Weekly Update: Week of November 6, 2011

Another week full of news stories.

Here are some of the high and low lights.

First is an example of police brutality at its’ worst. Police, and I use that term loosely, are seen shoving at full strength the ends of their batons into the stomachs of students both male and female at UC Berkeley.

U.S. police in riot gear clashed with student protesters at the University of California, Berkeley, after they refused to dismantle their camp. Tents were erected following a march against tuition fee increases for students – which was part of the broader Occupy Wall Street movement. Several activists were arrested, some were beaten by police with batons.

Note that the riot gear creates anonymity  and a very frightening facade. Also note how the students did not waiver even as they were being attacked.

Parents, let’s at least be as brave as our children.

And now for a more peaceful yet powerful Occupation, parents, students and teachers Occupy the steps of the New York Department of Education (DOE).

Occupy the DOE

Last week, as I posted previously, a group of parents, teachers and students occupied a DOE Board meeting.

And then there’s The Story of Broke and why there really is enough money to pay for schools.

To follow is the education segment of the Goldman Sachs Mock Trial that was held at Zucotti Park last week with Chris Hedges and Dr. Cornell West. Thanks to a Parents Across America Seattle member for editing this for me.

After the Mock Trail, Chris Hedges was arrested in front of the Goldman Sachs building. After his release he wrote a powerful essay about why he became active in the Occupy Movement, Finding Freedom in Hand Cuffs. To follow is the introductory paragraph.

Faces appeared to me moments before the New York City police arrested us Thursday in front of Goldman Sachs. They were not the faces of the smug Goldman Sachs employees, who peered at us through the revolving glass doors and lobby windows, a pathetic collection of middle-aged fraternity and sorority members. They were not the faces of the blue-uniformed police with their dangling cords of white and black plastic handcuffs, or the thuggish Goldman Sachs security personnel, whose buzz cuts and dead eyes reminded me of the East German secret police, the Stasi. They were not the faces of the demonstrators around me, the ones with massive student debts and no jobs, the ones whose broken dreams weigh them down like a cross, the ones whose anger and betrayal triggered the street demonstrations and occupations for justice. They were not the faces of the onlookers—the construction workers, who seemed cheered by the march on Goldman Sachs, or the suited businessmen who did not. They were faraway faces. They were the faces of children dying. They were tiny, confused, bewildered faces I had seen in the southern Sudan, Gaza and the slums of Brazzaville, Nairobi, Cairo and Delhi and the wars I covered. They were faces with large, glassy eyes, above bloated bellies. They were the small faces of children convulsed by the ravages of starvation and disease.

Regarding Occupy Wall Street, I came across this photo album of the diverse faces of Occupy Wall Street.  It’s worth taking a look at these beautiful and thoughtful photo’s.

And now for the “You Gotta’ Be Kiddin’ Me” category, the Obama administration wants to make receiving funds for Head Start programs a competition. Didn’t we have enough of that with Race to the Top? Now we will have pre-schoolers tested on their colors?

In a mayor’s community meeting that I attended on education, many women spoke out about the need for more seats in the Head Start program in Seattle. With a lack of funding, the program is very limited in the number of students that they can register and now Arne Duncan/President Obama in their infinite wisdom have decided that Head Start funding should have a competitive edge to it?! When will this absurdity end!?

And for all of the corporate reformers out there who are preaching the cradle to college path, and trust me, you’ll be hearing that phrase a lot in the coming months, instead of spending all those millions on faux roots organizations, legislators and worthless legislation, give it to Head Start. That is a worthy program that has proven successful for at least three decades.

The children receive a hot breakfast and lunch. They learn their colors, the alphabet, how to spell their names and they begin to recognize words. All of this gives them a greater sense of confidence when they begin kindergarten.

To read about this new brainchild of the Obama administration, see Lagging Head Start Centers Must Compete for Federal Funding.

Remember Ben Austin, Mr. Accountability, who led the Parent Trigger Movement in California that was found to be fraught with fraud?

Well, guess what just happened to him, he lost his license to practice law in the state of California. Oops.

See Parent Trigger Charlatan Ben Austin Booted Off the State Bar of California.

And in Florida, it doesn’t seem that TFA, Inc. is working for the African American community.

The Duval County School Board will discuss whether too many inexperienced teachers are working at the district’s worst-performing schools and what can be done to recruit and retain seasoned educators for those classrooms.

Hmm. Really!?

To read more about this revelation, see Duval School Board Eyes Link Between Struggling Schools and Inexperienced Teachers.

On another note, Thanksgiving will be here very soon. Please think about families who will not have very much during this day of thanks. If you can, donate food including turkeys, which are on special at many grocery stores now, I got one for $5 last year,  to a food bank, a church or Family Services. There are many families out there who would appreciate being able to serve their children a special meal on Thanksgiving day.

There are also churches and other organizations who will be providing dinners on that day. Please share this information with people who might benefit from this.

I’ll end on a positive note this Friday, Crosby and Nash in Zucotti Park. Enjoy.

By the way, I am so impressed that so many young people know all the words to Teach Your Children!

…and their interview with the Rolling Stone.

Have a good Friday.

Remember our vets and the ones out there now on the ground.


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