Listen to Hitting Left with guest Matt Farmer

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day Warning: 'We're rapidly returning to the conditions of Ludlow days.'

Ludlow: The striking miners and their families, 1914
BILL MOYERS' blog has an excellent piece on the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow strike and massacre, by Erik Loomis, "US Workers Were Once Massacred Fighting for the Protections Being Rolled Back Today." The headline says it all.
A century later, the bloody incident might seem a relic of the distant past, but the Ludlow Massacre retains a powerful, disturbing and growing relevance to the present. After a century of struggling against powerful interests to make American workplaces safer and corporations responsive to their employees, the US is rapidly returning to the conditions of rampant exploitation that contributed to Ludlow.
The same theme is picked up by Thai Jones, writing in The Nation. He writes, "One hundred years on, the Ludlow Massacre is a starkly contemporary tragedy." Thai's book, "More Powerful Than Dynamite" is the best thing written yet on that period. Here's Rick Ayers' review at Huffington.

BROOKLYN TEACHERS aren't going for it -- Common Core that is. Prospect Heights International HS teachers in Brooklyn are refusing to administer an English Language Arts test Thursday because they believe it is useless to their non-native-English-speaking students. Twenty-six of the school’s 30 teachers sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña urging her to drop the test for the city’s immigrant students still learning English. School leaders said they will still administer the test. -- N.Y. Post

KIDS FOR CASH...Okay, I admit I'm inconsistent when it comes to my opposition to prisons. In the case of Judge Mark Ciavarella, I think the punishment of 28 years in the slammer, fit the crime. What I don't understand is why the builder of the for-profit youth detention centers, Robert Mericleonly got a year and a fine for his role in the notorious juvenile justice scandal in which thousands of children were sent to his facilities by the judges who took $2.1 million in kick-backs from him. Actually, the prosecutors only recommended 6 months. What?? The Pennsylvania Supreme Court thankfully, threw out some 4,000 juvenile convictions after the scheme was uncovered.

ANOTHER DUNCAN DONUT...When Washington State Legislators did not move to mandate that standardized test scores be attached to teacher evaluations, WA became the first state in the country to have their NCLB waiver pulled by Sec. Duncan. NCLB calls for 100% of students at all schools in the United States to  be fully proficient in reading and math, as registered by student test scores, by 2014. Was that a cruel joke?

The loss of this waiver means that every parent in the state should expect a letter informing them that their child attends a "failing school". It also means that school districts will lose control of how they spend a portion of the federal funding they receive—some $40 million statewide. Schools may also be taken over by the state and forced to replace all or most of the staff. Here's Jesse Hagopian's post on Duncan's labeling of his school as a "failure." Jesse is running on the RESPECT ticket to be President of the Seattle Education Association.

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