Monday, August 31, 2015

Center for Social Development - The Smart Decarceration Initiative's Inaugural Conference: 'From Mass Incarceration to Effective and Sustainable Decarceration'

Center for Social Development - The Smart Decarceration Initiative's Inaugural Conference: 'From Mass Incarceration to Effective and Sustainable Decarceration'

Prison Education & WUSTL.... Public Event/McLeod Lecture September 24th at 4 PM....

Rebecca Ginsburg, Associate Professor, Departments of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership and Landscape Architecture; Co-founder and Director, Education Justice Project, University of Illinois

September 24, 4 pm
Washington University, Hillman Hall, Clark-Fox Forum 
(new Social Work building near Forsyth & Skinker)

Rebecca Ginsburg is director of the Education Justice Project (EJP), a college-in-prison program based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. EJP offers for-credit courses and other educational activities to men incarcerated in a medium-security state prison. In this lecture she’ll describe EJP, share stories of its students and make a case for other institutions of higher education working within prisons. Her position is that such engagement not only serves incarcerated individuals and the broader society, but also the university, its students and faculty.

After the lecture, please join us for a reception and additional programming, the opening of the conference "From Mass Incarceration to Effective and Sustainable Decarceration":

5:30 pm - Remarks by Mark Wrighton, Chancellor, Washington University in St. Louis
6:15 pm - Welcoming remarks
                 Maxine Clark, Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop & CEO, Clark-Fox Family Foundation
                 Bob Fox, Founder and Chairman, Newspace & Founder, Casa de Salud
6:30 pm - Keynote speakers
                 Glenn E. Martin, JustLeadershipUSA
                  Vivian Nixon, College and Community Fellowship

The pros and cons of school choice: A better education at the expense of public schools?

The pros and cons of school choice: A better education at the expense of public schools?

St Louis: Educators for Social Justice

Join the Educators for Social Justice Group at our upcoming events! We encourage you to invite your colleagues as well! 

Conference Planning Meeting: 
Sunday, September 20 from 2:00-3:00p.m. at Maplewood Richmond Heights Elementary School (1800 Princeton Place). Please join us for our second planning meeting for our 2016 Educating for Change Conference. All are welcome! 

11th Annual Educating for Change Conference: Saturday, February 27, 2016 at Maplewood Richmond Heights Elementary School. Our 2016 Conference theme will be: “Powerful Educators, Powerful Classrooms, Powerful Schools.”

Inquiry to Action Groups (ItAGS) Coming this Fall: Inquiry to Action Groups (ItAGs) are study groups for educators to come together to learn more about a topic and take action. Past ESJ ItAGs have focused on topics including: Race & Education, Social Justice Children’s Literature, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Art & Democracy, Media & Education, Social Studies for Social Justice, and more! We are currently looking for facilitators to lead ItAGs this fall- facilitators choose their own topic and meeting dates. See the attached flyer for more info. Please visit our website to learn more and submit your proposal to facilitate an ItAG- proposal deadline extended until September 18: http://www.educatorsforsocialjustice.org/itags.html

Read about the hunger strike for Dyett school in Chicago

The outcome of years of corporate-style education reform and the dismantling of the public neighborhood school.  Read more at: http://www.teachersforjustice.org/p/hunger-strike-to-save-dyett-high-school.html

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Report on Education in New Orleans Post-Katrina: The Impact of the Charter and Choice Upheaval...

Excellent insights.


Ferguson protester who threw back tear gas cannister in iconic photo is charged : News

Ferguson protester who threw back tear gas cannister in iconic photo is charged : News

St Louis: Women Leading Local Struggle for the Environment

Prisoners In Their Own Homes
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 In Our Backyard -The World's Oldest Nuclear Waste Site

September 10, 2015 

6:30 coffee and conversation
7:00 program  

New Location

The Heights
Maplewood-Richmond Heights Community Center
8001 Dale Avenue Richmond Heights, MO 63117   
 (Just east of South Hanley near I-64)

free and
open to the public  

Karen Nickel, Dawn Chapman, Debi Disser - founders Just Moms STL
"I go to bed worrying. I wake up worrying. Will my 5-year-old get cancer?"  "The odor is so bad, you can't even walk outside. We're prisoners in our own homes."

These are the words of two St. Louis mothers who live near the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. Their neighborhood is a childhood cancer cluster. Their children are suffering from many health conditions due to the nuclear waste landfill and smoldering fire in their community.

But the voices of moms are being heard. Just Moms STL, founded by three mothers who live in Bridgeton, is calling for a clean-up of the toxic waste. 

Their message: "EPA Save Our Children" is building momentum. Missouri's elected officials in Washington are calling for a clean-up. But Dawn Chapman, a co-founder of Just Moms STL is skeptical that the EPA will keep its promise to deliver a remedy by January 2017.

This while more children get sick. And Bridgeton residents breathe rotten air when they go to the park, grocery shopping or out their front door.

Come hear  Dawn Chapman, Co-founder, Just Moms STL and Ed Smith, Safe Energy Director, Missouri Coalition for the Environment update us about efforts to clean up the toxic waste dump they live with every day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why it's hard to judge charter schools on MAP test numbers

Why it's hard to judge charter schools on MAP test numbers

Brutal spinning of poor performance by charter school supporters, when it is clear that charters are no better, and often worse, than neighborhood schools.  And, their other implicit effects (resegregation, skimming of students, taking resources from the public schools) are ignored.  This is another sign of media capture by the corporate agenda, with interviews only done with pro-charter advocates.  Dale Singer and KWMU, you can do better than this.

St Louis Public Schools: Give Retired Teachers a Cost of Living Adjustment. Don't give away their future to the hedge fund managers

Along with the state takeover of the SLPS, those who now control the teachers' pension fund are spending heavily on advisors, trips, and a portfolio that is way too complex, while refusing to grant cost-of-living adjustments to elder and retired teachers.  Inform yourself.
3030 DuPont Circle
Jefferson City, MO 65109

August 21, 2015

Call to Action!
Action Required! 

St. Louis City Retirees' Petition for Respect and Fairness

Dear Residents and Retired Educators of Saint Louis City and of Saint Louis County:
This is a CALL TO ACTION! MRTA is initiating and promoting a petition campaign in Saint Louis City and Saint Louis County asking for a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for the Saint Louis City Education Retirees. The Saint Louis City retirees have not received a COLA since 2006 and have lost 25% of their buying power. It is getting difficult for them to make ends meet. This is an issue of respect for their years of public service and of fairness as most education retirees in Missouri have an automatic COLA written in Missouri Statutes.
Our goal is 5,000 signatures or more by December 1, 2015. Our purpose is to compel our elected officials of the General Assembly to use their influence or to introduce legislation to remedy this injustice. We also want to compel the Saint Louis State Appointed School Board, and the Board of Trustees of the PSRS of Saint Louis City to remedy this injustice. 
THE WORLD IS RUN BY THOSE WHO SHOW UP!!! It is up to you. MRTA's strength comes from membership. Thank you for being a member. IF NOT, join MRTA today by clicking HERE.
Please feel free to forward this email and contact MRTA if you have any questions or need anything our contact information is below. THANK YOU!!

P.S.  Through STRENGTH IN NUMBERS we also want to use this petition to show our strength to fight off any attempt to reduce retirement benefits of active Saint Louis City educators or legislating the Saint Louis City employees into a 401(k) system. These will be legitimate threats coming in the next Legislative Session of the General Assembly in January 2016.
THANK YOU for being counted as a member of MRTA!

MRTA organized in 1960, is the oldest and largest retiree association in Missouri consisting of 24,000 public school retirees.  At MRTA the education retiree and educator pension benefits are our #1 priority. 

Jim Kreider
MRTA Executive Director


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Monday, August 24, 2015

Do State Takeovers of Public School Systems (like St. Louis) lead to disenfranchisement of African American and Latino Communities? New Report

New Report Finds Link Between School Takeovers and Disenfranchisement of African American and Latino Communities 
** Read the report here: http://bit.ly/1KCu88L **
Today, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS), a coalition of nine  national organizations that together represent more than seven million parents, students, educators and community members, released a report arguing that state takeovers of public schools and districts are systematically targeting  African Americans and Latinos and denying them the right to run their schools.
The report, launched as students across the country go back to school, critiques what AROS calls an intentional effort to remove local control so that schools can be privatized without the opportunity for communities to voice their public opposition. The report examines some of the most prevalent state takeovers of schools and school districts.
Key takeaways from the report:
  • Recovery School District, LA:  Created in 2003 but used in 2005 to seize virtually all public schools in New Orleans, the state-run RSD has now converted to charters, or closed all of the 107 schools it seized.
  • Achievement School District, TN:  Modeled after the RSD, the Tennessee ASD has removed 29 schools from the Memphis and Nashville school districts.  All but one of those schools has been handed over to a private charter operator.
  • Education Achievement Authority, MI:  After decades of disinvestment and under-funding, the State of Michigan seized control of the Detroit Public Schools in 1999. In 2009, after a brief return to local control, the State again installed an Emergency Manager with control over the district. In 2012, the state created the Education Achievement Authority and removed 15 schools from the already-state controlled district. The results of these takeovers have included massive financial deficits, plummeting enrollment, school closures, high teacher turnover and more. Student academic performance is unimproved.
Despite the failure of these “achievement districts” to achieve much of anything for the students and families who lose control of their local public schools, legislation to create more of these state-run districts has been aggressively pursued across the country this year. In the past six months, three additional states have created state-run districts: Georgia, Wisconsin, and Nevada.  Similar bills  have been proposed in a half-dozen other states.
In conjunction with the report launch, AROS groups across the country will be taking actions on the ground in their local communities. 
“Districts that have been weakened by years of disinvestment are now being declared ‘failures’ and seized by the State,” said Keron Blair, Director at AROS.  “Communities are being inundated with a flood of failing charter schools that suck resources from their public schools and cut off community access and democratic engagement. 
“It's one thing for states to take over schools and provide high-quality institutions, but it is quite another to highjack schools from communities and hand them over to private interests that don’t have the best interest of children and communities at heart.
“Each and every student should get a chance at a more equitable quality of education regardless of where they live. It’s time for local and state officials to put a stop to the takeovers.”
The coalition’s recommended model for sustainable community schools includes:
  • Curriculum that is engaging, culturally relevant and challenging, with a broad selection of classes and after-school programs in the arts, languages, and ethnic studies, as well as AP and honors courses, services for English Language Learners, special education, GED preparation and job training;
  • An emphasis on high quality teaching, not high stakes testing;
  • Wrap-around supports such as health care, eye care and social and emotional services available before, during and after school and provided year-round to the full community;
  • Positive discipline practices such as restorative justice and social and emotional learning supports, and
  • Transformational parent and community engagement in planning and decision-making. This process recognizes the link between the success of the school and the development of the community as a whole.
AROS demands that the rights of parents and communities to make decisions about their schools be returned to them and that they are provided with the resources necessary to establish sustainable community schools, that the ability of citizens to use their civic engagement capacity to impact their schools and communities be expanded. 
The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) is a national community/labor table of organizations of parents, students, teachers and community members who are fighting for the public schools our children deserve.