fresh voices from the front lines of change








Jeff Bryant

Amazon Is Coming To A School Near You

Virginians are concerned about their state’s commitment to invest $1.1 billion into creating a “tech-talent pipeline,” a pledge the state made to seal a deal with Amazon for the company to build its new East Coast headquarters in Arlington. In its successful bid for the Amazon headquarters, Virginia gave $750 million in tax incentives to the company over the next 15 years. New York was prepared to give the company even more—$1.2 billion in tax incentives. Local public outcry resulted in the New York deal falling through. From these two cities plus Nashville, where the company also has a new facility, Amazon was standing to gain more than $2.2 billion in tax incentives—money that would be withheld from public coffers that pay for education and other services. “There’s also a very long history of businesses looking for ways to have free worker training centers,” says Kenneth Saltman, a professor of educational leadership at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, “and a history of looking at schools as places where the goals of commercialization can be realized, either by selling stuff to schools or making money off what schools provide to businesses.” Examples of businesses acting more like predators than partners in their relationships with public schools have been numerous and well-publicized. And Amazon’s relationship with Virginia is already walking a precariously fine line between partner and predator.

Latinx Votes Drive Sanders Victory

How young Latinos delivered a victory for 'Tio Bernie." The Intercept: "After the debacle of the Iowa caucuses, observers looked to Nevada with trepidation, but Sanders’s campaign remained focused on its major strategy of mobilizing Latino voters, who comprise nearly 30 percent of the state’s population. In the polls leading up to the caucuses, Sanders not only had an overall lead, but he was also the candidate with the greatest share of Latino support, at 33 percent. While Sanders’s polling numbers had remained consistent since the summer, he benefited from a slip by Biden, who was leading among Latino Nevadans at 34 percent in June but fell to 22 percent support this month. In 2016, Sanders received 53 percent of the Latino vote in Nevada. This year, Sanders redoubled his efforts to win their votes, not only focusing on turnout, but also organizing specifically for the caucuses. Those efforts — such as holding trainings in Spanish and providing translation services at the caucuses — appear to have paid off. One such training — for the “Strip” caucuses located on Las Vegas’s famous main drag so that hotel and casino workers can attend — took place Thursday night at the offices of Make the Road Action, an immigrant-rights group. Conducted entirely in Spanish, a young volunteer explained what a caucus is and how it works. The group concluded the training with a mock caucus, where they voted between prominent Sanders surrogates such as rappers Cardi B and Killer Mike. In his victory speech from San Antonio, Texas, Sanders highlighted the support his campaign got from the group. 'I wanna thank Make the Road and all of the grassroots organizations that helped us win there,' he said."

Nevada Coalition Opens Path To Nomination

Bernie Sanders’ Nevada coalition gives him clearest path to nomination. Bloomberg: "Bernie Sanders’ commanding win in Nevada dismantled the conventional wisdom about his level of appeal. It broadened his coalition to look more like the Democratic Party as a whole and will make it harder for fearful moderates to impede his path to the nomination. The knock on Sanders always has been that his energetic but narrow base -- young, mostly white, heavily male and largely disaffected -- would make it easy for President Donald Trump to roll over him come November. Nevada suggested otherwise, as Sanders, 78, won support from Latinos, African-Americans, union workers, people without college educations and voters up to age 45. In Sanders’ view, that populist coalition is a mirror-image of Trump’s own but just as potent. His double-digit win there also shows he can take pieces from the support of Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, leaving them to split the anti-Sanders vote four ways -- or five, including Michael Bloomberg, who joins the balloting on Super Tuesday, March 3. Sanders already is eyeing a win Saturday in South Carolina, long thought to be Biden’s last redoubt."

Sanders Wins Create Reckoning For Democratic Party

Bernie Sanders, powered by diverse liberal coalition, forces a reckoning for Democrats. WaPo: "Bernie Sanders has seized a commanding position in the Democratic presidential race, building a diverse coalition that is driving his liberal movement toward the cusp of a takeover of a major political party. The senator’s ascendancy, though years in the making, is forcing a sudden reckoning in the Democratic Party’s hierarchy, as centrist politicians and their wealthy benefactors grapple with the upheaval brought by an electorate not only hungry to defeat President Trump, but also clamoring for radical change. Following Sanders’s resounding victory in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, and with polls showing him on the rise, Democrats are entering a season of open warfare over whether Sanders (I-Vt.) is equipped to beat Trump in what could be a brutal general election. The senator and his allies insist he could, but his detractors say he is too polarizing to win in November — and could severely cost Democrats in congressional or state races if Republicans use Sanders’s self-description as a democratic socialist to paint all Democrats as extreme. The Sanders insurgency is the culmination of grievances that have simmered for the past decade among liberals who say Washington has all but ignored the problems of income inequality, health-care access and climate change. A headstrong, 78-year-old senator, Sanders has galvanized his supporters with an unwavering commitment to their shared cause and forceful critiques of the 'billionaire class.' They in turn see him, despite his unorthodox persona, as a weapon against a governing class that has failed them. On the campaign trail, there is an unusual intensity to Sanders’s performances, reminiscent of the energy that built around Trump on the right during his 2016 rise. Sanders has emerged as a movement candidate, with his rallies coast to coast drawing thousands of people who wait for hours to see him."

Early Voting Starts In CA

Almost 2 million votes have already been cast in Super Tuesday states. CNN: "Super Tuesday is still more than a week away, but almost 2 million ballots have already been cast -- including in delegate-rich California and Texas. More than 1.3 million vote-by-mail ballots have been returned in California since February 3, according to county data provided by Sam Mahood, a spokesman for Secretary of State Alex Padilla. That's out of more than 16 million ballots sent out -- a flood that allows the vast majority of the state's more than 20 million registered voters to cast their ballots before March 3. 'The California presidential primary may be on Super Tuesday, but for millions of Californians, it is really Super February,' Padilla said in a news release earlier this month. California, with 494 delegates at stake -- the most of any single state -- has taken on new prominence this year after moving its primary date up in the calendar. Democratic candidates need 1,991 to clinch the nomination. The other big delegate haul up for grabs on Super Tuesday is Texas, with 261 delegates. Almost half a million ballots have already been cast since early and by-mail voting opened on February 18, according to the secretary of state's office. Texas has more than 16 million registered voters."

OK Schools Will Now Teach About 1921 Tulsa Massacre

Oklahoma Will Require Its Schools to Teach the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921">Oklahoma will require its schools to teach the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. NYMag: "Oklahoma’s Education Department is adding the 1921 Tulsa race massacre to its curriculum for the first time, in what doubles as a contingency to stop the tragedy’s centennial from devolving into a pile-on of the state’s failure to fully reckon with the tragedy. CNN reports that the decision was announced on Wednesday, with State Senator Kevin Matthews describing the 99-year-old killings as “Tulsa’s dirty secret.” Students from elementary through high school will be required to learn about them starting this fall. A pilot program run by Tulsa Public Schools has provided the blueprint for how the incident will be taught, and helped administrators develop tools and resources to ensure that teachers are comfortable teaching it. Until now, lessons about the massacre have been inconsistent — some schools taught it, some didn’t. Its universalization this week marks something of a turnaround in how its centrality to Oklahoma’s history is understood there."

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