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When the NRA Calls the Shots: Inside the 'Reasonable Killing' of a 13-Year-Old Boy

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  • Martinez Smith-Payne, 13, was shot and killed on November 29th, 2015 in the North Pointe neighborhood of St. Louis when he and two other boys were discovered looking for coins in a parked car. Photo illustration of Martinez Smith-Payne
  • Here's what justice looks like when "stand your ground" is the law of the land.

Mike Spies, The Trace / Rolling Stone 

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http://img.wennermedia.com/620-width/st-louis-we-must-stop-killing-each-other-11055269-8fcc-4553-82c6-1a9d97a9d4e4.jpg December 28, 2016 | News cameras filmed Martinez Smith-Payne as he lay recovering in a bed at St. Louis Children's Hospital. He was 10 years old, and had discovered a firework in a barren field in the northern part of the city. After he lit the fuse, it exploded in his left hand, blowing off all of his fingers except the thumb. When he later appeared on television, his destroyed hand was wrapped in a ball of gauze, and his eyes were covered with a mask, partially concealing his delicate face. Martinez was a small, frightened boy, but for his mother, Frances Smith-Woods, he made a show of bravery. "He was telling me it's OK," she said at the time. "I guess he didn't know the severity of it."

Three years later, on November 28th, 2015, Martinez and two of his friends — Ernest Williams, 14, and another boy, who was 11 — climbed onto their bicycles and set off under a full moon from the St. Louis neighborhood of Walnut Park East, one of the most dangerous areas of a city with the highest homicide rate in the United States. Martinez, Ernest's little cousin, was then 13. He had small ears and sharp cheekbones. He liked Hot Wheels cars, Nick Cannon and The Polar Bear Express. He weighed 89 pounds. His earlier accident had not raised his threshold for pain. When he received shots at the doctor, multiple family members had to hold him down.

Mike Spies: Staff Writer, Muck Rack. As seen in: Rolling Stone, New York Daily News, Vice, Vocativ, The Trace.

Full story … 

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Restoring the Promise of Public Education

  • In 1970, Dr. Virgil Belue made a decision that would lead to true racial integration in both the schools and the community of one Deep South city. Today, with schools across the country as segregated as they were half a century ago, his success has something to teach us all.
  • The Case of Clinton, Mississippi

Danielle Elliot, the Atlantic

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https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/files/lovett-ext.jpg  Until 1980, Lovett School was a K-8 school serving the predominantly black neighborhoods in Clinton and the surrounding rural area. When it became part of the Clinton school system, it became the sixth-grade school for all students in Clinton.  

January, 2017 | July 28, 1970, is a date that Virgil Belue will never forget. That morning he defended his doctoral dissertation, and that afternoon he started the job that would become his legacy to generations of students and to his native state of Mississippi.

On that day, Belue became the first superintendent of the schools in Clinton, Mississippi, a district that did not exist until a few weeks before. In 1954, with the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court had declared the segregation of schools in the South to be unconstitutional. Sixteen years later, Mississippi was still in court, and it remains so today, with 44 desegregation cases still active. The fact that no one is suing Clinton can be traced to decisions that Belue began making that summer day 46 years ago, sitting alone in a nurse’s office in a district that had as yet no office for him, no budget, no school buses, no maintenance equipment, and just four weeks before students would report to school.

Danielle Elliot is a writer and multimedia producer based in New York.

Full story … 

Noam Chomsky on the Perils of Market-Driven Education

  • Free higher education could be instituted without major economic or cultural difficulties, it seems. The same is true of a rational public health system like that of comparable countries.
  • World-renowned linguist, social critic and activist Noam Chomsky shares his views on education and culture in this exclusive interview for Truthout.
  • Related: When schools become dead zones of the imagination

C.J. Polychroniou and Lily Sage, Truthout 

http://www.truth-out.org/images/Images_2016_10/2016_1022chomsky_.jpg Free higher education could be instituted without major difficulties, but neoliberalism is standing in the way. (Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

Saturday, 22 October 2016 |  Throughout most of the modern period, beginning with the era known as the Enlightenment, education was widely regarded as the most important asset for the building of a decent society. However, this value seems to have fallen out of favor in the contemporary period, perhaps as a reflection of the dominance of the neoliberal ideology, creating in the process a context where education has been increasingly reduced to the attainment of professional, specialized skills that cater to the needs of the business world.

What is the actual role of education and its link to democracy, to decent human relations and to a decent society? What defines a cultured and decent society? World-renowned linguist, social critic and activist Noam Chomsky shares his views on education and culture in this exclusive interview for Truthout.

C.J. Polychroniou is a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in universities and research centers in Europe and the United States.

And Lily Sage is a Montessori pedagogue who is interested in questions of symbiosis, intersectional feminism and anti-racist/fascist praxis.

Full story … 

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When schools become dead zones of the imagination, Henry A. Giroux, Philosophers for Change

  • Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • A critical pedagogy manifesto
  • Related: Today’s Students and Professors ‘Know Hardly Anything about Anything at All’
  • Related: How Billionaires Are Successfully Fooling Us Into Destroying Public Education—and Why Privatization Is a Terrible Idea

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Why Schools Should Teach Rational Discourse

  • It used to be that logic, one of the main components of rational debate, was taught in schools. Is it time we considered reinstating the study of logic in today’s schools in order to restore rational discourse in the nation?
  • Related: Trump Won Because Voters Are Ignorant, Literally

Annie Holmquist, Intellectual Takeout 

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/ito/files/angrystudents.pngNovember 14, 2016 | The day before the election, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a revealing story on the state of rational discourse in today’s schools.

The story centered on two young men – Elijah Rockhold and Sam Buisman – from the public high school in Chanhassen, a suburb of the Twin Cities. Although Rockhold and Buisman are on different sides of the political aisle, they came together to create an after school club in which students could discuss political ideas without emotional arguments. The reason they started this club is rather telling:

“Chanhassen High lacked a forum for political discourse, Rockhold said, and teachers were hesitant to talk about politics at all.

Annie Holmquist is a senior writer with Intellectual Takeout. She assists with website content production and social media messaging.  

Full story … 

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Trump Won Because Voters Are Ignorant, Literally, Jason Brennan, Foreign Policy <>

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  • Democracy is supposed to enact the will of the people. But what if the people have no clue what they’re doing?
  • Related: Thinking Dangerously In Age Of Normalized Ignorance

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Special Report | What You Need to Know About the Privatization of Our Public Schools

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  • School privatization has too often resulted in self-dealing, corruption, thousands of failed schools, and attempts, often successful, to dislodge and usurp local school boards—often community beacons of local democracy. Many boards have been replaced with a corporate model of school control, with virtually no transparency.
  • Related:  How Billionaires Are Successfully Fooling Us Into Destroying Public Education—and Why Privatization Is a Terrible Idea.

Don Hazen, AlterNet

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Front_Cover_Who_Controls_Our_Schools_lo-res.jpgOctober 20, 2016 | Greetings,

Over the last two decades, a major struggle over control of public schools in America has put our children’s education at risk. Several dozen billionaires, through a powerful infrastructure they established, are attempting to privatize as many K-12 schools as they can—6,700, at last count. There has been plenty of resistance, and the battle continues.

AlterNet.org has covered the school privatization story in great detail. Over time, AlterNet’s parent organization, the Independent Media Institute (IMI), became alarmed at what we were seeing through this coverage, and have responded with a report titled, Who Controls Our Schools? The Privatization of American Public Education. Click here to access the report on your computer, phone, tablet, or e-reader.

School privatization has too often resulted in self-dealing, corruption, thousands of failed schools, and attempts, often successful, to dislodge and usurp local school boards—often community beacons of local democracy. Many boards have been replaced with a corporate model of school control, with virtually no transparency.

Some good things have happened as well, of course. Not all charter schools are bad. There are parent-organized and community-run charter schools doing great things in many locales—but they are increasingly few and far between. At this point, more than 40% of all charter schools are part of national and regional chains, often with no roots in the community.

We are sending you this report because we want to share what we now know about this important, but too little discussed, topic. You might say, “But I’m not interested in public schools”—which is understandable. But we believe that privatizing public schools so that the super-wealthy can profit and impose their ideologies is anti-democratic to its core. This is an issue that affects us all.

Our report draws on extensive research, investigative reporting, and industry publications to show what is happening in our communities and explain why school privatization has taken hold in some cities.

Please, if you could give the report a read, we would appreciate it. And we would love to know what you think; send comments to comments@alternet.org. If you have friends or colleagues who might be interested, please forward them a copy, too.

I hope you enjoy it.

Peace,

Don Hazen
Executive Director
Independent Media Institute

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How Billionaires Are Successfully Fooling Us Into Destroying Public Education—and Why Privatization Is a Terrible Idea, Diane Ravitch, Basic Books / AlterNet

  • The billionaire-backed privatization movement is stealthily advancing an undemocratic agenda, cloaked in deceptive rhetoric, that the public is not aware of and does not understand.
  • Related: When schools become dead zones of the imagination, Henry A. Giroux <www.henryagiroux.com>, Philosophers for Change

 

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