Annual Fundraising Appeal

Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from
BARBARA EHRENREICH…

BarbaraE

Here at CounterPunch we love Barbara Ehrenreich for many reasons: her courage, her intelligence and her untarnished optimism. Ehrenreich knows what’s important in life; she knows how hard most Americans have to work just to get by, and she knows what it’s going to take to forge radical change in this country. We’re proud to fight along side her in this long struggle.  We hope you agree with Barbara that CounterPunch plays a unique role on the Left. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.

Day10

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
button-store2_19

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Student Strike Against Standardized Tests of No Child Left Behind

Apathy Doesn’t Live in the Bronx

by ALLISON KILKENNY

Last Wednesday more than 160 students in six different classes at Intermediate School 318 in the South Bronx refused to take another standardized test. The students boycotted the test not out of laziness or fears of failing, but because they are sick of being dragged out of their classrooms to be treated as lab rats in the No Child Left Behind rotten matrix.

These tests don’t affect their grades, nor are they always actual tests. You see, sometimes the students are issued "practice tests" that have no real meaning. The companies are merely experimenting on the children with their shiny, new tests and if they fill in the right bubbles, the test companies ship off their crates to white schools in the suburbs.

The Bronx kids are sharp, determined pupils so they didn’t just sit around, bitching and moaning. Instead, they created a petition complete with specific grievances. The students declared themselves to be aggravated with the "constant, excessive and stressful testing" that causes them to "lose valuable instructional time with our teachers."

Some might say criticizing the broken No Child Left Behind act is a tired, cheap shot. I disagree for the simple fact that teachers are still guilty of teaching to test instead of teaching to engage. They teach with narrow, shallow focus because the No Child Left Behind act demands that sort of curriculum. The act completely robs teachers of their ambitions, desires, and instincts. Teachers are left with no other option than teaching students to regurgitate the appropriate answers for the appropriately numbered questions, which is the opposite of critical thinking and complex problem-solving.

No Child Left Behind is still rotting our schools from the inside because we’ve left it to politicians to fix the educational system. Big mistake. It is going to take the will of the students to get real, permanent policy changes.

The Bronx strike is a significant victory because it represents students rejecting a corrupt institutional policy from inside the institution. Victims of corrupt policies are the strongest voices of dissent because without their participation, the entire parade of corruption and deception comes to a halt.

For the same reason, veterans are the most prolific voices of peace. It’s difficult for even the most staunch conservative politician to look a veteran in the eyes and say, "Look, buddy, I know more about this whole war thing than you."

Though it is smaller by comparison, the Bronx strike brings to mind the historical 1968 strikes in France that led to the collapse of the De Gaulle government and forever changed the country. The French students wanted certain grievances addressed, namely issues involving class struggle and school funding. Above all else, the students wanted to be treated like adults. They wanted a place at the negotiation table and they wanted dignity in the negotiation process. Quite rightly, they believed they should have a say in the outcome of the institution that would play a part in shaping their minds.

At the time, the French students were dismissed as petulant children out of their league in the world of politics. As Gandhi famously said: "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. They you win." The French students won and the 1968 strikes are now seen as a critical time in France’s history when the old order of nationalism and conservatism gave way to a more liberal, enlightened period.

These Bronx students will be ridiculed, too. They’ll be called lazy and petulant among other things. Already, the school’s Principal, Maria Lopez, has wowed the public with her spectacularly wrong decision to fire Douglas Avella. Avella is the students’ Social Studies teacher, and he was fired even though the students insist they are entirely responsible for the petition and the strike, and Mr. Avella had nothing to do with their walk-out.

Despite the unfortunate consequence of Avella getting scapegoated, the strike is an encouraging rebellion within a corrupt, failed institution. Hopefully, other students will reject the No Child Left Behind doctrine, just as a steady trickle of war veterans will continue to join the anti-war movement. Until then, our country will be unable to right the wrongs of the past without these essential players, those victims of the very institutions we wish to heal.

ALLISON KILKENNY can be reached at: alliek1983@yahoo.com

 

Your Ad Here