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  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    African-American history books were tossed by mistake, official says

    The emergency manager appointed to oversee the Highland Park School District’s finances denied Tuesday that a large collection of black history books, tapes, film strips and other materials were deliberately discarded into Dumpsters last week from the district’s high school library.Emergency manager Donald Weatherspoon, said workers on the second floor of the library mistakenly threw them out. He said the district was able to recover them in time.It’s unclear, though, how much was really recovered. Residents said they found about 1,000 pieces of material on their own Thursday evening....

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    In Mississippi, a gray area between black and white

    CLEVELAND, Miss.—The Illinois Central railroad tracks that once separated residents, white from black, have been torn out to make way for a landscaped promenade.Cleveland's largest high school, founded in 1906 exclusively for the children of white residents, now has nearly equal numbers of black and white students.But nearly a half century after a federal judge ordered Cleveland to begin school desegregation, government attorneys have returned to court to argue the district must, once and for all, "fully dismantle its racially identifiable one-race schools," in a legal battle that is again dividing the town.Public schools east of the former railroad tracks are still virtually 100% black. Schools west of the former racial divide remain predominantly white....

  • Originally published 02/26/2013

    Chase Madar: The School Security America Doesn’t Need

    Chase Madar (@ChMadar) is a civil rights attorney in New York City who has written about the proven alternatives to school security overkill. His latest book is The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story Behind the Wikileaks Whistleblower (Verso).Outrage over the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre may or may not spur any meaningful gun control laws, but you can bet your Crayolas that it will lead to more seven-year-olds getting handcuffed and hauled away to local police precincts.

  • Originally published 01/09/2013

    How to Revitalize Public Education

    P.S. 9 in Brooklyn, New York. Credit: Flickr/calculat0r.I have a very different vision of what public schools should be doing than Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush, Arne Duncan, Michael Bloomberg and the current generation of “school reformers.” My vision involves making schools centers of community revitalization where young people's curiosity and creativity are nurtured, where student differences are recognized and respected, where the physical and emotional health of children is promoted, where teachers have long careers, and where parents and community members are welcome.