Friday Reading List: Black Lives Matter, ANOTHER Success Academy Profile, and Racism in Progressive Strongholds

There are a lot of long articles to share today, so hopefully you have significant stretches of time for reading over the weekend!

First, Touré is in Rolling Stone, looking at the progress and tactics of Black Lives Matter (BLM) in the Trump era:

For more than a year, I traveled around the country, from New York to St. Louis to D.C. to L.A., interviewing BLM members about how to go forward when sitting at the table of power is not possible. The BLM people I spoke to are responding to being shut out of federal conversations by taking action on the local level. That means engaging with lawyers to defend those who are stopped by police, shutting down highways to force attention on issues of racial justice, raising awareness of the problems and potential solutions with websites like joincampaignzero.org and creating safe spaces where black people can feel affirmed. 

Touré puts the movement in context, while highlighting a series of organizing activities that might not be transparent to casual observers. In other words: if you though BLM went away, you haven't been paying enough attention.

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Meanwhile, Elizabeth Green turns in a long-form piece about Eva Moscowitz in The Atlantic.

 

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That's right, along with Rebecca Mead's deep-dive in The New Yorker, Green's is the second big look at Moscowitz this week alone. Green is ambivalent about the power held by Moscowitz and her Success Academy charter network:

... Moskowitz is undeniably scary. Cross her, and you’ve also crossed her students, her schools, and justice itself. Entrusting a person who has such an exceptional capacity for venom with the care of children can seem unwise. Which is just one reason I am more than a little terrified by the conclusion I’ve reached: Moskowitz has created the most impressive education system I’ve ever seen. And as she announces in her memoir, 46 schools is just the beginning. “We need to reach more students,” she writes.

The existential question in Green's article is one of public accountability, as she wonders whether the Success Academy board, which is not elected, can ever be truly responsible to the public. It's an important question, and one that seems more relevant that ever, given both authoritarian tendencies in our political discourse, and the tendency of the unelected financial elite to drive policymaking across sectors.

All that said, a note to the education news editors of the country: there are hundreds of unexamined tales throughout the country that do not revolve around a single, polarizing charter schools chief executive. Some of those stories may even involve centering the lives of socioeconomically insecure families! My suspicion is that articles about Moscowitz guarantee clicks, but the relentless focus on a single charter school network in New York does disservice to the national discourse.

In other news, Rebecca Klein of HuffPost looked at the educational programming favored by private schools that accept vouchers:

Many of the private schools that participate in these state-led programs are run by evangelical Christian churches. They are sometimes unaccredited and can teach a curriculum similar to the one Bishop studied ― all with the help of taxpayer dollars ... But the number of schools using these resources is largely unknown, even in states where they receive support from publicly funded scholarships. No state or federal organization tracks the curriculum being used in private school choice programs. The religious affiliations of schools that participate in these programs are also not always tracked. That means there are thousands of kids receiving an extremist and ultraconservative education at the expense of taxpayers.
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The details here are scary, including racist, sexist, anti-semitic, and homophobic passages from these schools' chosen textbooks. Not. Good.

Finally, if that's not enough reading for you, check out Jesse Washington's ongoing "Black and Blue" series in The Undefeated:

On her day of reckoning, Sgt. Yulanda Williams did not wear the blue. Stomach churning, too nervous to eat much breakfast, she drove across the Bay Bridge into the city. Her mother had pleaded with her to reconsider, but she had given her word: She was going to tell the world about the racism in the San Francisco Police Department.

The series is a fascinating dive into the intersections of race and gender in American police departments, set against the backdrop of some extraordinary racism in one of the most ostensibly progressive cities in the country.

Have a great weekend ...