NJ Save Our Schools March Update, October 2012

NJ Save Our Schools March Update, October 2012

  • Chicago Teachers Union hangs tough and wins a significant victory. I won’t go into the details as the event has been well covered and analyzed extensively. In my opinion, one factor that’s worth mentioning is that the union fought for the rights for teachers, children and the schools in Chicago started as a small rank and file study group, CORE (Caucus of Rank and File Educators) intent on questioning and inevitably challenging and winning against the entrenched CTU. Many of us feel helpless against the bureaucratic wall of our unions and there are many lessons to be learned from democratization of the CTU. Blogs, articles and open forums discussing the rise of this CTU are happening as we speak to encourage other union members to fight back against sweetheart unions and anti-union politicians.
  • Check our website out for more actions, articles and information. It is also noteworthy to mention that the support of organizations like ours and other activists (individually or in their organizations) across the country buoyed the resolve of CTU. Also link to AFT townhalls at: New effort will build community-driven school reform AFT for debate and discussion as well as: : What Are the Lessons of the Chicago Teachers Strike? NEA Today

  • I attended the 2012 Statewide Public Meeting sponsored by Building ONE New Jersey (BWNJ) on Sunday, September 30 in Edison. The meeting focused on: equitable school funding for diverse communities, lower property taxes, infrastructure funding, fair housing and criminal justice reform. The meeting was basically an overview of their rebooted organization (formerly The New Jersey Regional Coalition), encouraging other like minded organizations to join the coalition and the struggle for justice in NJ.
  • Panelists and attendees made up an array of federal, state, municipal, corporate, civic, and clergy leaders. Many elected officials, including Senator Menendez, attended and we’re asked individually by one of the moderators, Mayor DeLuca of Maplewood to personally endorse each principle of BWNJ. We are now one of the sponsors. With most events, connections with other activists before and after the meeting was as important as the event itself.

    Further actions are planned to support each of their guiding principles. BWNJ had been traveling around NJ discussing their agenda and infrastructure with other organization for over a year. An older version of BWNJ can be accessed at: Building One New Jersey! New Jersey Regional Coalition but a connection to their more recent FB page is on their site.

  • Speaking of infrastructure, Save Our Schools March is very close to finishing the exhausting process of more detailed and comprehensive governance structure and how certain sections function and positions are selected. More on that later. Also, since we are now a 501(c)3, we are in a better place to receive donations. We are indeed “marching” forward. Once the governance is in place, nationwide actions are being planned but rest assured, each of the many states involved in SOS March are active in protecting our public schools. We share the actions of our state memberships each Sunday on an interactive conference site with information coordinators and steering committee members from across the country.

  • Finally, the push back against the anti-union and in parts anti-teacher truly fictional film, Won’t Back Down has garnered a great deal of success. Perhaps the movie itself and the tepid reviews it received have been responsible for its own lack of audience. But leafleting theaters (I was out Sunday) here and around the country (flyers, even tweakables flyers for local actions, available on our website), letters to the director, producer and stars setting the record straight have also helped educate the audience.
  • The red carpet hoopla premier on Education Nation was countered by the loud demonstration across the street by ed activists from the tri-state area. Many flyers were distributed that day. If you watched, anchors from MSNBC, especially Melissa Harris-Perry were keen to ask questions to confront the some of the misinformation in the film. Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein did their usual dance around the answering the questions but Rosie Perez had a better handle on the contradictions in the film. More on this and great pictures of the demonstration at: Education Nation Summit and Won’t Back Down Protest

  • A recent book, recommended by one of our Washington State Information Coordinators is: The Crucial Voice of the People.

    Past and Present confronts the issues facing the public education system by illustrating the problems with personal experiences, presents an alternative reform strategy proven to work, and calls out to you to use your political power to change public education policy.

    Practical solutions are presented for your use locally as well as a national proposal for excellent education for all. The objective is to engage the public in the improvement process, educate the electorate on the issues, and ask them to fulfill their responsibility by providing quality and equality to this nation’s children through the public education system.

    As always if you have any comment, criticisms, ideas, articles, videos, blogs, etc. to share, please send them out to me and I’ll do the same with our contact list.
    Terry Moore
    New Jersey Information Coordinator
    Save Our Schools March (NJ Chapter)


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