This week, the drone debate continues, punctuated only by the tenth anniversary of another US power-play. Meanwhile, the Church got a new pope, AT&T and other networks pondered serious overhauls and a Canadian immigration raid was caught on reality TV (perhaps less inspiring than another must-watch: a rousing speech given by Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis).
— Alleen Brown focuses on education.
“NYCORE Conference 2013—Karen Lewis Keynote.” Vimeo, March 17, 2013.
Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis delivered an inspired speech at Saturday's New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE) conference. Lewis's argument for a grassroots, building-by-building "taking back" of public education was strengthened by her frankness and her brilliant use of humor. That kind of ability to find and express hilarity even in painful situations is a quality that activists, child-wranglers and leaders of all stripes would do well to cultivate.
— James Cersonsky focuses on labor and education.
“Native Americans Challenge Teach For America in New Mexico,” by Anthony Cody. Education Week, March 18, 2013.
The Indian Education Act, a New Mexico law passed in 1978, is meant to "ensure equitable and culturally relevant learning environments" for Native students. Teach for America may care a lot about "equity"—its 501(c)4 spinoff is named for it—but, on the reservations of New Mexico, does it pass the "culturally relevant" test? This is one question that Anthony Cody raises in his block-quoted take on TFA's procurement of $800,000 in competitive IEA funds. As one Native educator, Dr. Carlotta Bird, puts it, "the whole 'reform movement' that is happening in NM is colonialism in its newest form." That's one way of thinking about TFA's larger American empire—and, really, any education system that isn't committed to so-called cultural relevance and community control.
— Catherine Defontaine focuses on war, security and peace-related issues, African and French politics, peacekeeping and the link between conflicts and natural resources.
“At the Bottom of Lake Nyasa is ‘Rare Earth,’” by Thembi Mutch. IPS, March 6, 2013.
The 29,000-square-kilometre Lake Nyasa borders Tanzania and Malawi. For centuries, local populations have shared the lake’s resources and revenues without incident. However, the recent discovery of oil and gas resources in the lake has reignited a border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania over who owns the lake—and its resources. Local communities do not understand the reasons of the dispute and it appears that the present situation is used to further political careers, as elections will be held in Malawi in 2014 and in Tanzania in 2015. For the moment, all efforts to settle the dispute have failed. The conflict over Lake Nyasa’s resources echoes other regional conflicts in Africa as natural resources often lie at the core of wars.