Net Neutrality and Education

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Why the images of internet always seem to come from the ’90s, we have no clue.

Deja vu, anyone?

Back in 2015, the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality, a huge victory for maintaining freedom of information via the internet.

However, with the appointment of Ajit Pai as the chairman of the FCC, things may be changing once again.

Here’s where we are today, via The Verge:

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said today that net neutrality was “a mistake” and that the commission is now “on track” to return to a much lighter style of regulation.

“Our new approach injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market,” Pai said during a speech at Mobile World Congress this afternoon. “And uncertainty is the enemy of growth.”

Pai has long been opposed to net neutrality and voted against the proposal when it came up in 2015. While he hasn’t specifically stated that he plans to reverse the order now that he’s chairman, today’s speech suggests pretty clearly that he’s aiming to.

Need a refresher on why this is so important, especially in the education world? So did we. Here are a couple of resources from several years ago that give good context.

Net Neutrality: A Huge Victory for Education:

Still, at its core, net neutrality is just as simple as the name implies. In essence, it’s a guarantee that regardless of whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or someone down on their luck desperately searching for a job at a public library, you’ll experience access to the same Internet. Sounds perfectly reasonable, right? Unfortunately, the nation’s largest ISPs fail to agree.

Without net neutrality, industry leaders like Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner could hypothetically increase their profit margins by splitting the Internet into two very distinct categories: the ultra fast and the intolerably slow. Granted, all three companies emphatically deny plans of doing so. Nevertheless, it isn’t too hard to imagine a scenario where the desire to please investors wins out over some sense of civic responsibility

What Net Neutrality Means for Students and Educators:

Two students are researching a paper – one with net neutrality, and one without. How are their experiences different?

Courtney Young: An individual student is connected to a single Internet service provider (ISP), which becomes the gateway through which the student must connect to gain access to millions of web pages, platforms and services.

Gina—with an open Internet connection—is free to choose whatever information or resources she likes from small, highly specialized content providers or large global corporations, no matter which ISP she uses and no matter if she is using fixed or mobile broadband.

Stan, the student without an open Internet, might be blocked from accessing resources that compete with content offered by his ISP. For example, Comcast merged with NBC Universal several years ago. So, if Stan uses Comcast to access the Internet, he might be redirected to NBC Learn when he was trying to get PBS content. Or perhaps a commercial distributor of primary source materials had made a deal with Verizon to expedite its content. Stan might have to wait for a sluggish download of open educational resources versus getting super-fast access to the commercial content.

So what can we do now? Make noise. A lot of the information out there hasn’t caught up with the reinvigoration of the debate. It’s from 2015 and earlier.

Perhaps the most effective thing that we can do RIGHT NOW is call the FCC and your representatives and tell them that you support net neutrality, as an educator and as a citizen.

We can tell you now that a phone call will take 10-20 minutes, as you do have to navigate through some touch-tone options. Choose the “submit a consumer complaint” option and then “0” to speak with an agent. There is hold time involved, at least when we called.

FCC: 1-888-225-5322

As always, if phone calls aren’t feasible, or you simply can’t wait on hold, you can file a complaint online here.

Recent news has made it clear; while making lots of noise doesn’t always work, it certainly alerts those making the decisions to the fact that millions of their constituents are watching. For the sake of students today and in the future, don’t let this issue pass quietly.

 

 

Holiday Weekend Reading: President’s Day

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There is, as always, a lot out there worth reading. Here are several things we’ve come across lately.

“Why Teaching Civics in America’s Classrooms Must Be A Trump-Era Priority,” from Mother Jones. Kristina Rizga breaks down some of the reasons behind the vanishing of civics in the United States, signs of a possible resurgence, and why it matters.

The good news is that help may be on the way: The ideology of how to teach American history and civics might vary, says Ted McConnell, executive director of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, but there is strong bipartisan support for expanding social studies. If recent research is any indication, that support couldn’t come a moment sooner. When, in 2011, the World Values Survey asked US citizens in their late teens and early 20s whether democracy was a good way to run a country, about a quarter said it was “bad” or “very bad,” an increase of one-third since the late 1990s. Among citizens of all ages, 1 in 6 now say it would be fine for the “army to rule,” up from 1 in 16 in 1995. In a different national survey, about two-thirds of Americans could not name all three branches of the federal government or which party controlled the House of Representatives. In a third study, almost half of the respondents said the government should be permitted to prohibit a peaceful march.

Educator, author, and civil rights activist Jonathan Kozol has spent the past five decades writing about public schools. “Civic education should be empowering young people to ask discerning questions, and to feel that it’s okay to challenge the evils and injustices they perceive,” he said. But “civic engagement is being beaten out of kids by this tremendous emphasis on authoritarian instruction, and part of it is [the emphasis on] one right answer on the test. We need to empower young people to understand that the most important questions we face in life have limitless numbers of answers and that some of those answers will be distressing to the status quo.”

“20 Black Women You Should Be Following Right Now,” from Bitch Media, a list by Deeshaw Philyaw. If you’re on Twitter and you’re not following these women, remedy that. It makes the Twitter eggs worth putting up with.

In her book I’m Every Woman: Remixed Tales of Marriage, Motherhood and Work, Lonnae O’Neal wrote, “It’s not that I think black women have all the answers — only that we have struggled with the questions longer.” These words are as prescient and applicable to our present situation under the Despot-in-Chief as they are to the work-family life (im)balance O’Neal was writing about over a decade ago.

Since our foremothers were forced onto these shores, we’ve struggled with questions about freedom and survival, justice and equity, truth and lies. Long before we took to the streets and corporate boardrooms and courtrooms and classrooms and concert stages, the struggle lived in our bodies and in our children’s bodies, on auction blocks and in cold shanties.

No, we don’t have all the answers. But we’ve been living and loving and creating and fighting and figuring out how to make a way out of no way longer than anybody.

So listen up.

“Decolonization is not a Metaphor,” from the journal Decolonization, Indigeinity, Education & Society, by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang. An analysis of a term that is used more frequently than it’s understood. Abstract at the link; full PDF available for free.

Our goal in this article is to remind readers what is unsettling about decolonization. Decolonization brings about the repatriation of Indigenous land and life; it is not a metaphor for other things we want to do to improve our societies and schools. The easy adoption of decolonizing discourse by educational advocacy and scholarship, evidenced by the increasing number of calls to “decolonize our schools,” or use “decolonizing methods,” or, “decolonize student thinking”, turns decolonization into a metaphor. As important as their goals may be, social justice, critical methodologies, or approaches that decenter settler perspectives have objectives that may be incommensurable with decolonization. Because settler colonialism is built upon an entangled triad structure of settler-native-slave, the decolonial desires of white, non-white, immigrant, postcolonial, and oppressed people, can similarly be entangled in resettlement, reoccupation, and reinhabitation that actually further settler colonialism.

“Family Values: Mapping the Spread of Anti-Gay Ideology,” in Harpers. We read just about anything by Masha Gessen, especially post-election. If you don’t know her work, this exploration of the links between US religious conservatism and strains of the same in Eastern Europe and Russia. Gessen has left Russia for the US twice–most recently, due to fear of losing her children due to being gay–and so the subject is personal.

At the time, I think of myself as a journalist interviewing a marginalized political activist for a mainstream American magazine. I think I have the power. But in a few weeks, Brown will become president of the World Congress of Families, and in November he will both rejoice in the election of Donald Trump and begin hounding him on Twitter, demanding that he take a stand against same-sex marriage. In May 2016, the Russians are leading an international charge, with Komov at the U.N. Soon, we will witness how easily the balance of power can shift. The American president-elect’s pick for U.N. ambassador will be among his first announcements; it will be the governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, who has no international experience but does have a track record of opposing both L.G.B.T. and reproductive rights. If she takes office, years of painstaking progress on L.G.B.T. rights at the U.N. will be reversed, with Russia needing to play but a small part.

But in May 2016 it is a theoretical, even condescending, question I ask Brown at the conclusion of our backstage interview: “Do you see a way for you and me to live in the same society?…If we can negotiate,” I ask, “is there a way that my family and yours can live in peace in the same society?”

“I don’t know.” Brown smiles — I think it’s a smile of awkwardness — and presses his hand to his knee, which has been shaking for the past ten minutes. “No.”

“The Forgotten Work of Jessie Redmon Fauset,” by Morgan Jerkins in The New Yorker. We (well, one-half of our editing team, at any rate) is fascinated with inter-war lit, and this article added several titles to our to-be-read pile. Fundamental to the Harlem Renaissance, but mostly unknown, Jerkins begins to remedy this.

“The Harlem Renaissance as we know it would not have been possible without her participation,” Cheryl A. Wall, the author of “Women of the Harlem Renaissance,” told me recently. “I think we lose a bit of our literary history if we do not acknowledge the contributions of Jessie Fauset.” So why has her own work been forgotten?

A simple answer to that question is that she was a woman. In his 1981 book, “When Harlem Was in Vogue,” the scholar David Levering Lewis writes of Fauset, “There is no telling what she would have done had she been a man, given her first-rate mind and formidable efficiency at any task.” And from the beginning the women of the Harlem Renaissance were slighted in celebrations of the movement. In 1925, when Locke published “The New Negro,” his landmark anthology of fiction, poetry, and essays, which aimed “to register the transformations of the inner and outer life of the Negro in America that have so significantly taken place in the last few years,” only eight of the thirty-six contributors were women.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Have a Swedish mud cake recipe. We can attest, having tried the real thing, that it’s worth your time parsing out some of the measuring oddities. No better way to end a long weekend.

Weekend Reading: 2/12

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We’ve been reading a lot this week, and we still feel like we’re playing catch up. Here are a few things that may be interesting–or useful–to educators.

While the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the stay on the administration’s travel ban, you are probably already aware that ICE conducted a series of raids this week around the country.

Here’s some background information, from The Washington Post:

Officials said the raids targeted known criminals, but they also netted some immigrants without criminal records, an apparent departure from similar enforcement waves during the Obama administration. Last month, Trump substantially broadened the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target to include those with minor offenses or no convictions at all.

Trump has pledged to deport as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

If you are in the classroom, it’s likely that this is impacting your students, their family members, and their broader community. To that end, here are some resources that you can hand out NOW that may help at least clarify the situation.

Next, not a long read, but an important tool: from United We Dream, Know Your Rights downloadable cards that explain our rights clearly and succinctly are now available in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and English. ALL people in the United States have these rights, regardless of their immigration status. These cards are designed to be used as a guide when interacting with immigration authorities. Below is the English version.

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From The New Yorker, “Teaching Southern and Black History Under Trump,” a look at some of the challenges professors in the South, in largely red states, are facing as they attempt to teach history in the current political climate.

“I don’t know that Trump has historical awareness at all,” Fitzhugh Brundage, the chair of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told me. “He doesn’t display any historical consciousness or depth.” U.N.C.-Chapel Hill is a relatively liberal Southern institution; Brundage described the atmosphere on campus after Trump’s victory as “funereal.” And he said that many of the historians he knows feel their work has become even more critical: “I’ve had any number of colleagues say they feel recommitted and energized to do what they do, because of its very importance now.”

From Think Progress, a short read on how the Department of Justice may be backing off of protections for transgender kids:

As ThinkProgress reported last August, the Obama administration’s guidance “stated that Title IX’s nondiscrimination protections on the basis of ‘sex’ protect transgender students in accordance with their gender identity, such that they must be allowed to use the bathrooms and play on sports teams that match their gender.” But the brief filed Friday signals that the Trump administration no longer wants to implement that guidance.

And, while not education-related, here’s an explainer from Vox about why General Flynn may continue to be at the center of one of the more urgent scandals plaguing the administration. We’ll see if anything comes of this one.

Late Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that Flynn had called Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 29, the same day that Obama had slapped new sanctions on Russia in retaliation for its hack of the US election. The conversation covered the sanctions, and, according to two officials, suggested that the Trump administration would be rolling back the sanctions in the future.

That would mean Flynn had been actively trying to undermine Obama administration policy while not yet in office — a big, questionably legal no-no. Indeed, the FBI is currently investigating the content of the Flynn calls.

And finally, welcome to new readers! Our community continues to grow, and we look forward to providing more original educational material as we move forward–while still highlighting the best of what we find on the web.

Have something you’d like to see? Have something you’d like to share? Get in touch this way, or get in touch this way. Or just leave a comment. Hope to hear from you soon!

Weekend Reading

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Bear with us–the news is moving fast, and we’re working hard! Check back in soon for posts re. immigration, students’ rights, and Black History Month. In the meantime, here’s some of what we’ve encountered this week.

From the Zinn Education Project, an article in advance of Presidents’ Day. Dr. Clarence Lusane’s post would fit well in a discussion of what is included (or not) when history is written.

One of the presidential slaves was Ona “Oney” Maria Judge. In March 1796 (the year before Washington’s second term in office ended), Oney was told that she would be given to Martha Washington’s granddaughter as a wedding present. Oney carefully planned her escape and slipped out of the Washingtons’ home in Philadelphia while the Washingtons were eating dinner. Oney Judge fled the most powerful man in the United States, defied his attempts to trick her back into slavery, and lived out a better life. After her successful attempt became widely known, she was a celebrity of sorts. Her escape from the Washingtons fascinated journalists, writers, and others, but more important, it was an inspiration to the abolition movement and other African Americans who were being enslaved by whites.

Lida Dianti’s 2016 piece on Black History Month in the Daily Trojan is worth a look if you missed it last year. Dianti makes the case for Black History Month in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In honor of BHM — and seeing that Black History is not taught from a black perspective but a predominantly white one — it is more than appropriate to use the history itself to explain how the past defines the racial injustices of today. There are two fundamental works conveniently left out of all levels of education: Slavery by Another Name and The New Jim Crow — the first, a documentation of the advent of industrial slavery in post-Civil War America and its criminalization of black people into second-class citizenry. At this time, the convict lease system relegated black Americans into forced laborers, imprisoned by the U.S. justice system as encouraged by states, local government, white farmers and corporations until World War II. The latter work traces the narrative of segregation and so-called integration well after the Civil Rights Movement, as seen with the mass incarceration of black Americans as a result of the disproportionate and skewed policing of the war on drugs. Since the 1980s, black Americans have been segregated through legalized discrimination and unfair prison sentences, which resulted in the inability to integrate in society after incarceration.

NPR Books reviews two YA novels that focus on immigration, Melissa de la Cruz’s Something in Between and Marie Marquardt’s The Radius of Us. Both have been added to our reading list.

De la Cruz’s protagonist, Jasmine, is devastated when learns that she and her family are living in the U.S. illegally: “I’m breaking apart, shattering,” she thinks to herself. “Who am I? Where do I belong? I’m not American. I’m not a legal resident. I don’t even have a Green Card. I’m nothing. Nobody. Illegal.”

The truth comes out after Jasmine, a classic overachiever, wins a prestigious scholarship. Like a lot of immigrant kids, de la Cruz says, Jasmine works hard to prove she can succeed in this country. “I wanted to, you know, put this all-American girl who happened to be Filipino … through the ringer. Like, what if you’re head cheerleader, class president, valedictorian — but then, all of a sudden, you’re not that special anymore because of how you came to this country?”

Magda Pescayne may be familiar to you as the woman behind Ask Moxie. These days she’s starting a column on parenting under Trump. Her emphasis on routine and predictability, to the extent that it’s possible, can also apply to the classroom.

Kids need routine and stability. You need routine and stability. In the middle of the world falling down around us, the only one who can provide routine and stability for you and your children is you.

You may be feeling like you can’t keep it together logistically, if things get any worse (and that may be true). You may be feeling like you can’t keep it together emotionally for much longer (or that you aren’t currently keeping it together emotionally). But you have to stick to routines, for your kids and for yourself.

Finally, at Teaching for Change, a little more information on protest for those of us new to it from someone who’s been at it a long time. Bruce Hartford was a civil rights worker for Dr. King in the 1960s, and he has a couple of techniques he’d like to revive.

I’ve recently participated in several protests aimed at building resistance to Trump and Trumpism. But from what I could see, there appeared to be little conscious effort to use those demonstrations as organizing tools in effective ways that were second nature to us back in the bad old days. So I would like to suggest two techniques that I think would be effective today…

Rest up, take care, and let us know what you’d like to see.

Week Two: Resources to Use Now

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There’s a lot going on right now.

As Trump’s first 100 days continue, we will be doing our best to provide resources and materials that can be immediately useful. If there’s something in particular you’d like to see, please let us know.

For today, some background reading and lesson plans.

From EdSurge, a piece about how Social Studies and Civics teachers in particular are scrambling to keep up with the first weeks of the new administration. We recommend clicking through; the article mentions several tech tools that help students understand how the US government functions–or, has functioned up until now.

One of those teachers is Sabrina Brooks, a seventh grade humanities teacher at San Francisco Friends School, who began her class yesterday by having students read and discuss material in Nicholas Kristof’s editorial, “President Trump, meet my family.”

Brooks didn’t have Kristof’s editorial etched into her lesson plans until this weekend, when protests around the country unfolded in response to the travel ban. But it fit with the unit she has been teaching on decision-making in times of injustice. The unit, as Brooks describes, looks at “history of immigration policy marginalization of at risk groups, the factors that led to Hitler’s rise, and the behavior of people who were bystanders and upstanders in these contexts.”

From The New York Times, a lesson plan appropriate for high school and college students, “Analyzing Trump’s Immigration Ban: A Lesson Plan.” The lesson relies mainly on articles but does incorporate video elements that could be skipped if students do not have easy access to tech in the classroom.

Mr. Trump’s executive order fits into a larger pattern of U.S. history. In 1882, Congress excluded Chinese immigrants from entering the U.S. Later it prohibited almost all Japanese immigrants. And still later it gave preference to immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, making it difficult for people from other parts of the world to immigrate to the U.S. But the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 changed all of that. It did away with the national origins quota and banned discrimination based on where a person was from.

However, with Mr. Trump’s pronouncement on Jan. 27, the U.S. once again excludes immigrants based on national origin from countries like Iraq, Yemen and Sudan.

This activity invites students to analyze Mr. Trump’s stated purpose for his executive order (as explained within Section 1 of the text), then consider three pieces in The Times that question its effectiveness, legality and interpretation of American values.

The lesson plan also includes a list of other lesson plans from The Times’ Learning Network that educators may find helpful.

The Times directs readers, finally, to a post over at Facing Today: “3 Ways to Address the Latest News on Immigration With Your Students.” The post is an excellent starting point for any investigation into these issues and policies. The material here is organized around three main points:

  1. Affirm the right to education and respect for all students…
  2. Use the ‘universe of obligation’ to consider how we define our responsibilities towards others…
  3. Put debates about immigration and refugees into historical context.

An added bonus is, strangely enough, the comments section. Teachers who are currently figuring out how to deal with these issues in their own classrooms are weighing in.

More as we have it.

Morning Reading: Vetting the News

Learning to assess sources has always been critical. In the age of the internet, it became even more important. And today? Absolutely imperative.

Here’s some material that we’ve found that can help both students and educators develop this vital skill.

From Common Sense Media, a guide directed at parents and guardians that also includes a list of tips for older kids.

Older kids especially might enjoy learning tricks to spot fake news. Here are a few things to watch for:

  • Look for unusual URLs, including those that end with “lo” or “.com.co” — these are often trying to appear like legitimate news sites, but they aren’t.
  • Look for signs of low quality, such as words in all caps, headlines with glaring grammatical errors, bold claims with no sources, and sensationalist images (women in bikinis are popular clickbait on fake news sites). These are clues that you should be skeptical of the source.
  • Check a site’s “About Us” section. Find out who supports the site or who is associated with it. If this information doesn’t exist — and if the site requires that you register before you can learn anything about its backers — you have to wonder why they aren’t being transparent.
  • Check Snopes, Wikipedia, and Google before trusting or sharing news that seems too good (or bad) to be true.
  • Consider whether other credible, mainstream news outlets are reporting the same news. If they’re not, it doesn’t mean it’s not true, but it does mean you should dig deeper.
  • Check your emotions. Clickbait and fake news strive for extreme reactions. If the news you’re reading makes you really angry or super smug, it could be a sign that you’re being played. Check multiple sources before trusting.

From NPR, Steve Inskeep presents A Finder’s Guide to Facts. This article is appropriate for high school and above, and it presents a thesis ready for analysis and debate (emphasis ours):

Are we really in a post-truth era? Somebody on the Internet said so. Many people,actually…

But let’s properly define the problem. History and experience tell me it’s not a post-truth era: Facts have always been hard to separate from falsehoods, and political partisans have always made it harder. It’s better to call this a post-trust era.

There’s also a thorough list of questions for readers to ask themselves when approaching a source, including “Does the news source appear to employ editors?” and “Did the writer engage with anyone who disagrees?” And there’s room for student discussion here, too: for example, does every issue deserve to have both sides presented? Should we dismiss sources without editors immediately, or just proceed with additional caution?

 

Holiday Reading List

In honor of Martin Luther King Day

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Got a little bit of time over the long weekend? Here are a few things that we found fascinating, frightening, and fundamental this week.

Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: In honor of the holiday, edutopia presents seven rich resources for educators looking to integrate more material on King and the Civil Rights Movement into their classrooms, now and throughout the year.

Since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983, the holiday has provided an opportunity for Americans to honor and learn from the iconic figure. Yet teaching about King’s cultural legacy shouldn’t be limited to January and February. That legacy should be celebrated and analyzed in classrooms throughout the year. And at this moment in American history, King’s philosophy of nonviolence can help bring balance to classroom discussions.

The key, though, is ensuring that King’s ideas aren’t oversimplified, wrote Melinda D. Anderson in The Atlantic last year. Students should be encouraged to examine King through a broader lens, and to research his important ideas in areas like voting rights, housing and economic inequity, nonviolent activism, and social justice. The Dos and Don’ts of Celebrating MLK Day, from Teaching Tolerance, offers some wonderful ideas to start.

(We recently featured “The Dos and Don’ts of Celebrating MLK Day” on our Twitter account and can highly recommend it as well.)

Two from Robert Reich:

The 15 Warning Signs of Impending Tyrannya well-documented list of events that are unfortunately more than a little familiar at this point. An important, if difficult, read.

As tyrants take control of democracies, they typically:

1.  Exaggerate their mandate to govern – claiming, for example, that they won an election by a landslide even after losing the popular vote.

2.  Repeatedly claim massive voter fraud in the absence of any evidence, in order to restrict voting in subsequent elections.

3.  Call anyone who opposes them “enemies.”

and

Robert Reich’s First 100 Days Resistance Agenda, over at Alternet, a list of 14 steps we can take towards meaningful–and effective–resistance.

2. March and demonstrate—in a coordinated, well-managed way. The “1 Million Women March” is already scheduled for the Inauguration—and will be executed with real skill. See: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/11/15/counter-trump-women-are-mobilizing-massive-march-washington. There will be “sister” marches around the country—in LA and elsewhere. They need to be coordinated and orchestrated. And then? 1 Million Muslims? 1 Million Latinos? What would keep the momentum alive and keep the message going?

3. Boycott all Trump products, real estate, hotels, resorts, everything. And then boycott all stores (like Nordstrom) that carry merchandise from Trump family brands. See: http://www.racked.com/…/136239…/grabyourwallet-trump-boycott. See also this Google document on boycotting.

This Visualization Shows How Ridiculously Divided Our Congress Has Become: The title says it all. There are many paths for debate and discussion that can come out of this data, perhaps first and foremost how we got here in the first place. Check out the full set of images and a quick writeup at The Higher Learning. You can read the full study here.

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Homeless U: How You Can Help, via KQED, the San Francisco Bay Area’s local NPR affiliate, is a quick list of organizations working to help homeless college students around California. This list is a response to listener reaction to an earlier multimedia series about homeless colleges students, Homeless U, which deserves its own link.

In December, The California Report’s weekly magazine aired a radio, video, photo and text series about homeless students attending college. We were awed by an outpouring of interest in helping those students and others in their situation.

One community member set up fundraising campaigns for two San Francisco Bay Area students interviewed for our stories. At least two students interviewed have received housing due to the generosity of KQED listeners. Also, listeners from The California Report’s partner stations offered support to the new shelter for homeless students in Los Angeles featured in the story.

Pro Publica: The Trump Administration is one to bookmark, though not technically a specific story. Rather, it’s a landing page curating all of Pro Publica’s coverage of the Trump administration and their policies. If you aren’t familiar with their work on a huge range of topics, now is a good time to become acquainted with it. If you are, you already know why this page is worth a visit.

The Indivisible Guide, “a practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda,” is available in English and Spanish and contains a wealth of critical material from former congressional staffers about how to best apply pressure to our representatives. Below is the introduction in full. Download the PDF and find out about local groups in your area.

Donald Trump is the biggest popular vote loser in history to ever call himself President- Elect. In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the members of Congress (MoCs) who would do his bidding. Together, we have the power to resist — and we have the power to win.

We know this because we’ve seen it before. The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism— and they won.

We believe that protecting our values, our neighbors, and ourselves will require mounting a similar resistance to the Trump agenda — but a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance,

and fairness. Trump is not popular. He does not have a mandate. He does not have large congressional majorities. If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.

To this end, the following chapters offer a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations looking to replicate the Tea Party’s success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents. The guide is intended to be equally useful for stiffening Democratic spines and weakening pro-Trump Republican resolve.

We believe that the next four years depend on Americans across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda. We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize us and our neighbors. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief useful tools to make Congress listen.

 

Small Stones: A Recap

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Here’s what we’ve been up to since our initial post in November 2016:

Curating Curricula and Lesson Plans: 

We prioritize finding lesson plans and curricula that are high-quality, free to access and use, and applicable to the present political reality.

Reading Lists and Research:

We highlight resources and background reading that can be helpful for educators and students.

Original Lesson Plans and Activities:

Small stones creates lesson plans and activities where they don’t already exist. Keep an eye on this space for more coming soon.

Students and Civil Disobedience: A Reading List

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image via heavy.com

The right to public protest is a cornerstone of democracy in the United States, but it’s often presented in the classroom as a historical relic–or an activity solely for adults. Here are some resources that can expose students to this type of activism, both in the past and happening here and now.

Note: resources are grouped by suggested age-level, but may well be appropriate for students of many ages.

For elementary grade students:

  • Daddy, There’s a Noise Outside, by Kenneth Braswell, as profiled at The Root. Braswell’s book deals with contemporary Black Lives Matter protests as well as previous civil rights protests. Written for kids ages 6-9.
  • From Watch the Yard, a great reading list: “10 Multi-Cultural Children’s Books about the Importance of Protesting that Every Child Should Read.” Titles cover the March on Washington, the work of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Mama Miti (Wangari Muta Maathai)–and that’s just for a start.

For middle-grade students:

Gwen Gamble had just been released from jail and didn’t want to go back. Shortly before the crusade, the teenager had been arrested for participating in a lunch-counter sit-in and jailed for five days. “We were put in with people who had actually broken the law. It was scary. They weren’t nice,” says Gamble, who was 15.

She and her two sisters were trained by the movement to be recruiters for the Children’s Crusade. On the first day of the march, they went to several schools and gave students the cue to leave. They then made their way to 16th Street Baptist.

“We left the church with our picket signs and our walking shoes,” says Gamble. “Some of us even had on our rain coats because we knew that we were going to be hosed down by the water hoses.”

  • More information on the Children’s Crusade appropriate for middle and high school students can be found at Stanford’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Encyclopedia.

For high school students:

Despite warnings from teachers that there could be consequences for ditching class, students said they were proud to stand up for their beliefs.

Yesenia Flores, 15, a sophomore at Roosevelt High, held a sign: “Trump makes us fear for our lives.”

“All I’ve wanted to do is make my parents proud,” she said. “I can’t make my parents proud if they’re not here.”

Blanca Villaseor, a sophomore at Collegiate Charter High, said she was protesting the president-elect on behalf of her parents. The sign she was holding read: “Latinos contra Trump” — Spanish for Latinos against Trump.

Suzanne Rueda, 15, a sophomore at the downtown Ramon Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, said she’d been protesting since the day after the election. As of Monday, she hadn’t been reprimanded for missing class, but she said she’d heard an announcement that morning over the school intercom that students who missed school could be suspended. She thought that was misguided.

“It feels like we’re leading ourselves,” she said. “We can’t vote. This is all we can do.”

Trump Syllabus 2.0: Supplemental Reading

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From AAIHS (African American Intellectual History Society) is this Supplementary Reading List. This joins the Trump Syllabus 2.0 that we posted about several weeks ago. Worth your time and attention, either as background reading or for advanced students.

Categories include:

  • Origins, Intellectual Genealogies, and Ideological Constructs
  • Race, Class, Gender and Difference
  • Religion and Society
  • Civil Rights and Liberties
  • The Worlds Within and Beyond Our Shores
  • Contemporary Representations

All categories include primary and secondary sources, along with multimedia resources.