Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Climate Apartheid: How Global Warming Affects the Rich and Poor

As per this sobering Rolling Stones piece, climate change is indeed remaking our world.  Quote from within:

But economic losses are only one way of thinking about the consequences of sea-level rise. The number of people who may be displaced – in other words, potential climate refugees – is another. When you factor in future population growth, Lagos is near the top of the list of places to worry about. By 2050, the city is projected to have 30 million people. How many of those will be swamped by rising seas and forced to flee? Various studies have come up with numbers ranging from 3 million to 8 million. Whatever the number, you only have to spend a few hours in Lagos to understand that sea-level rise will displace a lot of people, and those people are going to have to go somewhere.

Thanks to American civil rights attorney, Judith Browne-Dianis, for sharing.  All of this is so troubling and terrifying. She herself, a brilliant national leader, is co-director of the Advancement Project, a progressive, nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.  

We were together to honor both John H. Jackson and Barbara Madeloni as this year's "Deborah W. Meier - Heroes in Education Award" in a wonderful program that recognizes the contributions by major, national leaders in education, including their championing of the fight against high-stakes testing. You can check out the FairTest Staff and Board here. FairTest  always puts on such a beautiful program.  

Here are this year's awardee's bios:

Dr. John H. Jackson is President and CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education. Dr. Jackson leads the Foundation’s efforts to ensure a high quality public education for all students regardless of race or gender. He joined Schott after seven years at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Dr. Jackson also served on the Obama-Biden Education Policy transition team and was Senior Policy Advisor in the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education in the Clinton Administration. He holds a J.D. from the University of Illinois and a Doctorate in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Barbara Madeloni is President of the 110,000-member Massachusetts Teachers Association and a staunch advocate for students and educators in public schools and higher education. She is committed to racial and economic justice and to building effective unions in alliance with parents, students and communities. She was a key leader in the successful 2016 Massachusetts campaign to block the expansion of charter schools. Madeloni is senior lecturer (on leave) in the Labor Studies Department at UMass-Amherst, where she previously worked at the School of Education. She also has taught high school and worked as a psychotherapist.

Thank you, FairTest, for doing all that you do in leading the nation in the fight against high-stakes testing.  Your work has made a tremendous difference in the struggle that has evolved into an opt-out movement that I am hoping will merge with other movements. These consist of the bilingual education, Ethnic Studies, place-based education, authentic assessment, and grow-your-own, critically conscious teacher agendas in order to forge a culturally sustaining, fair, and equitably-oriented approaches to educational reform that are rooted in the cultures, languages, histories, stories, and lived experiences of our communities.  

We must develop and nurture partnerships between community-based organizations, non-profits, civil rights groups, and higher education institutions, districts and cities.  Together, we can accomplish this great task of re-envisioning public schools, working in an interlocking way with our resource-rich communities and local organizations.

We're going green in other places.  No reasons why we can't or shouldn't go green in education by getting close to the ground in our communities.  Plus, we are all the better for it.  This is grassroots democracy at its best! 

And let's keep fighting against these tests that for far too many a student, render the schooling experience a punishing one.  We need less schooling and more education.  

Why must education be a punishing one for any child? Why must education be a punishing one for any teacher or administrator?  It doesn't have to be this way.  But our communities must organize in  and with our most democratic institution in our history in this country, namely, the public schools.  Yes, more people of conscience need to run for public office, but this is but only one component.  We need to work to bring the late education philosopher, psychologist and education reformer, John Dewey's, words to life in his characterization of public schools as "laboratories for democracy."

These standardized, high-stakes tests are handmaiden to the pursuit of the corporate sector's complete ownership and control of public education—a dystopia, with only a few  public school "outposts," vestiges of an earlier era, located here and there. 

No matter how nicely dressed it looks—which these corporate folks happen to be very good at when you see that they put so much of our taxpayer money into marketing and not teachers who do not have to be certified to teach in their schools—this anti-democratic approach equates to a diminishing of democracy, meaning a loss of democratic control over public education. 

No more elected school boards or elections. This is a contract society where you as a consumer get the best education you can buy and beholden to a corporation.  How alienating.  How meaningless.  And how, as a consequence, dangerous, or potentially so.

John and Barbara, thank you for doing all that you do in the world to help our children, parents, teachers, and communities.  And Judith, may you keep up the good fight!  So wonderful to see you and everybody at FairTest.  

Those of us that have been involved in the struggle against high-stakes testing have been well served by FairTest over the years.  

My friends, do consider making a donation to FairTest HERE so that they can keep on doing great work.

And do read this very concerning piece below. Our nations are, for the most part, not having the conversations that we need to be having on climate change and its current impacts, and how these are circumscribed by class, race, economics, and power—including the making of a "climate apartheid," as this piece so clearly shows.

Angela Valenzuela


The Climate Apartheid: How Global Warming Affects the Rich and Poor

A trip to Lagos, Nigeria to investigate the social consequences of climate change 

A young boy swims through the Makoko slum in Lagos Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty

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