Sep
01
2012

Misrepresenting the Latino Education Crisis

Austerity, immigration are the real civil rights issues

Justin Akers Chacon--Photo Credit: San Diego City College

During recent campaigning, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have appealed to the Latino community by acknowledging the “Latino education crisis.” Romney told the conservative Latino Coalition that the poor track record of schools serving students of color is “the civil rights issue of our era” (New York Times, 5/24/12). He identified teacher unions as the obstacles to reform (Washington Post, 5/23/12): “The teachers’ unions don’t fight for our children.” His prescription included a federal school voucher program and the expansion of non-union charter schools. Obama has also linked educational reform to civil rights themes (New York Times, […]

Sep
01
2012

Arizona Schools Whitewash History

Banning books that promote 'ethnic solidarity'

Rethinking Columbus--Photo Credit: Rethinking Schools

Orwell observed in his dystopian masterpiece 1984 that "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." As America’s demographic landscape continues to undergo a significant shift toward a more multicultural—and multicolored—reality, political forces representing the past are doing their utmost to superimpose that past onto the future by “disappearing” inconvenient facts of history. In January, the school board in Arizona’s Tucson Unified School District shut down that city’s Ethnic Studies/Mexican American Studies curriculum, with the state’s school superintendent, John Huppenthal, declaring that it violated a recent Arizona state law that prohibits courses placing “ethnic […]

Jun
15
2012

Diane Ravitch on education & the election; Lori Wallach on leaked trade memo

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: With candidates from both parties supporting corporate-minded education reform to varying degrees, and with media often skittish about stepping outside the box of the candidates' views, this election season doesn't look good for advocates of strong public education. We’ll buck the trend with an interview with Diane Ravitch, professor and historian of education at New York University, and the author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. Also on the show: U.S. negotiators have been extra secretive about a trade deal they've been […]

May
11
2012

Gareth Porter on bin Laden raid, Pamela Brown on student debt

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The one year anniversary of the NAVY Seal raid that killed Osama bin Laden brought us a prime time behind the scenes at the White House account on NBC, leaks from bin Laden intelligence files about his new terror schemes and a tiresome debate over whether Barack Obama could claim credit for the killing-- and if so, how. But there are bigger questions--namely, do the stories that surround the killing of Osama bin Laden add up? Gareth Porter challenges some of the official mythmaking in a new piece for Truthout he'll join us to […]

Nov
18
2011

Julie Berebitsky on sexual harassment, Jim Horn on education

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Sexual harassment has been in the news recently because of allegations that GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain sexually harassed women in the 1990s. But what does the way media discuss sexual harassment tell us about how we view women, especially working women? We'll talk to Julie Berebitsky, professor of history and womens' studies at Sewanee: The University of the South. Also on CounterSpin today, the corporate media message on schools and so-called education reform is consistent: more testing, more charter schools, and more pressure to weed out underperforming teachers. But what happens when facts […]

Nov
01
2011

MisEducation Nation

Corporate media and corporate education reform

This September at New York City’s Rockefeller Center, NBC put on its second annual Education Nation conference—a series of events and broadcasts bankrolled by the corporate interests and foundations aligned with the so-called “education reform” movement. On September 27, the second day of the conference, FAIR convened our own discussion of education and corporate media coverage at New York’s School of the Future. The panel, moderated by journalist Laura Flanders, featured former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, NYU education professor Pedro Noguera, parent/activist Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters and New York City public schoolteacher Brian Jones. Here are […]

Oct
07
2011

Harvey Wasserman on Solyndra, Diane Ravitch and Brian Jones on MisEducation Nation

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Solyndra scandal is the kind of story tailor made for Fox News: A green jobs creating solar power company receiving millions of dollars of taxpayer funds celebrated by the Obama White House... goes belly up. Much of the coverage all but shouts 'Scandal!'. It's not that there's nothing here, but the story we're hearing about Solyndra might not be the one we should be hearing. Journalist and activist Harvey Wasserman will join us to talk about that. Also on CounterSpin today: Sponsored by the same foundations and corporate interests behind what's called education […]

Apr
01
2011

Not Much Value in 'Value-Added' Evaluations

NYT seeks teacher data, ignores own reporting

On September 21, Los Angeles teacher Rigoberto Ruelas killed himself, jumping 100 feet from a bridge into the Angeles National Forest below. His suicide came about a month after the Los Angeles Times posted ratings of over 6,000 L.A. teachers on its website (8/14/10). Ruelas was poorly ranked, pegged as “less effective than average overall.” But he was much beloved, and his sense of self was deeply tied up with the work he did in South L.A.’s poor and largely Latino Miramonte Elementary School. The L.A. Times rating was certainly devastating. It may have also been wrong. A legion of […]