As the presidential candidates scramble to get out the vote, downballot races and voter initiatives across the country could reshape our schools.

  • In Georgia, a referendum to create a new state-operated agency to take over struggling schools is on the ballot.  It’s modeled on what Louisiana did when it created the New Orleans “opportunity district. ” Here’s what Ashana Bigard and the children of New Orleans have to say about what has happened to their schools—voters beware!!

     

  • Massachusetts voters are considering bringing in more charter schools. Students in that state have been actively resisting the combination of public-school budget cuts and more charters—Emily Kaplan reports

The political fight against the “charterization” of public schools got pretty intense this year. Our lead Education Fellow Jeff Bryant explains what’s the matter with charters in this important post, Five Truths About Charter Schools.

Incredibly, Melania Trump has announced that her top priority as First Lady would be to combat bullying. Watch our animated video on how the “Trump Effect” is actually making bullying worse—and what students and teachers are saying about it.

No matter what happens in the election, attacks on the teaching profession and on high-quality, publicly funded schools will continue to be a threat to our democracy. Here's some more information on the situation teachers face, and why fewer people are going into teaching, and veteran teachers are retiring. 

As education fellow Peter Green writes,
“If you think the economy is improving, you probably don’t work in a public school.”

That should worry all of us, since public schools are the cornerstone of our democracy.

Join the fight to defend our schools, and keep informed by checking out The Progressive’s Public School Shakedown page.

Happy Election Day!

Ruth Conniff is editor-in-chief of The Progressive.

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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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