Education

As Abortion Rights Shrink, What’s the Best Language to Use to Protect Women’s Options?

by Source 08.19.2014 Activism

As leaders like Planned Parenthood are dropping “pro-choice” language, is there a smart alternative—and should there be one?

By Alyssa Figueroa / AlterNet

Planned_Parenthood_HCR
Across America, reproductive freedom is shrinking. Even with Alabama’s recent court victory protecting abortion rights in that deep red state, the overwhelming trend is very discouraging.

Red-state Republicans have shut down clinics in states like Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld protesters’ right to harass women going to clinics. State legislatures haveenacted 21 new abortion restrictions so far this year. Worse yet, recent research has found that while many young women support the substance of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the right to end pregnancies, they are still apt to label themselves pro-life.

What’s going wrong? There’s no one answer. But a striking development is that the reproductive health movement is backing away from its longtime “pro-choice” label. Planned Parenthood has recently decided to drop it in favor of newer messaging that seeks to connect abortion with a wide range of women’s issues.

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Thumbnail image for Why Read? In Defense of Uselessness

Why Read? In Defense of Uselessness

by Jim Miller 08.18.2014 Books & Poetry

By Jim Miller

While I still deeply love my chosen profession of teaching after twenty-five years of work at various colleges with the last seventeen of those at San Diego City College, it’s hard not to notice the constant drumbeat of critics casting doubt on the value of my life’s work in the humanities.

Whether they be corporate education reformers bent on imposing a business model on colleges or techno-boosters with a zeal to toss all that I hold dear into the dustbin of history, there is a long line of naysayers.

As David Masciotra recently noted in “Pulling the Plug on English Departments” in The Daily Beast, “The armies of soft philistinism are on the march and eager to ditch traditional literature instruction in favor of more utilitarian approaches . . . It is easy to observe the sad and sickly decline of American intellectual life, through the cultural and institutional lowering of standards, when prestigious publications promote the defense, if not the celebration, of lower standards.”

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Thumbnail image for Helping Young People Who See the World through Frosted Windows

Helping Young People Who See the World through Frosted Windows

by Ernie McCray 08.07.2014 Activism

By Ernie McCray

I just finished watching a Turner Classic Movie, “Scandal at Scourie,” that featured two of my favorite all-time movie actors, Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson, playing a couple who adopted a foster child. In one scene a bully, a boy, says to the adopted child, a girl, “You have no mother and you have no father. You’re nothing but a…” The last words are lost in a flurry of commotion.

As I watched I thought how timely the movie was for me since my plan for the day was to write about a program my son and others are creating to help empower low-income young adults and former foster youth, ages 18-24, to become more self sufficient. As it is, they spend their young lives pretty much seeing the world as though they’re observing it through a frosted window. All is blurry. Focusing on anything that might be of value to them in the future is often nearly impossible.

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Thumbnail image for How Your Local Library Can Help You Resist the Surveillance State

How Your Local Library Can Help You Resist the Surveillance State

by Source 07.30.2014 Activism

By Melissa Morrone / Waging Nonviolence

A woman was trying to apply for a job at a major retailer. She had to fill out an online form that prompted her to create a username and password, and then enter personal information down to the last four digits of her Social Security number.

“How do you know if it’s real?” she asked me, already agitated because her computer session was about to time out. The last time she tried to do something like this, she ended up on some sort of scam website.

As a librarian, I talk with people all the time who are uncertain about who and what to trust online. Teaching information literacy, whether in a classroom or one-on-one, is a big part of what we do, and knowing how to use the Internet safely is an ever more important skill given the extent to which online platforms are part of our lives. But public library staff, overworked and under-funded, often aren’t equipped to assist their communities with tasks such as learning to use encryption and anti-tracking tools. We have a critical function in technology education, and there’s so much more we could be doing.

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Thumbnail image for Requiem for a Overachieving School Principal

Requiem for a Overachieving School Principal

by Doug Porter 07.29.2014 Columns

An Abrupt and Controversial Reassignment at the School for Creative and Performing Arts Leaves Parents Angry

By Doug Porter

Mitzi Lizarraga ran San Diego Unified’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA)  for seven years. Test scores improved, the school was named one of the best in the country repeatedly over the past 4 years and students were sought after by prestigious colleges and universities.

On Tuesday, June 10th, two days before graduation this year, she was gone. Students and staff were told Ms. Lizarraga was attending to an urgent and personal matter. “Interim” Principal Dr. Jenna Pesavento would be tasked with handing out diplomas to departing seniors.

But some seniors weren’t buying it. Graduation, usually one the high points in the life of a high school student, was fraught with rumors and dissension. Some seniors were talking about boycotting the ceremony. Other seniors wanted to hold up signs. Students were upset, some even in tears. Parents were in disbelief and did not understand what was happening.

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San Diego’s P100 Program Targets the Poor and Vulnerable While Letting the Rich and Powerful Off the Hook

by John Lawrence 07.29.2014 Culture

By John Lawrence

black-mom-3-kids-250x250[1]Since 1997, San Diego County has required all families applying for California’s version of welfare called CalWORKs to submit to warrantless, suspicionless, unannounced home searches and interrogations by District Attorney investigators.

As of June 2013 about 150,000 families, or about 9,300 families each year, have been subject to these searches. This policy, called Project 100% or P100, diverts money away from the poor and has not been shown to be effective at detecting or preventing fraud.

San Diego is the only place in the whole nation which has such an intrusive, untargeted policy making it America’s finest city – NOT – for the poor and vulnerable. These searches are a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution which forbids “unreasonable searches” of peoples’ homes.

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Thumbnail image for Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

by At Large 07.28.2014 Columns

By Kelly Mayhew

There’s been a lot of discussion of economic inequality recently in wake of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

As many economists have observed, American workers are more educated and more productive than ever and are driving record profits for corporations while they’re seeing their wages stagnate or decline as the wealth accumulated by the top 1% of earners has skyrocketed. Robert Reich has been on a crusade to emphasize the historic importance of our current economic inequality crisis, and people like Paul Krugman have noted that we are living in “a new gilded age.”

Here in San Diego we are in the midst of seeing this writ large as the battle to raise the minimum wage rages on with a community-labor alliance advocating for the rights of low-wage workers while the city’s economic elite push back hard.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego For-Profit Universities Making Tons of Money Handing Out Worthless Degrees

San Diego For-Profit Universities Making Tons of Money Handing Out Worthless Degrees

by John Lawrence 07.21.2014 Business

Ashford University and University of Phoenix Worst Offenders Targeting Returning Vets

By John Lawrence

Everyone wants to better themselves, right, by getting a college education. Most of all the Iraq and Afghanistan vets transitioning into civilian life. To that end our politicians in Washington have crafted a GI Bill that allows them to do just that at taxpayer expense.

Problem is most of that money is being gobbled up by for-profit universities like the University of Phoenix and Ashford University which don’t even qualify for state financial aid. These universities attract and recruit students by advertising heavily and “selling” them on the value of one of their degrees.

When many of the students graduate, they can’t get a job based on a degree which potential employers say is worthless. And despite the GI bill, many of them take on additional student loan debt.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Oscar and Rosita Torres

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Oscar and Rosita Torres

by Maria Garcia 07.19.2014 Culture

By Maria Garcia

Oscar is now 80 years old and yet his memories of Neighborhood House are as clear as if they had happened yesterday. Like other boys in his age bracket, board games, baseball and basketball and the field trips stand out his memory. He also credits Neighborhood House for being the “baby sitter” for him and his brothers and sisters. Both of his parents worked and Neighborhood House provided a place to spend the day in a safe environment.

Most non-school days he played at Neighborhood House from 8:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night. They would go home and eat dinner and return to continue playing outside until Neighborhood House closed.

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Thumbnail image for I am Teaching College in my Pajamas

I am Teaching College in my Pajamas

by Source 07.16.2014 Education

By vickijean /DailyKos

Don’t you love those commercials for online universities? You can go to college at home, in your pajamas!! Well, I teach at a small state-located university and I am now training special education teachers on the Master’s level, at home, everyone in pajamas. Sort of.

Where do I start? First, my comment on teaching at a state-located university. For those of you not in the ed. biz, that may need some clarification. When I first came here, 23 years ago, we considered ourselves a state university. With budget cuts, we began calling ourselves a state-sponsored university. Now with GOP governor and legislature, we think of ourselves as state-located. The state provides less than 30% of our funding.

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Thumbnail image for UCSD’s Che Cafe Gets a Reprieve

UCSD’s Che Cafe Gets a Reprieve

by Staff 07.11.2014 Activism

UCSD’s Che Café has been saved. For now, anyway.

The renowned cultural icon, which operates as an all-ages music venue, performance space and cafe, won a temporary restraining order allowing the collective that runs the space to keep possession until a full hearing on the merits of their case can be heard.

A hearing is scheduled for August 1, 2014. If the Che prevails in the preliminary injunction hearing, it will maintain possession of the space until a final resolution is reached in the breach of contract lawsuit filed by Che’s legal counsel, Andrea Carter, against the University Regents and by extension, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) on July 7, 2014.

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Thumbnail image for Are African American Males an Endangered Species?

Are African American Males an Endangered Species?

by John Lawrence 07.08.2014 Culture

By John Lawrence

As a white guy, this question is still very germane for me since my grandson is an African American male. Or rather he is half African American and half European American – actually a little less than half African American with a little Native American thrown in. And he has already been placed in a tenuous position at the age of six because next year he will be repeating kindergarten.

His parents were not able to afford the level of pre-school instruction that the other members of his kindergarten class evidently received. It’s amazing that now they expect kindergarten children to do first or second grade work with spelling tests and homework every day. When I went to kindergarten, the only thing expected of us was that you would learn to tie your shoes.

His case is not so much a case of racism as it is a case of being raised in relative though not extreme poverty. The only reason it wasn’t extreme was that there were extended family resources available to them.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Joe Serrano

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Joe Serrano

by Maria Garcia 07.05.2014 Culture

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

From the moment Joe Serrano tasted bread for the first time he loved it. Until he attended kindergarten at Neighborhood House in the 1920′s Joe had never eaten bread. He remembers their snack of milk and bread coming from Mike Amador’s store, right across the street. I have surmised that there was some type of an arrangement between the Neighborhood House and Mr. Amador.

After kindergarten at Neighborhood House, Joe attended Burbank Elementary. His principal was Miss Barbara. If students did not behave, Miss Barbara would put her hands on your shoulders and dig her rather long fingernails right into your skin. Even today, almost 80 years later, Joe remembers when a black woman came to enroll her son at Burbank and was told by Miss Barbara that her son would have to have to go to “their” school–Logan Elementary, which was a mere three blocks away.

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Thumbnail image for Court Rulings: Corporations Are People; Women Not So Much

Court Rulings: Corporations Are People; Women Not So Much

by Doug Porter 06.30.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Today was another day for bad news out of Washington. I knew there was trouble brewing when the announcement was made this morning that Supreme Court Justice Justice Samuel Alito would be reading the majority opinions for the high courts final decisions of this session.

First came the ruling (Harris v. Quinn) that home health care workers constituted a new class of “partial public employees” who cannot be required to contribute union bargaining fees. The ruling was narrower in scope than many unions feared a negative opinion might be, but significantly impacts one of fastest growing areas of labor organizing.

Then, in keeping with the current flair for the dramatic by Chief Justice Roberts (who decides when rulings will be announced), the Supreme Court (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby) held that closely held corporations (90% of all companies) are “persons” as defined by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and can hold religious beliefs exempting them from the ObamaCare mandate on contraceptive coverage.

Again, the scope of this final ruling was not as broad as some analysts had feared. But if you happen to be a woman, its implications are huge.

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Thumbnail image for Union Appeals to UCSD on Behalf of Che Cafe

Union Appeals to UCSD on Behalf of Che Cafe

by Source 06.29.2014 Activism

The following letter was sent to the administration and student councils of the University of California San Diego this week concerning the impending university ordered closing of the Che Cafe: 

We are writing you as concerned members of the UCSD community, as citizens of California, and as UPTE (University Professional and Technical Employees, Communication Workers of America 9119) members.

We support the right of the Che Café to continue operations in its current building and oppose any plan for demolition of the building. We are motivated by values of fair play and due process as well as our sense of civic responsibility to speak clearly about the educational and cultural priorities of our public university.

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Thumbnail image for Americans Are Dangerously Politically Ignorant — The Numbers Are Shocking

Americans Are Dangerously Politically Ignorant — The Numbers Are Shocking

by Source 06.22.2014 Education

The nation’s collective ignorance paves the way for extremist politicians to validate their positions to the public.

By CJ Werleman / AlterNet

The health of a democracy is dependent on an educated citizenry.  Political illiteracy is the manure for the flourishing of political appeals based on sheer ignorance.

So let me introduce you to House Majority Speaker Eric Cantor’s Republican Party vanquisher David Brat (R-VA). First thing you need to know about this far right-wing political upstart is he’s a university professor, which means it’s highly probable he’s not an idiot. He also identifies with the Tea Party strain of conservatism, which, paradoxically, means it’s likely he is, indeed, an idiot. And by idiot, I mean wholly ignorant of U.S. history and constitutionality.

In fact, in his victory speech delivered last week to his supporters, Brat demonstrated that he sits among the majority of Americans when it comes to political and cultural illiteracy.

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write: Alumni Appeal to Save UCSD’s Che Cafe

Readers Write: Alumni Appeal to Save UCSD’s Che Cafe

by Source 06.20.2014 Activism

Dear UCSD Activist Alumni,

The San Diego Free Press has published a fine article, written by the Che Cafe Collective. Please circulate it widely. SDFP editor, Frank Gormlie, is an alum of UCSD.

Alumni of the UCSD co-ops are mounting a call for all alumni to write to the University telling them we are cancelling the “planned giving” that we previously intended to do upon our demise, until and unless they back off and treat the Che Cafe and all the co-ops with proper respect.

As a union activist (SEIU steward and IWW San Diego Organizing Caucus and formerly, in my grad school days, Press Representative of my AFT TA local in Oregon), I am interested in working with people to try to get all the unions at UCSD (and the SD-Imperial Counties Labor Council) to issue support statements and consider donating money to the collective for legal expenses and for facility maintenance.

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Thumbnail image for Few Are Left Fighting For The Ché

Few Are Left Fighting For The Ché

by Source 06.20.2014 Activism

By Kyle Trujillo, UCSD Undergrad

On Wednesday of finals week, June 11, I cut short a study session and hurried across campus to Scholar’s drive to the Ché Cafe Collective. I knew it as the Che. Besides, it had recently been stripped of its “collective” status. It was the first time I was going to a meeting and not a show.

As I approached the colorful building I slowed down to listen. The walls could talk. The faces of Rigoberta Menchu, Malcom X, Martin Luther King Jr., Karl Marx, former student Angela Davis, and a prowling black panther. In red and black, the face of Ché Guevara stares fiercely from an outer wall and looks out proudly on the inner courtyard. The many murals are not just the work of students, but also local artist Mario Torero and the designer and activist Shepard Fairey.

On the cooperative’s Facebook event page, about 120 had clicked to attend. My heart sunk when I saw that only 20 were actually able to join in. My heart sunk further when I learned only three of us were students. I should have expected this. It was finals week – people who weren’t studying were already flying and driving home.

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Thumbnail image for Ché Café Served 30-Day Eviction Notice, UCSD Cites Code Violations

Ché Café Served 30-Day Eviction Notice, UCSD Cites Code Violations

by Source 06.19.2014 Activism

Statement and press release from the Ché Café Collective

By Davide Carpano, student at UCSD and member of the Ché Café Cooperative

The Ché Café, a 34-year-old student-run cooperative at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has been under attack by the administration for the past two months and was served with a 30-day notice of eviction on June 13, 2014.

The notice was given to the students and their lawyer during a meeting initiated by the University to discuss on the future of the Ché. The student members of the Ché were under the impression that this meeting was part of the informal mediation and dispute resolution process they had requested several weeks ago. The University’s attorney, Dan W. Park, when asked about the purpose of the meeting prior to the meeting stated: “I do not believe that there is a formal agenda for the meeting, but rather the University generally would like to have a full conversation about the future of the Ché Café facility.”

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Thumbnail image for What’s Wrong with the Vergara Decision for Teachers

What’s Wrong with the Vergara Decision for Teachers

by Jim Miller 06.16.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew

Last week’s decision in the Vergara v. the State of California lawsuit that undermined tenure and seniority rights was a profound slap in the face to teachers who have committed their careers to improving the lives of our children.  It was yet another significant victory for those who are seeking to impose corporate education reforms by pitting teachers against children in a cynical, destructive, and utterly counterproductive fashion.

As tenured professors in the community college system, union members, and parents of a child in California’s public school system, we have a unique perspective on this matter.  Although the “Vergara” decision has no effect on our jobs at San Diego City College, it does affect the professional lives of the educators who teach our son and it will do them, and him, more harm than good.

We have had our kid happily ensconced at a tremendous place–McKinley Elementary School in North Park.  This is a traditional neighborhood school that has a staff of devoted, loving, highly skilled professionals, many of whom have dedicated most of their careers to this place.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights : John Bareño, 1930′s

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights : John Bareño, 1930′s

by Maria Garcia 06.14.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria E. Garcia

One conversation about Neighborhood House always leads to another. When I told Kiko I was working on a research paper about Neighborhood House he told me “You have to talk to John Bareño.” “Kiko” is Frank Peralta, one of the people who spearheaded the effort to construct a war memorial in Chicano Park. I took Kiko’s advice and on a Thursday in May I drove to Spring Valley to interview Dr. Bareño in his home.

I found a man with a wealth of information about Logan Heights, baseball, discrimination and Neighborhood House. Dr. Bareño was born in Loreto, Baja California. His father had been offered $500.00 to move the family to Mexicali. They were going to work picking cotton there.

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Thumbnail image for Photo Gallery: A Family of Endangered Light-footed Clapper Rails in Pacific Beach

Photo Gallery: A Family of Endangered Light-footed Clapper Rails in Pacific Beach

by Source 06.10.2014 Culture

By Roy Little

He is a native Light-footed Clapper Rail living in the Kendall-Frost Preserve in Pacific Beach, and she is a documented immigrant who arrived sometime in the middle of last year. After what some might call a whirlwind romance, they decided to raise a family in the marsh near my condo. The following are photographs taken from the balcony, documenting their activity from March to June. Typically, these birds have two broods annually, making for a relatively long breeding season.

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Thumbnail image for Thinking of Muir in the Midst of the Madness

Thinking of Muir in the Midst of the Madness

by Ernie McCray 06.04.2014 Editor's Picks

By Ernie McCray

No sooner than I had checked into facebook I got the chilling news about a lockdown at the John Muir K-12 Magnet School, a school I nurtured during its first four years – four of the most satisfying revealing validating unbelievable inspiring awakening beautiful questioning yummy xenophobic-less desirable hopeful colorful wacky pleasurable fruitful exhausting kaleidoscopic glorious touching open lasting joyful noteworthy zestful memorable years of my life.

It was John Muir Alternative School to us, back then in 1974, and no matter what the name, the mere notion that someone, anyone, would threaten it’s hallowed boundaries with a gun is about as scary a thought as there could be for me.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Angel Negrete, the 1930′s

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Angel Negrete, the 1930′s

by Maria Garcia 05.31.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria E. Garcia

Mr. and Mrs. Angel Negrete were kind enough to invite me to their home to discuss his memories of Neighborhood House. Most of Mr. Negrete’s memories are from the 1930’s. He asked me several times why I wanted to interview him. He is one of the most modest men I have had the privilege of interviewing.

Mr. Negrete learned wrestling at Neighborhood House. It was a skill that he took to San Diego High School, where he became Southern California Champion. Their team went to San Francisco for this event and he remembered it was “a big deal.” Later in the late 1940’s he would become a volunteer wrestling coach at Neighborhood House.

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Thumbnail image for Stanford University Divests From Fossil Fuel Stocks

Stanford University Divests From Fossil Fuel Stocks

by John Lawrence 05.26.2014 Activism

By John Lawrence

Stanford University has decided to divest its $18.7 billion endowment from coal stocks in response to a student led movement – Fossil Free Stanford. This is part of a larger movement among students to get their colleges and universities to get rid of fossil fuel stocks. Fossil Free Stanford petitioned the university last year to divest from 200 fossil-fuel extraction companies as part of a national divestment campaign.

In their wisdom the Stanford Trustees limited their divestment activities to 100 fossil fuel corporations. Evidently, divesting of stocks in 200 companies was considered to be a little bit too extreme.

Surprisingly, Stanford, home to the right wing Hoover Institute, acceded to most of the students’ demands. The Hoover Institute is a think tank closely associated with Republican politicians and Presidents who have derived many of their policies from Hoover fellows including Condoleeza Rice who gave some intellectual credibility to George W Bush’s lies which enabled him to invade Iraq.

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