Author: Lois Weiner

LOIS WEINER, a member of the  New Politics editorial board, writes widely about education, labor, and politics, specializing in teacher unionism. She is currently researching the challenges for teachers unions in the political and economic terrain since 2016.

 

Biden’s pick for Secretary of Education: What to expect from Cardona?

We should let Miguel Cardona know we have his back if he defends what schools, teachers, students really need – while we simultaneously prepare for his not doing so.

Teachers unions and the pandemic: Fighting for life and facing neoliberalism’s new bipartisan push

Biden will endorse the old normal Obama handed to Trump, but he will also push profiteering and control of education through technology, a project supported by both Democrats and the GOP from the start of Trump’s administration.

Say #ByeBetsy – and organize now to fight against Biden’s education policies

Biden’s victory now requires confronting his advocacy of disastrous education policies during the Obama administration, enacted under Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

Fighting for teachers unions that speak back to power, defend students and social justice

School reopenings have become a point of political conflict on a national level, as parent, student, and teachers’ rights to have healthy, safe, equitable schools have been subordinated to the bipartisan consensus to put the economy and profit over human need.

Firing Up the House of Labor to Fight for Racial Justice: Confronting Hard Truths

Defending truths about union democracy and the inseparability of racial and economic justice in our society has shown to be extraordinarily demanding work, yet it is an unavoidable goal if the organized power of the working class is to (help) free the human race.

Building an Alternative to the Democratic Party

Bernie Sanders has ended his candidacy
When we feel our lives are in danger as they are in this pandemic, it can be very hard to look critically at national politics, by which I mean the end of Bernie’s candidacy and . . .

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Philly Educators Have a Chance to Make History

Members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) have a chance to improve lives of Philly school educators and students, challenging control of schools by corporate elites, as did Chicago teachers when they elected a new generation of leaders from . . .

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Writing an Obituary for Neocons

The New York Times obituary of neocon historian Gertrude Himmelfarb shows why  neoconservatives remain a potent political force in U.S. politics: many liberals can’t imagine a socialist challenge to capitalism that doesn’t apologize for authoritarianism.
The NYT’s sentimental gloss of Himmelfarb’s . . .

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Parents’ huge stake in the Chicago Teachers Union strike

A harsh reality of teachers’ strikes is that they hit parents – moms especially, who still do most of the work of caring for kids and housework – the hardest. Parents are left frantically searching for childcare options, especially if . . .

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Education Workers in Chicago Are Challenging the U.S. Ruling Class

Though the media is casting the strike of education workers in the Chicago Public Schools as (just) another episode in the wave of teachers’ strikes, and the press in Chicago is doing its best to defeat the union, this contract . . .

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review

Learning from the “Red State” Walkouts

Red State Revolt is based on Eric Blanc’s “on the ground” reporting for Jacobin on the 2018 walkouts of education workers in Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Arizona. He aims to tell the stories of the walkouts . . .

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What LA Teachers Have Already Won

ImageThe United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), the city’s teachers union, has now reentered negotiations with a school board chastened by a strike that has shown the movement’s political power in massive demonstrations with community members and parents.

Why the LA Teachers Strike Matters

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The January 14 strike date announced by the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) has heightened tensions in an already contentious dispute with Los Angeles Superintendent Austin Beutner, who represents the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in negotiations. However, far more is at stake in Los Angeles and for the rest of us than a traditional contract struggle.

Liberal fear about teaching a "people's history": Sam Wineburg on Howard Zinn

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The Zinn Education Project has published a fine response to an article based on Sam Wineburg’s book, “Howard Zinn’s Anti-Textbook.”

Walkouts Teach U.S. Labor a New Grammar for Struggle

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Like the Arab Spring, the U.S. “Education Spring” was an explosive wave of protests. Statewide teacher walkouts seemed to arise out of nowhere, organized through Facebook groups, with demands for increased school funding and political voice for teachers. Though the walkouts confounded national media outlets, which had little idea how to explain or report on the movements, for parent and teacher activists who have been organizing against reforms in public education over the past four decades, the protests were understandable, if unexpected. What was surprising was their breadth of support (statewide), their organizing strategy (Facebook), and their breathtakingly rapid spread.

The AFT, Janus, and the fall of the Berlin Wall

Reflections on AFT's national convention

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Reflecting on the days I spent as a delegate during the AFT national convention in Pittsburgh (held July 13-16), I was reminded of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Communism in 1989-90. No one predicted it, and it seemed to come out of nowhere. But peace activists in the West who organized international support for struggles of dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe saw the social ferment.

Walkouts teach U.S. labor a new grammar for struggle

This article will appear in the Summer 2018 issue of New Politics.         

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#FreeRider and #Freeloader obscure labor’s challenges post-Janus

ImageThe Supreme Court’s long-anticipated – and feared by progressives – decision outlawing the collection of fees in public employee unions equivalent to costs of collective bargaining was met with indignant or defiant words, rightly decrying this attack on organized labor. The response, though, has mirrored what has been missing in labor’s understanding of how we got to this point and what we need to climb out – and win.

The Red State Walkouts

An analysis - and homage - to the work of teachers

 ImageWhen I write for New Politics, I tag my blogs with key words. I wonder how many other Left publications include "teachers unions" under "labor" or include "education" as a separate topic and run critical analyses—as we do?

Teacher walkouts in Oklahoma and Kentucky challenge GOP legislatures

Kentucky school districts shut todayTeachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky massed in their respective state capitols on April 2, to demand GOP legislatures revoke  bills damaging to education passed in virtual stealth. The spark plug in Kentucky is a group of activist parents with teachers, #SaveOurSchools Kentucky.  In both states the movement has been organized outside the official teachers unions, using social media as well as traditional organizing techniques of talking with colleagues and neighbors about the issues. Another struggle of teachers is simmering, near boil, in Arizona.

Why support the strike of Jersey City teachers?

 ImageFor some, the decision to support workers who strike is a given.  We defend the right to join a union and exercise the right to strike in every country, as a human right. Defending the rights of workers to organize and withhold their labor when they need to use this weapon is as much a social justice issue as  fighting racism, battling sexism, or protecting immigrants from deportation.

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