Iris Kirsch

Iris Kirsch

Iris Kirsch is a Baltimore City Public School teacher and a worker-owner of the Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse. A native New Yorker, ze has been living in Baltimore for the past 13 years and loves it. Ze is a voracious reader, an amateur costumer, and a perennial joke-player. Some of zer articles are partially ghost-written by zer cat, Cat Jones.

Contributions:

Students protest tuition hikes. Source: CNN.

My mother was the oldest of 5 children, raised in a small apartment in the Bronx. Her immigrant parents had no opportunity to go to college, and were very proud of her when she graduated near the top of her class and got a full scholarship to study math at Mercy College.

The dialogue looked at lessons from the past, focusing on Dr. King's Poor People's Campaign of 1968 and the transformation from Civil to Human Rights. Photo by: Casey McKeel.

Indyreader Contributers Iris Kirsch and Casey McKeel celebrated Dr. King's birthdays at the United Worker's Strategic Dialogue. The United Workers have a ten year legacy in Baltimore as low wage workers leading the way to poverty's end. We invite you to share the event with us, in words and pictures.

Armed guard outside school. (Source: Steve Liss/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image)

It’s been a month since tragedy struck Newtown, CT: a small, wealthy suburb of New York. On a clear December morning, a regular day at the local elementary school exploded in gunfire, forever transforming that community. In a few short minutes, they lost six adults and twenty children to dumbfounding violence.

When this year’s third graders graduate from high school, the Baltimore City Schools Ten-Year-Plan will be in full effect. The plan, announced in late November amidst much fanfare, calls for a ground-up overhaul of the buildings and facilities where our children go every day to learn and grow.

Baltimore City school teachers rally in solidarity with striking Chicago teachers. (Photo by: Bill Bleich, source: City Paper)

Baltimore teachers are in the final year of the “landmark” contract we reluctantly ratified in 2010. Many teachers and education professionals reviled the contract for its attacks on seniority in the form of merit pay. As the BTU and BCPSS move into the contract negotiation season, it is important for the public to understand this concept.

Hurricane Sandy shut down businesses all across the east coast—even businesses that pride themselves on never closing their doors. Photo by: Iris Kirsch.

With the dystopic, unreality show "Jersey Shore" in its waning sixth season, residents of the long Atlantic Coast in New Jersey have some rather more pressing concerns. Last week, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record crashed into the coast, plunging more than 8.2 million people into darkness, and flooding thousands of homes.

Jerrell is a good guy. Smart and funny, he generally helped lighten the spirit of class. I taught Jerrell for two years, as a High School Junior and then again as a Senior. He was on my roster the next year, too. But only until he turned 21, and the school district's automated system dropped him from our roll when he “aged out” of the public school system.

Why would anyone get as far as senior year and then drop out? Why would he let all those years of hard work go to waste?

Chicago Teachers Union on strike. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Today marks one month after 80% of the Chicago Teachers Union's (CTU) rank and file members voted to accept a major victory, ending a week-long strike. The CTU has been fighting for better working conditions for teachers, and therefore better learning conditions for students. As part of her ongoing column, "Future Imperfect", Iris Kirsch gives us an analysis of why the CTU campaign was so effective, and why it's important to teachers' struggles across the US.`

An empty Baltimore City classroom. Photo by: Iris Kirsch.

Iris Kirsch is a Baltimore City Public School teacher. Ze* will be writing a bi-weekly column for the Indyreader. Because ze is both a reporter and an inside source, ze wanted to give a personal introduction in the interest of disclosure, and also so readers would have an idea where ze stands. This introductory essay also includes a lot of common acronyms.

Pages

Street Soldiers: Youth Arming Themselves with Education
Let Teachers Teach: More Teacher Regulations Only Undermine Education
Let Teachers Teach: More Teacher Regulations Only Undermine Education
The Past Meets the Present
Chicago Teachers are my Heroes!
Baltimore's School-to-Prison Pipeline and the New Youth Jail
Least Popular Character on Jersey Shore: Hurricane Sandy
Merit Pay Is Unsatisfactory
Making the Ten Year Plan Work for Communities
Guns, Fear, and Sandy Hook
Human Rights Dialogue: Fighting for Social and Economic Human Rights
American Dreamin'
Mother Earth Poetry Vibe!
Colonial Education Leaves Puerto Rican Children Behind
Nuestra Escuela: Part 1
Nuestra Escuela: Part 2
Winds of Change in the Windy City
Bidding Farewell to Andrés A. Alonso
The Struggle for Philly's Schools
Getting Schooled on the BCPSS Teacher Contract
8 Great Books, Summer-ized
Whose Voice, Whose Choice?