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Cynthia Peters: The Boy Next to Me Sings All the Time

A 12-year old girl I know has spent most of her years in parochial or public schools. This year, she’s got a full scholarship to a very expensive all girls’ school in Boston. After one day at this new school, she eloquently captured some differences in working-class vs. upper-class educations. “In my old school,” she Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: The Most Important Part of Going to the U.S. Social Forum: Coming Home

The most important part of going the U.S. Social Forum is how we come home from it. This is true because the Social Forum is only valuable insofar as it helps us build a strong grassroots base at home that is capable of winning demands, gaining, power, and ultimately changing the way institutions work. If Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Women Who Bathe Together

At a public bath in Morocco, I watched a young adolescent bathe her grandmother. She picked up each limb, moved her breasts this way and that, and shifted her belly about to reach every crevice. She stood over her, squatted next to her, and sat alongside her as she put a fair amount of muscle Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Doubtful about Presidents; Optimistic about Us

Writing for Time Magazine on November 5th, Joe Klein called Barack Obama’s victory a sign that our country is a "younger, more optimistic, less cynical" place. "It is a country that retains its ability to startle the world — and in a good way, with our freedom." The Boston Globe editorialized that the new president Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Newsflash: If it sounds ridiculous, it probably is…

"City urges parent to nourish young minds with talk," says the headline on the front page of the Boston Globe (4-2-08). The article goes on to describe how "literacy coaches" are fanning out into public housing in the inner city to teach low-income parents the importance of talking to their children. "You might think you Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: What’s the Matter with Getting Off?

  When I was reading Robert Jensen’s new book "Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity," I found myself being careful to put the book away with the cover face-down. Why? Because the cover looks, well, vaguely pornographic. It features a close-up of a man who looks like he might be jerking off in Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Literacy for the Learner’s Sake

As a teacher in adult education, I always had to balance facilitating empowered learning in the classroom with delivering a product to funders. You go into the classroom with high ideals about developing student-centered curriculum, stressing critical thinking over rote recitation, and creating an environment that fosters empowerment and critical consciousness. But then the question Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Veterans’ Voices

Written testimony "means that we no longer allow ourselves to be silenced or allow others to speak for our experience. Writing to heal, then, and making our writing public, as I see it, is the most important emotional, psychological, artistic, and political project of our time." – Louise De Salvo, PhD author, Writing as a Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: An Engaged Political Culture in Venezuela

At a little stand off an uneven road switchbacking its way up and down the Andean mountains, we stopped for a thick, syrupy sweet cafecito. It comes in a tiny, two-swallow sized cup, providing just the right hit of caffeine to keep us alert on the blind curves, which paradoxically are as numbingly repetitive as Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Woody Guthrie to Judge Thayer: No Sweet Music

Readers of ZNet know how the "system" works, but who among us has not wanted to take certain individuals by the shoulders and force them to face the consequences of their actions. When I was a kid, we used to have a dog that would occasionally relieve himself right in front of the TV set. Read more…

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