TV Selfishness and Violence Explode During “War on Terror:” Second graders discover new trends in TV since 9/11

By Margot Pepper Source: Rethinking Schools, Spring 2008 Six years into the “War on Terror,” my second grade Spanish immersion students found that aggression, selfishness and insults have exploded on national television. For the last decade, I’ve had my students at Rosa Parks Elementary in Berkeley, California analyze television shows preceding National TV-Off week organized by the TV-Turnoff Network, which… Read more →

The Drive to Oust the Middle Class from Inner City Public Schools

By Margot Pepper Source: Race, Poverty & the Environment, Fall 2007 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was signed into law in 2001 by President George Bush, backed by both Democrats and Republicans. The backbone of the program, allegedly designed to hold schools accountable for academic failure, is standardized state testing for students and educators. Rather than improve public education, however,… Read more →

Seven-Year-Olds Lead A Strike

By Margot Pepper Source: Race, Poverty & the Environment, Fall 2007 For over a decade I’ve been teaching my six-, seven-, and eight-year-old students to strike against me in the classroom. I drew the inspiration from “the Yummy Pizza company” labor unit1 and my own experience in the Berkeley Federation of Teachers and National Writer’s Union. Instead of producing pizzas,… Read more →

Deconstructing “Return to Sender”

By Margot Pepper Source: Counterpunch, June 2007 (Reposted) ZNet, June 2007 Recently, sending a message of resistance to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Berkeley and Oakland, California adopted sanctuary city measures disallowing the use of city funds and staff time in aiding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Over 60 sanctuary city initiatives protecting immigrants have been promulgated in 21… Read more →

An Open Letter to an Immigration Judge

By Margot Pepper Source: The Berkeley Daily Planet, February 2007 (Spanish Version) El Tecolote, Español Monthly Review February 14, 2007 To:  The Honorable Immigration Judge, I’m a 2nd grade Two-Way Spanish Immersion (TWI) teacher at Rosa Parks school in Berkeley.  Today is Valentine’s Day.  It was my last day with one of my top students, Gerardo Espinoza.  His father, Felipe… Read more →

Work Work Work

By Margot Pepper Source: Race, Poverty & the Environment, Volume 14, #1, Spring 2007 A similar piece appeared in Processed World and The Utne Reader.  Studies have shown that the time workers believe they have to themselves really belongs to an authoritarian presence, particularly on week nights. For no apparent reason the subject will up and leave a movie, a… Read more →

No Corporation Left Behind: How A Century of Illegitimate Testing Has Been Used to Justify Internal Colonialism

By Margot Pepper Source: Monthly Review, November 2006 “I feel like a bad person.” “I feel like a snail without a shell whose heart has been stepped on.” These feelings were jotted down in Spanish by my second graders during the four weeks of standardized tests required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The educational policy was instituted… Read more →