The Progressive Comes Out Fighting in Education Issue

By Mark Walsh — January 08, 2015 1 min read
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The Progressive magazine is out with a special double issue on education, and it packs a lot of progressive punch.

The December 2014/January 2015 issue is titled “Save Our Schools!

“Free, high-quality public education, available to each and every child, is a cornerstone of American democracy,” Editor-in-chief Ruth Conniff says in her editor’s note. “Lately, like so many other public goods, it has come under attack by the forces of greed.”

She notes that some of the 14 education features in the issue were adapted from the magazine’s Public School Shakedown website, which launched a year ago.

There is a piece by Yohuru Williams critical of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other “leaders of corporate education reform” for “appropriating the language of the civil rights movement to justify their anti-union, anti-teacher, pro-testing privatization agenda.”

There is some reporting from a few local hot spots: Kristen Buras looks at charter schools in New Orleans in the decade since Hurricane Katrina, an influx she calls “disastrous.” Michelle Gunderson, a 4th grade teacher in Chicago, ruminates on the leadership of Chicago Teachers’ Union President Karen Lewis. And Barbara Miner writes about charter operator Rocketship Schools in Milwaukee.

An elaborate chart is titled, “Meet the Bullies,” and depicts “the flow of money from the corporate education reform industry” to three prominent Republicans: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Sen. Scott Walker, and former Florida governor and potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

New Jersey teacher Mark Weber continues the criticism of the New Jersey governor with a piece titled, “Chris Christie, School Bully.” He argues that Christie relishes verbal assaults on teachers, both collectively and individually.

Some of these pieces are available for free online (I’ve linked those), while others require a subscription or getting your hands on a hard copy. I stumbled upon the double issue of The Progressive at the magazine rack of a Barnes & Noble bookstore, where it was placed just inches away from the latest issue of Education Next, which offers a very different perspective on school reform.

While so much of the conversation over education reform has shifted to online news and opinion outlets, it’s nice that one can still peruse the local newsstand and find some provocative writing about education.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.