Table of Contents

    Editorial
  • Free Our Climate Crisis Is an Education Crisis

    Edited By the editors of Rethinking Schools Why is there so little teaching or discussion of climate change in classrooms?
  • Cover Story
  • Free Got Coal?

    Teaching about the most dangerous rock in America

    Authored By Bill Bigelow Students play a game promoted by the coal industrythen dig beneath the surface to look at the realities of mountaintop removal mining.
  • Coal at the Movies

    Classroom DVDs on coal and mountaintop removal mining

    Authored By Compiled by Bill Bigelow Video resources for the classroom, plus links to activist websites.
  • Science for the People

    High school students investigate community air quality

    Authored By Tony Marks-Block Ninth graders develop science literacy as they become neighborhood environmental experts and activists.
  • Features
  • Who’s Bashing Teachers and Public Schools and What Can We Do About It?

    Authored By Stan Karp To build an effective movement against the top-down strategies that are ripping public education apart, we need to take a closer look at who wants reform and why.
  • Keepers of the Second Throat

    Authored By Patricia Smith When Chicago stole my mothers tongue, it also stole all her yesterdays. A poets lyric plea for teachers to nurture their students voices and stories.
  • Talking Back to the World

    Turning poetic lines into visual poetry

    Authored By Renee Watson Student poetry about what raised me is woven into graphic art.
  • Bad Signs

    Authored By Alfie Kohn What are the real messages in the inspirational slogans covering classroom walls? Plus some better alternatives.
  • Fuzzy Math

    A meditation on test scoring

    Authored By Meredith Jacks A middle school writing teacher reflects on a day spent scoring districtwide math tests.
  • Support That Can’t Support

    My induction program experience

    Authored By Elaine Engel Are peer mentoring programs bowing to the pressure to teach to the test?
  • Departments Free
  • Action News • Wisconsin Uprising

  • Good Stuff

    Authored By Herb Kohl
  • First and Second title both empty, Update me!

  • Scholastic Inc

    Authored By Bill Bigelow

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Who’s Bashing Teachers and Public Schools and What Can We Do About It?

Who’s Bashing Teachers and Public Schools and What Can We Do About It?

The short answer to this question is that far too many people are bashing teachers and public schools, and we need to give them more homework, because very few of them know what theyre talking about. And a few need some serious detention.

But the longer answer is that the bashing is coming from different places for different reasons. And to respond effectively to the very real attacks that our schools, our profession, and our communities face, its important to pay attention to these differences.

The parent whos angry at the public school system because its not successfully educating his/her children is not the same as the billionaire with no education experience who couldnt survive in a classroom for two days, but who has made privatizing education policy a hobby, and who has the resources to do so because the countrys financial and tax systems are broken.

The educators who start a community-based charter school so they can create a collaborative school culture are not the same as the hedge fund managers who invest in charter schools because they see an opportunity to turn a profit or because they want to privatize one of the last public institutions we have left.

The well-meaning college grad who joins a Teach for America program out of an altruistic impulse is not the same as the corporate managers who want to use market reforms to create a less expensive, less secure, and less experienced teaching force.

And the hard-pressed taxpayer who directs frustration at teachers struggling to hang on to their health insurance or pensionswhich far too few people have at allis not coming from the same place as those responsible for the obscene economic inequality that is squeezing both.

In my home state of New Jersey, theres a man named David Tepper who manages the Appaloosa Hedge Fund. Last year, Tepper made $4 billion as a hedge fund manager. This was equal to the salaries of 60 percent of the states teachers, who educate 850,000 students. But Gov. Christie rolled back a millionaires tax and cut $1 billion out of the state school budget, so people like Tepper would have lower taxes. Its not only impossible to sustain a successful public school system with such policies, its also impossible to sustain anything resembling a democracy for very long.

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