How Big Data Becomes Psy Ops and Tilts the World Towards its Own Aims: Next Stop, Public Education

Reposted with permission from Educationalchemy.

Ludovico technique apparatus – A Clockwork Orange

While “grit” has been exposed for the racist narrative it is, it’s also a direct by-product of the same OCEANS framework used to control, predict and manipulate voters. If this data can sway major national elections and change the global trajectory of history, imagine what such data, gathered on children, day after day, year after year, could yield for corporations and government interests.

The psy ops tactics used to get Donald Trump elected to the U.S. Presidency (still having gag reflex) are the same ones being used in public schools, using children as their “data” source. Given the power they had on influencing the electorate, imagine what they could do with 12 years of public school data collected on your child.

What data? And how was it used?

A psychologist named Michael Kosinski (see full report) from Cambridge developed a method to analyze Facebook members, using the cute little personality quizzes or games. What started as a fun experiment resulted with the largest data set combining psychometric scores with Facebook profiles ever to be collected. Dr. Kosinski is a leading expert in psychometrics, a data-driven sub-branch of psychology. His work is grounded on the Five Factors of Personality Theory which include something called OCEAN: openness, conscientiousnessextraversionagreeableness, and neuroticism.

So many people volunteered their personal information to play these games and take these quizzes that before long Kosinski had volumes of data from which he could now predict all sorts of things about the attitudes and behaviors of these individuals. He applied the Five Factors (Big Five Theory) model (well-known in psychometric circles) and developed a system by which he could predict very personal and detailed behaviors of individuals on a level deeper than had been accessed by prior models or systems.

Enter Cambridge Analytica (CA), a company connected to a British firm called SCL Group, which provides governments, political groups and companies around the world with services ranging from military disinformation campaigns to social media branding and voter targeting. CA indirectly acquired Kosinksi’s model and method for his MyPersonality database without his consent.

Then, CA was hired by the Trump team to provide “dark advertising” that would sway undecided people toward a Trump vote. CA was able to access this data to search for specific profiles: “all anxious fathers, all angry introverts, for example—or maybe even all undecided Democrats.” See

Steve Bannon sits on the board for Cambridge Analytica.

“We are thrilled that our revolutionary approach to data-driven communication has played such an integral part in President-elect Trump’s extraordinary win,” Alexander James Ashburner Nix was quoted as saying. According to Motherboard, “His company wasn’t just integral to Trump’s online campaign, but to the UK’s Brexit campaign as well.” In Nix’s own words, it worked like this: “At Cambridge,” he said, “we were able to form a model to predict the personality of every single adult in the United States of America.”

The report continues, “according to Nix, the success of Cambridge Analytica’s marketing is based on a combination of three elements: behavioral science using the OCEAN Model, Big Data analysis, and ad targeting. Ad targeting is personalized advertising, aligned as accurately as possible to the personality of an individual consumer.” Then these same consumers receive “dark posts”-or, advertisements specifically devised for them, and that cannot be viewed by anyone else other than that person.

Where did the Big Five Theory come from?

Dr. Raymond Cattell is regaled in Western culture for his so called notable contributions to the field of intelligence assessment (IQ and personality work). Despite his direct and profound relationship to the eugenics movement and his recognition by the Nazi Party for the birth of The Beyondists, his work is benignly promoted in scholarly circles. But the fact that he is professionally legitimized does not make him any less the racist he was. And his contributions toward racist practices live on. He has two notable theories of personality development and measurement entitled The Big Five Theory and the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF).

The way that OCEANS Five Factors personality data from our students can be used:

The recent trend toward a “grit narrative,” hailed by Angela Duckworth and others, has been gobbled up by school districts around the country. The OCEANS model is used widely by schools and other institutions internationally.

“The grit measure has been compared to the Big Five  personality model, which are a group of broad personality dimensions consisting of openness to experience (aka openness), conscientiousnessextraversionagreeableness, and neuroticism.”

(citation: Cattell, R. B.; Marshall, MB; Georgiades, S (1957). “Personality and motivation: Structure and measurement”. Journal of Personality Disorders19 (1): 53–67. doi:10.1521/pedi. 15899720. )

There is a growing emphasis on the “affective” learning of students. Some examples include: “ETS’ SuccessNavigator assessment and ACT’s Engage College Domains and Scales Overview … the broader domains in these models are tied to those areas of the big five personality theory.”

Also see Empirical identification of the major facets of Conscientiousness 

While “grit” has been exposed for the racist narrative it is, it’s also a direct by-product of the same OCEANS framework used to control, predict and manipulate voters. If this data can sway major national elections and change the global trajectory of history, imagine what such data, gathered on children, day after day, year after year, could yield for corporations and government interests.

Watch the video from Jesse Schell, gaming CEO, to see exactly where this can go. As Schell says “your shopping data is a goldmine” and it’s only a matter of time before gaming companies and gaming behavior interface with our daily consumer and behavioral choices. You can get points for simply brushing your teeth long enough when product brands partner with gaming systems.”

We now have, thanks to perpetual assessments of children’s knowledge affective “grit” or personality, “the concept of the ‘preemptive personality,” the endlessly profiled and guided subject who is shunted into recalculated futures in a system that could be characterized as digital predestination.”

The role of education technology (aka “personalized learning”):

According to a report entitled Networks of Control: “Jennifer Whitson (2013) argues that today’s technology-based practices of gamification are ‘rooted in surveillance’ because they provide ‘real-time feedback about users’ actions by amassing large quantities of data’. According to her, gamification is ‘reliant on quantification’, on ‘monitoring users’ everyday lives to measure and quantify their activities’. Gamification practices based on data collection and quantification are ‘leveraging surveillance to evoke behavior change’ … While self-quantification promises to “make daily practices more fulfilling and fun” by adopting ‘incentivization and pleasure rather than risk and fear to shape desired behaviours’, it also became ‘a new driving logic in the technological expansion and public acceptance of surveillance’.

(See Wrenching The Gears for more readings on this issue)


Navigating Whiteness: Could “Anywhere, Anytime” Learning Endanger Black and Brown Students?

Reposted with permission from Wrench in the Gears.


Our country’s education system was never meant to empower black and brown people. The current system is deeply flawed. Yet before advancing device-mediated, anywhere learning as a progressive “solution,” we must consider the implications that adopting a decentralized learning ecosystem model could have for children of color. Will they be forced to go out and navigate, on their own, a world of whiteness, fraught with danger in order to receive a public education? What will it mean to have their every move monitored via ICT technologies? Will earning educational badges vary depending on “where” they learn, as was the case with the Kirkland Park System program?

This is a companion to a previous post I wrote about the implementation of the KiTE STEM challenge, a Google-sponsored digital learning contest being run in partnership with the Kirkland, WA park system this spring. Read part one here.

On April 12 Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested at a Starbucks coffee shop at 18th and Spruce Streets while waiting for a friend with whom they had a scheduled meeting. A bystander recorded the encounter, as the men had done nothing wrong and questioned the police as to why the arrests were made. Their experience has been widely discussed in national news. Today being a black or brown person in the public sphere is to be suspect and put at risk of arrest, deportation or even death.

I raise this within the context of appified learning ecosystems, because Philadelphia is a City of LRNG. Collective Shift has been promoting a system of “personalized” learning called Digital On Ramps where Philadelphia’s students, many of whom are students of color, would be sent out to navigate the city and earn skills-based badges.

The featured image for this post is from the article discussing Kirkland’s Kite STEM challenge. It shows hands holding a phone with a multiple choice question on the screen. They are young, black hands. Presumably this child is in a park using the app. In seeing those hands, I remember twelve-year old Tamir Rice, murdered by police at a Cleveland playground in 2014. We would like to think of parks as “safe” places to learn, but there are no guarantees for black children.

KITE part 2

ree-range device mediated education may seem like a great idea for privileged teens who can sit on the “weed-wall” in Rittenhouse Square and face no consequences. But what does that look like for young black men? Will they be afforded the same treatment? What will their “Hackable High School” look like? Will they have the right to pursue online instruction on a laptop undisturbed in local coffee shop?

Collective Shift

I see Collective Shift’s image of “appified” education (above) and can’t help but think of Stephon Clark, murdered in his grandmother’s backyard by police as he held his phone. Will black and brown children be targeted pursuing informal learning on phones? Will they fear being shot as they collect competencies for their digital learning lockers?

I also think about the data being collected by the apps that enable anywhere learning: location data, emotion sensing data, and data about social interactions, all of it aggregated and used to develop predictive profiles. Are we bumping up against the moment when Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report is realized? When pre-crime interventions begin? Which brings to mind a panel discussion “Defining Public Safety: Visions for the Future of Policing” I attended last October during the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference.

During the Q&A at the end, former CIO of the City Charles Brennan, noted that the future of policing would be facial recognition cameras, predictive analytics software, and drone surveillance. Watch this clip from a 2014 lecture at MIT featuring whistleblower William Binney that describes facial recognition software developed by the military in Afghanistan as it was being deployed by local police in Springfield, MA.

Future of Policing

How will it feel to “learn” exclusively in such an environment, an environment of ubiquitous surveillance and policing? And how will race play into assigned pathways for work-based learning? I have concerns about the quality of the experiences provided, as well the possibility of child labor issues. We know tremendous racial bias exists in US work places. What protections will be put in place to ensure black and brown children are not victimized? Who will be able to access which parts of the ecosystem? Will “Wharton-affiliated” ecosystem opportunities be restricted to students that meet specific criteria, while students of color get pushed into tracks for grounds maintenance, home healthcare, and basic coding?

US society suffers from a pervasive sickness that stems from our national origins in the theft of indigenous land and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Here in the city of “brotherly love,” myths portraying what we wish we were (independent, fair, just) are carefully tended. Yet, the brutality of our history (our present) cannot be denied. It emerges with regularity, at times on camera, in branded corporate settings like Starbucks, upending the lives of innocent people like Mr. Nelson and Mr. Robinson.

Our country’s education system was never meant to empower black and brown people. The current system is deeply flawed. Yet before advancing device-mediated, anywhere learning as a progressive “solution,” we must consider the implications that adopting a decentralized learning ecosystem model could have for children of color. Will they be forced to go out and navigate, on their own, a world of whiteness, fraught with danger in order to receive a public education? What will it mean to have their every move monitored via ICT technologies? Will earning educational badges vary depending on “where” they learn, as was the case with the Kirkland Park System program?

I have many reservations about “future ready” education, but the Starbucks incident makes clear the issue of race is paramount. This issue is not in any of the papers put out by Knowledgeworks. It is not addressed by MacArthur or Collective Shift. For all the black and brown people who have died or been subjected to physical or emotional violence for simply existing in spaces where white people felt they were a threat, we must talk about this.

“Anytime, anywhere” education could mean death or arrest or deportation for young black and brown people seeking to “learn” in spaces white society is loathe to share. A learning ecosystem governed by whiteness, particularly whiteness enshrined in technocratic digital platforms ruled by powerful white men = continued erasure.

Before hackable education models start to supplant bricks and mortar schools, there must be public conversations that critically examine what such a model would mean for black people, for brown people, and for undocumented immigrants. Their voices and opinions must be prioritized. The Kirkland KiTE STEM Challenge goes online this week. Will we start talking about this before it is too late? Lives hang in the balance.


-Alison McDowell

Education Reform and Racism: Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

Original Title: Why Aren’t We Talking About This? Reposted with permission from Save Maine Schools – Helping You Navigate Next-Gen Ed Reform.

Why Aren't We Talking About This?

Everyone in the nation is talking about our racist history, but do people know what type of racism is happening today, beneath our noses, under the banner of education reform?

When I was twenty-five, I interviewed at a charter school in Brooklyn.

Before I sat down to talk to the dean, I observed a kindergarten class that looked nothing like any kindergarten class I had ever seen: just shy of thirty children sitting in rows on a carpet, each with legs crossed and hands folded, all completely and utterly silent.

In my interview, the dean asked me what I noticed about the class.

“They were very well behaved,” I said.

“Yes, they were. But they sure don’t come in like that,” he answered.  With icy pride in his voice, he said: “It’s only because of the hard work of our staff that they act like that.”

I took the job – foolishly – and soon found out what this “hard work” meant: scholars, as we called them, were expected to be 100% compliant at all times. Every part of the nine-hour school day was structured to prevent any opportunity for deviance; even recess, ten-minutes long and only indoors, consisted of one game chosen for the week on Monday.

We were overseers, really.  Our lessons were scripted according to the needs of the upcoming state test, and so we spent our days “catching” scholars when they misbehaved, marking their misdeeds (talking, laughing, wiggling) on charts, and sending them to the dean when they acted their age too many times in one day.

There weren’t any white children at the school, but there I was – a white teacher, snapping at a room full of black children to get them to respond, in unison, to my demands.

Everyone in the nation is talking about our racist history, but do people know what type of racism is happening today, beneath our noses, under the banner of education reform?

With useless, commercial junk-tests as justification, we have been told, for years now, that we must serve up our low-income schools – those schools filled mostly with children of color – to profiteers, who are then free to experiment on children in whatever ways they see fit.

Have you ever seen this video?  Watch as the parents – parents who love and value their school – are told that they need a charter network to rescue them:

“Why come here and discombobulate our home?” one parent asks.

They are discombobulating homes everywhere, of course, but communities of color are almost always hit first – and hardest.

But who, aside from a few bloggers and academics, are talking about this?

Why aren’t more people demanding that these racist institutions and policies be taken down?

Things are about to get much worse, as profiteers are now turning their attention to the measurement and manipulation of the non-academic parts of schooling – how much “grit” a child has, or how compliant he or she is – with computers taking the place of teachers to conduct remediation.


It’s modern eugenics: the molding of children’s personalities, starting from preschool, to suit the needs of our Wall Street masters.

If you aren’t sure what I mean, it’s because it isn’t happening yet in your community. Maybe, if you’re lucky, it never will.

You can be sure, however, that it is happening to other people’s children.

When will we demand that this stops too?

Save Maine Schools

It’s time for a Human Rights Act


I wrote the following letter today to the Mayor and City Council in Portland, Oregon where I live at this time.

To the Mayor of Portland and the City Council,

The actions of one person this weekend who killed two men who were protecting two young women from the angry and racist remarks and actions of that individual made me begin to think seriously about what is free speech and what is termed “hate speech”.

I consider “hate speech” words that suggest or incite harmful actions against others  whether the suggestion is covert or overt. I do not consider that kind of speech “free speech”.

Everyone who lives in our city, state and country has the right to feel safe. Would you feel safe if someone called out you or someone in your family as different and therefore a person who should be eradicated or removed from this country?

If someone who is mentally unstable yells out bigoted and negative comments in public about someone based on how they look, their skin color, apparent religion or sexual orientation, with an overt or covert implication of violence, is that freedom of speech?

Our regulations and laws, are created to provide guidelines in how we are to interact with each other so that all in our society can have a relatively peaceful and productive existence. Therefore, actions such as murder, theft, bodily harm to others and rape have been out-lawed.

It appears that we need another guideline now in how to treat all with dignity and respect and provide a safe environment for everyone to live in with a ban on words spoken in public that focus on one group and is hateful and suggestive of harming members of that group.

Racists hide behind the term “free speech” to freely espouse their negative views of other who are different from themselves and ultimately to take action against those individuals or groups. 

Canada has a Human Rights Act that forbids hate propaganda. The laws based on this act prohibit advocating or promoting genocide and prohibit inciting hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.  

 “Hate propaganda” is defined as “any writing, sign or visible representation that advocates or promotes genocide or the communication of which by any person would constitute an offence under section 319.”

Section 319 prescribes penalties from a fine to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years for anyone who incites hatred against any identifiable group.

Section 318 prescribes imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years for anyone who advocates genocide. The Code defines genocide as the destruction of an “identifiable group.” The Code defines an “identifiable group” as “any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”

Then the provinces and Canadian Territories have similar provisions. For example, for Prince Edward Island:

No person shall publish, display or broadcast, or permit to be published, displayed or broadcast on lands or premises, or in a newspaper or through a radio or television broadcasting station or by means of any other medium, any notice, sign, symbol, implement or other representation indicating discrimination or an intention to discriminate against any person or class of persons.

It’s time to put an end to this type of hateful behavior which many times devolves into violence and it should begin here, in Portland, where this aggressive act based on bigotry and hate has brought attention to this issue here and around the world.

It is now in your hands to create provisions in the City of Portland that protect all of us from actions that come from words based on bigotry and hate.

Dora Taylor

Parents Across America Book Club Meeting, Sunday, April 2: “White Like Me” by Tim Wise

PAA Book Club Meeting 

Sunday, April 2

5:00 pm PT, 8:00 pm ET


We’re going to discuss antiracist author Tim Wise’s “White Like Me” on Sunday, April 2 at 8:00 pm ET, 5:00 pm PT.

You can purchase the book or you can read some of Tim Wise’s essays here, or watch or listen to video or audio clips here.

We will be using for this meeting. At the meeting time, just call in to 515-604-9727 and then enter the access code 728537. To get the best experience, which will include videos and screen sharing, log into, click on “join a meeting” and enter the online meeting ID: parentsacrossamericawebinars.

We believe that it’s even more important now to continue this series, which provides a safe place to discuss issues of poverty, race and education with a goal of finding real solutions for our children.

Look What You’ve Done – An Open Letter to My Mother


When you announced your plans, at your 70th birthday last summer, to vote for him, I patiently explained why a vote for Trump was a direct vote against the safety and well being of your only two grandchildren. You didn’t listen. You spouted rhetoric about how much you hated Hillary and didn’t trust the government. As we drove away from your house that day I knew in my heart that it would be the last time I would bring my children there. Something in the way your husband blurted out, during lunch, about his gun not being secured while Beezus was alone in your house made me realize that this was no place for my most beloved humans, my children, your only grandchildren.

Over the next few months I tried to appeal to your rational side. I don’t believe you are racist and I know you’re not homophobic. I’ve also always known you to be a feminist, maybe you’ve changed and I just didn’t notice. Maybe I assumed you were still the mother I had in 1969, 1974, 1980. I kept sending articles your way and sharing the writings of your very astute LGBTQ 12 year old granddaughter. You did not budge.

And then the morning after, when the rest of the nation was mourning our loss, when my 6 year old was too sad to go to school-trying to grasp why grown ups would elect a bully for their president, you went on Facebook to gloat in his victory. You told us that he would fix everything that was wrong with our country. When I reminded you that you had chosen to vote against your own granddaughters’ well being, you chose to ignore me.

And now it has begun. First he and his cronies, white men who have never known a day without extreme privilege, have made plans to dismantle my children’s health care coverage. We are income eligible for Apple Health and since enrolling after the ACA was enacted my children have received free medical and dental coverage. In the past, when my daughters, your granddaughters, were uninsured we didn’t take them to the doctor except in the most extreme of circumstances. It has been such a relief to know that they have finally been receiving the medical and dental care that all people deserve. Beezus is worried about how we will be able to afford to continue with their now regular dental visits. I’m worried too.

I’d like to take a brief aside to mention why it is that my children are eligible for free health care coverage through the state. Am I unemployed? No. I work full time, more than full time usually, about 50-55 hours a week. I am also a college graduate, Dean’s list UW 1996. But I happen to do “women’s work”. I am a child care provider, one of the most feminist and necessary occupations in our country. I am here every day making sure that six other American families can go to work. I make about $11 per hour.

But I digress, back to health care. We should be ok, we’ve gone without healthcare before, but I worry a lot about my friends’ children with asthma and life threatening allergies, and of course all of our friends with Type 1 Diabetes. What about you and your other friends with MS? You use Medicare, didn’t you think to worry about all of your friends with pre existing conditions and how a lifetime spending cap would affect them? My elderly neighbor feels lucky he had his heart attack early in November. His 11 day ICU visit to Harborview came in at just over $200,000-his portion will be about $1,500. But what will it be for my neighbors who have their heart attacks after Paul Ryan has his way with Medicare?

But maybe you’re like your president and think my neighbors don’t matter? After all many of them are black and brown and certainly some of them don’t pray to your Christian God. My next door neighbors are Muslim, recent immigrants from Iraq. The next house down, Muslim also, from Somalia. In fact of the twenty children who live on my block, only 2 of them are white, your granddaughters. Maybe you were counting on their whiteness to save them from this new administration and it’s devastating policies?

But it won’t. Because you made me a liar. And this is what pains me most of all. When your granddaughter came out at age 9, I told her this was the best time, best city and best family to grow up gay. Your granddaughter already knows Mike Pence thinks she should be electrocuted. And now Donald is sponsoring the anti LGBTQ “First Amendment Defense Act” that would legalize discrimination against your granddaughter in all aspects of her life.

Your vote made my daughter unsafe. Your vote made my friends’ trans kids unsafe. Your vote made my friends’ gay sons unsafe. You know who made me an ally though? You did. You worked at the phone company in the seventies when it was one of the only safe work places for the LGBTQ community. They were relegated to working as phone operators on the night shift with all of the others who were seen as weirdos and freaks. And you being a night owl, and something of a freak yourself, loved that shift and loved going out dancing at Shelly’s Leg after work with all your wonderful Gay and Lesbian friends. You were the one who taught me about the struggles of trans people when our friend Kelly, who had once been our big beautiful black friend Eric, was going through his transition and surgeries. You were the one who introduced me to Gay marriage when I was 4, in 1974, when we went to your friends’ house and they showed me the photo album of their recent nuptials and I mistakenly asked, “but where’s the bride mommy?” I’ll never forget how those two lovely men took my hand and explained to me that THEY had gotten married. I have carried that moment and their pure joy, with me always.

And what about your granddaughters’ education? That’s something that has always been important to you. They’re both Special Education students, you know that, so maybe you know that your president’s pick for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, didn’t know about the federal protections my children are afforded through IDEA. She would prefer I be given some vouchers so that my children might attend a parochial school or one of the full day online, screen time schools. Betsy DeVos doesn’t care about my children and their right to an amply funded high quality education at a public school by highly trained union teachers. But I know you did. You and my father made sure that I attended the finest public schools in our city. In fact, you were so discouraged with the lack of racial diversity at my neighborhood school that you enrolled me as a “voluntary racial transfer student” in 1978. I rode the bus all the way from Lake City to John Muir Elementary because you believed it was important for children to grow and learn in diverse schools.

I believe that too. That’s why my children go to a very diverse public school. A science school, by the way. Up until recently science didn’t seem very revolutionary but it is now that our Forrest Service is on the forefront of the resistance movement simply by speaking their truth and the daily evidence they see of climate change. Our science school is breeding its own resistance movement. Twice already the middle school students have held classroom walk outs in opposition to your president and his position on our Civil Rights. Both of your granddaughters were out on the sidewalk in front of school chanting, “This is a Safe Place!”

And they are right. Our city, Seattle and our friends in nearby Burien, have declared our cities, Sanctuary Cities. Your president has said that he will withhold funding to penalize us for this but our city’s Mayor Ed Murray held a press conference yesterday in direct defiance of that threat. We shall not be moved.

And then there is the earth. But if you couldn’t bring yourself to vote for the safety of the children, and your own friends, I’m guessing you don’t care about the earth either. Your granddaughters do though. They wept when I showed them the photos of the brave people who have camped out all winter to protect all of us, and our Mother, from the pipeline. Water is life.

But your president is only concerned about protecting the life of the unborn. Smugly signing away funding for Women’s access to reproductive health care services by global organizations, simply because some of those providers might also provide, or just mention abortion services? That photo of he, and the other white men in their suits signing away women’s health care was so vile, so unsettling-their hatred for women so palpable.

I still feel powerful though. I can thank you for that too I suppose. You didn’t know how to drive so we walked and bussed all over this city when I was a little girl. Often just the two of us, after dark. You were never afraid. If anyone tried to bother us you always said, “Move along now, move along,” quietly but firm. I took that quality from you and I’ve passed it to my girls. But I am loud. Our girls are so powerful, too, marching through the streets with 150,000 of our friends who believe that your president is wrong. We had signs from their Uncle Derek and the girls had pussy hats from my old friend Sara in Jersey and DIY buttons. They looked like mighty Power Puff versions of young revolutionaries as they chanted and marched for miles and miles.

I believe that me and my people will make it through this time, but I also believe that you and the people you have chosen to lead us are going to do a lot of damage that will not be easily repaired. Irreparable. What you’ve done is irreparable. I will work to clean the mess. I will march and post. I will display signs of commitment, Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights Matter, Muslim Rights Matter, Immigrants Rights Matter, LGBTQ Rights Matter, Worker’s Rights Matter. And most important, I will do my job as a Citizen and a Mother to raise 2 voters who always think of the greater good of ALL people and our earth, first. When that time comes, we will truly be able to say it was WE not he, who made America great again.

-Shawna Murphy
Editor’s note: To learn more about Shawna’s work, please read Fighting for Fairness: A Family Portrait in Activism from Seattle’s Child. 

#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool: Hundreds of professors across the country support Seattle educators in their day of action


Originally posted at I Am an Educator.

Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool: Hundreds of professors across the country support Seattle educators in their day of action

Over 200 scholars and professors nationwide sign statement in support of the Seattle teachers’ October 19,, 2016 action to make Black Students’ Lives Matter in the district. The support for making Black Lives Matter in our classrooms has been widespread, yet some around the nation have also responded with messages of hate and fear.  Dr. Wayne Au, Associate Professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell and an editor for the social justice teaching publication, Rethinking Schools, put out a call to professors and scholars to publicly tell the Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle School Board that many experts in the field of education and beyond support Seattle teachers. Below is the statement and the list of 212 names and affiliations as of October 17, 2016.

We, the undersigned professors and scholars, publicly express our support for and solidarity with teachers of Seattle Public Schools and their October 19, 2016 action in recognition of making Black Student Lives Matter in our schools. We hope that these teachers are continually supported by the district, the school board, their union, and parents in their struggle for racial justice in Seattle schools.

Name & Affiliation (for informational purposes only)

  1. Curtis Acosta, Education for Liberation Network & University of Arizona South
  2. Alma Flor Ada, Ph. D., Professor Emerita, School of Education, University of San Francisco
  3. Annie Adamian, Assistant Professor, California State University, Chico
  4. Jennifer D. Adams, Associate Professor Science Ed and Earth and Environmental Sciences, CUNY
  5. Tara L. Affolter, Assistant Professor, Middlebury College
  6. Jean Aguilar-Valdez, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, Portland State University
  7. Lauren Anderson, Associate Professor of Education, Connecticut College
  8. Subini Annamma, Assistant Professor, Special Education, University of Kansas
  9. Zandrea Ambrose, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
  10. Nancy Ares, Associate Professor, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
  11. Michael W. Apple, John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  12. Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price, Teacher Educator–Montclair State University; EdD student at Rutgers Graduate School of Education
  13. Rick Ayers, Asst. Prof of Education, U of San Francisco.
  14. William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education (retired), University of Illinois Chicago
  15. Wayne Au, Associate Professor, School of Educational Studies, University of Washington Bothell
  16. Jeff Bale, Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
  17. Megan Bang, Associate Professor, learning Sciences and Human Development, Secondary Teacher Education
  18. Lesley Bartlett, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  19. Teddi Beam-Conroy, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Elementary Teacher Preparation Program, University of Washington
  20. Lee Anne Bell, Professor Emerita, Barnard College
  21. John Benner PhC, University of Washington, College of Education
  22. Jeremy Benson, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Studies, Rhode Island College
  23. Dan Berger, Assistant professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  24. Margarita Bianco, associate professor, School of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado Denver
  25. Anne Blanchard, PhD, Senior Instructor, Western Washington University.
  26. Whitney G. Blankenship, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies & History, Rhode Island College.
  27. Aaron Bodle, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education, James Madison University
  28. Joshua Bornstein, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Felician University.
  29. Samuel Brower, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Houston
  30. Anthony Brown, Associate Professor, University of Texas Austin
  31. Kristen Buras, Associate Professor, Georgia State University
  32. Dolores Calderon, Associate Professor, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Western Washington university
  33. Timothy G. Cashman Associate professor, social studies education, University of Texas at El Paso
  34. Keith C. Catone, Principal Associate, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University
  35. Charusheela, Assistant professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  36. Minerva S. Chávez, Ph. D., Director, Single Subject Credential Program, Associate Professor, Department of Secondary Education, California State University, Fullerton
  37. Linda Christensen, Director Oregon Writing Project at Lewis & Clark College.
  38. Christian W. Chun, Assistant Professor of Culture, Identity and Language Learning, University of Massachusetts Boston
  39. Carrie Cifka-Herrera Ph.D. University California Santa Cruz
  40. Ross Collin, Associate Professor of English Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  41. Rebekah Cordova, PhD, College of Education, University of Florida
  42. Chris Crowley, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, Wayne State University
  43. Cindy Cruz, Associate Professor of Education, UC Santa Cruz
  44. Mary Jane Curry, University of Rochester
  45. Karam Dana, Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  46. Chela Delgado, adjunct faculty in San Francisco State University Educational Leadership graduate program
  47. Robert L. Dahlgren, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, SUNY Fredonia
  48. Noah De Lissovoy, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas at Austin
  49. Betsy DeMulder, Professor, College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University
  50. Robin DiAngelo, Adjunct Faculty, University of Washington School of Social Work.
  51. Maurice E. Dolberry, PhD. Lecturer, School of Educational Studies, University of Washington-Bothell
  52. Michael J. Dumas, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley.
  53. Jody Early, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Washington Bothell
  54. Kimberly Early, adjunct faculty, Education department at Highline College & Applied Behavioral Science department at Seattle Central
  55. Education for Liberation
  56. Kathy Emery, PhD, Lecturer at San Francisco State University
  57. Joseph J Ferrare, Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky
  58. Michelle Fine, Professor, City University of New York Graduate Center
  59. Liza Finkel, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Lewis & Clark College Graduate School of Education and Counseling
  60. Kara S. Finnigan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education Policy, Warner School of Education, University of Rochester
  61. Ryan Flessner, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Butler University
  62. Susana Flores, PhD Assistant Professor, Curriculum, Supervision and Educational Leadership at Central Washington University
  63. Kristen B. French, Associate Professor & Director, Center for Education, Equity and Diversity, Woodring College of Education, Western Washington University
  64. Victoria Frye, Associate Medical Professor, City University of New York School of Medicine
  65. Derek R. Ford, Assistant Professor of Education Studies, DePauw University
  66. Jill Freidberg, part time lecturer, Media and Communication Studies, University of Washington Bothell.
  67. James A. Gambrell, Assistant Professor of Practice, Graduate School of Education, Portland State University
  68. Arline García, Spanish Instructor, Highline College
  69. Mónica G. GarcíaAssistant Professor Secondary Education, California State University Northridge
  70. Brian Gibbs Assistant Professor of Education University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  71. David Goldstein, Senior Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Bothell.
  72. Julie Gorlewski, Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University
  73. Alexandro Jose Gradilla, Associate Professor, Chicana/o Studies, CSU Fullerton.
  74. Sandy Grande, Professor of Education and Director of the center for the comparative study of race and ethnicity, Connecticut College
  75. Allison Green, English Department, Highline College
  76. Kiersten Greene, Assistant Professor of Literacy Education, State University of New York at New Paltz
  77. Susan Gregson, Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of Cincinnati
  78. Martha Groom, Professor, IAS, University of Washington Bothell
  79. Rico Gutstein, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  80. Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, Michigan State University
  81. Amy Hagopian at University of Washington School of Public Health.
  82. Jessica James Hale, Doctoral Research Fellow, Mathematics Education, Georgia State University Elizabeth Hanson, ESL Professor, Shoreline Community
  83. May Hara, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Framingham State University
  84. Nicholas Hartlep, Assistant Professor of Urban Education, Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN
  85. Jill Heiney-Smith, Instructor in Teacher Education, Director of Field Placements, Seattle Pacific University
  86. Mark Helmsing, Coordinator of Social Studies Education, University of Wyoming
  87. Kevin Lawrence Henry, Jr., Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies & Practice, College of Education, University of Arizona.
  88. Erica Hernandez-Scott, Master in Teaching Faculty, Evergreen State College
  89. Josh Iddings, Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies, Virginia Military Institute
  90. Ann M. Ishimaru, Assistant Professor, University of Washington
  91. Dimpal Jain, Assistant Professor, California State University, Northridge
  92. Brian Jones, City University of New York, Graduate Center
  93. Denisha Jones, Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Trinity Washington University
  94. Beth Kalikoff, Associate Professor, Univ. of Washington Seattle
  95. Richard Kahn, Core Faculty in Education, Antioch University Los Angeles
  96. Daniel Katz, Chair, Department of Educational Studies, Seton Hall University
  97. Mary Klehr, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education
  98. Courtney Koestler, Director of the OHIO Center for Equity in Math and Science, Ohio University
  99. Jill Koyama, Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies and Practice, University of Arizona
  100. Chris Knaus, Associate Professor, University of Washington Tacoma
  101. Matthew Knoester, Associate Professor, University of Evansville
  102. Rita Kohli, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside
  103. Ron Krabill, Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  104. Patricia Krueger-Henney, Assistant Professor, College of Education and Human Development, University of Massachusetts Boston.
  105. Saili Kulkarni College of Education Assistant Professor Cal State Dominguez Hills
  106. Scott Kurashige, Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  107. Gloria Ladson-Billings Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education UW-Madison
  108. Carrie Lanza, MSW and PhD, adjunct faculty, University of Washington Bothell
  109. Douglas Larkin, Associate Professor, Secondary and Special Education, Montclair State University
  110. Alyson L. Lavigne, Associate Professor, College of Education, Roosevelt university
  111. Clifford Lee, Associate Professor, Saint Mary’s College of California
  112. Kari Lerum, Associate Professor, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Washington
  113. Pauline Lipman, Professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois-Chicago
  114. Katrina Liu, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, University of Nevada Las Vegas
  115. Lisa W. Loutzenheiser, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia
  116. David Low, Assistant professor of literacy education, California State University Fresno
  117. John Lupinacci, Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching & Learning, Washington State University
  118. Wendy Luttrell, Professor, Urban Education & Critical Social Psychology, Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center
  119. Aurolyn Luykx, Assoc. Professor of Anthropology & Education, University of Texas at El Paso.
  120. Tomás Alberto Madrigal, Ph.D., Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
  121. Jan Maher, Senior Scholar, Institute for Ethics in Public Life, State University of NY at Plattsburgh
  122. Curry Malott, Associate Professor, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  123. Gerardo Mancilla, Ph.D., Director of Education Administration and Leadership, School of Education Faculty, Edgewood College
  124. Roxana Marachi, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education, San Jose State University
  125. Fernando Marhuenda, PhD, Professor in Teaching and Curriculum at the University of Valencia, in Spain
  126. Tyson Marsh, Associate Professor, Seattle University
  127. Carlos Martínez-Cano, PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
  128. Edwin Mayorga, Assistant Professor, Educational Studies, Swarthmore College
  129. Kate McCoy, Associate Professor of Educational Foundations, SUNY New Paltz
  130. Cynthia McDermott.EdD., Professor and Regional Director, Antioch University Los Angeles
  131. Jacqueline T. McDonnough, Ph.D., Associate Professor Science Education, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  132. Kathleen McInerney, Professor, School of Education, Saint Xavier University
  133. Deborah Meier, MacArthur fellow, NYU fellow
  134. José Alfredo Menjivar, Doctoral Student, CUNY, Graduate Center and Humanities Alliance Fellow, LaGuardia Community College
  135. Paul Chamness Miller, Professor of International Liberal Arts, Akita International University
  136. Jed Murr, Full-Time Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  137. Bill Muth, Associate Professor, Adult Learning and Literacy, Virginia Commonwealth University
  138. Kate Napolitan, Teaching Associate, University of Washington Seattle
  139. Jason M. Naranjo Assistant Professor, Special Education University of Washington Bothell
  140. Pedro E. Nava, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Mills College
  141. Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  142. Tammy Oberg De La Garza, Associate Professor, College of Education, Roosevelt University
  143. Gilda L. Ochoa, Professor of Sociology and Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies, Pomona College
  144. Margo Okazawa-Rey Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University
  145. Susan Opotow, PhD Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
  146. Joy Oslund, Coordinator of directed teaching, assistant professor, Madonna University, Livonia, MI
  147. Sandra L. Osorio, Assistant Professor, School of Teaching and Learning, Illinois State University
  148. Carrie Palmer, WSU doctoral student/adjunct faculty at Linn Benton Community College
  149. Django Paris, associate professor, department of teacher education, Michigan State University
  150. Hillary Parkhouse, Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  151. Patricia Perez, Professor, California State University Fullerton
  152. Emery Petchauer, Associate Professor. College of Ed. Michigan State University
  153. Bree Picower Associate Professor Montclair State University
  154. Farima Pour-Khorshid, Teacher Educator, University of San Francisco and PhD Candidate at University of California, Santa Cruz
  155. Shameka Powell, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, Department of Education, Tufts University
  156. Rebecca M Price, Associate Professor, UW Bothell
  157. Sarah A. Robert, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo (SUNY)
  158. Mitchell Robinson, Associate Professor and Chair of Music Education, Michigan State University
  159. Rosalie M. Romano, Associate Professor Emerita, Western Washington University
  160. Ricardo D. Rosa, PhD., Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies,, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
  161. Dennis L. Rudnick, Associate Director of Multicultural Education and Research, IUPUI
  162. Lilliana Patricia Saldaña, Associate Professor, Mexican American Studies, University of Texas San Antonio
  163. Jen Sandler, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  164. Jeff Sapp, professor of education, California State University Dominguez Hills
  165. Alexandra Schindel, Asst Professor, University at Buffalo
  166. Ann Schulte, Professor of Education, CSU Chico
  167. Simone Schweber, Goodman Professor of Education, UW-Madison
  168. Déana Scipio, Postdoctoral fellow, ERC & Chèche Konnen Center at TERC
  169. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Associate Professor, English Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
  170. Doug Selwyn, Professor of Education, State University of New York
  171. Julie Shayne, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington Bothell
  172. Sarah Shear, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education, Penn State Altoona
  173. Mira Shimabukuro, Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
  174. Janelle Silva, Assistant Professor, School of IAS, University of Washington Bothell
  175. Carol Simmons. Retired educator, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle University Professor, Seattle Community College, Western State University, City University Professor.
  176. Dana Simone, Instructor, Foundational Studies in Education, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  177. George Sirrakos, Assistant Professor of Secondary Education, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  178. Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita, California State University Monterey Bay
  179. Timothy D. Slekar, Dean, College of Education, Edgewood College, Madison, WI
  180. Beth Sondel, Assistant Professor, Department of Instruction and Learning, University of Pittsburgh
  181. Debbie Sonu, Associate Professor of Education, City University of New York
  182. Mariana Souto-Manning, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum & Teaching, Teachers College Columbia
  183. Jeremy Stoddard, Associate Professor, College of William & Mary
  184. David Stovall, Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
  185. Rolf Straubhaar, Assistant Research Scientist, University of Georgia.
  186. Katie Strom, Assistant Prof Educational Leadership, Cal State Univ East Bay
  187. Katy Swalwell, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Iowa State University
  188. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Assistant Professor, Dept of African American Studies, Princeton University
  189. Monica Taylor, Associate Professor, Secondary and Special Education, Montclair State University
  190. Cathryn Teasley, Assistant Professor, University of A Coruña (Spain)
  191. Adai Tefera, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  192. Amoshaun Toft, Assistant Professor, School of IAS, University of Washington Bothell
  193. Sara Tolbert, Assistant professor, College of Education, University of Arizona
  194. Maria Torre, the City University of New York Graduate Center
  195. Diane Torres-Velasquez, Associate Professor, University of New Mexico
  196. Victoria Trinder, Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
  197. Eve Tuck, Associate Professor of Critical Race and Indigenous Studies in Education, OISE, University of Toronto
  198. Carrie Tzou, Associate Professor, University of Washington Bothell
  199. Angela Valenzuela, professor of Educational Administration, University of Texas at Austin
  200. Manka Varghese, Associate Professor, University of Washington College of Education
  201. Julian Vasquez-Heilig, Professor, California State University Sacramento
  202. Michael Vavrus, Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies (Education, Political Economy, History), The Evergreen State College
  203. Verónica Vélez, Assistant Professor and Director, Education and Social Justice Minor and Program, Western Washington University
  204. Maiyoua Vang, Associate Professor, College of Education, California State University, Sacramento
  205. Michael Viola, Assistant Professor, Saint Mary’s College of California
  206. Donna Vukelich Selva, Edgewood College, Madison WI
  207. Camille Walsh, JD, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Washington Bothell
  208. Lois Weiner, Professor, Director, Urban Education and Teacher Unionism Policy Project New Jersey City University
  209. Melissa Weiner, Associate Professor of Sociology, College of the Holy Cross
  210. Michael Wickert, Professor of English an Education, Southwestern College, Chula Vista, CA
  211. Gabe Winer, English/ESOL Department Co-chair Berkeley City College
  212. Ken Zeichner Boeing Professor of Teacher Education, University of Washington Seattle
  213. Network for Public Education

The Seattle Education Association endorses the Black Lives Matter at School action

Re-posted from I Am an Educator:


#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool: Hundreds of educators across Seattle to wear “Black Lives Matter” shirts to school on Oct. 19th

Educators in Seattle are starting off the school year dressed for success.

In the fist action of this scale, many hundreds of Seattle teachers, counselors, instructional assistants, paraprofessionals, custodians, nurses, and other educators, will wear shirts to school on Wednesday, October 19th, that read, “Black Lives Matter.” This action is part of a Seattle Education Association sponsored day to draw attention to the school-to-prison-pipeline and institutional racism our society. Already over 700 educators and supports have ordered their shirts!

Educators at Seattle’s John Muir Elementary first conceived of this action and announced they would wear shirts to school on September 16 that read, “Black Lives Matter. We Stand Together. John Muir Elementary.” This was to coincide with an event to celebrate Black students that was organized by Black Men United to Change the Narrative. As third grade teacher Marjorie Lamarre told King 5 News at the time, “To be silent would be almost unforgivable, and I think we have been silent for almost too long.” Yet the forces of hate tried their best to silence the John Muir community as a white supremacist issued a bomb threat on the school and the event was officially cancelled. However, in a truly stunning show of courage, dozens of Black community members heeded the call of Black Men United To Change the Narrative and showed up to high five the students that morning and the John Muir staff wore the shirts anyway!

This bold action prompted the Social Equality Educators (SEE) to introduce a resolution at the Seattle Education Association to support John Muir and make a call for educators across the city to also wear Black Lives Matter shirts. The resolution reads:

Whereas the SEA promotes equity and supports anti-racist work in our schools; and,

Whereas we want to act in solidarity with our members and the community at John Muir who received threats based on their decision to wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts as part of an event with “Black Men United to Change the Narrative”; and,

Whereas the SEA and SPS promote Race and Equity teams to address institutionalized racism in our schools and offer a space for dialogue among school staff; 

Therefore be it resolved that the SEA Representative Assembly endorse and participate in an action wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 with the intent of showing solidarity, promoting anti-racist practices in our schools, and creating dialogue in our schools and communities.


Editor’s note:

We welcome comments but will not approve posts we deem racist and hateful. If you want to share your ignorance and vitriol, go to the other Seattle blog. They will gladly accept your comments there.


What we never mention


racial violence


We speak of poverty which is devastating, it brings hunger, homelessness, ill health and an inability to focus in the classroom, but we have not spoken about the violence and the threat of violence which pervades the lives of so many children. 

As advocates for public education, we write about poverty and the destructive impact it has on children but what we never mention is that the poverty is derived from deep-seated racism that has been with us since the inception of this country.

This racism is reflected in the lack of opportunities for minorities in terms of acquiring a well-rounded education and jobs, and the high percentage of incarceration of black men including black males beginning at the age of 12 years old.

I have seen racism as a child and even though many who I associate with now and the communities I circulate through, do not reflect such ignorance, it is there for all to see online and in the news.

Last week I saw another side of the impact of racism and that was through the eyes of two children who went through a trauma that most of us will never know or truly understand, that of losing a loved one, for one, the death of a father by way of unchecked violence, and the other, a child, watching a police officer shoot and kill someone their mother loved right in front of their eyes.

How will that child regain a sense of normalcy again? How will they fair in school and in life after such an experience?

In the instance of Philando Castile, there were many children affected by this horrific display of state sanctioned violence, the children who Mr. Castile served lunch to every day at a Montessori school. This has touched people far beyond the closed circle of black victims and their families affected by racial violence.

How does it affect those children who knew this man?

How does it affect black children in classrooms around the country knowing that they are not safe, no matter where they are or what they do?

This is yet another factor ignored by the corporate privatizers who once again victimize black children with no-excuse charter schools promoting “grit” and populated with uncertified Teach for America, Inc. recruits or anyone else these for-profit schools can find as cheap labor to “educate” black children?

And, where does the effect of the violence, emotional and physical, fit into the stats and data collected in bulk by Bill Gates and the state?

We are a violent nation, meting out death and destruction to ourselves and others. I don’t know the answers to all the problems but the one thing I know is that we can help our children, all of our children, support them and protect them so they can thrive and grow, any way that we are able, to assist as individuals and communities.

God help us.

Dora Taylor

The Black “Mis-Leadership” Class Including Cory Booker



About Cory Booker:

From Seattle Education:

Cory Booker and the $100M gift to Newark Public Schools

This goes into the OMG category because that is what I kept saying to myself as I read this article.

From FireDogLake:

ACLU Wins Lawsuit Against Cory Booker, Forcing Release Of Emails with Facebook Executives

By: DSWright, posted on Wednesday December 26, 2012

Cory Booker (left) and Mark Zuckerberg

It started on Oprah.

Facebook founder and Winklevii nemesis Mark Zuckerberg announced a $100 million donation to Newark schools to blunt PR damage from the release of The Social Network to help school children. The money would not be going into the struggling city’s budget but would be privately controlled with Newark Mayor Cory Booker providing guidance.

Yes, money used to transform Newark public schools would be administered privately and, until recently, in secret from the people of Newark.

Privatizing schools in Newark was already a tough task this year after the crown jewel of charter schools in the city was caught up in a cheating scandal. Apparently telling teachers they get paid more/remain employed if their students do better on tests leads to gaming the test system – who knew monetary incentives lead to the pursuit of self-interest? The strategy was clear, use the private money to launch attacks on public schools and keep anyone from seeing how.

That last part of the strategy just hit the wall. The American Civil Liberties Union won a lawsuit forcing the release of emails between Mayor Booker and Facebook executives:

NEWARK – A Superior Court judge has ordered the City of Newark to release emails that were exchanged about the $100 million pledge that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made to Newark schools in September 2010.

The ruling was issued in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) on behalf of the Secondary Parent Council (SPC), a group of Newark parents and grandparents seeking more transparency about the donation.

There is an interesting twist here as the Booker administration originally claimed there were no emails.

The city originally stated it did not have any documents about the donation. It later admitted in a January court hearing that emails existed, but argued they did not have to release them because they were shielded by mayoral executive privilege, contain personal information and are deliberative in nature. The city also argued Newark Mayor Cory Booker was not acting in his official capacity as mayor when he accepted Zuckerberg’s pledge on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Judge Rachel N. Davidson rejected all those arguments, noting for instance that a press release on the City of Newark’s own website touts Booker’s involvement in the donation as mayor and that all of the emails in dispute are maintained by Booker’s executive assistant in Newark City Hall. The judge also noted that Booker’s role as mayor is repeated in statements about the donation that are mentioned on his campaign website, as well as in some of the emails that are being sought.

As for the emails themselves they show the typical anxieties and pathologies of corporate executives and politicians when embarking on any hostile takeover, as reported by The Wall Street Journal:

In the days leading up to the announcement of a $100 million gift to Newark schools Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg and Newark officials identified three areas that could be hurdles to a smooth implementation: building community support, attracting other donors and hiring a new superintendent…

A week before the September 2010 donation was public, Sandberg asked Booker in an email about spending plans for the first 100 days and details of how the mayor planned to obtain support from residents.

Booker wrote: “This is one of our biggest concerns right now as we must be ahead of the game on community organizing by next week.” A mayoral adviser outlined a rough plan to spend $315,000 on efforts such as polling, focus groups, mailing and consultants. The foundation has spent at least $2 million on such efforts since.

Newark residents who are critical of Booker at school board meetings often say they are wary of outsiders and would rather have a superintendent who has some connection to the city. Sandberg appears to have been concerned about how the gift would be viewed. In an email to Booker and other Newark officials, she wrote that a draft of a press release about the donation used “too much ‘national’ language.”

“I wonder if we should basically make this focused on Newark with just a touch of ‘and this will be a national model,’” she wrote.

The irony is rich – even the corporate executive trying to market philanthropy for brand benefit thinks the plan is not local enough. If only Sandberg knew Booker was getting ready to ditch Newark for higher office, then maybe she would realize it was never about Newark and all about Cory Booker sucking up to his donors on Wall Street.

About the Bradley Foundation:



From Source Watch:

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (LHBF), formerly known as the Allen-Bradley Foundation, was established in 1942, describing itself as “a private, independent grantmaking organization based in Milwaukee.”According to the foundation’s 1998 Annual Report and a 2011 report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation gives away more than $30 million per year. In November 2013, One Wisconsin Now and the Center for Media and Democracy reported that the Bradley Foundation had given over $500 million to conservative “public-policy experiments” since 2000.

For a full list of groups the foundation has funded, please see Contributions of the Bradley Foundation.

Harry Bradley was one of the original charter members of the far right-wing John Birch Society, along with another Birch Society board member, Fred Koch, the father of Koch Industries‘ billionaire brothers and owners, Charles and David Koch.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “from 2001 to 2009, it [Bradley] doled out nearly as much money as the seven Koch and Scaife foundations combined.”

Ties to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker signed a right-to-work bill into law on March 9, 2015 with some help from the Bradley Foundation. The foundation “doled out over $8 million in 2012 and 2013, the latest years for which information available, to support the operations of a web of nearly three dozen groups promoting right to work laws and radical privatization policies that empower the wealthy and corporate CEOs at the expense of the middle class,” according to a report by One Wisconsin Now published on February 25, 2015. “TheBradley Foundation, having nearly half a billion dollars in assets, regularly hands out $30-40 million a year, making it perhaps the largest right wing funding foundation in America. Groups operating in Wisconsin, including the MacIver Institute, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, Media Trackers and theWisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Foundation, took in excess of $2.9 million.[7]

Walker proposed his 2013-2015 budget, which contained plans to massively expand Wisconsin’s school voucher program, in February 2013. Congruent with the efforts of the Bradley Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), this would provide state subsidies for students to leave public schools in exchange for private schools, effectively transfering substantial government public education funding to the private sector.

The Center for Union Facts, an anti-union organization that is part of lobbyist Rick Berman‘s family of front groups, received $1.55 million between 2007 and 2010 from the Bradley Foundation and spent heavily to support Walker and smear teachers unions with an anti-union website during the 2011 fight over public sector collective bargaining rights.

For additional information on the Bradley Foundation, go to Source Watch.

Garfield’s Black Student Union responds to rumored white supremacists march in Seattle


Fueled by statements of hatred and bigotry spewed by Donald Trump and echoed by others including the mainstream press who consider it infotainment for the masses, some folks who want desperately to feel they’re better than anyone else, have decided to come out of the closet with their ignorance and stupidity.

In Seattle, some hate group, who no one is familiar with, posted they were planning a march and rally today in Ballard and Capitol Hill. So far, as of 7:00 PM this evening, there is no news that these events took place.

But, in response to the rumor, the Garfield High School Black Student Union issued a statement on their Facebook page. It reads as follows:

It has been brought to the attention of the Garfield High School Black Student Union that a “White Power March” organized by a Neo-Nazi skinhead group will be held today, December 6th, in Ballard, WA and the Capitol Hill area. This march serves as another reminder of the constant injustices done to black and brown people in America, and that we definitely do not live in a “post-racial society”. It represents a greater system that creates a culture of fear, trauma, and oppression. Let’s not forget “white power” exists in our governments, justice and education systems. Their power is rooted in the pain, suffering, and death of our ancestors, which they still continue to benefit from today.

As black youth, our goal is to fight against these systems that continue to terrorize our people and communities. We believe that through activism and education we can create our own power–a power that is strong enough to fight the systems that were built to suppress us. We stand to bring power to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, John Crawford III, Tanisha Anderson and the countless others who’ve lost their lives to “white power”. We encourage you to join us in denouncing these childish and disgusting displays of “white power” and to celebrate the resilience and strength of black power.