Washington teachers fought high stakes testing. Last Friday, they won.
High stakes testing and “No Child Left Behind” privatization ravaged public education under Bush, Obama, and Trump. These tests have gone from marginal assessment to dominating the curriculum (and often the bonus structure) during the year.
These tests are neither reliable nor valid for assessing what a child knows. In fact, it can harm students’ development. When tests are a central component of funding, teachers who develop curriculum based on regional, cultural, or racial background of students are hindered. High stakes tests also tend to punish poor kids at the expense of rich kids at private schools, and more.
Here in Washington, you can’t earn a high school diploma without passing standardized tests, but teachers are fighting back. Recent bills to delink the standardized tests from graduation requirements are advancing in the legislature. It’s not just about money; it’s also about taking back control over curriculum and lesson planning from the SCANTRON gods:
Tech Rages Against the Machine
There’s a lot of talk about a recent action by Microsoft workers who don’t want their innovations in Hololens, AI, etc. to be used to murder human beings. Some misinterpret this to mean that the workers are luddites and want to end augmented reality and machine learning before they get off the ground. In reality, these workers are saying this tech can be funded without the body count:
War conducted by the US is done for the material benefit of the bosses and their business empires. It’s how the Bush family made a killing selling to Nazis, explains what’s happening in Central and South America, and why the forever wars in the Middle East are still a damn thing.
Microsoft and other tech bosses continue this colonial tradition. The bosses back the war on immigrants while exploiting immigrant labor, use the people of China as sweatshop labor, and the people of Congo for raw resources.
Workers like us have a fundamental right to call bullshit and demand a better future. No one started on the ground floor at Microsoft to build a dystopia. A better, more equitable world is possible — and urgently needed with the sword of Damocles that is climate change hanging over our heads. The future is ours to take and the time is now.
Democrats Attack Our Mass Transit
Washington State voted for Sound Transit 3 to reduce commutes, curb traffic (zing), and save our environment. Democrats in the state House are trying to take an axe to ST3 funding by manipulating car tab fees. What’s worse is that the anti-transit measure only affects newer cars registered in the Sound Transit Service area. Instead of adding or expanding Link Rail and Bus lines, we can choke on some gas on longer commutes. Just. What. We. Voted. For.
Here’s hoping the bill dies. Let your rep know.
Bootlickers Get No Respect
Amazon threatened to pull out of a massive building lease and job injection in Seattle if they didn’t get their way on last year’s tax on big business. They got their way, and now they’re pulling out anyway. And this wasn’t just any lease, this lease and the associated job growth was THE infamous bargaining chip they used during the head tax campaign.
Their threats and money were enough to get the majority of the Seattle Council to cave as Mayor Durkan orchestrated the repeal and protect her campaign donors.
Bootlickers never learn. What’s not said enough is how often this tactic is used in Washington. Boeing famously coerced record tax breaks and still moved production.
These “capital strikes” sent needy millionaires in New York into a fuss after Amazon walked away from $3bn in tax cuts and capital projects when union rights were demanded by the people of NYC.
“Don’t threaten the bosses” is a pretty rich mantra when bosses threaten workers every damn day. That’s why workers have started to threaten the bosses where it counts.
We Need Public Housing at Fort Lawton. Show up Monday, March 4.
Fort Lawton was a massive return of federally occupied lands to (at least) municipal control. No strings attached. With rampant speculation in Seattle, this is a shot to build dense, much-needed housing near the city’s largest park and within miles of downtown. Senior, supportive, and family housing is possible — and plentiful.
This is urgent and necessary. A worker needs to earn $29.40 an hour to afford a 2 bedroom apartment in the city (nearly 2x minimum wage). We need to show up and make sure not just a lucky few but as many people as possible come in from the cold.
Grab a friend, make a sign, sign up upfront, and testify!
● Venue: Catharine Blaine School
● Address: 2550 34th Ave W, Seattle, WA 98199
● Time: Monday, March 4 at 5:30 PM
State Senate Bill 5438 Would Increase Oversight toward Protecting Immigrant Workers
State senators need to feel the heat. Backed by immigrant-led organizations, SB 5438 (which will provide safety and oversight for H-2A guest agricultural workers) made it out of the Ways and Means Committee. This means it will likely see a floor vote. With immigrants under assault from the Federal government, ensuring H-2A guest workers have safe conditions in Washington is paramount. Bosses are taking advantage of ICE’s goose-stepping tactics to exploit workers and threaten deportation. That cannot stand.
Honesto Silva Ibarra’s demands live on in workers.
- To read and offer comment on the bill, go here.
- To find and contact your State Senator and Representatives, go here.
Unsure what to say? Listen to Community to Community’s call to action:
Note: The Seattle Hellhole represents the views of its writers and does not represent official positions of Seattle DSA at large. Its writers are a collective working on independent pieces, editing, and design to deliver this each week. If you want to volunteer, join us in #wg_comms_design on Slack or email [email protected]
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