#356: 8 Years Later
Sign up for our discussion of “Revolt of the Delivery Workers” on August 28
This week’s issue is dedicated to teachers heading back to work this week. We all know it’s not an easy job. But now that I’m back working at a school, I’m reminded of the cognitive, physical, and emotional labor that the profession demands. As you work your butts off to prep rigorous and joyful learning experiences for your students, please feel free to rest big along the way – especially this weekend. You deserve it.
All three of this week’s selections relate to education. The lead article, “Since Ferguson,” profiles students at Normandy High School eight years after the murder of Michael Brown. They share how it feels to live in Ferguson, what the school has (and hasn’t) done since the murder, and what it means to be Black in America. If you have time to read just one article this week, I suggest this one.
But the other two pieces are outstanding, too. The podcast “No Excuses” follows a white teacher’s journey at a no-excuses charter school in Chicago, and “Sam Taggart’s Hard Sell” focuses on all the myriad techniques that door-to-door salespeople employ to close the deal. (Being a teacher is sometimes not unlike being a door-to-door salesperson.) Please enjoy!
ARTICLE CLUB: This month, we’re focusing on “Revolt of the Delivery Workers,” by Josh Dzieza. This week, we’re annotating the article together and sharing our thoughts. Feel free to get in there, highlight, and add your comments on this shared Google Doc copy of the article. Also, if you’d like to discuss this outstanding piece with other thoughtful people, sign up for our discussion on Sunday, August 28. There are two options:
In person in Oakland: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm PT (for paid subscribers)
Online on Zoom: 2:00 - 3:30 pm PT (for all subscribers)
⭐️ Want to sign up? Just click the button below! After you sign up, I’ll follow up with more information, plus answer any questions you have.
1️⃣ Since Ferguson: Life For Students After Michael Brown
When Michael Brown was murdered eight years ago, Bobby Reed II was 9 years old. Now he’s a senior at Normandy High School, where Mr. Brown graduated in 2014. Despite his 3.8 GPA and his plan to become an illustrator after college, Bobby laments that not much has changed at his school and in his community over the years.
“It’s embarrassing,” he said. “They like, ‘Oh, you from Normandy, you one of those.’ They stereotype me. People look at us, they like, ‘Oh, he a thug, like he thuggish or he a menace.’ And you just be like, ’No, I’m just a regular dude.’ ”
In this revealing and frustrating article, Prof. Rita Omokha travels to St. Louis to chronicle what has and hasn’t been done to support students’ emotional and academic needs since the Ferguson uprisings. There are some bright spots, no doubt. But on the whole, students report that their school has chosen mostly to ignore the legacy of their classmate, opting for business-as-usual. (36 min)
➡️ Click here to read the article
2️⃣ Race And Reckoning At A Chicago Charter School
Before he became a journalist, DJ Cashmere was a Teach for America corps member and taught for seven years at Bulls College Prep, a no-excuses charter school in Chicago. In this podcast documentary, Mr. Cashmere reflects on his experience, noting that his infatuation with the school’s academic success contributed to his controlling and punitive style. Ever since George Floyd’s murder in 2020, the school has reckoned with its “assimilationist, patriarchal, white supremacist, and anti-Black” discipline system, moving to a restorative justice model. Mr. Cashmere returns to Bulls to interview his former students about their experience, as well as to witness and report on the seismic shift in school culture. (52 min)
➡️ Click here to listen to the podcast
3️⃣ Sam Taggart’s Hard Sell
Time for a career change? How about becoming a door-to-door salesperson? After decades of downturn, the industry is heating up, and D2D salespeople like Sam Taggart are making millions by knocking on doors and selling solar panels and pest control. You can sell anything to anyone, says Mr. Taggart, a millionaire at age 25. All you need to know is whether the person is a bull, owl, lamb, or tiger. Don’t worry if they say no. That’s normal. Just keep pressing, and once you’re inside their home, the deal’s done. (Note: It also helps to be young and good looking and Christian and impenetrably positive and appeal to people’s fear and paranoia and believe in God’s abundance.) (43 min)
➡️ Click here to read the article
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