Jim Larkin

James Larkin was an Irish activist and ambassador who is known for founding the Irish Transport and the General Workers Union. Born in Liverpool, England on January 28,1874, Larkin lacked formal education, causing him to delve into odd jobs to assist his family finances.

While working as a foreman at the Liverpool Docks, he began to realize the unfair treatment of his fellow workers, resulting in him joining the National Union of Dock Laborers, or NUDL, in 1905. His radical approach concerned the NUDL, causing him to be sent off to Dublin in 1907. Read more: Jim Larkin | Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia

While there, he began to organize the General Workers Union, with hopes of providing a organization that supported all Irish workers, skilled and unskilled. Larkin’s most prolific mark on history is organizing the Dublin Lockout, where nearly 100,000 workers went on strike for almost nine months. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html

This eventually led to the workers winning the right to fair employment, after years of unfair working conditions. Larkin’s international presence was well known, as he relocated to the United States, where he did lectures and also raised money for the fight against the British during the midst of World War I.

While in the US, Lakrin remained active in his efforts by joining organizations such as the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World.

In 1920, under scrutiny by U.S officials, Larkin was convicted on criminal charges, only to be pardoned three years later and eventually deported back to Ireland. James “Jim” Larkin paved the way for labor unions across the world, as he constantly fought for equal rights among workers, making him an unprecedented leader, even today.

Betsy DeVos: The Future of Education is Up

Betsy DeVos, the current Secretary of Education, has made it a point to push herself harder than she ever has in her new role within President Trump’s cabinet. Contrary to popular belief she has always been a fierce and cunning political fighter, not the subordinate employee she has been portrayed to be. She comes with her own thoughts and ideas about what should be done with the education system, she is not ignorant of the needs of the country’s children. While some believe she is stepping into the political ring outmatched, she may, in fact, be a ringer when it comes to many educational issues.

 

The New York Times article “Betsy DeVos is Publicly Polite, but a Political Fighter”, published on their website, discusses the depth of the education leader’s experience. While in Michigan, her home state, DeVos created quite a name for herself in the political arena. Not only was she a large donor to the Republican party, but she also served as a chairwoman for the Michigan Republican Party. There she also started her advocacy campaign for school choice. She is an instrumental member of several organizations such as the Foundation for Excellence in Education, the Alliance for School Choice, the Acton Institute, and the All Children Matter PAC.

 

When it comes to her policies, DeVos will not roll over very quickly. In fact, she made recent headlines when she publicly disagreed with the repeal of a former mandate that would allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that they identified with. She fought hard against the nullification of this mandate and even warned those that would be most effected by it (http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/10/devos_family_stryker_heir_make.html). Just because she lost; however, does not mean that she is not formidable. In fact, that is quite the opposite impression that she leaves. It has been predicted that as DeVos makes connections and becomes familiar with her office, she will be able to make decisions that promote real and lasting change for the students under her charge.

 

One thing that people can be sure of is that DeVos will continue to have a special interest in charter schools. She believes that the school system is behind that of their international counterparts, even the charter schools, and that more attention should be paid to bringing them up to par. Not very long ago, she even visited many charter schools in Florida with the first lady and Queen Rania of Jordan. For DeVos, the future of education is up.