Robinson claims she didn’t do it, and her book leaves no reason to doubt her.

NONE OF THE ABOVE

THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS CHEATING SCANDAL, CORPORATE GREED, AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF EDUCATORS

A former teacher convicted in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal makes a strong case that students have been cheated by corporate profiteers and racist policies that undermine public education.

Writing with journalist Simonton, Robinson offers a personal story of false accusations and a trial gone wrong within a larger story of political machinations and student performance as pawns in a racist game. The narratives don’t quite mesh, as the personal one becomes detailed past the point of repetition and the larger one could justify a longer book of its own. However, both stories will leave readers feeling Robinson’s outrage. She casts herself as a bit player who unfairly found herself cast as a public enemy, facing jail time for a crime that she convincingly claims she didn’t commit. The author was a neophyte who would receive no bonus for higher test scores, and by the time she was charged in a racketeering conspiracy to defraud the school system, she had already left teaching for social work. So what did she do? According to her, it all came down to a forgettable 20 minutes when she was asked to erase “stray marks” from some of her students’ tests, which might interfere with computer scoring. She was not asked to change any answers, though someone else might have, since the teachers later wondered how some students could have scored much higher than their class performances would have indicated. The investigation cast a wide net, and Robinson was charged based on the testimony of others who agreed to a plea bargain, including the supervisor who asked her to erase the marks. She was urged to take a similar deal and refused because she insists she had done nothing wrong. She is now appealing. The author relates her story at length amid decades of context on the privatizing of both public schools and prisons, the connections between real estate and public education, the racism underlying urban renewal, and the other factors that have left the Atlanta schools where they are.

Robinson claims she didn’t do it, and her book leaves no reason to doubt her.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-2220-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

Did you like this book?

A unique, inspiring story by a member of the Greatest Generation.

CODE TALKER

A firsthand account of how the Navajo language was used to help defeat the Japanese in World War II.

At the age of 17, Nez (an English name assigned to him in kindergarten) volunteered for the Marines just months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Growing up in a traditional Navajo community, he became fluent in English, his second language, in government-run boarding schools. The author writes that he wanted to serve his country and explore “the possibilities and opportunities offered out there in the larger world.” Because he was bilingual, he was one of the original 29 “code talkers” selected to develop a secret, unbreakable code based on the Navajo language, which was to be used for battlefield military communications on the Pacific front. Because the Navajo language is tonal and unwritten, it is extremely difficult for a non-native speaker to learn. The code created an alphabet based on English words such as ant for “A,” which were then translated into its Navajo equivalent. On the battlefield, Navajo code talkers would use voice transmissions over the radio, spoken in Navajo to convey secret information. Nez writes movingly about the hard-fought battles waged by the Marines to recapture Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and others, in which he and his fellow code talkers played a crucial role. He situates his wartime experiences in the context of his life before the war, growing up on a sheep farm, and after when he worked for the VA and raised a family in New Mexico. Although he had hoped to make his family proud of his wartime role, until 1968 the code was classified and he was sworn to silence. He sums up his life “as better than he could ever have expected,” and looks back with pride on the part he played in “a new, triumphant oral and written [Navajo] tradition,” his culture's contribution to victory.

A unique, inspiring story by a member of the Greatest Generation.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-425-24423-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton Caliber

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more