In the state where high-stakes testing began, a few hundred teachers, academics and activists came together last weekend to hasten what one leader called an "Education Spring." The Network for Public Education gathered in Austin to plan the resistance to the status quo of high-stakes testing and an encroaching corporate privatization movement. This first-of-its-kind convention might finally provide an effective opposition to the corporate reform movement that wants to run education like a business.
Early last month, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott contradicted his core values by doing something that just didn't make sense unless you're one of those cynics who believes money corrupts politics. Abbott, a fan of states' rights and a foe of casinos, did a favor for Sheldon Adelson that appears to help casinos at the expense of the Tenth Amendment. In return, Abbott got almost $100,000 in political cash. Not everyone loses at the casinos.
Eighteen years ago, the Internet was a pretty different place. AltaVista had just launched in 1995 and was rapidly becoming the dominant search engine. The 56K modem was invented that year, but wouldn't be commercially available until 1997. And Congress passed the 1996 Telecom Act, with the rare foresight to largely insulate the Internet from government interference. The result has been the remarkable engine of innovation, growth, and expression that most Americans now rely on every day.
Alright. Woo-hoo. We're partying now. With the kind of enthusiasm normally reserved for sorting Phillips head screws from flat head screws, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer publicly vetoed SB 1062, legislation that would provide legal cover to businesses denying services based on the operator's religious beliefs. The return of Jim Crow with a cactus beat.
Hide your wallets and shield the children, because they're voting down in Texas. Texas Republicans will be testing the strength of the Tea Party as they pick their first post-Rick Perry slate of statewide candidates since the 1980s. But Texas Democrats might end up missing Perry, as there is a decent shot that Republicans will nominate not their best-qualified, most-electable candidates but an entire clown car full of crazypants.
For all those who have spent the last couple of months shoveling out a car, you should know we're at the tail end of awards season. And best be advised to hunker in a bunker wearing a Kevlar overcoat, because gold plated statues are being tossed about like air kisses at a gown fitting. Like clouds of bathroom hair spray during Oscar nominee luncheons. Like jaded eyes at a press screening of "Transformers 4."