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The Only Black Woman From the Class of 1974 at Dartmouth College

I won’t be writing again about the ongoing Chicago teachers strike, but it is worth noting that the head of the teachers union out there is alumna Karen Lewis ‘74, who styles herself the “only black woman from the Class of 1974 at Dartmouth College.” She has fought hard to prevent the school administration from laying off teachers in any manner except by seniority, and in the current contentious contract negotiation, she has rejected Chicago’s offer of a 16% wage increase. In the below video, she comments derisively on the lisp that Obama administration Secretary of Education Arne Duncan supposedly has, opines that Duncan may have taken drugs as a student, and she notes of her time at Dartmouth, “I spent those years smoking lots of weed. Self-medicating. Self-medicating.”

While Lewis is the President of the Chicago Teachers Union, and the Vice-President of the American Federation of Teachers, she is not the College’s finest ambassador.

Addendum: The NYT’s Joe Nocera reports: “In Chicago, about 60 percent of public school students graduate from high school. The percentage who graduate from college before the age of 25 is appalling: somewhere around 6 percent.”

Addendum: The first freshman women after the College began coeducation matriculated at Dartmouth in the fall of 1972 — the Class of 1976. They graduated at the end of my freshman year. The infamous ratio then was three men for each woman. However, about 24 junior transfer students arrived at Dartmouth in September 1972, too. Karen Lewis was the only African-American among them.

Addendum: According to a 2004 study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, 39% of Chicago’s public school teachers send their kids to private schools.


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