Good News and Bad

I don’t read enough. I don’t have time; maybe I can sneak in 500 or 1000 words over breakfast. (I haven’t been writing either.) I do listen to good podcasts when I work out and one of the best is from Doug Henwood. I’ve been reading his Left Business Observer for about 15 years or so. Henwood has a radio show too, “Behind the News” or sometimes “Almost Behind the News”, which is sent out as a podcast. That’s what I was listening to this morning– everyone should listen to it– and the interview with Steve Horn pointed me to a piece about the Chicago public schools that I think needs to be more widely read. There is good and bad news coming out of the Windy City.

The bad news is that the Obama administration, Horn shows, has deep ties to the architects of school privatization. The Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was, of course, an Obama aide; Emanuel has been closing down public schools right and left and firing teachers just as quickly. The goal seems transparent: there is a lot of money to be made in for-profit schools staffed by poorly paid teachers. This is what has happened in the college system more generally. Even in the public universities cheap labor is at the heart of the institutional model. There is some good news though, as this piece in the Nation suggests, Chicagoans are fighting back and in some cases winning. Maybe our long lost progressive movement can be reborn.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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