California Educator

April / May 2019

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Ludlow massacre, phoned him and asked for help. Sinclair's participation was crucial in developing sympathy for the strikers. Inspired by groups like the Women's Trade Union League and the suffrage movement, he initiated some of the first efforts by intel- lectuals to gain widespread support for striking workers. By involving himself on behalf of these workers, Sinclair became not only a chroni- cler of history but also a participant. When strike sympathizer Minnie Davis heard that the striking dock- workers needed somewhere to meet, she offered the use of her rented land behind ird and Fourth streets, on a hill overlooking the harbor. e workers promptly dubbed it Liberty Hill. Eighty or so men, armed with clubs and guns, began climbing the hill. e 2,000 strikers con- tinued to sing as each was arrested. e strikers decided to carry their message from door to door. ousands of men, women and children wound through the streets singing, with the jailed workers singing back from inside the San Pedro jail. Police Captain Plummer announced a ban on street meetings. Sin- clair notified the strikers that the police's next move would be to take over Liberty Hill. He would bring friends to challenge the police order. He told reporters, " We're testing the right of police to suppress free speech and assemblage. You'll hear what I say if you climb Liberty Hill." When Sinclair and his friends reached the summit, he stepped on a speaker's box. Captain Plummer shouted, "I'm taking you in if you utter a word." "My right to speak is protected by the U.S. Constitution," Sinclair replied, and recited the First Amendment. As Art Shields remembered, Police Captain Plummer "grabbed the people's novelist by the collar" and arrested him. He was released two days later. Epilogue: Sinclair's valiant efforts did not save the San Pedro walkout. Sailors left for distant ports, and it would be another dozen years before longshoremen successfully organized, this time in San Francisco. Upton Sinclair went on to launch the Southern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. He wrote the play Singing Jailbirds to draw attention to the treat- ment of jailed workers, and it was performed from New York to New Delhi. Excerpted and adapted from Upton Sinclair : Cal- ifornia Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual ( pap erback, University of Nebraska Press, 2019), by Lauren Coodley. In the '90s, Lauren Coodley showed community college students a film about Upton Sinclair's 1934 campaign for California governor and his idea to "End Poverty in California." She had grown up in Bakersfield and attended Cal and Sonoma State, but had never heard of the campaign. Coodley returned to grad school, did her thesis on the need for a new Sinclair biog- raphy, and after retiring from teaching, finally wrote it. Liberty Hill, circa April/May 1923. Courtesy Industrial Workers of the World Standardized Testing and Parents' Right to Opt Out State law allows parents to opt out of state-mandated testing for their child. (The federal Every Student Succeeds Act affirms this right.) However, California also has specific regulations about what an educator can say to parents about opting out: Educators can inform parents of their right to opt out of high-stakes testing for their child, but cannot solicit or encourage parents to do so. The state's system of mandated and optional assessments is known as CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) and includes Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, California Alternate Assessments, and the California Science Test. CTA believes tests should be used to inform instruction and improve student learning. A true assessment of student achievement and improvement is always done through multiple measures and can never focus on just one test score. To learn more about CTA's position on testing and opting out, and to access resources to help educators have conversations with parents (including materials in multiple lan- guages), go to 57 A P R I L / M AY 2 019

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