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We cannot become the Walking Dead

Since the post-election apocalypse, I have noticed a definitive shift in in the way people are communicating, talking, and thinking. There is a deeper and more pronounced urgency for some, an urgency that I find both impactful and also curious. I have been here before; I have been at this place after a sound beating down where people find themselves in constant thought, wonderment, dismay and disbelief. I understand this all too well and I am certain that something good can and will come from this moment of pause, if you will.

There are moments in all of our lives where we are tested.…

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GOP House Speaker wants to pay for road funding without raising gas prices by cutting – you guessed it – education funding

During the 2014 campaign in Michigan, we were told repeatedly that Republicans hadn’t cut education funding. Despite the fact that they had actually taken BILLIONS OF DOLLARS from our schools each year, the told us with a straight face that, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, they had increased funding for our classrooms.

Now, just a few weeks later, Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger is proposing that we pay for billions of dollars in road and bridge repairs by cutting education funding so that legislators would “not have to raise taxes”.

I’m totally serious.

The plan would remove, over six years, the 6% sales tax now charged on fuel sales, while at the same time converting the 19-cent-per-gallon fuel tax to a percentage rate that would gradually increase over the same period.…
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The cure for the common cause

The past three weeks I have been involved in a project that is irrelevant to this discussion save the fact that it gave me time to think. The work I was doing allowed me time to clear my thoughts and to allow a stream of consciousness that maybe I didn’t realize I needed, but I did.

We are a few weeks out of the election, which was a disaster for Democrats in Michigan and around the country. It is what it is. It won’t change, so get over it.

What I am about to propose to you is easy. I mean very easy.…

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EVENT: TOMORROW Wayne State University hosts talk on “Understanding the Complexities of Teaching and Learning in Urban Settings”

Tomorrow night, the Leonard Kaplan Education Collaborative for Critical Urban Studies will host its innaugural event, a presentation by Dr. David E. Kirkland titled “The Practice of Freedom – Understanding the Complexities of Teaching and Learning in Urban Settings”.

The Leonard Kaplan Education Collaborative is a newly-formed group and is headed up by the amazing Friend of the Blog Dr. Thomas Pedroni, Associate Professor for Curriculum Studies at Wayne State University. The Collaborative was founded in September 2014 to honor the lifework and vision of Leonard Kaplan, an uncompromising advocate for the social and affective well-being of the “whole child” in America’s schools.…

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EVENT TONIGHT: Chelsea teachers to hold public forum in effort to secure contract

The teachers in the Chelsea Public Schools system have been working without a contract since June 30, 2014. Negotiations for a new contract began in the spring and continued throughout the spring and summer. However, the Chelsea Education Association (CEA) and the school board were unable to come to an agreement. As a next step, the CEA has requested a fact-finding process:

[T]he Chelsea Education Association requested that a third-party fact-finder be brought into the union’s negotiations with the Chelsea Board of Education. The school board is complying with the request.

Teachers have been working without a new contract since the school year started.

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After slashing teacher benefits, firing staff, and outsourcing “nearly everything”, Flint schools face Emergency Management

Welcome to Michigan under Republican rule

Flint schools have been in financial trouble since 2011 when it first went into debt. In 2012, they eliminated 460 teachers and staff positions. In May of this year, they laid off 91 more teachers and staff and slashed benefits of the remaining teachers as an alternative to a 19% pay cut. Later in the summer, another 12 teachers and 8 administrators were fired. In the meantime, they have “closed and sold off buildings, eliminated staff and outsourced nearly everything except instructional and administrative positions.”

The result? An increased deficit that now leaves Flint schools $21.9 million in the hole and facing an Emergency Manager.…

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Michigan for-profit charter schools industry fires up its propaganda machine

In the wake of the blistering multi-day expose by the Detroit Free Press detailing the failures of for-profit charters in Michigan and the astonishing lack of transparency and accountability they enjoy, the charter school industry is ramping up its propaganda machine. Just in the past few days, there have been two op-eds in The Detroit News promoting their for-profit-with-tax-dollars model as something good for public schools in Michigan and something requiring no oversight.

On November 12th, conservative colunist Dennis Lennox promoted the idea of abolishing the state Board of Education, the last remaining bulwark fighting for charter school accountability in Michigan and one of the very few remaining state government level bodies which Democrats have a majority.…

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GUEST POST/EVENT: Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents meeting to discuss ending relationship with the EAA, 12/5/2014 (UPDATED)

I have updated the post to give details on the EMU Board of Regents meeting. See the end of the post.

Today’s guest post is from Eastern Michigan University College of Education faculty member professor Stephen Wellinski. Prof. Wellinski has been a leader in demanding that EMU end its partnership with Gov. Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit school kids known as the Education Achievement Authority.

Along with a host of other faculty members, students, and activists, Prof. Wellinksi has been tirelessly advocating for his university to stop betraying its legacy as one of Michigan’s top bastions of higher education when it comes to educating the public school teachers of the future.…

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EVENT: Social Foundations of Education Conference – “The Assault on Common(s) Values: Imagining and Creating Collective Responses to Neoliberalism”

This Friday, November 21st, the Social Foundations of Education program at Eastern Michigan University will hold their 2nd annual fall Social Foundations of Education Conference. This year, the title is “The Assault on Common(s) Values: Imagining and Creating Collective Responses to Neoliberalism”. As part of the conference, there will be a panel discussion at 6 p.m. titled “EAA Storytelling and the Contradictions of Neoliberal Governance” which features “Friends of the Blog” Steve Wellinski, Steve Camron, John Fields, and Tom Pedroni.

If you aren’t familiar with the term neoliberalism, it refers to “ideas associated with economic liberalism, which advocates — under reference to neoclassical economic theory — support for great economic liberalization, privatization, free trade, open markets, deregulation, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.” In other words, it’s about as non-liberal as you can get these days.…

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Why I hate one-issue voters and why I am asking you to be one — just this once

According to Dictionary.com, hatred is defined in this way: verb (used without object), hated, hating. To feel intense dislike, or extreme aversion or hostility.

It is my firm belief that as a society we use the word hate too casually. I offer this preamble to my last shot at motivating you to vote, act, and make sure others vote tomorrow, but there is a twist to my message today and I am asking you to stay with me as I work though my rationale behind what I am about to ask of all of you, but it starts with something that I do hate.…

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