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Public School Shakedown

 
Friday, 26 June 2015

Editor’s Note: The National Charter Schools Conference took place this summer at the  New Orleans convention center, on the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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Editor’s Note: The National Charter Schools Conference took place this summer at the  New Orleans convention center, on the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Katrina was, in the infamous words of Education Secretary Arne Duncan "the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans" because it forced the community to take steps to improve its low-performing public schools.

When is disruption not just a super cool buzz word but something that’s actually, well, disruptive? That would be when teachers at the National Charter Schools Conference in New Orleans ask the CEO of an Ohio charter management organization about firing teachers for trying to organizing a union at his schools—and using taxpayer money to pay the fine when he got caught. This went about as well as you might expect. And when security arrived, combing through the crowd for disruptors, that’s when things got really disruptive… 

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a landmark event in a national conversation that's been going on in our country for most of the last century. See this article from March 1961, "Medical Care Becomes a Right."

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Photo: "Consumed" Promotional Picture

“Consumed” is an environmentally-themed movie featuring Zoe Lister-Jones as a single midwestern mom, waitress and student who discovers that genetically modified organisms are making her son sick.

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My mother Anne Nicol Gaylor directed that when she died, a “small tombstone” should be inscribed with her name and the words “Feminist—Activist—Freethinker.” My three brothers and I had long teased her that when she died we’d instead put on her tombstone: “Here lies 238-3338.”

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Photo by eyeliam

Some tried to chide me on issuing a call of sorts to white people about the environment that creates a Dylann Roof.

Well, I'm from South Carolina. This state is the ideological home of white supremacy in this country.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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