Ten Things? How About Twenty! Thirty!
Re Thomas Geoghegan’s "Ten Things Dems Could Do to Win" [Sept. 27], an eleventh aim: confronting that elephant in the room that feeds on Wall Street and banks too fat to fail—uncontrolled military spending on weapons we don’t need, troops yet stationed in WWII venues and two US-provoked, unwinnable wars.
Here are my additions to the list:
11. Thank the progressive base—stop insulting us.
12. Lead, don’t follow—that’s what majorities are for.
13. Sell your agenda, explain why it’s good for me, using ten words or less per item.
14. Stop using words like "resonate"—try "We care about you" or "The GOP lies."
15. Support public financing of elections.
I’d add to the list: make election day a national holiday. I bet the increase in the number of folks of little means who’d vote would be huge. They’re part of our base.
First, we need to tame the military-industrial gorilla, since half our red ink flows to war. Second, suing corporate officers who loot their firms might knock out Citizens United far faster than the hard slog to a constitutional amendment, but employees who sue need financing and protection from retaliation. Finally, tell us how to end the filibuster.
Thanks for explicitly advising us to "read, or reread, Marx for what is still the most thoroughgoing critique of capitalism." There is no ending the capitalist menace without Marxist analysis and strategy.
Pedro Noguera’s "Schools vs. Slogans" [Sept. 27] mentions the relationship between KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program), the organization I co-founded, and Teach for America (TFA). I have great respect for Professor Noguera, but I must clarify a point concerning the role of Teach for America teachers at KIPP.
Noguera states that KIPP "will hire Teach for America fellows only as assistants until they have proven their effectiveness in the classroom." In fact, TFA corps members are hired at KIPP as full-fledged lead teachers, not assistants. Here in Houston, where I am superintendent of eighteen KIPP schools, our TFA members are doing a fantastic job of helping us close the achievement gap.
For example, one of our teachers at KIPP Houston, Remington Wiley, is an alum of KIPP and TFA. After completing fifth through eighth grade at KIPP Academy, she went on to Deerfield Academy and Spelman College before joining TFA and coming back to KIPP. We gave her the same responsibilities as any teacher, and she is an incredibly valuable faculty member. Nationwide, the vast majority of KIPP schools have TFA teachers, and 60 percent of our school leaders got their start in TFA. These folks contribute greatly to helping all our KIPPsters climb the mountain to and through college.