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“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.

24. Restorative Justice Turns Violent Schools Around

Last year when American Paradigm Schools took over Philadelphia’s infamous, failing John Paul Jones Middle School, they did something a lot of people would find inconceivable. Rather than beef up the already heavy security to ensure safety and restore order, American Paradigm stripped it away. During renovations, they removed both metal detectors and barred windows. The police predicted chaos. But, instead, new numbers seem to show that in a single year the number of serious incidents fell by 90 percent.

The school was known as “Jones Jail” for its reputation of violence and disorder, and because the building physically resembled a youth correctional facility. Situated in the Kensington section of the city, it drew students from the heart of a desperately poor hub of injection drug users and street-level prostitution where gun violence rates are off the charts

School officials stated it wasn’t just the humanizing physical makeover of the facility that helped. They also credit the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), a noncoercive, nonviolent conflict resolution regimen originally used in prison settings, which was later adapted to violent schools. AVP, when tailored to school settings, emphasizes student empowerment, relationship building, and anger management over institutional control and surveillance.

There are no aggressive security guards in schools using the AVP model; instead they have engagement coaches, who provide support, encouragement, and a sense of safety. AVP recruited its engagement coaches from Troops to Teachers, a program that trains veterans as educators. Trained in nonviolent conflict resolution, the engagement coaches “help mediate disputes rather than dole out punishment,” Jeff Deeney reported in the Atlantic. Because students come to trust their engagement coaches, the school has been able to forestall potential conflicts: For example, “Coaches often get advance word,” Deeney wrote, “when something’s about to go down in the hallways.”

From Oakland, Fania Davis reported for YES! Magazine about Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), which has successfully influenced the local school district to replace “zero-tolerance” policies with restorative justice—and with impressive, positive results. Under the program, high school students with failing grades and multiple incarcerations who were not even expected to graduate now do not simply graduate but also achieve 3.0+ GPAs and earn honors as valedictorians.

As Davis, RJOY’s executive director, wrote, “Today hundreds of Oakland students are learning a new habit.” Instead of resorting to violence, they are being empowered to engage in restorative processes that promote “dialogue, accountability, a deeper sense of community, and healing.” The hallmark of restorative justice is “intentionally bringing together people with seemingly diametrically opposed viewpoints—particularly people who have harmed with people who have been harmed—in a carefully prepared face-to-face encounter where everyone listens and speaks with respect and from the heart no matter their differences.”

A University of California–Berkeley study found that RJOY’s middle school program reduced school suspension rates by 87 percent and referrals for violence by 77 percent. Racial disparity in discipline was eliminated, while graduation rates and test scores rose.

Sources:

Jeff Deeney, “A Philadelphia School’s Big Bet on Nonviolence,” Atlantic, July 18, 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/a-philadelphia-schools-big-bet-on-nonviolence/277893.

Fania Davis, “Discipline with Dignity: Oakland Classrooms Try Healing Instead of Punishment,” YES! Magazine, February 19, 2014, http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/education-uprising/where-dignity-is-part-of-the-school-day.

Student Researchers: Katie Barretta and Slava Eltchev (San Francisco State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)

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