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Chicago Teachers Build a Movement

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Chicago teachers see themselves as engaged in a movement to defend the public sphere from corporate acquisition. “Wall Street hedge funders and other speculators are betting heavily on school privatization as the next great investment frontier.”

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – 3/24/13

Chicago Teachers Prepare Electoral Challenge to Mayor Emanuel

Massive school closings have made Chicago “ground zero” in the battle to preserve public education, said Michael Brunson, of the Chicago Teachers Union. Fifty-four schools have been targeted for closure, this year, most of them in Black and brown neighborhoods. “People don’t want to move into a community if they don’t have a school they can send their children to,” said Brunson. “It’s part of a downward spiral that disinvests from our communities and causes them to crumble.” The teachers union plans to register 100,000 new voters to challenge mayoral control of the schools.

NYC Parents Boycott High Stakes Testing

With their parents’ permission, students at 33 New York City schools will opt out of scheduled standardized tests. “We feel that there is too much riding on these exams that have so much to do with the dismantling of the public school system,” said Cynthia Copeland, a parent and member of Time Out From Testing. “It’s this constant teaching to the test; there’s no real learning going on.”

Newark Protests Against Social Security Cuts

The People’s Organization for Progress held demonstrations, in Newark, New Jersey, to protest President Obama’s proposed cuts to Social Security and other entitlement programs. Chairman Larry Hamm noted that POP endorsed Obama “in both elections after much discussion and debate.” But, “now we turn around and have to fight the very guy we voted for.” Obama, said Hamm, is “the first Democratic president to actually propose cuts to Social Security.”

Obama is “Face of Capitalist Empire”

From the start, Obama has been leading the charge to betray Social Security and the foundation of the Democratic Party’s policy platform, which is the New Deal,” said Kevin Alexander Gray, the Columbia, South Carolina writer and activist. “Obama is the face of the capitalist empire; that’s what he believes in,” said Gray. “What troubles me about Black Obama supporters is, they just seem to ignore it. It’s all about misguided racial pride.”

EEOC Dismisses Black Complaints, Blames Sequestration

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims that sequestration-mandated spending cuts will add to the agency’s backlog of employment discrimination cases. But Ricardo Jones, the former chief investigator for the EEOC’s southern New York region, says the Commission is already dismissing the vast majority of Black complaints, and “hasn’t paid overtime to any investigator or mediator at the EEOC for the past 15 years. According to Jones, the Commission “only finds reasonable cause 3.1% of the time. That’s worse than the Bush administration.”

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