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Posts in Education
Bad Faith: Teachers, Liberalism, and the Origins of McCarthyism

Bad Faith: Teachers, Liberalism, and the Origins of McCarthyism

Reviewed by Clarence Taylor

For decades, pundits, conservative writers, and political officials have obscured the political and ideological differences between liberals, democratic socialists and communists. It is quite common for both rightwing Republicans and those in the mainstream media to label liberals as the “far Left,” in order to imply their ideas pose a danger to the country. In the 1988 presidential election, for example, George H. W. Bush called his Democratic opponent, Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts, a “card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union,” equating membership in the ACLU with membership in the Communist Party. Several Republicans and members of the Tea Party have accused former President Barack Obama of being a “socialist.” President Donald Trump has labeled Democrats as “radicals” who have adopted a “far-left agenda.”

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Inclusive Archiving, Public Art, and Representation at the Hall of Fame for Great Americans

Inclusive Archiving, Public Art, and Representation at the Hall of Fame for Great Americans

By Cynthia Tobar

The Hall of Fame for Great Americans, created in 1900, was the first monument of its kind that sought the active involvement of Americans in nominating their favorite "Great Americans.” The Hall was conceived of by Dr. Henry Mitchell MacCracken, Chancellor of New York University (NYU), who envisioned a democratic election process for selecting these greats modeled after presidential elections. Nominations came to the election center and after a person received a certain number of votes, an NYU Senate of 100 voters made the final choice. The Senate was composed of American leaders: past American presidents, presidents of colleges, senators, and men of renown in various fields. Problems soon arose, however, when this initial process yielded 29 nominees, all male. The lack of women created a scandal and in the next election eight women were elected (currently, there are 11 women in the Hall). However, the contentious nomination of Robert E. Lee remained.

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From the CUNY Digital History Archive: The Five Demands and the University of Harlem

From the CUNY Digital History Archive: The Five Demands and the University of Harlem

By Chloe Smolarski

The CUNY Digital History Archive, founded in 2014, collects and makes available primary source documents that address the history of the City University of New York, the system of public colleges that serves New York City. Many of the collections date from the late 1960s and early 1970s, a time of radical ferment at CUNY. Following a historic wave of student protest, the university embarked upon a radical experiment that offered low-cost public higher education to all graduates of city high schools. In the piece that follows, CDHA Program and Collections Coordinator Chloe Smolarski highlights and contextualizes some key documents from the struggle of Black and Puerto Rican students at City College to build a university that responded to the needs of their communities. This year marks the fifty-year anniversary of those struggles. –Ed.

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We’ve Come a Long Way Baby: A Backward Glance at Library Service Availability at the Municipal Colleges

We’ve Come a Long Way Baby: A Backward Glance at Library Service Availability at the Municipal Colleges

By Sandra Roff

You are still waiting for that interlibrary loan book or perhaps a video that you wanted to show your class, and you are wondering what is taking so long. After reviewing Reading Publics: New York City’s Public Libraries 1754-1911 by Tom Glynn it became clear that in the nineteenth-century, at a time when reading was the only way to get information, the availability of libraries was extremely limited, and what we now recognize as the job of a library was not realized until the twentieth century. The earliest libraries that opened in New York City operated as private corporations, with the wealthy buying shares to borrow books. Special interest groups also started libraries such as the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, who had a library with a small annual fee. The New-York Historical Society opened in 1805 with a mission to collect New York City materials, but again membership was restricted to the elite. Other libraries followed but they all required a fee and in addition, many had extremely limited hours.

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A Love Letter to Babette Edwards: Harlem’s “Othermother”

A Love Letter to Babette Edwards: Harlem’s “Othermother”

By Terri N. Watson

On February 5, 1971, Babette Edwards and Hannah Brockington submitted a joint letter of resignation from I.S. 201’s Community Education Center to David X. Spencer, chairman of the governing board for the Arthur A. Schomburg I.S. 201 Educational Complex. The three-page letter outlined their frustrations with the teachers and school leaders who worked in the complex and their belief that “schools exist to make teachers and principals happy; not a place where children learn.” In the opening paragraph Edwards explained the challenges faced by the parents of Harlem:

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Notes on the LaGuardia Community College Amazon Teach-In

Notes on the LaGuardia Community College Amazon Teach-In

By Molly Rosner

On November 13, 2018, Amazon announced that Long Island City would become the site for its new headquarters “HQ2” along with a site in Crystal City, Virginia. Since then, New Yorkers have greeted this announcement with both applause and outrage. Throughout the year, Amazon has received bids from cities and towns across the country trying to entice the trillion-dollar company to their area. But after the gimmicks and tax incentives have all been weighed, it feels clear that New York was always high on the list of places the company was considering.

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Community Control and the 1968 Teacher Strikes in NYC at 50: A Roundtable

Community Control and the 1968 Teacher Strikes in NYC at 50: A Roundtable

Introduction by Nick Juravich

Fifty years ago this fall, the United Federation of Teachers went on strike three times, closing NYC public schools for more than six weeks. ​The legacy of these strikes continues to reverberate through the city's schools today.

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Fifty Years of Struggle at NYC's Public University: An interview with Anthony G. Picciano & Chet Jordan

Fifty Years of Struggle at NYC's Public University: An interview with Anthony G. Picciano & Chet Jordan

Today on Gotham, editor Nick Juravich sits down with Anthony Picciano, Professor of Urban Education at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, and Chet Jordan, Ph.D. student in Urban Education at the Graduate Center, to discuss their new book, CUNY's First Fifty Years, which traces the story of the nation’s largest urban university from its inception as CUNY in 1961 through the forces and events shaping it today.

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Schools in Department Stores?: Continuation Schools and Department Store Employees

Schools in Department Stores?: Continuation Schools and Department Store Employees

By Sandra Roff

“Mr. Selfridge” and “The Paradise” are two recent PBS series that dramatize working in the new department stores established in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Across the Atlantic, department stores were similarly enjoying success with stores opening and expanding to meet the demands of consumers. However, it was not just the sale of material goods to consumers that took place in these stores, but also activities that seemed to benefit employees. Forward-thinking employers believed they had a responsibility to provide for the welfare of their employees, whether it was for medical care, recreation, or even schooling: a movement known as Industrial Paternalism.

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