Peace is not the absence of tension but the presence of justice. Without justice there will be no peace. –Martin Luther King, Jr.
May 17 is the 57th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, and educators across the country are on the march once again.
At 1 pm EST you can catch the live broadcast from the National Press Club for the launch of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education. Here in California, where teachers and activists occupied the state capitol last week, you can join a watching party on any Cal State campus. A massive coalition of educators has come together to place united political will behind a set of core principles for the coming decades.
One interesting note is the normalization of direct action across the education community and among contemporary activists, who have begun to endorse ever-bolder tactics. While we haven’t seen any massive events on the scale of Wisconsin or with the potential impact of blocking an interstate, educators, parents, and students everywhere are putting their bodies in the fray.
Another cheering point is a slow turning of the compass needle in the conversation, away from the vicious anti-teacher hate propaganda dominating the airwaves in the autumn.
Few civil rights activists and educators in 1954 could have imagined the country’s first African-American president hiring a money-changer and thug like Arne Duncan to privatize and militarize schools that are still effectively segregated in many communities across the country.
I expect that instead they probably imagined someone like Obama fighting poverty and investing massively in schools, day care, adult literacy, and public jobs creation–converting our schools into incubators of democracy, palaces of industry and the arts, and epicenters of hope.
They’d have been all the more confident if they had known he’d be the child of two professors, an adjunct law prof himself who rubbed elbows with the likes of Bill Ayers, and a cosmopolitan who attended radical activist sermons every Sunday.
So much for the myth of progress.
More prosaically: I’m curious how all of this angry teacher and parent energy will affect Obama’s choices as we move into the 2012 election season. Will he dump Duncan in an effort to consolidate the base?
Or will he keep Duncan on to demonstrate his liberal-Republican street cred among independents?
If the latter, will he exchange him for an actual educator and thinker after the election in an effort to buff a tarnished legacy? We can hope.
- Sympathy For Eichmann?
- What UC-Davis Pays for Top Talent
- Campus Occupations Reaching Critical Mass?
- To The People of The World: The Occupation Urges You To Assert Your Power
- Mass Arrests Swell Crowd on Wall Street
- Occupation Season Begins; Colbert, Aronowitz on Wall Street
- Police Violence Escalates, Day Five on Wall Street
- Wall Street Occupation, Day Three
- What Are You Doing for the Next Two Months?
- It’s the Inequality, Stupid