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American public schools are increasingly seen by politicians, business people, and philanthropists as a sorting facility where children either seize limited opportunities or surrender them. Education "reformers" like Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein rhetorically connect standards and accountability to egalitarianism, using liberal language to advocate for a radically conservative reform agenda which consists of union busting, merit pay, and school privatization.
With the emergence of a new movement against corporate education reform, most significantly with the 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike, we saw signs of what can happen when teachers and their allies fight back against this agenda and put forward an alternative. The CTU's fight for "the schools our students deserve" shows that tens of thousands of ordinary people are willing to take action to defend the right to a public education.
Inspired by the fightback in Chicago, Jacobin magazine partnered with the Chicago Teacher's Union's CORE caucus to produce Class Action: An Activist Teacher's Handbook, a tool for those engaged in public education struggles around the country. Haymarket Books is proud to bring this important book back into print.
Contributors include CTU President Karen Lewis, economist Dean Baker, writer Joanne Barkan, education professor Lois Weiner, Jacobin editors Megan Erickson, Shawn Gude, and Micah Uetricht, and many others. Class Action also features documentary photography by Katrina Ohstrom and bears Creative Director Remeike Forbes's signature design.