Publishers are churning out new books on everything related to the environment, especially climate change, and sales have doubled in the last year, according to Nielsen Book Research. On December 15th, more than 50,000 parents, educators, students and community members took to the streets in a massive march in downtown Los Angeles to demand a reinvestment in the city’s schools. What we are fighting for is a program of investment in our neighborhood public schools that will create a thriving school district and the education our students deserve.” Despite LAUSD’s repeated denials, the money to reinvigorate the city’s schools is in fact there – in the form of $1.8 billion (yes, billion) in unrestricted reserves. The book is part of the ongoing Project Drawdown, a global research organization that identifies, reviews and analyzes solutions to climate change. “It’s very approachable and beautifully photographed, and the website that goes with it is invaluable,” Hall says. It affects the ability of children to learn.”” Before passage of ESSA in 2015, Ladd said “there was no way schools alone could succeed and help children flourish as long as we had this narrow focus on test scores.” Panelist Paul Reville, a Harvard University professor and former Massachusetts Secretary of Education, said a primary goal in Massachusetts during his tenure as secretary was to tackle poverty-related barriers to teaching and learning while ensuring all children had opportunities to learn and build the foundations for healthy, productive lives. “Our motto was, ‘all means all,’” said Reville. “This is an audacious goal. For elementary school teacher Maria Miranda, engaging the community city-wide has helped demonstrate to the public that the chronic underfunding of schools wasn’t isolated in one particular area. “When we come together with the community, we show that our challenges are the same. While the U.S. child poverty rate is higher today than ever before, its impact is compounded by education policies that fail to address poverty-related impediments to teaching and learning.
But how do we do it in a way that engages and inspires them? A People’s Curriculum for the Earth Teaching about climate change can be overwhelming, but by teaching the crisis through imaginative curriculum, and telling the stories of the people most affected and the movements struggling for environmental and social justice, our students can also find the hope and collective strength to work toward a better future. The California Teachers Association is asking educators nationwide to wear RedforEd on Friday, January 11. In many areas of the United States, school gardens have become community hubs that feed families and nourish the community’s relationship to the land. In August, UTLA voted overwhelmingly (98% of the membership voted yes) to authorize a strike if talks continued to stall.
A strike is always a last resort, says Caputo-Pearl, but it’s time now to turn the tables and stand up to an austerity and privatization agenda that has debased the teaching profession and starved public education. “We have watched underfunding and the actions of privatizers undermine our schools for too long. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and sponsored by the organization, Broader, Bolder Approach to Education (BBA), panelists called for policy reforms to address the impact of poverty on schools, students, families, and neighborhoods. In addition, they demand an end to the continued toxic over-testing of students (the district spends $8.6 million on tests not required by state or federal government). “We don’t want our schools to be starved-out skeletons, we want them to be vibrant hubs of learning for our kids,” says teacher Julie Van Winkle. Educators made a good faith effort in mediation to reach an agreement, but district officials did not do the same, failing to offer any substantial proposals to reinvest in the city’s schools. Climate change was her motivator and now her voice is heard around the world.” 5 Ways to Teach About Climate Change in Your Classroom Educators need to help students learn about climate change, caused by human activity.
This is a problem for schools across the city,” Miranda said. #StrikeReady #RedforEd is also thriving 400 miles north in Oakland, where educators have been working without a contract since July 2017. We had the right strategies but insufficient funds to get things done.” When talk turned to educational equity, panelists stressed the need for comprehensive school reform which incorporates academics with school safety measures, curricula that encourages teachers to operate creatively, policies that promote safe local housing, particularly when involving children under age 5. “Some people who care for our children are living in poverty themselves,” said Miriam Calderon, director of special projects for Washington-based BUILD. “We know that relationships with adults matter in those early years.” Calderon said learning begins before kindergarten and that it would take a 50-state strategy to build a birth-to-5 system that aligns quality services for those children. “Interventions for young children and parents are working,” she said. “But we don’t have a combined early-learning system, but rather a patchwork of systems.” Joshua Starr, former superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland and current CEO of Phi Delta Kappa International, called for aligning agencies at all levels of government to help meet the needs of students and schools. “Connectedness and engagement between different elements of the system is vital,” said Starr, who posed a series of questions. “Who are the kids most vulnerable,” he asked. “What caused them to be dysfunctional? And what can we do on a day to day basis to help?” Photo: Associated Press/David Martin In my school, we don’t have nurses every day or librarians. Thunberg has also had a major effect on publishing. Barring last-minute movement, UTLA will go on strike on Monday, January 14, the first walkout since 1989.
He is, however, eager to bring to LAUSD what like-minded billionaires and school privatization champions brought to New Orleans and other cities: the “portfolio model.” Under this competition-based strategy, LAUSD would be decentralized and carved up into 32 smaller, individual “portfolios” that would be “diversified” with more options – charter and private schools mostly – for parents and students. If mediation and fact-finding doesn’t move the needle on negotiations, Oakland educators, like their colleagues in Los Angeles, are #Strikeready and could take action later this month. Unprecedented Environmental Activism Thunberg’s journey across the sea was rough and long, but purposeful. Six hours north in the Bay Area, Oakland educators are also gearing up for a possible walk-out. One week later, on January 18-20, OEA will be hosting its own community Art Build.
Photo: Joe Brusky Anyone who may have been under the impression that the #RedforEd movement was just a “2018 story” better brace themselves. No more. But she’s also seen the Greta Effect in her work as a special educator and modified language arts instructor. “This young woman has Asperger’s Syndrome and had selective mutism,” Hall says. “She was always told that she’d find her voice and speak out when she found something to speak out about. A ‘Portfolio’ for Privatization The appointment last May of Austin Beutner as district superintendent only strengthened UTLA’s resolve. (Photo: UTLA) A billionaire former investment banker and CEO and publisher of the Los Angeles Times, Beutner has zero experience in school or district leadership. The district has a serious teacher turnover and class size problem, which the Oakland Education Association (OEA) says isn’t being addressed in the district’s proposals. Events like Art Build demonstrate the power of art in social movements and how passionate the people are about public schools.
The Broader, Bolder Approach campaign originally launched in 2008 to call attention to the root causes of inequity in education. As the core of BBA’s policy agenda – early childhood education, support for health care and nutrition, afterschool and summer enrichment programs – has become more prominent in the national debate, the organization relaunched its mission this month to help draw even more attention to these important initiatives. “Policy members are now addressing in-school and out-of-school barriers to success,” said Elaine Weiss, BBA’s national coordinator. At a recent panel discussion held at the U.S. A week earlier, hundreds gathered at the Social and Public Art Resource Center in Venice at a two-day Art Build event to create protest art for the march and possible strike. What we are fighting for is a program of investment in our neighborhood public schools that will create a thriving school district and the education our students deserve.” – UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl Halting this threat and protecting the city’s public schools, says Caputo-Pearl, is why Los Angeles educators “won’t be bought off with a pay raise.” During negotiations, coalition-building has been a key tenet of UTLA’s campaign. Climate Change Disproportionately Impacts Students of Color In dozens of major U.S. cities, low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be hotter than their wealthier counterparts, according to a joint investigation by NPR and the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.Education International Week of Climate Action EI will call on world leaders at the Climate Action Summit (23rd of September) and the SDG Summit (24th and 25th of September) to climate proof our education systems: “schools need to become sites of climate action and teachers have to be supported to teach climate change across all subjects in order to homework market provide our students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to support a just transition.” She’s made the world’s most powerful world leaders pause and consider environmental policies, including the United Kingdom’s members of parliament. “The UK’s active current support of new exploitation of fossil fuels, like for example the UK shale gas fracking industry, the expansion of its North Sea oil and gas fields, the expansion of airports, as well as the planning permission for a brand new coalmine, is beyond absurd,” she told them.
Thirty-three thousand educators in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) – the second largest district in the country – are on the verge of striking to halt years of budget cuts, ballooning class size, and the expansion of unaccountable charter schools. Hall’s current go-to book about climate change is Drawdown, which describes 100 solutions to global warming including their cost and carbon impact. A flight would have taken hours rather than days but because of jet-engine emissions, she refused to travel by air. In other words, the “portfolio model” is just school privatization running amok. “Getting rid of central oversight and accountability would allow the unchecked spread of the worst of the charter sector abuses: not serving all students, financial scandals, misuse of public funds, and conflict-of-interest charges,” UTLA wrote in a statement last November. “We will not agree on salary only…. United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and LAUSD have been mired in negotiations since April 2017, and teachers have been working without a contract for almost one year.
Now that Congress has replaced the disastrous test-driven No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law with the promise of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), state and district policy agendas can now more effectively mitigate poverty’s impact. “ESSA claws back some of the most problematic federal accountability requirements, and it emphasizes the need for social and emotional, as well as traditional academic, measures of student success,” Weiss said. “It also sets aside new money for investments in quality pre-kindergarten and for wraparound supports that help provide disadvantaged students equal opportunities to learn.” “This is the perfect time to work with states,” said Helen Ladd, a professor of public policy at Duke University. “ESSA presents new opportunities for states to set up their own accountability systems in moving forward… Disadvantage matters. There’s even a new genre called “cli-fi,” climate fiction dealing with climate change and global warming. Community organizations and parents have joined UTLA at the bargaining table. Our students and families are worth the investment, and the civic institution of public education in Los Angeles is worth saving.” Reinvigorating Organizing and Activism With Art Build What happens when CA educators invite the community to help them create protest art for a rally (and potential strike)? The community comes out in force. Show your solidarity with UTLA and OEA and share on social media using #RedforEd. “Teachers are fed up with the poor working conditions and salaries, and with the learning conditions that our students are having to endure,” OEA President Keith Brown said. “We are fighting to end Oakland’s teacher turnover crisis and to bring stability for our students.” On January 12, Oakland educators will be joined by East Bay parents and students for the March and Rally to Fund Public Education Now. The state of California requires only a 1% reserve, yet the district holds 26.5%, predicated on a fiscal disaster that never occurs but is nevertheless used to justify continued draconian cuts. @AustinLASchools lies about agreement being reached with UTLA.
As the Earth Club advisor, Hall has seen the Greta Effect inspire unprecedented environmental activism among her students. The district has tried to present the impasse as a squabble over numbers and teacher salaries, a characterization UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl says is absolutely false and a disservice to students. “This is a standoff over the future of public education,” Caputo-Pearl explains. “We will not agree on salary only or salary and a few other things. Educators are also calling for a halt to the expansion of charter schools (there are currently 200 in Los Angeles) that are siphoning off $600 million every year from public schools. The neutral factfinder confirms 3 essential UTLA positions: LAUSD has $1.8 billion in reserves, it should increase nurses, counselors and other professional staff and eliminate section 1.5 of contract. #StrikeReady pic.twitter.com/DwflgK3wvl — United Teachers Los Angeles (@UTLAnow) December 19, 2018 /**/ /**/ UTLA is demanding that these reserves be used to reduce class size (LAUSD has among the largest class sizes in the state); hire more counselors, librarians, and nurses (40% of schools have a nurse only one day a week); and fund key programs such as early childhood education and special education. Many of her fellow Swedes are also remaining grounded. “Flight shame” has kept more and more Swedes off of planes and onto other modes of travel.
But it’s not just in my neighborhood.