“Obama’s College Plan Bows to Elites”: Megan McArdle

I have no actual opinion on the community-college plan but there are some good points here: ...Why aren't we at least asking ourselves if there's something we can do to create more opportunity for people without diplomas, instead of asking how many more years we can keep everyone in school? Why do all of our proposed solutions essentially ratify the structure that excludes so many people, instead of questioning it?I have some ideas about what those policies might look like: broad … [Read more...]

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Radley Balko’s Civil Liberties Predictions for 2015

See if you can guess the sci-fi twist. Sometimes, real life can be stranger than parody. This can be particularly true when it comes to the beat we cover here at The Watch, civil liberties. With that in mind, I’ve gone out on a limb to make some predictions about what might happen on the civil liberties front in 2015. I realize that some of these prognostications may seem a wee bit hyperbolic, a bit paranoid, maybe even a little nutty. But I think we can all agree that we should hope none of t … [Read more...]

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Woop Woop, That’s the Sound of… These Links About Policing

and related issues. They're not all completely depressing!"Fallout Grows Over Calif. Chief's Participation in Protest": But let's start off with a raincloud for your silver lining. RICHMOND, Calif. — One week after photos of him holding a sign with the hashtag "BlackLivesMatter" at a peaceful local protest went viral on social media, Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus is still grappling with the fallout — including accusations from his department's police union that he broke the law — but sa … [Read more...]

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Links from a Prison Nation

A round-up of stuff I've been reading."The Protester": Raven Rakia writes a powerful piece which I think probably functions as a Rorschach test. Do you focus on the rules this guy breaks, or the colossal overreaction he faces when he breaks them?When Frankie was 13, school authorities at his middle school called the police in to deal with him for disrupting class. Two police officers ended up physically restraining him: They hogtied his legs and tied his hands behind his back, duct-taped … [Read more...]

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Two Stories of a Philadelphia School’s Transformation

from Jeff Deeney. First, in July 2013: Last year when American Paradigm Schools took over Philadelphia's infamous, failing John Paul Jones Middle School, they did something a lot of people would find inconceivable. The school was known as "Jones Jail" for its reputation of violence and disorder, and because the building physically resembled a youth correctional facility. Situated in the Kensington section of the city, it drew students from the heart of a desperately poor hub of injection drug … [Read more...]

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From Zero Tolerance to Restorative Justice in Schools

Expanding pilot programs is often dicey, for reasons which go beyond funding concerns; but this good, short overview should expand imaginations about what's possible for troubled schools: Before 2006, when Debora Borges-Carrera became the principal at Kensington Creative & Performing Arts High School (KCAPA) in north Philadelphia, the school was the scene of pandemonium. Not a day seemed to go by without a fight in the concrete stairwell. Kids sent to the principal’s office for disrupting c … [Read more...]

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Our Initial Goal Is Voluntary Compliance

Middle school edition! After Michael and Melinda May's daughter was drug-tested five times in three years at Susquenita Middle School, they refused to sign a permission slip allowing it to happen again.Leila May was drug-tested once during her fifth grade year, once in sixth grade and three times as a seventh grader because Susquenita School District randomly tests students in grades five through 12 who participate in extracurricular activities and apply for parking permits.Without the … [Read more...]

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