Know Your Audience

Just who is Mayor Rahm Emanuel playing to?

By Anthony Moser 
mayor 1Here’s something I bet you don’t know about Chicago: we still have a residency requirement for civic employees. Teachers, firefighters, police officers –  they all must live in city limits. So must the mayor, a requirement that nearly disqualified Rahm from running in the first place. It means that the people who serve the city also depend on those services. Such requirements are designed to make sure that officials are also citizens; to create a natural alignment between the way that they treat others and the way they are treated. In short, it is to prevent the city from fracturing into *them* and *us,* instead attempting to create a true sense of *we.* Continue reading →

The Great Equity Test

Xian Franzinger Barrett argues that accountability without equity means more inequity…

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Chicago teacher Xian Barrett.

EduShyster: OK—I need you to set me straight here. Is ensuring that we continue to test kids in high-needs schools the civil rights issue of our time? Or is striking a blow against too much testing in high-needs schools the civil rights issue of our time? Or is civil rights actually the civil rights issue of our time?

Xian Franzinger BarrettThe people who are talking about this genuinely on both sides are talking about the same thing, it’s just that the problem they’re trying to address is pervasive and terrible. This idea that we’re unseen and unheard unless we’re measured has a basis in history and reality, so I think it’s important that we don’t lose that. But anyone who says *you’re not going to be acknowledged unless you’re tested* is either too pessimistic or they’re racist. We also have to acknowledge that the very fact that people aren’t being supported or treated equitably unless they’re measured is racism. No one would ever say: *the rich kids in this private school—we don’t have a good measurement of them so we’re just not going to give them an education.* That’s just ridiculous. Continue reading →

Karen Lewis Talks Protests, Politics & Getting Back in the Mix

karen 3EduShyster: Chicago, like many cities, is seeing big protests over police brutality. I’m wondering if you see any connection between these protests and the discontent over school closures in the city’s poor neighborhoods that continues to simmer today. 

Karen Lewis: We don’t really like to talk about race and class, but they underpin both of these issues. I’m 61 years old, which means I went through the original Civil Rights Movement—it’s not just history to me. But I also know from history that the extra-judicial killing of Black men is nothing new in our society. The difference is that we have social media, we have recordings, and so you have a movement of people demanding accountability. What’s been really interesting to me is that you see the same concepts emerging whether we’re talking about policing or education: compliance, obedience and a loss of dignity. I’m going to tell you what to do and if you don’t do it, I’ll just take your life. The same with schools: if you don’t do what I tell you to do, I’ll just take your school. To me, this is a very interesting co-mingling of what justice really looks like and it’s very different for different people.  Continue reading →

Spring Cleaning

A social justice movement is bringing sweeping change to teachers unions

spring cleaning

When we last paid a call upon those nemeses of all things excellent, the teachers unions, we found them in a sad and sorry state. Exuding an odeur of mildew and mothballs, even their ability to stifle innovation and lower expectations seemed in doubt. But it turns out that whilst we were reading (every day and everywhere) about the unions’ demise, something rather unexpected, not to mention frankly exciting, has been happening within their ranks. In short: a social justice movement is bringing sweeping change to teacher unions. Will yours be next?  Continue reading →

David vs. Goliath, Inc.

Can a scrappy little army bring down #edreform inc.?

Reader: I have a confession to make. My path has not been a righteous one. In fact the last time I attended a church service was in the 5th grade, when, as a *plus one* with my best friend’s family, I would pass a confused, incense-choked hour thinking longingly of the donuts that waited downstairs. But that all changed recently when I accompanied wonder blogger Mercedes Schneider to her southern Louisiana church. Her pastor gave a sermon about David and Goliath, so powerful, so perfect for our *2 big 2 fail* times that I have been thinking about it ever since.  Continue reading →