Chicago Connections

Eons ago, Learning Magazine asked me to leave my long teaching career in New York and move to the San Francisco area to become their first staff writer. As a charter subscriber, I eagerly looked . . .

| Article |

How the Pandemic Is Driving Labor Activism Among Essential Workers

as one of the worst pandemics and economic crises in modern history continues unabated and workers are forced to choose between safety and economic security they are rising up to fight for workplace rights across . . .

| Article | Pictures |


United Opt Out covers some of the complexity of building a national opt out movement, county by county and state by state

"The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you'll get action." (Malcom X). Tim Sleker, United Opt . . .

| Article |

MEDIA WATCH: 'We are alarmed at the negative impact of excessive school testing mandates, including your Administration�s own initiatives, on children�s love of reading...' Maya Angelou's denunciation of high-stakes testing craziness ignored by corporate media, White House in eulogies' hypocrisy

Maybe we've missed it at Substance, but we haven't read in the eulogies in the corporate media that one of the last acts by Maya Angelou as a public intellectual in the United States was . . .

| Article |

Maya Angelou defended President Barack Obama against the racism of many of his fiercest critics, but he didn't even respond to her criticism of the federal government's Race To The Top test-based corporate school

Brooklyn organizing against high-stakes tests

The following article came to my attention and I think Substance readers want to add this to their information about the current struggles of the resistance to high-stakes testing. As readers already know, the movement . . .

| Article |

Brooklyn teacher Alex Messer describes the destruction of learning in New York's public schools caused by high-stakte testing at the December 3 forum.

Seattle test boycott update: Supt. backs down... Victory for the Garfield teachers and other MAP boycotting schools in in Seattle!!... No teacher will be disciplined!

Seattle schools supt. Jose Banda has backed off on his promise to discipline teachers who boycotted the MAP test and has additionally agreed to scale back the use of the MPA with students. The teachers . . .

| Article |

Seattle high school teacher Jesse Hagopian (left) spoke with Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis (above right) before both spoke at a community forum on testing and a report on the Garfield High School teachers' boycott. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.

Arne Duncan's 'proletarian' roots are another fabrication... U.S. Secretary of Education becoming a working class wannabe

It's almost adding injury to insult. For eight years when I was a kid I delivered the Newark Star Ledger before dawn throughout Linden, New Jersey, a working class town "in the shadow of the . . .

| Article |

Labor Beat show highlights campaign for an elected school board in Chicago

A newly released fifteen-minute video from Chicago's Labor Beat, which came out on June 21, 2012, shows the beginnings of the campaign for an elected school board in Chicago. Featuring parents, teachers, community leaders . . .

| Article |

SEATTLE: Rebellion against mindless high-stakes testing expands in Bill Gates's own backyard

The national rebellion against mindless high-stakes testing is growing among parents, teachers, students and even school administrators and school boards as the national elections approach and President Barack Obama has to justify his expansion of . . .

| Article |

In order to skip the ISAT, parents need to keep children at home during testing

My husband George Schmidt and I are going to keep our son Sam (a ten-year-old fifth grader at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy in Chicago) home during ISAT testing this week and next week. The tests . . .

| Article |

O. A. Thorp fifth grader Sam Schmidt. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.

Fair Test says... Best way to reduce test cheating is to end high-stakes testing

[Editor's Note: The following appeared as "How To Stop Cheating On Standardized Tests" in the Washington Post "The Answer Sheet" Blog (February 17, 2012). The blog is produced By Valerie Strauss. This iteration of it, . . .

| Article |

Above, Chicago Teachers Union Testing Committee chair Sharon Schmidt (a Steinmetz High School teacher who also serves as editor of Substance) and Monty Neill of Fair Test appeared at a forum at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) on February 15, 2012. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.

Texas parents organize 'Opt Out' for their children... 'We believe high stakes testing is immoral'

As the U.S. Department of Education and the Obama administration move to expand high-stakes secret testing of children in public schools across the USA, a growing number of parents and students are organizing for children . . .

| Article |

New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. all demonstrate the failure of market-based corporate reforms and mayoral control... Whose children have been left behind?

[Editor's note: We are borrowing shamelessly from both Valerie Strauss (the Washington Post blog Follow The Answer Sheet — and Diane Ravitch herself. The following came through the Strauss blog on January 3, 2012, . . .

| Article |

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Chicago schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard at Chicago's Schurz High School on September 9, 2011, during Duncan's bus tour of schools during the opening of the 2011 - 2012 school year. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.

Chicago Teachers Battle 'Mayor One Percent'

Rahm Emanuel, whom Occupy Chicago has dubbed Mayor 1%, fired another shot at the city’s public schools December 1. He proposed seven school closings and phase-outs, 10 “turnarounds” in which all the teachers and staff . . .

| Article |

David Cay Johnston updates readers on corporate control of Congress, how the 'one percent' evade taxes and finance massive lobbying against democracy and the majority

[Editor's Note: David Cay Johnston has written books — not only "Free Lunch..." — that everyone waking up to the class war against America's working people should be reading now, just as we did at . . .

| Article |

Georgia report on 'cheating' documents test pressure as main reason

This morning, December 20, 2011, the Georgia Governor's Special Investigators issued a report on cheating in a second major jurisdiction, the Dougherty County School System. They named 49 educators involved in misconduct, including 11 principals, . . .

| Article |

BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Barack Obama, the perfect front man for finance capital in the 21st Century

[Substance editor's note. The following analysis, by BAR executive editor Glen Ford, brings together a number of the same facts that Substance reporters and staff have been studying for years, and most recently in our . . .

| Article |

A superintendent calls school reformers' bluff... 'The problems are societal...'

[Editor's Note: The following article, which came out today, was forwarded to Substance by Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director, FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing. Readers should regularly go to the Fair Test . . .

| Article |

Corporate Reform has become the new 'status quo'

[Editor's Note: As Chicago moves into another round of the same failed teacher bashing "school reform" attacks on public education, with the support of the White House, the U.S. Department of Education, and the former . . .

| Article |

'...if you enter TFA now, I think you are contributing more to the problem, unfortunately, than to the solution'...Amazing Insider Expose on Teach for America has the Blogosphere Humming

[Editor's Note: An amazing blog posting — "Why I did TFA and Why You Shouldn't" — is shaking the lucrative world of Teach for America, one of the star-bellied sneeches of the world view . . .

| Article |