Public School Shakedown - A project of the Progressive

A fundamental struggle for democracy is going on behind the scenes in statehouses around the country, as a handful of wealthy individuals and foundations pour money into efforts to privatize the public schools. 

The Progressive launched Public School Shakedown in September 2013 to pull back the curtain and reveal what is at stake—to follow the money and expose the privatizers—but also to celebrate the resistance and the hard work of people on the front lines of public education.  Our goal is for all parents, teachers, and concerned citizens to understand what is going on and connect with each other to stick up for schools.

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The “Progressive Education Fellows,” is an online gathering of twelve prominent, advocates, activists, thinkers, and writers in the progressive education movement posting submissions on all things public education and democracy. Read more here.

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She can’t wave a magic wand and privatize schools. But she can make life hell for America’s most vulnerable students.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s policies have destroyed parent power and public education in Chicago.

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Looking at all the targets that Duncan and the current Education Secretary King set up, shot at, and missed can help us understand what we face in the coming years.

The trend for nearly thirty years has been that Democrats compromise with Republicans on education, with dire consequences for our democracy.

We’re now asked to stop scaring children in our classrooms when we see new cabinet nominees speaking directly to dismantling our social safety net.

The nominee, who has never been a classroom teacher and never attended a public school, pushes policies that create lots of choice, with no good choice.

Public education advocates prepare for the upcoming administration.

Public school supporters saw victories in lawsuits, referendums, and school board elections.

Downballot races and voter initiatives across the country could reshape our schools.

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Activists say no wall can be built that will keep them from standing together for immigration reform.

In this 1963 letter from his Birmingham jail cell Martin Luther King Jr. pushed back against the idea that civil...

From drone strikes against Americans overseas to broad surveillance powers to indefinite detention, Obama certainly...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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