For the Future of Our Children, We Stand Strong in Support of…
Public Education as a Civil Right
- Provide full, equitable funding for all public schools
- End privately managed/for profit charters
- End school voucher or “scholarship” schemes
- End state or corporate takeovers of community public schools
- Provide a free public college/career education to ALL high school graduate
- SOS member actions:
- Testify, rally, or petition against state legislation that weakens charter school laws and divert public education dollars for private school “scholarship/voucher programs.
- Oppose state Department of Education programs that institute “school choice” and “remediation” provisions of ESSA.
- Support national and state proposals for income-based tuition or publically funded colleges
Safe, Socially Just Public Schools
- End the school-to-prison pipeline, zero tolerance.
- Create socially, racially just student discipline policies
- Protect the rights of LGBTQ, racially/ethnically diverse students
- Designate schools as “Safe Zones” for immigrant students and families
- Provide full employment with livable wages and benefits
- Free, comprehensive healthcare for all students and families
- Ensure safe, secure communities for immigrant/refugee students and families
- Ensure racially and socially just policing in every community
- SOS Member actions:
- Work with teacher unions to lobby school boards to end “zero tolerance” and racially discriminatory discipline policies.
- Propose system-wide professional development in Restorative Justice Practices to be included in school system budgets
- Support the protection of DACA programs and support “Dream Act” legislation
- Demand (lobby, rally, petition) protection of LGBTQ rights in every aspect of school life
- Propose/support local or state legislation to designate school grounds as “sanctuaries” or “safe zones” for immigrant students
Educator and Community Leadership
- Establish democratically elected school boards for every district
- Meaningful community involvement in school governance
- End corporate influence over public school laws and policies
- Community input into curriculum and assessment policies
- SOS member actions:
- Join the “fight for fifteen” or “livable wage” campaigns in local community
- Join local/national actions against the dismantling of the ACA. Join campaigns for a national health plan
- Collaborate with groups like Black Lives Matter who are fighting police brutality and racial targeting
- Propose to local school district that “school resource officers” are receive cultural competency and restorative justice training
- Propose/support local legislation to create sanctuary cities/communities/congregations to protect immigrants and refugees
- Join protests (rallies, marches, petitions) against walls, bans and deportations
Professional, Diverse Educators in Every School
- Protect collective bargaining, oppose “right to work” laws
- End private fast-track teacher licensure programs (like TFA)
- Protect accredited, university-based teacher preparation programs
- Full funding to recruit, prepare, and retain teachers of color
- SOS member actions:
- Propose/support state legislation to establish/maintain elected school boards
- Join local or state initiatives for campaign finance reform so that elections are publically financed
- Work with local communities to ensure that parents and community members are included on district-level materials and assessment review committees
- Work with local teachers union to scrutinize school district budgets for big ticket expenditures on commercial technology-based assessment and curriculum programs or materials
Quality Classroom Instruction for Every Student
- Provide locally developed, child-centered, culturally appropriate curriculum, K-12
- Ensure class size limits that foster caring, democratic classrooms
- Protect multicultural/multilingual and ethnic studies program
- Provide well-rounded programs, including art, music, physical education, and technology
- Oppose computer-driven “Competency Based Education” programs
- SOS Member Actions:
- Develop school system policies, legislation to legally limit class size
- Oppose the use of local school system/state/federal funds for tech-based “personalized learning” or “Competency-Based” software programs
An End to Mandated Standardized Testing
- End test-based public school closures, take-overs
- Protect parental right to opt-out of standardized testing, student data collection
- Implement meaningful, locally developed assessments to support instruction
- End test-based evaluation of teachers and teacher preparation programs
- Oppose “all day, every day” testing in digitally-based curriculum
- SOS member actions:
- Introduce “More Teaching, Less Testing” policies and legislation in school districts and county and state legislatures.
- Introduce policies and legislation for parental right to opt-out of testing
- Lobby school districts to adopt data privacy policies.
Consider These Questions…
Paths towards true Progress in Public Education
This movement is dedicated to finding a better path for education reform in this country. So in that spirit, we ask: What is the right path forward for public education in the United States?
Consider these questions — what do you see as the goal for public education? What do you wish to have accomplished? How will you know when we get there? In other words, what is the aim of public education in the United States?
The right path forward allows the flexibility and inclusiveness necessary for community and teacher leadership in forming public education policies. Most people understand that involvement of the very people that will try to make a plan work is most likely to be successful when those people do the planning; our leaders haven’t heard that belief?
The right path provides the freedom to allow the curriculum to be developed for and by local school communities based on their unique needs, desires, and resources. The best educational outcomes occur when teaching practices are followed that are based on research, the evidence it reveals, and is guided by an instructional framework. Does our government not understand that it has a responsibility to support education research and share that information?
The right path develops a system that is itself accountable to the people it exists to serve therefore putting an end to high stakes testing for student, teacher, and school evaluation. That would effectively end classroom practices that may improve test scores but don’t improve education. To move forward, isn’t it time to admit that No Child Left Behind had unintended consequences because its expectations rested on test scores?
The right path for the United States has historically been the one towards equality and opportunity. So, equitable funding for all public school communities shouldn’t be a hard choice for the country to make. The best schools are well-funded and surrounded by community supports. All our children deserve nothing less.
The right path forward begins by putting the public back in the lead to make all our schools better. Together we can change the direction of misguided national education policies. They take aim at the wrong solutions. They set the wrong goal. This time, it’s important that we get it right.
“America’s future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence we must watch what we teach, and how we live.” –Jane Addams
Readings and References.
- High Stakes Testing Must End in the USA, By Wesley Fryer. March 10, 2011
- The SOS Washington March and the issue of collective bargaining. By Fred Klonsky. May 12, 2011
- Why I’m Marching. By Sabrina Stevens Shupe. May 23, 2011
- Word Attack: “Status Quo” By Sabrina. June 15, 2011
- Save Our Schools March & National Call to Action—July 28-30, Washington, DC. PAChurchesAdvocacy.org July 1, 2011
- Save Our Schools March to Take Place this Month. ChartEd. July 3, 2011
- Save Our Schools March coming up soon!. The Classroom Smooth. July 5, 2011
- Save Our Schools March. By Duane Campbell. Talking Un ion. July 25, 2011
- Charters Are Not Taking Over Public Education. By Richard Lee Colvin. The Quick & The Ed. July 27, 2011
- Arrogance, Entitlement, Ignorance and Lies at the Save Our Schools Rally. By Antonio Buehler. Buhler Education. July 31, 2011
- Matt Damon Can’t Save Us!. By Gary Stager. August 1, 2011
- The DC Save Our Schools March and Beyond. Scathing Purple Musings. August 1, 2011
- The Wisdom of Crowds. By Steve Peha. Thompson. Insight you trust.August 2, 2011/li>
- Save Our Schools. VCU Ed.D. August 3, 2011
- A teacher looks at Save Our Schools Rally. By James Campbell. SOE Talk. Huffington Post.August 4, 2011
- What if you shout SOS and nobody hears? In School Matters.August 7, 2011
- We’re all Somebody. Let’s act like it.. By Sabrina Stevens Shupe. August 8, 2011
- Marching on Washington. Research Salad. August 12, 2011
- TC Student Activists: TC represents at the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action in Washington DC. Arts & Humanities. September 6, 2011.