Archives for category: Courage

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, asks you to show your support for #AbbottElementary, the delightful weekly show that favorably portrays the real life of teachers, students, and public schools. The show was written, produced by, and stars the amazingly talented @QuintaBrunson.

Carol writes:

ABC’s award-winning sitcom Abbott Elementary is the story of a wonderful group of teachers who stick with a challenging Philadelphia public school because they love teaching and kids. In recent episodes, it has been critical of the effects of charter schools.

It seems hard to believe it, but “Ed Reformers” are attacking its creator, Quinta Brunson, on Twitter.

Please stand up for Abbott Elementary & Ms Brunson by copying and tweeting the Tweets below. The show and its producers need to know you stand for truth-telling and for public schools.

Thank you @AbbottElemABC & @quintabrunson for yr amazing show that dares to tell truth abt how charters hurt public schools. Love the show. Keep up the great work! I love #AbbottElementary

How small @JeanneAllen & @edreform look trying to suppress @AbbottElemABC from criticizing the charter system by lying about @quintabrunson. I love #AbbottElementary

When @AbbottElemABC critiques Pa billionaire trying to undermine public schools w/charters, @edreform goes on the attack. Pathetic to go after a beloved show & its beloved creator/star @quintabrunson. Gotta say it. I love #AbbottElementary.

You can read about the show’s critique of charters here and the Jeanne Allen controversy here including the Tweets in which Brunson pushes back.

Thanks for all you do,Image

Carol Burris

Network for Public Education

Executive Director

A friend in South Carolina sent me this public statement by a fearless district superintendent. He asked questions that most state legislators cannot answer. He knows that vouchers will subsidize the tuition of students already in private schools, and that private schools retain the right to refuse any student they don’t want.

J.R. Green, Ph.D, superintendent of the Fairfield County district sent out this letter:

Do the Advocates of “School choice” really believe in “School choice?”

Recently the South Carolina Senate passed S.39, a controversial voucher legislation that proposes to provide parents up to $6,000/year of state money to attend a private school. At full implementation by year three, the voucher program will cost approximately $90 million/year. Proponents of the legislation suggest that school vouchers empower parents to select the school that best fits the needs of their children. But does this legislation actually empower parents, or private schools that will ultimately benefit from the infusion of state revenue? The undisputed fact is that S.39 will provide private schools with state revenue, yet allow those same private schools to pick and choose the students they elect to serve. In essence, we are providing private schools with public money, without a commitment to serving the public student.

I respect any parent’s right to choose the educational option they see is best for their child. However, receiving public funding should obligate these institutions to serve all public school students, just as public schools are required to do. Private schools who receive this funding should not be allowed to deny students because they are Exceptional Education students, failed to meet qualifying scores on entrance exams, level of parent participation, etc. All students who request admission should be accepted. Amendments were offered during the debate of S.39 that would ban discrimination based on religion or disability. Those amendments were rejected and as a result would allow a private school receiving state revenue to deny a student because of an intellectual disability or physical handicap. This is the current reality for private schools in South Carolina, and I respect their right to restrict enrollment, as long as the school is being funded with private money. However, the acceptance of state money must require a different standard. During the senate subcommittee hearing debating the voucher legislation last year I shared the published admission criteria for a local private school. The school clearly outlined the following:

• Does not provide a program of study and support for students with learning disability, an IEP, or 504 plan.

• Married students, pregnant students, and or biological parents will not be allowed to attend.

• Reserves the right to reject any application for admission or employment and further reserves the right to terminate any association with students if it determines that such association is incompatible with the aims and purpose of the school

This clearly represents private school “choice” not parental “choice.”

Finally, since the Education Accountability Act of 1998, the general assembly has touted the benefits and necessity to administer yearly assessments to public school students. These assessments have been advertised as the key to improving education outcomes in South Carolina, and essential to ensuring the public can readily measure the return on the education investment. I’m perplexed as to why the private schools that would receive public funding would not participate in the same system of accountability? Why would these schools not be required to administer the same state assessments, and publish their data just as public schools are required to do? If this system of accountability is necessary and appropriate for public schools, it should be necessary and appropriate for private schools accepting public funding.

Although I think the legislation is unconstitutional, and represents little value to improving student outcomes, if the South Carolina General Assembly is committed to making school vouchers a reality, these schools must be accessible to all students, and accountable to the public just as public schools. Let participating schools open up their doors to all students, administer and publish the same assessments as public schools, and let the chips fall as they may.

J.R. Green, Ph.D.


Fairfield County Schools

Bravo, Dr. Green!

I had a conversation with Tim Slekar on his program, “Busted Pencils,” about the Rightwing attack on teaching history honestly and accurately.

We had fun, and you might enjoy listening:

#BustEDPencils Pod.
It’s not an attack on history. It’s an attack on #democracy.

Guest: Diane Ravitch.

Listen here:

Several years ago, I went to an art house cinema to see a film about Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Society. I didn’t know much about this group other than that they were students who stood up to the Nazis and lost their lives. I am always interested in learning true stories about people who demonstrated courage against overwhelming odds. The film was indeed moving and inspiring. It ends when Sophie and her brother are guillotined. The audience knew the ending, yet many sat in stunned silence as a gesture of respect for these brave young Germans. Some wept.

Thanks to Greg B., I learned that the last surviving member of the White Rose Society just died, at the age of 103. Her name was Traute Lafrenze. She was repeatedly imprisoned. After the war, she moved to the U.S. She married an American. She died in South Carolina. The German government awarded her its highest civilian honor on her 100th birthday.

Read about her in The Smithsonian.

Or the New York Times.

She and the White Rose Society, these courageous idealistic young Germans, should be remembered forever. That is their ultimate triumph over the monster who murdered them.

I was thrilled to see that the documentary about Alexei Navalny won the Oscar. It will bring more attention to his unjust imprisonment by a dictatorship. I hope everyone gets to see this film. His family was there to share the award.

The KGB tried to poison him but failed. He was saved in a German hospital. He could have stayed out of Russia and remained free.

But he returned , knowing that Putin would lock him up for years. He is now in a remote prison camp, in solitary confinement.

But not forgotten.

Let’s hope this recognition bolsters his spirit.


Josh Cowen is a Professor of Educational Policy at Michigan State University. He has spent many years as a voucher researcher and recently concluded that vouchers are a failed experiment, based on a multitude of research studies.

As soon as anyone becomes a critic of charter schools or vouchers, the choice lobby attacks them and claims they are paid by the teachers’ unions. I know this from personal experience. A few years ago, a choice lobbyist accused me of taking union money to buy the house I lived in; I assured her that I paid for my home all by myself.

Funny that the shrill well-paid lobbyists act as though unions are criminal enterprises, when in reality they have historically enabled poor and working class people to gain a foothold in the middle class, to have job security, health benefits, and a pension. They also give public schools a voice at the table when governors propose larger classes, lower standards for new teachers, or decreased funding for schools. I believe we need unions now, more than ever. Whenever I hear of a charter school unionizing or of workers in Starbucks or some other big chain forming a union, it makes my day.

Josh Cowen has undoubtedly been subject to the same baseless criticism from the same union-haters whose salaries are paid by plutocrats. He shares his thoughts here about teachers’ unions.

Here in Michigan, the Democratic legislature just re-affirmed our state’s longstanding commitment to working families by removing anti-labor provisions from state law. The move doesn’t apply to teachers and other public employees, because the conservative U.S. Supreme Court sided a few years back with Right-wing activists in their efforts to hinder contributions to public sector unions, but it’s still good news for the labor movement overall.

And I wanted to use their effort—alongside Republican efforts in other states to threaten teachers for what they say in classrooms—to make a simple point.

We need teachers unions. Other folks more prominent than me, like AFT’s Randi Weingarten, have made this point recently too. But I wanted to add my own voice as someone who has not been a union member, and someone who—although I’ve appeared with Randi on her podcast and count many union members as friends—has never been an employee or even a consultant.

If you want to talk dollars, The Walton Family Foundation once supported my research on charter schools to the tune of more than $300,000. Arnold Ventures supported my fundraising for a research center at Michigan State–$1.9 million from them. And the US Department of Education awarded my team more than $2 million to study school choice—while Betsy DeVos was secretary.

Think about that when I say school vouchers are horrific. And understand, I’m getting no support from teachers’ unions.

Instead it is I who supports them.

I’ve been studying teacher labor markets almost as long as school vouchers. Mostly my research has looked at teacher recruitment and retention. But I’ve also written about teachers’unions specifically. There’s a debate among scholars on what unions do and whether their emphasis on spending translates into test score differences. In the “rent seeking” framework economists use, the concern is that dollars spent on salaries don’t have direct academic payoffs.

There is no question that spending more money on public schools has sustained and generational impacts on kids. Research has “essentially settled” that debate, according to today’s leading expert on the topic.

But I want to branch out from dollars and cents and test scores to talk about teacher voice.

And I want to do that by raising a few questions that I’ve asked myself over the last couple years:

Why should the voice of a billionaire heiress from Michigan with no experience in public schools count for more than the voices of 100,000 teachers in my state’s classrooms every day?

Why should the simple fact that they work with children made by other people mean that teachers surrender their own autonomy and judgment not just as professionals but as human beings?

Why should educators have to work under what amounts to gag orders, afraid to broach certain topics or issues in the classroom? Some states are setting up hotlines to report on teachers as if they’re parolees, and a bill in New Hampshire would essentially give the fringe-Right Secretary of Education subpoena power to haul teachers in front of a special tribunal for teaching “divisive concepts.” This, after a Moms for Liberty chapter put out a bounty on New Hampshire teachers who were likewise divisive on an issue. Read: an issue of race or gender.

It’s not just threats to teacher employment. We know this. There are threats to teachers’ lives. How many teachers have died alongside their students—other people’s children—over the years in school shootings?

Why does the Right claim to trust teachers enough to arm them with guns in response to those shootings, but not enough to let them talk about race, gender, or any other “divisive concept?” Even some conservative commentators have worried publicly that we’re asking teachers to do too much. Why are we asking them to be an armed security force too?

‘In her recent history of “The Teacher Wars”, The New York Times’ Dana Goldstein noted that teachers formed unions, and fought for teacher tenure, to protect themselves not just professionally but personally. For free speech. To prevent harassment from supervisors—then as now, teachers were mostly professional women—and to keep from being fired for pregnancy or marital status.

So really, attacks on teachers are nothing new. Instead, teachers seem to be one of the few professions that it’s still acceptable in political conversation—even a mark of supposed intellectual sophistication in some circles—to ponder the shortcomings of the educators who work with our kids every day.

There’s nothing sophisticated about attacking hardworking, thoughtful, and dedicated people. And the only result of doing so will be the further erosion of our public, community schools. And that’s really the point. Just a few days ago, we learned that the big data that I and many others have gotten used to working with finally caught up to the on-the-frontlines warnings of educators everywhere: teachers are exiting the profession at unprecedented rates.

I’ve taken no money from teachers’ unions for any of the work I do. I’ve never been a member of a union—teachers’ or otherwise. Until now. Because after writing this today, I made a donation to my state’s primary teachers’ union and became a general member: a person “interested in advancing the cause of education…not eligible for other categories of membership.”

There’s a word for that in the labor movement. You hear it a lot here in Michigan, where I grew up and now teach future teachers in a college of education. That word is Solidarity.

Sign me up.

I received the following notice from Dr. Angela Valenzuela of the University of Texas. She has written extensively about diversity, exclusion, inclusion, equity, and history. Her original letter was sent to executives at the American Educational Research Association. She shared it with me, and I am sharing it with you.

As I am sure everybody knows, we are in the throes of a major fight here in Texas over DEI, academic freedom, CRT in higher education, tenure, and so much more and these folks are loaded with hubris—like they can just roll right over us. That’s what DeSantis is demonstrating. So I and others have been working for close to a year now in trying to unite our communities. We are doing this through an organization we’ve named, Black Brown Dialogues on Policy and now, so that we don’t become Florida by uniting as black and brown humanity. Intersectional. Intergenerational. Civil rights, Gen Z inclusive, white allies—and all people of good conscience. This is the Beloved Community, El Pueblo Amado.I just love how it sounds in Spanish.

There’s more that unites than divides us. We’ll have the program up soon, as well, on our website.

Next Saturday, March 11, BBDP is organizing a Virtual Town Hall on DEI and Ethnic Studies and all are welcome to attend:

MEDIA ADVISORY: Black Brown Dialogues on Policy hosts Virtual Town Hall—Sat. March 11, 2023 from 10:00 AM—4:30PM CST

We get going at 10AM CST and you can view it and post questions from our Facebook page:

We hope to have the Virtual Town Hall program up on our website soon.

AERA luminaries Drs. Francesca Lopez, Christine Sleeter, Kevin Kumashiro and Stella Flores are part of the program. Texas legislators and two Gen Z panels, too.

Media industry professionals are producing it and we are using this Virtual Town Hall as an informational opportunity and organizing tool through which to, on the one hand, pass Ethnic Studies legislation (HB 45), and on the other, defeat terrible bills like those listed below.

HB 45 is about Ethnic Studies. It doesn’t make ES a requirement. Rather, it creates a pathway to a high school diploma through the taking of either Mexican American or African American Studies, courses that are currently electives in state policy at the high school level. Native American Studies and Asian American Studies were “passed,” along with the other two courses in 2018. I and so many others were involved in its passage. And the SBOE has waited for a more conservative board to get in to decide whether and when to align Native American Studies and Asian American Studies to state standards. They’re foot dragging. What we need is a law, or HB 45.

Check out these horrible bills.

The specific bills represent an attack on DEI in higher education: House Bill 1006, House Bill 1607, and House Bill 1046. I heard there was one more, too. We can’t keep up. But these are sufficiently draconian to be concerned.

House Bill 1006 seeks to “prohibit: (A) the funding, promotion, sponsorship, or support of: (i) any office of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and (ii) any office that funds, promotes, sponsors, or supports an initiative or formulation of diversity, equity, and inclusion beyond what is necessary to uphold the equal protection of the lawsunder the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

House Bill 1607 is the higher education analogue to Senate Bill 3 last legislative session that some have dubbed the “Texas anti-CRT” bill, House Bill 1006.

HB 1046 seeks to prohibit what they’re calling “political tests” in higher education utilized in hiring decisions or in student admissions as a condition of employment, promotion, or admission, to identify a commitment to or make a statement of personal belief supporting any specific partisan, political, or ideological set of beliefs, including an ideology or movement that promotes the differential treatment of any individual or group based on race or ethnicity.

It will really make a difference if folks from all over the country attend to convey solidarity with our cause. Public statements, letters to Governor Greg Abbott and the Lt. Governor Dan Patrick in defense of Ethnic Studies, CRT, and DEI are also much appreciated.

I’m sure I missed some folks, so apologies if I left you out. We have a lot on our plates at the moment.

Hasta pronto! Buenas noches. May all have a blessed week.

Peace / paz,

Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D.

Co-founder and convener

Black Brown Dialogues on Policy

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post points out that some Republicans don’t like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ intervention into everyone’s business to control them. Wyoming is a great example of a state that has refused to join DeFascist’s war against WOKE.

Blake wrote:

A potential flash point in the 2024 GOP presidential race: Conservatives are criticizing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other Republicans for going too farin using the heavy hand of government to combat so-called “woke” entities.

And in Wyoming, the tension between those two approaches has come to a head.

The nation’s least-populous state could be considered its most Republican. In both 2016 and 2020, it handed Donald Trump his largest margin of victory of any of the 50 states, going for Trump by more than 43 points. Republicans hold more than 90 percent of the seats in both of its state legislative chambers.

But recently, the state House has effectively shelved a number of bills resembling proposals that have sailed to passage elsewhere:

  • A school-choice bill that would create a scholarship fund for students to attend private instead of public schools.
  • A bill modeled on Florida’s education bill, dubbed “don’t say gay” by critics, that would ban the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
  • A bill that would ban state officials from contracting with businesses and investment funds that boycott fossil fuels or emphasize political or social-justice goals.
  • A bill called “Chloe’s Law” that would forbid doctors from providing hormone blockers and gender-affirming surgery to children.

All four have passed in the state Senate. But along the way, they lost GOP votes — a significant number of them, in the first three bills — and now the state House is holding them up.

A big reason? The state House speaker says he believes in “local control” and worries about the broader effects of state government dictating such issues.

Speaker Albert Sommers (R) has used a maneuver on the school-choice and education proposals known as keeping a bill in his “drawer.” In the former case, he noted that a similar measure already failed in the state House’s education committee. And on the latter, Florida-like bill, he argued for a limited role for state government.

“Fundamentally, I believe in local control,” Sommers told the Cowboy State Daily. “I’ve always fought, regardless of what really the issue is, against taking authority away from local school boards, town councils, county commissions. And in my view that’s what this bill does.”

He also argued that the bill was unconstitutional, because legislation in Wyoming must be focused on one topic. This bill would both restrict instruction on certain subjects and implement changes in how much control parents have over school boards. Sommers suggested such proposals “do not come from Wyoming but instead from another state, or they are templates from a national organization.” And he echoed some conservatives in arguing that it was a solution in search of a problem. “This type of teaching is not happening in Wyoming schools,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT

On “Chloe’s Law,” Sommers angered some conservatives by sending the bill to the appropriations committee rather than the labor and health committee. While the bill was being considered, some Republican legislators warned the bill would undercut counseling and mental health care for transgender youth and could create problems with the state’s federally regulated health insurance plans. The appropriations committee voted against the bill 5-2, tagging it with a “do not pass” designation.

Sommers also sent the fossil-fuels bill to the appropriations committee, and GOP lawmakers expressed worry that the bill would reduce investment in the state and force out large corporations and financial institutions.

These tensions come as some conservatives have warmed to the idea of using the government to crack down on so-called “woke” policies and practices in private businesses and in public education. That turn is perhaps best exemplified by DeSantis, who moved to prevent cruise lines from requiring covid vaccinations, prohibit social media companies from banning politicians and strip Disney of its special tax status after it criticized the so-called “don’t say gay” bill. He also has repeatedly involved the government in school curriculum decisions.

Such moves have earned significant criticism not just from some free-market and libertarian-oriented groups, but also from DeSantis’s potential rivals for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2024.

“The idea of going after [Disney’s] taxing authority — that was beyond the scope of what I as a conservative, a limited-government Republican, would be prepared to do,” former vice president Mike Pence said last week.

“For others out there that think that the government should be penalizing your business because they disagree with you politically, that isn’t very conservative,” New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu added in February. He has said that “if we’re trying to beat the Democrats at being big-government authoritarians, remember what’s going to happen.”

Last year, former Maryland governor Larry Hogan called DeSantis’s moves on Disney “crazy” and said, “DeSantis is always talking about he was not demanding that businesses do things, but he was telling the cruise lines what they had to do.”

Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, too, criticized DeSantis for his proposed changes to Disney’s special tax status (which have since been significantly watered down). In 2021, Hutchinson also took a relatively lonely stand in his state, against the legislature banning gender-affirming care for children.

“While in some instances the state must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human and ethical issue,” he said at the time. “This would be — and is — a vast government overreach.”

Hutchinson’s veto was easily overridden by the state legislature. That, and DeSantis’s rise in the GOP, suggest which way the wind is blowing.

But as Wyoming shows — and the 2024 primary could demonstrate — that doesn’t mean the debate within the GOP about the scope of government is settled

Historian Heather Cox Richardson summarized Secretary of State Anthony Blinken‘s address to the U.N. Security Council Ministerial Meeting on Ukraine Sovereignty and Russian Accountability. We must never forget that Ukraine is a sovereign nation, and it is irrelevant that it belonged to Russia in the past or during the repressive era of the Soviet Union. Ukraine belongs to the people of Ukraine. I have highlighted sections of his speech that touched me. Open the link to read the footnotes.

She wrote:

“One year and one week ago—on February 17th, 2022—I warned this council that Russia was planning to invade Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the United Nations Security Council Ministerial Meeting on Ukraine Sovereignty and Russian Accountability today.

“I said that Russia would manufacture a pretext, and then use missiles, tanks, soldiers, cyber attacks to strike pre-identified targets, including Kyiv,” Blinken continued, “with the aim of toppling Ukraine’s democratically elected government. Russia’s representative—the same representative who will speak today—called these, and I quote, ‘groundless accusations.’

“Seven days later, on February 24th, 2022, Russia launched its full-scale invasion.”

When Putin’s initial attack failed to give him control of Ukraine, Blinken continued, “he called snap referenda in four occupied parts of Ukraine, deported Ukrainians, bussed in Russians, held sham votes at gunpoint, and then manipulated the results to claim near unanimous support for joining the Russian Federation.”

“Over the last year,” Blinken said, “Russia has killed tens of thousands of Ukrainian men, women, and children; uprooted more than 13 million people from their homes; destroyed more than half of the country’s energy grid; bombed more than 700 hospitals, 2,600 schools; and abducted at least 6,000 Ukrainian children—some as young as four months old—and relocated them to Russia.

“And yet, the spirit of the Ukrainians remains unbroken; if anything, it’s stronger than ever.”

Blinken’s remarkable speech told the history of Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, then highlighted that the world community has come together to stand behind Ukraine and the principles of the United Nations Charter that make all countries safer and more secure: “No seizing land by force. No erasing another country’s borders. No targeting civilians in war. No wars of aggression.”

He noted that the war had caused hardship around the globe, but the “vast majority” of states in the United Nations have condemned Russia’s violations of the U.N. Charter, including 141 who voted for a resolution along those lines just yesterday.

When Putin tried to use hunger as a weapon to end sanctions, more than 100 countries stepped up to bring down world grain prices; when Putin tried to use energy as a weapon, the rest of the world redirected national gas supplies so that the countries he was targeting could keep their people warm, and Europe worked hard to end its dependence on Russian energy.

Blinken said that if we do not defend the basic principles of the U.N. Charter, “we invite a world in which might makes right, the strong dominate the weak. That’s the world this body was created to end.”

While everyone—especially Ukraine—wants peace, he said, that peace must be durable, not simply an excuse to let Russia rest, rearm, and relaunch the war. As Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky has outlined, any peace must honor Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty. Putin has rejected this condition out of the box, saying that Ukraine must accept his “annexation” of Ukraine’s territories.

Blinken reminded his listeners that not everything in the world has two sides. “In this war, there is an aggressor and there is a victim,” he said. “If Russia stops fighting and leaves Ukraine, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends. The fact remains: One man—Vladimir Putin—started this war; one man can end it.”

When Russia and its defenders say the ongoing war is diverting resources from others in need, Blinken said, “look at Moscow’s actions” and look at the numbers. Last year, the U.S. contributed $13.5 billion in food aid and funded more than 40% of the World Food Program’s budget. Russia pays less than 1% of that budget.

Blinken went on: “Based on the latest UN figures, the United States donates over nine times as much as Russia to UN peacekeeping. We donate 390 times as much as Russia to UNICEF. We give nearly a thousand times as much as Russia to the UN Refugee Agency.”

Blinken reminded his listeners that the atrocities we are seeing Russians commit in Ukraine are not normal. “Bucha is not normal,” he said. “Mariupol is not normal. Irpin is not normal. Bombing schools and hospitals and apartment buildings to rubble is not normal. Stealing Ukrainian children from their families and giving them to people in Russia is not normal.

“We must not let President Putin’s callous indifference to human life become our own.”

Today, the leaders of the international Group of Seven, known as the G7, met virtually with Zelensky. The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union.

The statement they issued echoed Blinken’s speech, then went on to pledge to continue food and humanitarian aid as countries suffer from the war, and to continue to design sanctions to make sure those countries continue to have access to food and fertilizers. The G7 leaders expressed “profound sympathy” for those affected by the “horrifying earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria” and pledged continued support.

“Above all,” they said, “our solidarity will never waver in standing with Ukraine, in supporting countries and people in need, and in upholding the international order based on the rule of law.”

The Biden administration today announced $2 billion in military aid to Ukraine, including drones, communications equipment, HIMARS rockets, and 155-millimeter artillery ammunition, while the G7 has increased its 2023 support for Ukraine to $39 billion, and both Germany and Sweden committed to sending more Leopard 2 tanks.

The deputy chair of Russia’s security council, former president Dmitry Medvedev, said today that Russia planned to “push the borders of threats to our country as far as possible, even if these are the borders of Poland.” Poland is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), meaning an attack on it would be an attack on the rest of NATO, including the United States.

At a press conference in Kyiv today, Zelensky said: “Victory will be inevitable. I am certain there will be victory.”

“We have everything for it. We have the motivation, certainty, the friends, the diplomacy. You have all come together for this. If we all do our important homework, victory will be inevitable.”

As many as one million Russians have fled their country in protest against Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The exiles include intellectuals, journalists, and high-tech workers, as well as draft-age men who refused to go to war for Putin’s territorial ambitions. This weekend, exiles plan to demonstrate against the war in 44 countries.

Russian opposition groups in more than 100 cities in 44 countries around the world — from Berlin to Seoul to Los Angeles — plan to mark the anniversary of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Friday with three days of demonstrations outside of Russian diplomatic missions or on public squares.

The organizers are calling the protests a test of whether their historically fractious groups, which operate outside of Russia, can work in a coordinated manner to oppose the Kremlin. The groups are hoping to achieve “an unprecedented level of cooperation within the diaspora,” said one coordinator, Inna Berezkina, of the Moscow School for Civic Education, which is now operating out of the Baltics.

The initial idea was to hold the protests on Friday, but that changed after some Ukrainian groups objected because they felt the anniversary should be a day to commemorate the toll of the war in their country. Individual Ukrainian diaspora groups around the world are also planning protests.

So the Russian coordinators decided to shift many of their events to Saturday, thinking that separate demonstrations would also highlight the fact that there is Russian opposition to the war.

“This is about solidarity and grief on the one hand, but also about the visibility of Russian protests,” said Ms. Berezkina. It is impossible to predict turnout, she noted, but all independent Russian media have been plugging the demonstrations on their broadcasts.

Demonstrations are scheduled for the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Friday afternoon, as well as outside the United Nations in New York, plus another 14 American cities over the weekend, as well as in virtually every major European capital.

Most opposition leaders have fled the country in the face of heavy repression since the invasion a year ago when the Kremlin criminalized opposing the war.

Any thoughts that demonstrations inside the country might be part of the protests were dashed with the arrest earlier in February of a Russian activist who brazenly sought a permit to hold a public protest against the war on Moscow’s Lubyanka Square, outside the headquarters of the Federal Security Service, the main security police.