|Betty Reid Mandell February 25, 2012|
The Massachusetts legislature has established an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Commission, which is now holding hearings on how people use their EBT (food stamp, aka SNAP) cards. They heard that a Massachusetts resident had used an EBT card in Hawaii. They concluded that there must be some fraud involved, which they should investigate and put a stop to. In fact, food stamps are national, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, and can be used in any state.
|Lois Weiner February 19, 2012|
As I write, the Brian Piccolo Specialty School in Humboldt Park, Chicago is occupied by parents, teachers, and students, with Occupy Chicago and others camped outside the schol in solidarity. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is building this movement, with a wonderful wholeheartedness and passion. Bravo!
|Michael Hirsch February 10, 2012|
A sign on a lower Broadway storefront window just one block south of Wall Street reads "I can't afford a lobbyist, so I organize." The sign, one of many put up by Occupy Wall Street activists, sits inside a cavernous street floor space the United Federation of Teachers lent gratis to OWS for storage and coordination. The UFT, like other city unions, can afford lobbyists—subsidized by its own members through voluntary contributions.
|Betty Reid Mandell February 3, 2012|
Government officials tell us how many people are living at or below the poverty line, but they don’t tell us how low the poverty line is. A more appropriate name would be the “near starvation line.” The federal poverty line is based on a formula arrived at in 1963, which set the poverty line at three times the annual cost of food under a “low-cost budget,” without considering housing, fuel costs, or child care costs, all of which have escalated substantially in the past forty-nine years.
|Michael Hirsch January 17, 2012|
In his appreciation of the late Lucio Magri, the Italian Marxist and founder of the exemplary Il Manifesto newspaper, Perry Anderson tells the story in the most recent New Left Review of the trashing a young Magri took from Italian Communist Party elder Enrico Berlinguer for a speech Magri wrote that bordered on the substantive.
“Magri,” Berlinguer said, “you have yet to learn that in politics one needs the courage of banality.”
|Lois Weiner January 2, 2012|
The New York Times front-page story extolling bonuses for "highly effective teachers" repeats claims about teacher quality and retention that are both highly inaccurate and widely-promoted, especially by those advancing "free market" policies in education. This piece marks a low in the NYT's journalistic standards in reporting on education.
|Lois Weiner December 20, 2011|
A powerful new video, "The truth behind Stand for Children," tells a cautionary tale for the Left. Even if you already understand how charter schools have become a vehicle for destruction of public education, take five minutes to watch this concise analysis of how "Stand for Children," which began as a grassroots organization of parents fighting for increased school funding and reform, was taken over by the most powerful educational lobby in the world, the Billionaire Boys Club.
|Joanne Landy December 5, 2011|
New York magazine published an article called "2012=1968?" Author John Heilemann implies that Occupy Wall Street should forge the "working alliance between Democrats and the movement" that Todd Gitlin hopes for. But in my view this alliance would be a suicidal disaster; it would rob the movement of its potential to spark real change.
|Lois Weiner November 25, 2011|
Thanks to a recent blog at the website of a UK teacher union activist, we know may be coming down the road in the corporatization of US public higher education.
|Barry Finger October 17, 2011|
New Politics’ co-editor, Betty Mandell, recently championed Social Security as a fundamental universal right rejecting any recourse to selectivity through means testing. This is the first line in any robust defense of this “entitlement,” the right to live in dignity with a modicum of comfort in retirement. What is upheld in this is the fundamental distinction between a social insurance program of deferred benefits and a social assistance program.