with a Long Island school district to collect the brain waves of students in the hope of improving their education is but the latest attempt by the corporate to exploit public education. First they convinced us to wire our schools. Now they want to wire the children too.

I’d love to know which 21st century educator superintendent agreed to talk to Edsurge. If any of my readers know, please contact me at mrosenfeld@pobct.org.

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Undue Influence of the Rich

Rich people automatically seem to assume that their economic success is evidence that they possess superior knowledge on all subjects. A significant portion of the public unfortunately seems to agree. It’s the modern iteration of Calvinist elect theology in which God’s grace is evidenced by human success. Perhaps one of the few good things to come from the Trump presidency will be a broad appreciation that rich people can be complete idiots.

I’m prompted to think about the undue influence of the rich in affairs about which they know nothing after reading about Bill Gates’ keynote address to the Council of Great City Schools. After spending billions on one ill-informed so-called education reform after another, after these reforms seriously demoralized a generation of public school educators, after supporting endless propaganda convincing many parents that their children’s schools are failing, after all this unnecessary chaos, here’s what Bill Gates learned. ““Giving schools and districts more flexibility is more likely to lead to solutions that fit the needs of local communities and are potentially replicable elsewhere… If there is one thing I have learned, it is that no matter how enthusiastic we might be about one approach or another, the decision to go from pilot to wide-scale usage is ultimately and always something that has to be decided by you and others the field.”

Schmuck! We could have told you that when your launched your first reform.

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Union Communications

Last weekend, I answered a tweet by AFT President Randi Weingarten in which she expressed relief that Bill Gates was not abandoning his public education philanthropy. My response was to observe that Gates has had a profoundly pernicious influence on public education. In a tweet of my own, I further observed that the leadership of the NEA and AFT just don’t understand the negative impact Gates has had on the lives of teachers and students as they attempted to accommodate to a series of ill-fated reforms birth by his billions.

That experience reminded me that I had not looked at the webpages of either national education union in a long time. I monitor them from time to time hoping to find some evidence that either organization understands what is happening to the teaching profession. One would think that in an environment in which U.S. teachers are severely underpaid in so many areas that there would be some evidence of a campaign to improve those miserable salaries. One would think that national unions would be talking about the staggering workloads too many teachers bear. One would expect national teacher labor unions to be hammering away at the data driven teacher evaluation schemes that cheapen the work of teaching and rob students of a meaningful education. One would hope to find a consistent, focused critique of the poisonous effect testing is having on public education.

I could go on and on about the kind of content that might appeal to teachers. I can’t imagine that too many find anything of interest in the current offerings. It’s hard to imagine a young high school teacher, carrying a student load of 150 students, working two extra jobs to support his family finding any hope in these union communications for a brighter future. There is no discernible connection between the communications of our national unions and their leaders and what is happening day to day in the classrooms of America’s public schools.

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A Remnant of a Labor Movement

The President of the AFL/CIO used to be a presence in American households. When I was a kid, I knew who George Meany was from his frequent appearances on TV and frequent stories about his thoughts on world and domestic affairs in the newspapers. I strongly suspect that were we to ask today’s k-12 public school students who Richard Trumka is, few would have any idea who he is. Neither would most know anything about the AFL/CIO. How many Americans realize that Mr.Trumka was re-elected on Sunday to another four year term as President of the AFT/CIO. Judging from the very sparse news coverage, it no longer seems to matter to Americans who heads the remnant of the American labor movement.

This unhappy state of irrelevance is the result of the catastrophic failure of America’s unions to respond to the transformation of the American economy from one centered on manufacturing to one increasingly service oriented. When I was young, 35% of the American workforce was unionized. It is no exaggeration to suggest that what we think of as the middle class today was union made. Today, something like 5 or 6% of the private sector workforce is unionized. Public sector unions that were growing have come under right-wing assault. Should the Janus case before the Supreme Court wind up with the loss by public sector unions of agency fee, the best guess is that 30% of public sector union membership will be gone.

Surely part of the solution to the wage stagnation American workers have been suffering is the expansion of worker bargaining power. For that to happen will require the election of political leaders who understand the connection between the expansion of worker rights to organize and bargain collectively and closing the inequality gap in this country. Unfortunately, too many of our Democratic leaders are reluctant to challenge the corporate interests hell-bent on destroying our remnant of unionism. We have arrived at a point in our history at which many workers saw Donald Trump and an ultra-right-wing Republican Party as greater defenders of working people than the party of Franklin Roosevelt. Unless and until that changes, until there is a political movement in this country on behalf of all working people, a movement that seeks to balance the power between workers and the one percent who own almost everything, I fear the union movement will continue to sink into increasing irrelevance.

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A Lesson From Italy

I’ve been on somewhat of a crusade for the past ten years or so to try to awaken American education decision makers to the emergency need to weave instruction on media literacy throughout the k-12 curriculum. In my own school district, I almost got it done, when the assistant superintendent for instruction who was working with me on the project left to take another position, leaving behind her a series of successive school leaders too lost in the world of educationist mumbo-jumbo to appreciate the need to fill a widening real hole in the education of our youth.

The mounting evidence that the Russians were able to manipulate our media with stories contrived to sew division in our ranks and support the candidacy of Donald Trump has awakened some to the need to not only bring our government regulation in line with modern digital media, but also has sparked international interest in the need to educate citizens who to distinguish fact from fiction in the world of virtual reality. I was fascinated to read this morning that Italy has changed its high school curriculum to provide students with instruction in how to spot fake news from the real thing. Such changes are even more necessary in our own country where we now have a president who is hell-bent on delegitimizing responsible media that deign to publish criticism of him.

Over the last twenty-five years or so, media studies has become a respected academic discipline. We have numbers of scholars in this country who are more than able to design a strand of study for our public school children that begins in kindergarten to teach them the tools they need to survive in the media ecology we have developed. So many school leaders talk glibly about 21st century education without meaning anything more than teaching kids how to use the latest digital devices. A real 21st century education prepares students to cope with changes these digital tools have wrought.

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Appealing to Reflexive Republicans

Here on Long Island we have lots of registered Republicans who when you talk to them about politics appear to reject most of what today’s Republican party stands for. Their attachment to their party is more a matter of habit or reflex than ideological affinity. I’ve met many over the years who very openly expressed the view that since Republicans have historically dominated the politics of the Island, self-interest suggested supporting the party that might be helpful getting a summer job for one’s child or a variance for some construction project on one’s property. I’ve met Democrats who are more economically and socially conservative than many Long Island registered Republicans. To be sure, Republican like this can be found everywhere in the United States.

We need to develop a moral and ethical appeal to these Republicans. We need to connect voting for Republican candidates at whatever level of government with the economically, socially ethically regressive agenda of the national Republican Party and its leaders in the House, Senate and Whitehouse. Such a campaign can have two possible positive outcomes. Some can be won over to the Democratic Party, perhaps pausing at independent first. Some can be motivated to push back against the nihilist nuts who have taken control of today’s Republican Party. Many Republicans believe that healthcare is a human right. Many support reproductive freedom and economic equality for women. Many oppose granting huge tax cuts to the ultra-rich. Many know that successfully integrating wave after wave of immigrants is what has made the United States special. Many are passionate about protecting the environment. Many are believers in science and know that our response to climate change will determine our future as a nation and maybe even as a species. Many are not frightened by the fact that white people will soon be a minority in this country and are open to being citizens of a country that treats religion as a personal matter having nothing whatsoever to do with government. Many are good union members and understand the need to expand the rights of working people to join together in common cause.

Supporting the candidates of today’s Republican Party violates all of these beliefs

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Educating with Screens

My God! I just read a Jay Mathews column that didn’t elevate my blood pressure to life-threatening heights. Mathews is the guy who has probably done more to advance the spread of AP classes to high school classrooms than anyone else. Viewing the AP program as essentially an academic scam, I risk reading Mathews from time to time simply to see what mischief he is stirring up for public school educators. But I guess to show me that the possibilities of human redemption are infinite, his October 8 column had me open to the possibility that Mathews just might be able to do teachers some good.

Reviewing the book Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse Is Making Our Kids Dumber, by veteran Virginia teachers Joe Clement and Mat Miles, Mathews credits their argument that often the engagement of teachers and students is the best way of teaching, providing not only for the transmission of information but, even more importantly, an exchange of ideas and feelings necessary for the socialization of young people into responsible citizens. As someone who has come to see the infusion of technology into the public schools as one of corporate America’s great swindles and a threat to the very existence of public education, I’m looking forward to reading this book and to the next column Mathews has promised on what its authors propose. I dare to hope that people are beginning to catch on to the fact that education is essentially a social process that is not well mediated by technological means. I dare to hope that savvy parents will rebel against having their kids who spend endless hours at home staring at screens going to school to isolate themselves in various technological cocoons.

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