The Emerging Just and Sustainable Food Economy in Boston

Innovations for Building Community Wealth and Health and Re-Localizing the Food System

By Penn Loh and Glynn Lloyd The current conventional system of food production and distribution – how food comes to most of us every day — is more fragile than most people think.  In fact it is less sustainable and less safe than ever as we start seeing the results of this century old experiment of the corporate food system propelled by cheap energy in a warming climate. While a minority can choose (and pay for) more healthy and more sustainable food, the majority are stuck with food that is literally making us sick, produced on the backs of very low paid workers, and exhausting soil, water, and fossil fuel resources in its production and transport. Fixing our food systems is not just planting more gardens or bringing more grocery stores into food deserts. It’s about transforming the economy into one that can serve us all, while sustaining the health of people and the planet. While the local and slow food movements are bringing Συνέχεια

Could Community Based Accountability Get the Federal Government Out of Our Schools

By Anthony Cody on February 12, 2013 4:55 PM

Schools today are seeing an unprecedented expansion of federally-driven accountability practices. In addition to annual high stakes standardized tests, more and more students now take interim assessments for use in teacher evaluations, mandated by NCLB waivers and Race to the Top grants. Soon we will have beginning of the year as well as spring testing so we can precisely measure growth. Common Core national standards will soon deliver standards-aligned curriculum and tests to thousands of schools across the nation. All of this is driven by the need to «hold teachers and schools accountable» for results.

The dictionary defines «accountable» as «subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable.» There is a relationship implied here. Whomever is held accountable is obliged to report to someone else, who acts as the judge for the performance. No Child Left Behind has, in effect, empowered the federal government as this judge. Συνέχεια

An education reform warning for Democrats

President Obama and JEb Bush shake hands, with Arne Duncan in the background, in 2011. (The Associated Press)

President Obama and Jeb Bush shake hands, with Arne Duncan in the background, in 2011. (The Associated Press)

If there is one area where there is bipartisan support in President Obama’s agenda, it is education reform. And that’s too bad. Here to explain the history of this — and why it is a problem — is Jeff Bryant, a marketing and communications consultant for nonprofits. Bryant is a marketing and creative strategist with nearly 30 years of experience – the past 20 on his own – as a freelance writer, consultant, and search engine marketing provider. He has also written extensively about public education policy. This post appeared on the Education Opportunity Network, a new online publication edited by Bryant. Συνέχεια

The Ideas of Karl Marx

Written by Alan Woods Friday, 21 June 2013Print

The ideas of Marx have never been more relevant than they are today. This is reflected in the thirst for Marxist theory at the present time. In this article, Alan Woods deals with the main ideas of Karl Marx and their relevance to the crisis we’re passing through today.

Marx and EngelsIt is 130 years since the death of Karl Marx. But why should we commemorate a man who died in 1883? In the early 1960s the then Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson declared that we must not look for solutions in Highgate cemetery. And who can disagree with that? In the aforementioned cemetery one can only find old bones and dust and a rather ugly stone monument.

However, when we speak of the relevance of Karl Marx today we refer not to cemeteries but to ideas—ideas that have withstood the test of time and have now emerged triumphant, as even some of the enemies of Marxism have been reluctantly forced to accept. The economic collapse of 2008 showed who was outdated, and it was certainly not Karl Marx. Συνέχεια

Start Up or Head to School? Depends on Where You Live. Sabelline Chicot

 

BY | December 23, 2013|
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Start Up or Head to School? Depends on Where You Live.

Image credit: ctcl.org

As a French woman with a degree in philosophy, my first job out of college brought me to the United Kingdom. After going back home, it seems I wasn’t the only person thinking it was a good idea to leave France for career reasons. A lot of my friends see their future in France as gloomy and view going abroad as the best decision young graduates can make to kick-start their career.

But while my French friends are concerned about job prospects after college, I’ve noticed acquaintances in the UK questioning whether to even attend college, as the combination of skyrocketing tuition, bleak employment prospects and the constant reminder that young entrepreneurs have succeeded without stepping foot inside a classroom has made attending universities not that attractive. Συνέχεια

Access to Personal Data: Arne Duncan and Target.

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Just think what educational data thieves could do with individual student information.

Hackers stealing millions of debit and credit card accounts from customers at Target has dominated the headlines. But what happens to all that stolen data? Συνέχεια

The student movement in Chile: The fight for a free public education (2002-2013)

mattaThe presence of students on the streets protesting for a public, free and good quality education in Chile is something that started more than a decade ago and that has developed with varying degrees of intensity. The student movement today has grown as a social movement, and not only education workers, but also miners, port workers and several trade unions of other sectors have added their voices to the protests. It is important to stress the fact concealed by the media that the student movement in Chile started from schools, and arose primarily as a response to the precarious condition of primary and secondary education throughout the country. University students joined the movement only after it had started, and have tried to direct it according to their own interests. This was the case of the student uprisings of 2002, 2006 and 2011. It is not surprising that this has taken so many years to develop as a broader social movement, for, as we know, these movements need time to come into being. Συνέχεια

Fool’s Gold: the ‘Free’ Schools experiment unravels gove ugly 2

gove ugly 2When Gove was elected in 2010 the first piece of legislation rushed through Parliament allowed for the creation of ‘Free’ Schools alongside the acceleration of the Academies programme.

From the outset education campaigners argued that this was a potentially devastating development – undermining existing schools, breaking up local democratic accountability, destroying teacher’s terms & conditions, the list goes on and on.

Now that ‘free’ schools have existed for a couple of years the gloss is starting to come off Gove’s shiny new toy. Below we look at the developments in the ‘free’ schools. We aim to keep this piece up to date. If you have information for us about developments in ‘free’ schools in your area please let us know at office@antiacademies.org.uk Συνέχεια

The culture of neoliberalism

Ben Hillier | 15-Oct-2013

The left in Australia is weak. No force has come close to occupying the space of the old Communist Party or been able to provide a political vision that has gripped the minds of a new generation. We can point to innumerable “subjective” failures on the part of the leaders of the unions, the mainstream left and the far left that have made the going tough. There have been failures to identify opportunities that have existed to rebuild, failures to fight at all, collaboration with the enemy and over the moon assessments of what was possible.

Yet there is not one country in the Western world where the revolutionary left, in all its different sizes, politics and perspectives, has made a serious breakthrough. There must be something about the objective situation that has led to such difficulties. Συνέχεια

Capitalism and Democracy: Year-End Lessons

Richard D. Wolff/Truthout
The poor fish for their dinners. The rich, steal the poor man's fish.
The poor fish for their dinners. The rich, steal the poor man’s fish.

2013 drove home a basic lesson: US capitalism’s economic leaders and their politicians now regularly ignore majority opinions and preferences. For example, polls showed overwhelming popular support for higher taxes on the rich with lower taxes on the rest of us and for reversing the nation’s deepening economic inequalities. Yet Republicans and Democrats, including President Obama, raised payroll taxes sharply on January 1, 2013. Those taxes are regressive; they take a smaller percentage of your income the higher your income is above $113,700 per year. Raising the payroll tax increased economic inequality across 2013. Συνέχεια

In America, Innocent Until Proven Guilty? Not For Most People Who Are Stuck in Jail

The most common reason people are in jail is because they can’t afford the fee.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Milagli

November 13, 2013  |
   Most people in jail in the U.S. have not been convicted of any crime. That is unless poverty can be considered an automatic-lockup offense.

Tour a jail in any county in the nation and chances are six of every 10 inmates are people legally presumed innocent and still awaiting trial. The majority of those inmates are stuck behind bars not based on their presumed risk to the outside community or likelihood to appear in court, but solely because they were unable to afford their bail bond.   Συνέχεια

‘Big data’ could create ‘dystopian future’ for students

28 December 2013 | By

Using “big data” to help match people to courses could cut freedom of choice and ultimately put students off higher education, an expert has warned.

Binary data illustration

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, professor of internet governance and regulation at the University of Oxford’s Oxford Internet Institute, said there was danger of creating a dystopian future comparable to science fiction films like Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report.

In that film data is used by the state to sentence people for crimes they have yet to commit. The danger was that data could be used to tell students what subject they should specialise in before they started their degree, Professor Mayer-Schönberger said. Συνέχεια