Education Roundup: “Socialist” Kindergartners?

Photoillustration by Nick Baumann. Sources: <a href="">Jectre</a>/Flickr, <a href="">courosa</a>/Flickr, <a href="">stevendepolo</a>/Flickr

  • Ah, kindergarten, where you learn that sharing is “socialist” and cooperation is…also “socialist.” Mother Jones reporter Tim Murphy examines GOP presidential contender Tim Pawlenty’s controversial education record, which includes selecting an education commissioner for Minnesota who…well, read the rest here.
  • In Los Angeles, it’s illegal for people under the age of 18 to be on the streets while school is in session. To enforce this policy, Los Angeles Police Department has conducted sweeps around schools, detained students for 45 minutes, and given out $250 curfew tickets before letting them go to class. Guess who’s getting cited, Huffington Post reports: “According to LA school police data, none of the more than 13,000 tickets they issued from 2005 to 2009 went to a white student.” Thankfully, advocates from the Community Rights Campaign, Public Counsel, and the ACLU of Southern California prodded LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to issue a new policy that ensures curfew sweeps don’t occur during the first hour of classes and discourages officers from giving a ticket if a student is clearly headed toward school.
  • The private school Bill Gates attended has an average of 16 students per class. But Bill Gates recommends increasing class size in the country’s public schools. The New York Times reports on the discrepancies between what public education reformers recommend for everyone else’s kids and the elite private school education most of them received as children. Example: “If my future were determined by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn’t be here, I guarantee that.” Guess whose wife said that?
  • Remember Mission High student Eman? Mother Jones education reporter Kristina Rizga reports on the impact one Mission High student had on MoJo readers—and vice versa.
  • Michigan’s Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb issued layoff notices to all 5,466 public school teachers in Detroit.
  • Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel selected charter and merit pay proponent Jean-Claude Brizard as the new Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools. This is to the dismay of 95 percent of teachers who voted “no confidence” in Brizard.
  • Arne Duncan announced that New Hampshire is receiving $1.47 million to convert its lowest performing schools into charters or replace their principals, or close these schools altogether.


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as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

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