Thursday, September 14, 2023

Teachers Describe Chilling Impact of Anti Education Movement


Teachers Describe Chilling Impact of Anti-Education Laws


We are teaching in dangerous times. The right is suppressing elections, health care, education, urgent climate policies, affirmative action, and human rights.

While book bans make the headlines, the chilling effect of the bans and anti-education laws have an even deeper impact. Our Teaching for Black Lives study groups provide support for teachers in the face of these dire conditions. However, we want to alert everyone to the nature of the repression. What are often reported as individual incidents actually reflect a concerted effort to suppress what students can learn and discuss.

Below are comments from educators about the impact of these laws.

Our school library now looks like a ghost town 😔. — Florida

The Superintendent demanded that my NEA Black Lives Matter poster be taken down. — Texas

We are told to downplay the effects of slavery and racism in the history of our country. — Texas

We are legally not supposed to discuss slavery at all and I teach the Civil War. It’s mind-boggling. — Texas

Teachers feel like they can’t teach factual history or even talk about current events without fear of losing their job. — Texas

I have been threatened by anti-education parents. — Utah

Students are confused as to why they are not “allowed” to learn the things that affect our current reality. — Georgia

I’m not allowed to use any texts that are believed to have any LGBTQ or racial content. — Florida

Our governor has taken every measure to undo what educators had developed to teach a truthful history of our state. He has made teachers afraid choose any history lessons that deviate from the traditional norm of white supremacy. — Virginia

I am an American History teacher. Every lesson I teach is a chance that I will enrage the wrong person and put a target on my back. — Virginia

The new history standards limit the truth being taught about slavery and Native Americans. Books are also being banned. — Virginia

I have to deal with so many people, from parents to students to staff, who buy into right-wing conspiracies and want them included or validated in my teaching. — Virginia

I was scheduled to have a student teacher for the ’23–’24 school year. But, due to the fear and backlash from the governor, nine of the student teachers, including the one attached to my class, opted to teach another field/topic. The laws have had a negative impact for our district. — Virginia

An elementary school reading program in my district was cancelled after a complaint was made that it integrated too many “out of the mainstream” social studies topics. — New Hampshire

It is creating divides among teachers who are scared of the law and those who refuse to stop teaching the truth. — New Hampshire

The law itself is so vague that teachers are concerned about what they are allowed to speak on during class. Parents can bypass the school administration and go straight to the state with any complaints, which creates a sense of fear for many teachers. — New Hampshire

We’ve had to rearrange our library because we had books that were considered “inappropriate” for middle school. It’s scary. — Missouri

We have to send a disclaimer with our syllabus about “controversial topics.” The atmosphere absolutely has changed how I speak in the classroom. — Arizona

My students have a right to learn about the world around them as it is, and not as the most conservative people in our society think it should be. However, I am always second-guessing myself, because I fear having to deal with complaints from people who are unqualified to judge my teaching practice, and who are empowered by the anti-history agenda of our state legislature. — Iowa

Monday, September 11, 2023

School Violence in Sacramento,

Katie Valenzuela

Sacramento City Council.

In recent weeks, swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti have appeared on multiple campuses in our region, including Del Dayo Elementary School in Carmichael. Last November, a known Proud Boy got 21% of the vote for a competitive school board seat in the region. 


And now, a school board member within the same district, Tanya Kravchuk, has rejected funding for anti-bias training. Her reason? She’s worried the state’s curriculum will create bias against people with “deeply held religious beliefs,” insisting that sections on gender do not “force teachers to violate their conscience.” 


These incidents all occurred at a school district right here in Sacramento County: the San Juan Unified School District. You might be wondering why a city council member from Sacramento is concerned about what happens at a school district outside her area. I know and care about a lot of people who work at, govern and attend San Juan schools. A lot of city of Sacramento residents attend and work at these campuses. More than that, though, is my concern about how schools — and our children — are becoming increased targets for political extremists


A recent series of articles from ProPublica, “Chaos at the School Board,” puts stories and photos to this scary trend. “Once considered tame, even boring, school board meetings have become culture-war battlegrounds in recent years,” the ProPublica series states. “On dozens of occasions, tensions have escalated into not just shouting matches and threats but also arrests and criminal charges.” 


What’s happening at San Juan is a warning bell for our region that we should all be taking very seriously. Influencing actions at school boards is not the end goal: The same Proud Boy who ran for school board at San Juan, Jeffrey Perrine, now routinely calls into Sacramento City Council meetings to spew anti-Semitic rhetoric and other hateful speech. He is not alone.


 Scholars have warned that people may be less likely to run for office if they fear for their safety. It’s just common sense. Intimidating qualified candidates from putting their names on the ballot is just one of many tactics currently being used to shift the politics of our elected bodies.


 As someone who has faced threats to my safety, I understand how real that dynamic is. While I decided to run for reelection, I have talked to many who haven’t — or who have decided to sit out an election entirely — due to fear for their personal safety and their families’ well-being. 


San Juan is only one of many targets, but we cannot allow our kids’ futures to be influenced by people who only seek to spread their harmful agendas. 


This will not stop until we loudly and clearly declare, in every space it appears, that hate is absolutely not welcome here. You have an opportunity to help. 


The San Juan Unified School District’s Board of Education has their next meeting on Tuesday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the district office, located at 3738 Walnut Avenue, Carmichael. You can also email the board at Please show up and speak up. We cannot allow hate and bigotry to go unanswered. Katie Valenzuela is a city council member in Sacramento.  Posted in opinion in the SACRAMENTO BEE. 




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Saturday, September 09, 2023

Chilean Coup of 1973



Chilean  Coup of 1973  and the U.S.A.

We have a new post up on our blog.  Chilean Coup of 1973. 

Note. They are still at it

September 3, 2023 Ariel Dorfman  THE NEW YORK REVIEW


On September 4, 1973, an enormous multitude of Chileans—I was one of them—poured into the streets of Santiago to back the besieged government of Salvador Allende. Ever since he had won the presidency three years earlier with 36.6 percent of the vote in a three-way race, forces from inside and outside the country had been conspiring to destroy his attempt—the first in world history—to build a socialist state through nonviolent, democratic means. One shout from a chorus of voices echoed through the air: “Allende, Allende, el pueblo te defiende,” emphasizing the need to defend the president. After one thousand days of unrelenting opposition, his enemies seemed close to orchestrating a coup d’état that would wipe “the Marxist cancer” from Chilean society forever.


Monday, September 04, 2023

The Meaning of Labor Day

 This antagonism toward unions and worker power is out of step with most Americans. New polling for the AFL-CIO shows historic support for unions across party lines, with especially strong support from young Americans. Navigator Research finds that most Americans view teachers unions favorably, including majorities of both parents and nonparents. And more than 50 groups of workers have joined the American Federation of Teachers so far this year—a pace unseen in decades. America knows: It’s better in a union.

AFT Video

At a time when so many forces are spreading fear and division, unions literally unite people. In the face of fear, we have hope. In the face of despair, we have dreams. In the face of silence, we tell our stories. In the face of smears, we offer solutions. We bring people together to be the most powerful we can be.

The AFT is the home of the people who make a difference in other people’s lives. We offer real solutions for kids and communities. We address hard issues like learning loss, loneliness and literacy challenges. We take on the extremists who want to defund public services, dismantle our democracy, destroy public education and demonize the vulnerable, and the corporations that are more concerned about healthcare profits than patients. And we encourage our members to vote so we have leaders who share and fight for our values.

We have each other’s backs—whether it’s winning safe healthcare staffing levels, as we just did in Oregon, or defending educators’ obligation to teach honest history, as we are doing in New Hampshire. We’re there to help with our free trauma counseling benefit for members, and with the 9 million free books and other resources we have distributed to spark the love of reading. And we have helped members save millions of dollars in student debt, freeing them to buy a home, start a family or buy a car. This is what unions do: We care, we fight and we show up.

AFT Video

This Labor Day, let’s recommit to helping working people and their families gain a better life. Whether it’s members of the United Auto Workers or the Writers Guild of America; workers at Starbucks, Amazon or Apple; or you and your fellow members of the AFT—together we can accomplish things that would be impossible on our own.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others, and thank you for being a member of our union. We wish you a wonderful Labor Day. 

In solidarity,

Sunday, August 27, 2023

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 2023.


The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

by Peter Dreier.

"50 Years After the March on Washington, What Would MLK March For Today?" Washington Post, August 22, 2013.   The March on Washington, where King delivered his great "I Have a Dream" speech, took place on August 28, 1963.  I wrote this article in 2013 to celebrate the march's 50th anniversary.  If he were alive today, King would be fighting for the same causes - peace, women's reproductive health, affordable housing, desegregation, immigrant rights, gun control, and others.  

 Asante-Muhammad and Chuck Collins, "We Still Have a Dream," Sun-Sentinel, August 27, 2023   Black Americans have endured the unendurable for too long. Sixty years after the famed March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech, African Americans are on a path where it will take 500 more years to reach economic equality.  Our country has taken significant steps towards racial equity since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ‘60s. But growing income and wealth inequality over the last four decades has supercharged historic racial wealth disparities, slowing and even reversing some of those gains. Sixty years without substantially narrowing the Black-white wealth divide is a policy failure. But just as federal policy helped create the racial wealth gap, it can also help close it. The op-ed column by Asante-Muhammad and Chuck Collins is a summary of their report, "Still A Dream: Black Economic Inequality 60 Years After the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," which looks in detail at the state of that racial and wealth divide and recommends policy reforms that would substantially narrow it within one to two generations.

Peter Dreier. 2023.



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