by Jeremy Young | 6/27/2008 01:20:00 PM
You may have noticed something unusual at the bottom of this and other ProgressiveHistorians pages: an advertisement. This is not a paid ad -- I don't accept those at present; rather, it's an ad for a cause I have endorsed as the editor of ProgressiveHistorians: The Strange Bedfellows, a group of bloggers and other organizations, including the ACLU, who oppose the current FISA bill in its entirety. Since I represent a group of writers here with diverse views, it is rare that I make an endorsement as a blog. To my knowledge, I have done so only three times before: Allan Lichtman for Senate, Bloggers Against Torture, and Free Haleh. I make this endorsement now because I believe that the integrity of our Constitution and of our legal system is of the highest importance. The FISA bill as written constitutes a direct attack on that integrity, and I'm proud to oppose it as both an individual and a blog editor. Hat tip to Ed Encho for bringing this group to my attention.

Profbwoman brings to our attention a disturbing case from Watts in which a high school history teacher was fired for assigning The Autobiography of Malcolm X, an approved school text, to her students. Read the good Prof's take on the case, and then, if you're so moved, let the school know how you feel about their decision, as I'll be doing in just a moment.

Via BlackAmazon, BrownFemiPower has a magnificent takedown of an article I had not read, Has Feminism Lost its Focus? by Linda Hershman. I'm familiar with Hershman's work through her ramblings at Open University, and have been decidedly unimpressed. By the way, all the pieces linked here are a couple of weeks old, which is a sign that I haven't been doing as much reading of my blogroll as I should have. My apologies to those linked for not linking to them sooner.

What's on your mind?



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Blogger Jeremy Young on 6/27/2008 2:15 PM:

My letter to the school:

As a former resident of Los Angeles County, I am outraged by the firing of teacher Karen Salazar for assigning The Autobiography of Malcolm X, an approved school text, to her students. Salazar's efforts to expose her students to diverse and relevant perspectives should be recognized and honored by your school, not exploited as grounds for termination. As a school named for Stanford President David Starr Jordan, one of the leading American peace advocates during World War I (and thus no stranger to controversial stance), you should be ashamed that your tolerance for controversy is so low. I strongly urge you to reinstate Karen Salazar without delay; she deserves nothing but respect and appreciation for her active and engaged teaching of Los Angeles young people.


Blogger mark on 6/27/2008 2:59 PM:

I found her teaching methodology to be disturbingly unprofessional:

"I am being fired because I am trying to ensure that my curriculum is relevant to my students’ daily lived experiences, and in the process, create a space for them to be critical of Eurocentric society and curricula that only serve to reinforce their dehumanization, subjugation, and oppression..."

For the record, I too have used the Autobiography of Malcolm X with students. It's excellent. That's not why this person is getting the axe.

This woman is in the wrong profession. Teaching students what to think is not teaching them how to think. She's engaging in indoctrination, not education and it's completely inappropriate. Remove her critical race studies viewpoint and insert Right-wing evangelical Christian ones and it's just as wrong.

Secondary students are a captive and impressionable audience and are(mostly) minor children for whom teachers are in loco parentis. The strong POV without balance that is kosher in a college classroom is malpractice in a High School where the teacher has the obligation not only to provide a semblance of balance and fairness (how much "space" do students who disagree with this woman receive?)but to challenge student's to examine their own reasoning regardless of what their opinion might be.

She strikes me as an authoritarian personality whose intense political commitment has blinded her.


Blogger Jeremy Young on 6/27/2008 3:43 PM:

Mark, like you, I find the recent trend in academia toward indoctrinating left-wing political views disturbing. Since Salazar is teaching to an entirely minority student body, however, I'm somewhat less disturbed by her stance. I'm not denying that there are things in her statement that make me uncomfortable, but I think she's well within the mainstream of academia at this point. The way to change what academia is doing is not by summarily firing people, but by working to change academic culture.

I agree with you that it may not be a clear-cut situation, but I think that people born into oppression need some sort of outlet where they can experience and express that.


Blogger Mentarch on 6/27/2008 5:12 PM:

Good call on The Strange Bedfellows, JY.


Blogger mark on 6/27/2008 6:50 PM:

Hi Jeremy,

I understand where you are coming from with your reasoning. Let me add just a little bit more as to why I find this woman to be suspect in the sense that there may be more here than meets the eye than the alleged politics of the situation.

Aside from having taught HS in the past and had a career in public ed. I'm a union rep and have been a national delegate twice. I'm the person who writes the language for grievances for my local and as a result I have a decent grasp of educational employment due process law.

Removing a teacher is not easy, nor should it be. There has to be findings of cause and - except in extreme circumstances - a documented trail of violations and formal notice to remediate with steps to be taken prior to any move to dismiss a teacher from employment. It is no small process.

Secondly, the Cali teachers as a group are both very Left and exceptionally politically active. This woman's politics might stand out in, say Oklahoma but not there. In some buildings in urban areas they might be the norm and they are usually shared by the administration, at least to a degree.

My best guess is that politics per se and certainly not The Autobiography of Malcolm X aren't the only issue here but either a power struggle with a specific administrator or a pattern of violating policies while being in frequent conflict with colleagues, parents and supervisors.

Not sure other than I don't think the whole story is on the table as of yet and I don't like the vibe I've gotten so far. If you hear more, I'd be interested to learn what unfolds.


Blogger Jeremy Young on 6/27/2008 7:23 PM:

Mark, thanks for your input. When I sent my letter, I had not yet watched the video Profbwoman posted at her place. Having watched it, I come away with the feeling that while the students are very articulate and know what they want, they are being manipulated and directed by faculty in a power struggle with the administration. I was uncomfortable with that.

So I'll be circumspect about this for a while until I hear more.


Blogger Jeremy Young on 6/27/2008 7:50 PM:

Well, here's a Los Angeles Times piece, courtesy of Elle. I've asked Elle to come over and share her thoughts on this, as well.


Blogger elle on 6/27/2008 8:57 PM:

"The strong POV without balance"

My first thought was being who they are (young people of color), where they are (in the United States), probably provides quite a measure of balance, but I see Mark's point.

We probably haven't gotten the whole story, but unlike Mark, I don't think that story is necessarily negative towards Karen Salazar and I note that the LA Times article mentions the support she receives from her colleagues.

Then a critique that includes "too Afro-centric?" In Jack's words, as opposed to what, "the usual Eurocentric curriculum that’s delivered to American students on the daily?" I might be a bit sensitive about that, as on my very first set of evaluations, a young white man in my class opined that I "talked about race too much." From my own experience, I know that here are topics that people do not want to hear about from the mouth of young women of color.

Keep in mind that this is occurring at the same time as things like that Arizona proposal that is seeking to protect the sanctity of Western civilization (/snark).

These are some of my early, rambling thoughts.


Blogger mark on 6/27/2008 9:50 PM:

From the story, Salazar was not yet tenured, giving her some but far fewer procedural rights in challenging her dismissal. I'm curious if her "firing" was just a standard non-renewal of contract -something which would happen in enormous numbers in a city-wide district- or an active termination, something far more serious and with long-term adverse career impact.

In fairness to Salazar, after reading the article provided by elle I'd say there is a larger power struggle going on there between a faction of the staff and the administration ( one in which a union local nationally known for militancy seems to be hands-off for reasons unknown) and that Salazar as a new teacher may have been too visible a member. That may or may not have tipped the balance toward her being fired.


Blogger Jeremy Young on 6/28/2008 12:35 AM:

Elle, thanks for offering your thoughts. Thanks to both of you for a thoughtful discussion -- I'll be on the lookout for any more information that appears about this.


Blogger Jesse Hemingway on 6/28/2008 2:05 AM:

Synopsis of executive summary

Start from here some where between 1986 -2006 I would suspect 1989 time frame that the world oil inventories grew in size yet there weren’t any new discoveries to back up the increases. The reality is that Saudi's presently have about 80 billion in reserves and decreasing indicated by there inability to increase production they have crossed their half way point. Yet there books show 267 billion barrels in reserves if that was true they could increase output production by 30 million barrels a day and not break a sweat. Yet they can barley increase by 200,000 barrels a day.

Bottom line when ever these oil inventory numbers increased with out a real increase in the real oil reserves all they did was they just manufactured wealth. They can borrow money from their oil reserves; when you double the collateral you are creating something that does not exists while you’re borrowing against that illusion. BIG TIME STEALING

The point I am getting at 9/11 had to do with adjusting the world wide oil inventory on the books that had gotten out of control during Bush and Clintons years in office.

The fact that the Shia in Iran and Iraq are sitting on the real oil reserves would be a disaster for the Sunnis and Israel those two and the United States have been screwing over the Shia for well over 50 years. The Shia do not need nukes the have all the real oil and the money and power that goes along with it.

I have been doing a little math and you might want check this out.

Use this as your base line: Mar 13, 1986
Estimated proven reserves, in billions of barrels, as of Jan. 1, 1986
Saudi Arabia. . . 168.8 Kuwait . . . 89.8 Iran . . . 47.9 Iraq . . . 44.1 United Arab Emirates . . . 32.9 Venezuela . . . 25.6 Libya . . . 21.3 Nigeria . . . 16.6 Algeria . . . 8.8 Indonesia . . . 8.5

In 2006 let's look at these same countries oil reserves:

Saudi Arabia..267 billion bbl Kuwait..104 (some sources say 48 billion - the difference is 5% of world reserves) Iran..132 Iraq..115 UAE.. 98 Venezuela.. 79 Libya.. 39 Nigeria.. 36 Algeria..12 Indonesia.. 4

Estimated Oil reserves increases up from March 13, 1986 - 2006 by %

Saudi Arabia..37% Kuwait..15% Iran..63% Iraq..62% UAE..66% Venezuela..68%
Libya..47% Nigeria..55% Algeria..33%

Indonesia is the only country that has decreased in their estimated oil reserves by <50%>

Report by: Robert L. Hirsch Titled "The Inevitable Peaking of World Oil Production"

According to this report it totally contradicts the pervious information there is absolutely no evidence of the dramatic oil reserves increase from 1986 ? 2006. It indicates the complete opposite.

Page 1 "last super giant fields were found in the 1960's" on page 4 of this report there is a 60 year bar graph from 1940 - 2000 that breaks down annual oil consumption versus new oil field discovers. Link below:

This link below states the obvious that there have never been any controls built into the oil industry it is strictly run by estimation. The fact I do know is that the Bush Administration has bet at least 3 trillion dollars and untold human loss to take over Iraq's oil fields. If all the present information concerning the oil industry statistics is legitimate then the need to invade Iraq would be totally unnecessary.


Anonymous Anonymous on 6/28/2008 2:21 AM:

Report by: Robert L. Hirsch Titled "The Inevitable Peaking of World Oil Production"

According to this report it totally contradicts the pervious information there is absolutely no evidence of the dramatic oil reserves increase from 1986 ? 2006. It indicates the complete opposite.

Page 1 "last super giant fields were found in the 1960's" on page 4 of this report there is a 60 year bar graph from 1940 - 2000 that breaks down annual oil consumption versus new oil field discovers. Link below:


Blogger Jeremy Young on 6/28/2008 2:48 AM:

Jesse, thank you for posting this in the Open Thread, where it belongs. Some folks (not you) seem to think that it is their God-given right to express their opinions on 9/11 in unrelated posts by Mentarch, and then to shout at me when I ask them to move to the Open Thread. Your sense of propriety is appreciated.