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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Keystone XL pipeline vote loses by 1 vote in the Senate for several VERY good reasons

Senate Democrats, in a very weird bid to help Democrat Mary Landrieu’s reelection bid, allowed a vote on the mythologized Keystone XL pipeline yesterday. It failed by one vote.

And that’s a very Good Thing.

As I have written about before, the much-touted job creation promised by the pipeline’s ignorant or lying proponents, is wildly inflated:

Let’s take the first Big Lie: that the Keystone XL will create a job bonanza in the U.S. When TransCanada began pitching this boondoggle and environmental-disaster-waiting-to-happen, the Big Oil trade group the America Oil Institute (it’s an “institute” — that’s kinda like a university!) claimed that it would create — not kidding here — “21,000 jobs today to 465,000 jobs by 2035″.…
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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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Everything that’s wrong with the debate over marriage equality in one screenshot

I took this screenshot from the front page of The Detroit News this afternoon:
Click through for a larger version

That's what we call irony, kids. Irony, pure and simple.
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Obamacare gives Ohio man the freedom to retire early and improve his health

He’s a great example of how to shop for the right plan — and how the ACA gives people more choices than ever before.

Jim worked 37 years for the same company, typically putting in 50-hour weeks that included travel and working weekends. It started taking a toll and he says his health began to decline. That’s why he decided to retire at age 59 — something he could not have done without the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

“June 28, 2012 was one of the happiest days of my life, when the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act,” Jim says.…

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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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As Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban heads to Supreme Court, AG Schuette says married same-sex couples aren’t married

Evolution is tough for bigots. They struggle as the world around them changes and evolves and becomes better, more accepting of people who are different than them. Chauvinists struggled with the women’s suffrage movement in the early part of the 20th Century and then again during the fight for equality in the latter half of the 20th Century. Racists struggled with civil rights for non-white Americans. But, eventually, society turns toward the cause of justice and, though fights for equality are never completely won, American society largely moves inexorably in the right direction.

The rapid expansion of civil rights – including marriage equality – for the LGBT community is today’s societal pivot.…

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Under proposed Michigan law, religion could be used to discriminate

No one’s religious liberty is at risk, but the Michigan Legislature wants to use religion to infringe on the rights of others anyway.

That didn’t take long. Less than two weeks after the midterm elections, Michigan Republicans began pushing a bill that would make it legal to discriminate on religious grounds

Given the Republican majority in the Michigan Legislature — and their history of aggressive disregard for fairness and the will of their constituents — there’s a good chance this bill could move quickly and become law. Michiganders can’t let that happen.

The Michigan Legislature’s House Speaker, Representative Jase Bolger, has introduced a state bill modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) — the law that has given individuals, including public institutions, a license to discriminate.…

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