Views in brief

January 3, 2019

The reality for special ed teachers

IN RESPONSE to “Why we’re boycotting the edTPA”: This is a fantastic article. I am reading it at the wrong time though: 24 hours before my edTPA is due in order to be able to graduate at the University of Minnesota.

I am at an at-risk school, and my lessons go sideways all of the time: Students kick the door down as they walk out, and many of them cannot work in a group setting. It’s discouraging to put so much work into teaching these students, learning while student-teaching, and having to prove myself in such a formal way in such an informal education setting.

These kids need someone who is ready to put in the time, work and support for them, not someone who is going to adhere to every single thing a big corporation puts at my door to pay even more money for.
Camille Marsten, Duluth, Minnesota

Missing the role of France Insoumise

IN RESPONSE to “The yellow vests mean revolt”: The interview on the yellow vests in France with Olivier Besançenot gave a fair idea of what the movement has been doing, but was sorely lacking in analysis of political forces.

Image from

The role of the left reformist France Insoumise movement (France in Revolt) was not even mentioned. It is as if one were to write about a mass revolt in the UK without analyzing the positioning of Corbyn and his party.

France Insoumise got 19.5 percent of the vote in the first round of the 2017 presidential elections, their MPs have been playing an excellent role defending the movement in public, being rewarded for this by huge media smear campaigns, and their activists, alongside far-left activists, are building the yellow vest mobilizations around the country.

How to engage with the France Insoumise, a rising reformist organization with a program to the left of that of Corbyn in Britain, is a key question for anti-capitalists in France, and it is a great pity it was not mentioned.
John Mullen, Paris

Lessons from low-wage Chicago

IN RESPONSE to “NYC shells out billions to the Amazon beast”: Chicago bid like hell to try to bring Amazon here, and perhaps, luckily, it didn’t get it. In any case, the city is always working to attract businesses to the city limits.

Whole Foods and several other companies relocated their warehouses and distribution centers to my neighborhood with promises of jobs and economic growth. However, I never see more than a few cars parked in their freshly paved parking lots, and as far as I know, few people in my neighborhood have gotten jobs working at those places.

Readers’ Views welcomes our readers' contributions to discussion and debate about articles we've published and questions facing the left. Opinions expressed in these contributions don't necessarily reflect those of SW.

A lot of the jobs involve logistics and transportation, which means trucks come and go all day, but there’s really no permanent jobs that benefit the immediate area, especially the areas to the east and north that desperately need them. Since Amazon is under no obligation to hire any local residents, those employees could be relocated and could from anywhere.

Queens is going to have a hell of a traffic jam on its hands once all these new residents start appearing. Good luck, New York: I think you’re going to need it!
Martin B. Jones, Chicago

An injustice in a major union

IN RESPONSE to “What NYC school therapists are fighting for”: AMAZING ARTICLE!

As an occupational therapist in the New York City Department of Education currently involved in this fight, I appreciate the accurate and organized way this author reports information. I hope this article enlightens many as to the hidden injustices in one of our country’s biggest unions!
Jennifer, Staten Island, New York

More on the SFSU strike anniversary

IN RESPONSE to “1968: The strike at San Francisco State”: Thank you for publishing the interview about the San Francisco State strike.

Readers interested in the strike (and other student uprisings of the period) may wish to check out a recently published collective memoir of activists who are former members of the Worker-Student Alliance tendency of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Progressive Labor Party (PL), including several veterans of the San Francisco State strike.

The book, You Say You Want a Revolution: SDS, PL, and Adventures in Building a Worker-Student Alliance, edited by San Francisco State veteran John Levin and Earl Silbar, covers a wide range of struggles — from trips to revolutionary Cuba defying the U.S. travel ban to student strikes, labor and community alliances and campaigns against the Vietnam war and racism across the country.

The memoirists’ reflections, whether rueful or optimistic, provide reflections on both successes and negative aspects of the authors’ experiences.

The stories they tell speak across the years, as a new generation — from Black Lives Matter to Fight for $15 to the Parkland students — faces decisions about how to organize and build alliances to stop wars abroad, confront racial oppression at home, fight for immigrant rights, and end violence and neoliberal exploitation.

I know the book is available at and at Amazon (sigh). There are great photos at the Facebook page (another sigh).
Alan Ginsberg, CCNY SDS ‘68