Category Archives: Education

Illinois Correctional System: What Is It Really?

The Public i is partnering with the Education Justice Project (EJP) to share writing completed by incarcerated students at the Danville Correctional Center. The EJP is a comprehensive college-in-prison program based at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Through its educational … Continue reading

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Graduate Employees Go Wild—For Unionization

Workers are on the move across America. Strikes rose by an astounding 50 percent between 2021 and 2022, and the pace of organization was equally impressive, with new fields of organizing opening in the service sector, the art world, and … Continue reading

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Frustrations of Peer-to-Peer Education in Prisons

The Public i is partnering with the Education Justice Project (EJP) to share writing by incarcerated students at the Danville Correctional Center. The EJP is a comprehensive college-in-prison program based at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Through its educational programming … Continue reading

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Kathryn J. Oberdeck (January 18, 1958–June 8, 2022)

Kathy was a passionate fighter against all forms of inequality. She combined an unwavering commitment to the highest intellectual standards with a selfless dedication to community and family. She was a prolific historian of poor and working-class people, particularly their … Continue reading

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The Anti-Democratic Movement Against Public Schools

“The path to saving the nation is very simple—it’s going to go through the school boards.” – Steve Bannon The workingmen’s parties of the nineteenth century pushed hard, very hard for public schools and were key to their creation. Yes, … Continue reading

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Book Banning, Gag Orders, and the Organized Right Wing

Book bannings are very much in the news these days. They are happening mostly in more rural school districts and in the South, but not only in these places. The American Library Association (ALA) issued a statement in November of … Continue reading

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Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners’ Mission to Bring Books (and Bibliophilia) Behind Bars

When it comes to helping people make a fresh start after incarceration and avoid returning to prison, few approaches are as effective and vital as education. Many people who wind up in the prison system do not have enough literacy … Continue reading

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Janice Mitchell Remembered and Honored

At a time when young African American kids most need guidance, Urbana has lost a most remarkable woman whose life represented a commitment to that guidance. That woman is Janice Mitchell, who passed away in November of last year at … Continue reading

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SB 148 and the Assault On Teaching Black History

Florida’s SB 148 represents the surging wave of white supremacist fascism sweeping across the country. Entitled “An Act Relating to Individual Freedom,” it symbolizes the deceptive, authoritarian, and racist motivations that characterize the white nationalist Republican Party. By making the … Continue reading

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Local Community Protests Former Champaign Police Chief’s Teaching Appointment at Parkland College

Former Champaign Police Chief Robert T. Finney was hired in August, 2020 to teach Community Policing as well as Introduction to Criminal Justice at Parkland College. “Unbelievable” is what one African American community member thought on hearing the news; “Shocking,” … Continue reading

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What Educational Values and Beliefs Underpin a Decision to have Armed School Resource Officers?

This article was previously published in Smile Politely,  On December 17, 2019, the Urbana Board of Education (BOE) signed an intergovernmental agreement to approve funding of two full-time armed police officers (called School Resource Officers, or SROs)—one at the middle … Continue reading

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The Migrants of India Before and During the Covid-19 Crisis

The global COVID-19 pandemic claims to spare no race, religion, or social class. Yet over and over we see marginalized and vulnerable communities struggling to get the care and shelter they need during this crisis. India, like numerous other countries, … Continue reading

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Digital Inequities are Social Inequities

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools, libraries, and other institutions that aim to serve the public, the disparities among “the public” were highlighted in ways that have long been present, but are frequently ignored. One important gap was access to … Continue reading

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Is the Addition of a Larger Police Presence to Urbana Schools a Human Rights Violation?

On February 4, 2019, I was in class at Urbana High School when a student came in and said there were students fighting in the hall and a teacher had been knocked out. My teacher quickly locked the door and … Continue reading

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How to Squander a Research Library

The University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign is the largest publicly supported research library in the country; and as far as all university libraries go, only Harvard is bigger. The library holdings are regularly used as an incentive to recruit … Continue reading

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Fighting for the Soul of Public Education

The administration of the University of California, Santa Cruz announced on Friday, February 28 that it would fire fifty-four graduate instructors who are on strike at the University. The announcement comes as the latest move in a nation-wide wave of … Continue reading

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University of Illinois “Old” Alums Return for a Conference on the 1960s Protest Movement

About 50 literally “old” University of Illinois alums returned to campus from around the country (and in one case, from Switzerland) to attend an October 4-5 conference about the 1960s UI student protest movements for free speech and against the … Continue reading

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Being the Unreasonable: Educating Highly Marginalized Girls to Change the World 

Seema is a 12-year-old Dalit girl from Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. In the social hierarchy, Dalits in India belong to the lowest strata, often devoid of education and job opportunities, and have compromised rights. On one … Continue reading

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