Save Our Schools March On the March to Save and Transform Public Schools Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:04:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 We ACT Radio – Every Thursday! Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:04:47 +0000 On the BUS:
First-Hand Tales of Teaching, Speaking Out, and Consequences
What happens to teachers who speak out about problems they see in their work? Join the next Education Town Hall BUS as two educators tell first-hand stories and discuss the larger issues, including whistle-blowing, teachers unions, job protections, and the impact of school reform policies on teachers of color. Tune in at 11 a.m. Eastern, Thursday, September 25.

Francesco Portelos, a New York City teacher had been praised by his principal and recommended for an administrative position, but then he complained of financial improprieties; it took two years of fighting before he was reinstated. More recently, The Holyoke (MA) Teachers Association filed a complaint alleging that firing of English teacher Gus Morales was in retaliation for criticizing educational reform.

The Education Town Hall BUS
Badass Teachers Association, United Opt Out, and Save Our Schools March – airs the fourth Thursday of each month.

The Education Town Hall broadcasts weekly from Historic Anacostia in Washington, DC, Thursdays at 11 Eastern on We Act Radio. Listen live via TuneIn. Shows are archived for convenient listening shortly after broadcast.

Learn about our “National Launch Campaign” – new video, and more information – please check this out and share.

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The Climate March – 2014 Mon, 22 Sep 2014 02:52:02 +0000 It has been reported by some news outlets that the Climate March in New York City on September 21st brought together the largest number of protesters in its history: 300,000 people! It is a sad truth that privatization is not only sapping the life out of our schools; it is a global and pervasive problem that is leaching into virtually every aspect of human life. In this respect, our environment and our schools have much in common. SOS was proudly represented at the march today, sharing in solidarity, spreading the message, and marching onward!

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Justice for Michael Brown – Petition Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:19:20 +0000 We need to talk about Ferguson, brothers and sisters.

Not about the protestors—the vast majority of whom are peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. Not about police militarization, either, which has only escalated tension on the ground.

We need to talk about justice for Michael Brown. Justice rests in the hands of one person: St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, a man with deep personal, family, and professional ties to the local police department.

This is the man who is supposed to remain unbiased, present evidence to a grand jury, and bring charges against the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown…

Send an urgent message to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Michael Brown’s shooting.

Send your message today

Mr. McCulloch’s father was a police officer killed in the line of duty in 1964. His brother, uncle, and cousin all served in the St. Louis Police Department, and his mother was a clerk in the department.

It is impossible to believe he can remain unbiased in this case. So far, local investigators and law enforcement have been slow to speak to witnesses, eager to arrest journalists and attack peaceful protesters, and surprisingly quick to release unrelated video “evidence” only meant to distract from the investigation. Does this seem unbiased to you?

We want justice and transparency, no more, no less. We can still restore trust in this case, but only if Governor Jay Nixon or state Attorney General Chris Koster acts today.

Urge Governor Nixon and state Attorney General Koster to appoint a special prosecutor, in the name of an unbiased and transparent investigation into this shooting:

In solidarity,

Cornell William Brooks
President and CEO – NAACP

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Michael Brown – In Memorial, In Solidarity Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:28:12 +0000      Save Our Schools joins the Network for Public Education and other public education advocacy organizations in decrying, in the strongest terms, the killing of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri and the subsequent suppression of the community’s right to free speech and assembly.
     SOS is committed to eliminating the systemic social, economic and racial injustices that plague our society and endanger the nation’s youth on our streets, in our schools and on our borders. We urge all concerned educators, parents and community members to join us in advocating for an end to the school-to-prison pipeline that criminalizes and incarcerates our youth at alarming rates and to the militarization of local law enforcement agencies that should be protecting the public’s civil and constitutional rights. We further call for a unified campaign to ensure the right of all young people to a childhood free of the devastating effects of poverty on their health, safety and education. SOS recognizes that a democratic, equitably funded public school system is a civil right and human right of every child and fundamental to ensuring a future in which they realize their full personal potential and become active and productive members of society.
     Save Our Schools applauds the teachers, administrators and volunteers of Ferguson, Missouri, who refused to delay the beginning of the school year and instead brought the education of their students to alternative spaces, such as libraries and community buildings. Once again, educators have demonstrated to our nation their professionalism and dedication, whether by placing themselves directly in harm’s way to protect their students, by marching with communities to prevent school closures, or by delivering quality education despite the obstacles of corporate driven federal mandates. Save Our Schools remains committed to ensuring that our public school systems respect and honor their professional educators and recognize the critical role they play in the lives of our youth.
Sign’s petition if you agree enough is enough.

Send an urgent message to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Michael Brown’s shooting. 

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SOS at the Clearwater Festival Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:12:59 +0000 I just arrived home after a wonderful weekend for SAVE OUR SCHOOLS at the Clearwater Festival. This year, it was a glorious memorial to Pete Seeger and a celebration of the arts. We worked out a schedule where our table always had at least one of us while others could attend music performances. I attended an extraordinary performance by Lucinda Williams to close the Festival that included a very moving new song she wrote, “The World After Peter.” If you do not know her powerful songs with extraordinary poetry filled with feelings and imagery, check it out. Her voice is so strong and her rock band drives the messages home.

We had the only activist table focusing on Reclaiming our Schools. Other dominant activists focused on closing Indian Point nuclear plant on the Hudson River, ending fracking in NY and all over our country, climate change and sustainability; and so much more.

The two Clearwater Activist Area coordinators expressed great respect for both our movement and our activist commitment. They also set up a very moving memorial to Pete and Tosh that took those of us who visited on a journey of the impacts they have made. After walking through the memorial we were invited to write a heartfelt response that was publicly posted. I gave them complimentary SOS T-shirts at the end of the Festival to express a small “thank you” for all the work they do to support and promote activism.

We brought Terry’s lyrics to “This School is Your School” and it was the hit of all our handouts! Everybody loved them. I ran out of copies.

Great, rewarding weekend as we “keep on keepin’ on,”

Michael ShawSOS Steering Committee Member

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Corporate Reform = Civil Rights Fraud Thu, 29 May 2014 19:46:12 +0000 Devastating Report Condemns Corporate Reform as Civil Rights Fraud
Anthony Cody May 16, 2014

As the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education arrives, a report has been released by the Journey 4 Justice Alliance, a coalition of community, youth and parent-led organizations, which declares corporate education reform a civil rights fraud.

Death by a Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures and Public School Sabotage, Voices from America’s Affected Communities of Color,” ought to be required reading for every citizen and policy maker in the nation. While the nation is capable of identifying racism in the words of an 80 year old basketball team owner, we seem to have lost the ability to stop the re-segregation of our schools, and those who claim to be “civil rights” leaders are sometimes contributing to the problems.

The report begins by explaining the source of destructive policies:

Right-wing conservatives have long sought to eliminate public goods such as public education, and dismantle organized labor, especially teachers’ unions. Thus, for decades they have advocated – often successfully – for cutting spending to public schools. They have also long pursued the replacement of public schools with non-unionized, privately managed schools that receive public funds, either through a voucher system or a system of charter schools. Their privatization proposals received little support until they were joined by billionaires willing to invest heavily in education reform such as Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the Walton family; members of the business community, especially Wall Street and large corporations, who realized there is considerable profit to be made by outsourcing education to private management; and Democratic policymakers who bought into (or were at least willing to promote) the unproven assertion that privatization and “school choice” would create improved educational opportunities for students. As a result of this political shift, there emerged a well-organized and extraordinarily well-funded group of individuals and organizations that has exploited any political opening they could find to destabilize neighborhood public schools – almost exclusively within communities of color – and instead promote the expansion of charter schools.

These policies have resulted in school closures and the expansion of more selective charter schools in the communities represented by this coalition – predominately low-income communities of color. The report’s authors point out that in spite of prominent reformers donning the mantle of the modern “civil rights movement,” corporate reform is no ally.

First, it is appalling that anyone would dare to equate the billionaire-funded destruction of our most treasured public institutions with the grassroots-led struggles for racial equality to which many of our elders and ancestors made heroic sacrifices.

Second, we simply cannot tolerate anyone telling us these policies are for our own good. Because we are the students they claim to be doing this for. We are the parents and fam- ily members that they claim to be helping. The communities they’re changing so rapidly are our communities, and our experience with school closures and charter school expansion confirms what an abundance of research has made quite clear: these policies have not produced higher-quality educational opportunities for our children and youth, but they have been hugely destructive. Closing a school is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a community; it strikes at the very core of community culture, history, and identity, and produces far-reaching repercussions that negatively affect every aspect of community life. It has been nothing short of devastating to the health and development of many of our children and youth, has put a strain on our families, has contributed to the destabilization and deterioration of our communities, has undermined many good schools and effective school improvement efforts, has destroyed relationships with quality educators, and has contributed to increased community violence. It also frequently triggers a downward spiral from which many school systems have yet to escape. Indeed, one of the most likely outcomes from school closures is that additional ones will soon follow, to the point that many of our communities no longer have a single public school in them.

The report describes this process in detail, drawing on the voices and experiences of people affected by these “reforms.” And those quoted make it very clear that the core problem is racism and systemic disempowerment.

We have seen school closures closely tied to the expansion of charter schools, which have become, in effect, parasitic in these communities. The dimensions and impact of these changes are described, with testimony from parents of disabled children who find themselves no longer “a good fit” for any school in their community. The link between “zero tolerance” charters schools and the school-to-prison pipeline is laid bare. As the report states, “While Secretary Duncan may want to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline, the reality is that his policies are creating entirely new sections of that pipeline for our children and youth.”

It is hard to write about this report without simply quoting the entire document. The authors identify the problems, and also call for six “Necessary Action Steps,” which should be endorsed by everyone in the movement to support public education. Here are those steps:

  1. The U.S. Department of Education should replace its four school “turnaround” models with the “Sustainable School Success Model.”
  2. President Obama should call for a national moratorium on school closures and charter school expansion and spearhead the creation of a “Public School Bailout and Revitalization Fund.”
  3. Congress should revoke all tax credits and other incentives for charter school investment and replace them with equivalent incentives to invest in public schools.
  4. All charter schools that fail to both provide an innovative educational model that is unavailable in local public schools and demonstrate superior performance in educating all of their students should not have their charters renewed.
  5. The White House Domestic Policy Council, United Nations, and Permanent Court of International Justice (or “World Court”) should participate in a “Grassroots Impact Tour” of the communities affected by mass school closures to hear from students, parents, educators, and community members, and witness the community-wide effects.
  6. Due to the harm inflicted on our communities by corporate education interventions, the Journey for Justice Alliance seeks a Senate hearing on the impact of these policies.

The election of Ras Baraka this week shows that there is a new energy emerging in communities most affected by corporate reform. It is encouraging to see this clarity of purpose and upsurge of activism. One of the core concepts that will make it possible for this to grow is the healing of divisions that have been sown between teachers and community members. The report states:

To be sure, our public education system has never been as effective or as equitable as it should have been. Nevertheless, it took decades of unified struggle by students, parents, teachers, and other community members to achieve the admittedly flawed system that we now have. School closures undermine that unity and imperil future efforts to address our deep, structural barriers to education justice. For example, many “reformers” have attempted – and in many cases, succeeded – in driving a wedge between low-income communities of color and the teachers that serve their schools by placing the blame for budget crises and under-performing schools squarely on teachers’ unions. Additionally, the emphasis on “school choice” – without providing high-quality choices for all – has exploited parents’ desperation and forced communities to compete against each other for scarce educational resources.

When others seek to divide, we must seek unity. This week will see numerous actions across the country organized by various coalitions. The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools has listed events here. Another coalition of educators and parents is organizing the Taking Back Our Schools protest this Saturday in New York City.


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Press Release – SOS NYC Metro Rally May 17th Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:20:59 +0000 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2014
For more information contact:
David Greene, (914)523-6835, Save Our Schools,
Lisa Rudley, (917) 414-9190, NYS Allies for Public Education &

Advocacy Groups Unite to March in Support of Public Education

On Saturday, May 17th at 2pm, thousands will gather in Manhattan’s City Hall Park and march to the NYC Department of Education to support and celebrate the efforts of parents, teachers and community members who have worked to fight to preserve and protect public education. Save Our Schools is proud to partner with New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), MORE, Change the Stakes, BATs, Lace to the Top, FairTest, NY Principals, Students United for Public Education and other advocacy groups (a complete list can be found at in calling for community activists, parents, educators, and lawmakers to join together and march in support of a developmentally appropriate and equitably funded public education free from the influence of corporate reform and high stakes testing.

This rally is the culmination of growing resistance to corporate reform as evidenced this spring by over 33,000 test refusals throughout New York State, resistance of high-stakes testing rallies led by NYC principals, and parents, superintendents and school board members coming together to oppose inBloom and student data sharing. Kicking off the event will be renowned education scholar and activist, Dr. Diane Ravitch. In addition to Dr. Ravitch, those attending the Rally we will hear from a diverse panel of speakers who have been actively working to resist corporate reform policies. Speakers include Carol Burris, Leonie Haimson, Brian Jones, Jeanette Deutermann, Dao Tran, Mark Naison, Joe Rella, Jose Vilson, Bianca Tanis and many more.

“This has been an incredible year,” said Jeanette Deutermann, parent and founder of Long Island Opt Out. “Parents across NYS have taken a clear stand and are letting those in power know that we will not stand by and let public education be destroyed.”  According to David Greene, Treasurer of Save Our Schools and Chair of the ‘Taking Back Our School’ rally’s steering committee, “We must assure that students have access to locally developed curricula that honors local languages and cultures while addressing the unique needs of special education students, English language learners, and the poor and children of color who have been marginalized into a second tier system of education.”

Dr. Mark Naison, Co-Founder of BATS says, “BATS is thrilled to join with teacher, parent and student organizations from around the city and the state in this very important rally. It is time we showed the billionaire school reformers and the politicians they have bought that is our city, not theirs!”

“This month’s controversial NYS ELA exams and their secrecy are a prime example of the education leadership’s failure to heed the concerns of parents and educators. While we have made tremendous progress, we still have much work to do,” said Bianca Tanis, parent and co-founder of NYSAPE. Kevin Glynn an educator, parent, and co-founder of Lace to the Top says, “2014 is the year parents and teachers take back their schoolhouses. We are shutting the door on corporations and so called philanthropists that seek to profit from labeling our children as failures. We will not let test scores define us as students, teachers or parents.  Together, we will protect our schools and secure our students’ love of learning’ as one.”


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Selma Jubilee 2014 Recap Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:51:25 +0000 SOSers joined the masses of people who assembled in the Selma, Alabama on March 6th-8th.  Among the many highlights that came with participating in such an event were the inspiring speeches offered by Rev. William J. Barber II.  Many may know the work of Rev. Barber through his courageous work in the Moral Mondays movement out of North Carolina.  His words reminded us that the difficulties faced by our public schools are merely a side effect to a massive moral problem: the privatization of public goods and institutions.

SOS took part in the education forum, The Road to Advocacy, Activism, and Transformation in our Public Schools: Education is a Civil Right, and Equity in our Public Schools is still the Prize, and we had the pleasure of speaking with and learning from many people during the weekend. Of course, the march across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge was an invigorating reminder of what is truly possible when human kind set to walking the path to justice.

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SOS will be attending the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee in 2015 for the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March. Join us!

This historic three day event commemorates the Selma to Montgomery marches, also known as Bloody Sunday and the two marches that followed, were marches and protests held in 1965 that marked the political and emotional peak of the American civil rights movement. All three were attempts to march from Selma to Montgomery where the Alabama capitol is located. The marches grew out of the voting rights movement in Selma, launched by local African-Americans who formed the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL). In 1963, the DCVL and organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began voter-registration work. When white resistance to black voter registration proved intractable, the DCVL requested the assistance of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who brought many prominent civil rights and civic leaders to support voting rights.

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Taking Back OUR Schools Rally & March – NYC Metro Sat, 12 Apr 2014 16:57:43 +0000 SOS May 2014 Revised 1

NYC Metro
“Declaration, Protest, Successes, and Call to Action”

Calling all NYC Metro Area community activists, the “voices of resistance”, families, students, civil rights advocates, voters, immigrant families, policymakers and legislators, union members, teachers, faith leaders, and all communities that believe in a good public education for all!

Join us in a march and rally seeking to create & sustain a public school system that provides a fully funded, equitable, community-based education for every child. This means that decisions about our children’s schooling would be made democratically by families and professional educators, free of corporate and political intervention.

Some of those speaking will be Mark Naison, Brian Jones, Carol Burris, Jeannette Deutermann, Leonie Haimson, Joe Rella, Jose Vilson, and representatives of parents groups, educators, and students. Stay tuned for some more keynote speakers!

Participating groups:

BATS – Change The Stakes – Children Are More Than Test Scores – Class Size Matters – Coalition for Public Education
Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action at Manhattanville College – EDU4 – iCOPE – Lace to the Top – LI Opt Out
MORE – New York Allies for Public Education – NY PRINCIPALS .ORG – NY Student Union – NYCORE – Parent Leadership Project
Parents to Improve School Transportation – Port Jeff Station Teachers Association – Radical Women
Reclaiming the Conversation on Education – Save Our Schools (SOS) – Save Our Schools-NJ – Stop Common Core in New York State
Students Not Scores LI – Students United for Public Education (SUPE) – Teachers United – Time Out from Testing

This rally and march is part of the national Testing Resistance & Reform Spring campaign. We aim to support the efforts of parents, teachers and community members to have public schools that work for the community.

Donate now!

Like this event on Facebook!

Share the press release & flyers

Join us on May 17, 2014 in NYC!

City Hall Park @ 2:00 p.m.


For further information contact:

David Greene 914-523-5835
Rosalie Friend:

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“Save NYC Public Schools” – April 10th Event Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:10:00 +0000  

Pub Ed Rally - Spanish

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