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A Pat on the Back

Teachers need investigative journalism the way plants need water; without it we die in the classroom, as our lessons have no real life in them. Where else but Artvoice and it’s just the “Poloncarz Wins” issue I’m citing, but it could be any—would we find an article that takes Ronald Reagan’s conservatism that has ruined the nation, reveals it for the corporate state domination that it is, and unmasks our own love of political football idols, all in one paragraph, as Bruce Fisher does in “Messages from Home” (Artvoice v10n45)?

Go Ahead, Close LaFayette High School—Why should We Care?” (“Letters to AV,” Artvoice v10n45) makes the challenges of teaching in some of Buffalo’s public schools obvious even to the likes of a Michelle Rhee. They can’t read because it takes tremendous effort and expense to bring non- or limited English speaking children to literacy, compared to those already fluent, while New York State insists on standardized tests and closing schools, scattering students and teachers alike. Our local education professors show how undermining the No Child Left Behind Act and the current Race to the Top federal funding formulas are to the purpose of public education.

These two outstanding pieces showing the historical context of the real world are deepened by Michael I. Niman’s courageous “the emperor has no clothes” honest presentation of the real Steve Jobs (“Getting a Grip,” Artvoice v10n45). What a lesson in political economy, as Mr. Niman digs relentlessly into the “brilliant” brand-building paragon of profit-making at the cost of human beings. He spares no truth, from the Congo tribal wars over computer materials (the play Ruined documents the depth of depravity) to the Chinese factory suicide nets.

What a lesson about the importance of Tiananmen Square, 1989, this commentary makes. I recently saw the “unbridled greed” professor Niman sees and documents in the movie Margin Call. However, without the informative articles in Artvoice I would have missed much of the meaning.

This Buffalo public school teacher is grateful to Artvoice for keeping what our founding fathers felt was so important, “freedom of the press.” It’s the truth of investigative journalism that, if anything, will make us free to teach the truth as we see it.

> Ray Peterson, Buffalo

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