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Teachers, Education Reform, and Mexico’s Left

October 7, 2013 · Online Articles

Mexican leftists have flocked to support teachers’ unions in their protests against proposed education reforms. But by overlooking the unions’ undemocratic features and lack of popular support, the left weakens the fight against neoliberalism. {…}

By Benjamin T. Smith
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How Many Lives Did Your Last Spreadsheet Change?

August 30, 2013 · Online Articles

It was an ad on a subway train that first gave me the idea to become a teacher. In March of 2003, my senior year of college, I was riding along listening to my MP3 player when I looked up and saw an advertisement for New York City Teaching Fellows—a black background with stark white lettering: “How many lives did your last spreadsheet change?” The job seemed like a challenge, and that was what I was looking for.
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By Ilana Garon
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“Empowerment” Against Democracy: Tinseltown and the Teachers’ Unions

September 26, 2012 · Online Articles

“You know those mothers who lift one-ton trucks off their babies?” says Jamie Fitzpatrick, a working-class mom (played Maggie Gyllenhall), in a confrontation with a corrupt union rep in Daniel Barnz’s edu-drama, Won’t Back Down. “They’re nothing compared to me.” … {…}

By Liza Featherstone
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Chicago Teachers on Strike

September 10, 2012 · Online Articles

Update (9/10): read Bill Barclay’s background on the strike here. Update (9/12): watch Dissent contributor and editorial board member Joanne Barkan discuss the strike on Al Jazeera English. After unsuccessful negotiations between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union, … {…}

By Editors

Hired Guns on Astroturf: How to Buy and Sell School Reform

For Barkan’s other writing on the self-proclaimed “education reform movement,” click here, here, and here. If you want to change government policy, change the politicians who make it. The implications of this truism have now taken hold in the market-modeled … {…}

By Joanne Barkan

Calling the Shots in Public Education: Parents, Politicians, and Educators Clash

The gap between calls for parental engagement in education and institutional realities is wide. Educators say they value parent participation, but by that they often mean a junior partner role in which parents monitor homework, make sure kids get to … {…}

By Eva Gold, Jeffrey R. Henig, and Elaine Simon

Criminalizing Kids: The Overlooked Reason for Failing Schools

The nation’s dropout rate reached crisis levels in 2009, and test scores posted by its poorest public schools were also grim. Only 70 percent of first-year students entering America’s high schools were graduating, with a full 1.2 million students dropping … {…}

By Heather Ann Thompson

Eyes on the Curriculum: How One Charter School Resisted Test-Driven Pressures

Who would believe that Albert Shanker, the late, controversial president of the American Federation of Teachers, was one of the original backers of the charter school concept, publicizing the name and idea in his weekly “Where We Stand” column of … {…}

By Paul Skilton-Sylvester

Web Letter: Taking Sides on Education Reform? An Exchange Between Joanne Barkan and Claire Robertson-Kraft

August 4, 2011 · Blog

Web Letter: Taking Sides on Education Reform? An Exchange Between Joanne Barkan and Claire Robertson {…}

By Editors

Four Myths About Teachers

It’s been a tough year to be a teacher, especially a unionized one. Popular opinion holds that unions protect bad teachers at the cost of poor kids’ education. If only we teachers would stop being lazy and complacent, American students … {…}

By Ilana Garon
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