In These Times
Like Bargaining for the Common Good, TURN members also believe teachers need to approach bargaining more creatively and boldly. Specifically, TURN wants to see unions negotiate over policies that “advance student learning,” such as reducing the number of standardized tests students must take while also pushing for new kinds of assessments that measure skills like creativity.
El Enemigo Común
(Orginally published in Spanish on SubVersiones, see links at the end.) If the national teachers movement in Mexico manages to bring down the educational reform, there will be a path to bringing down all the structural reforms that are occurring in the country’s strategic sectors, such as the energy sector. This is the assessment that teachers are making. This is precisely the fear of the federal government.
They're peacefully resisting US-style neoliberal measures intended to crush the unions-a backbone of Mexico's social-justice movements. Taking union leaders hostage, murdering unarmed teachers and students, firing thousands, and closing one of Mexico's most progressive institutions are serious violations of human and labor rights, and of the rule of law itself. Now, 200,000 doctors to join teachers in Mexico national strike.
Oaxacans in 2006 tied the repression of education workers to broader frustrations with official impunity and deep-seated social and economic inequality. Those frustrations continue to animate everyday life. In confronting today's new challenges, Oaxacans are doing more than simply “saying no.” They’re drawing from an array of experiences – including that of the Oaxaca Commune in 2006 – to imagine collective alternatives, and make them real.
Because their traditional allies from the Democratic Party have obsessively embraced corporate-motivated innovations, teacher unions seem paralyzed, unable to respond with a new strategy. They criticize the overuse of standardized tests, but they keep electing Democrats to office who, once elected, more often than not join the corporate attack on education.
Agustin Morales was fired from his job as a Massachusetts public school teacher after being elected president of his union and after he participated in collective protest against an element of education reform. Here is the story of how community groups, parents and other teacher union activists came together to support him and help him win his job back.
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The former radical leader now finds himself in partnership with former adversaries as an advocate for school choice and vouchers. He says he is “a novelty, an outspoken black man and former large system school superintendent who supported a growing movement that was largely championed by conservative white people."