Save Our Schools March http://saveourschoolsmarch.org On the March to Save and Transform Public Schools Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:34:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 October Newsblast http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/10/october-newsblast/ http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/10/october-newsblast/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:13:09 +0000 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/?p=16828
            Dyett HS student’s rights Sit In Outside Rahm’s Office.
See Chicago Why article below.
Education News from:
New Jersey   New York   Pennsylvania   Illinois   Chicago   Florida   Texas   California   Vermont   Oklahoma  Massachusetts   Rhode Island   Washington State
 
“When schools flourish, all flourishes.” ~~ Martin Luther

Save Our Schools March  is now an official  501c3!!!
All of your donations are tax deductible retroactive to April 18, 2012

 Marching forward…
  SOS is planning & participating in actions this fall, spring and summer

National

Also announcing…

International Summit on
Global Education Reform Movement &
the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
(Date & location to be determined)

SOSDntNwBttn

NEWS – States and Cities 

 Washington State

  •  Listen up, Arne!
    South Kitsap EA members and their superintendent sent U.S. Education Sec. Arne Duncan a YouTube message: We don’t need to be monitored. We need to be trusted. Watch the YouTube Video …
  • WA State Supreme Court held lawmakers in contempt of McCleary ruling [state must fully fund basic education]because they hadn’t yet fully funded basic education.  The Supreme Court also took the remarkable and unprecedented step of retaining jurisdiction over the case to ensure that the Legislature met the court’s mandate for increased funding by 2018.
  • Robert Reich is in Seattle on the 27. Big contingent of teachers are going. We are designing a flyer about opting out and connecting how corporate and 1% interests are controlling public ed.
    Ballot Initiative  to reduce class size  bill 1351 k-3 17 High poverty no high poverty 19-1 rest of grades 25 to 1
  • Ed Murray, the new mayor of Seattle, has proposed that the city have a department of Education. He is in bed with some very wealthy Ed Reformers. This “could” lead to mayoral control of our schools. Some red flags have been thrown up
  • FRUSTRATIONS OF A WA STATE ELEMENTARY TEACHER   The tension here in our elementary school is so high…it doesn’t have to do with leadership. It has to do with the intensity of having to start so many new programs at once. Seasoned teachers are working harder than they ever have and still feeling like they are not doing a good job. It is sad to see so much frustration and high blood pressure in this setting. We are not suffering silently, but we are frustrated because there seems no way to do anything but push through it like so much quick sand. The other problem is preparing for subs, so that they understand what to do, when we aren’t even sure what we are doing at all time

New Jersey

  • Newark is the focus right now. Freedom Schools were a good idea but did not work out well. Two teachers from Chicago traveled there to teach.  Powers that be did robo calls scare tactics. For the first three days lots of attention paid to boycott; there was good publicity.  One Newark did not get off well.  It was very chaotic & not well prepared.  One hundred plus high school students walked out and managed to close down major intersection successfully Lots of publicity throughout the community in the news.

New York

  •  September 20: Highly Successful 2nd Annual Campaign for Artful Resistance at St. Thomas Aquinas College
     We had great outreach including mass mailings from all co-sponsors, publicity from the college including press releases along with multiple feature articles in the Gannet regional newspaper The Journal News, posting on Eventbrite and multiple Facebook postings. General feeling was that we had a bright, summer day that led to many families opting for outdoor activities. Folks who attended had a fabulous experience. Dave Greene also attended and was an introducer who focused on CAR and our SOS Principles. Terry had the honor of being invited to close the Celebration on stage with Tom Chapin and the Chapin Sisters with an audience sing-along of Terry’s adaptation of Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land is Your Land” to “This School is Your School.” All attendees had the lyrics to sing along. It was awesome!!! I was also thrilled that the Storycrafters, interactive musical storytellers who coordinate the Storytelling Stage at the Clearwater Festival, focused their stories on promoting teaching and learning that totally supports our Principles along with promoting advocacy.
  • New York election challenge – working families party candidate  Zepher  Teachout got 30%+ !!! Governor knee capped DeBlasio on charters &  reigned him in.
  •  The  Mayor’s initiative of full day Early childhood started quite well. Regular class size larger due to funding being tighter.
    Twice courts have ruled state must send more money. It has not been forth coming. Groups going back to courts to get the rulings enforced.  National Group Black Education for Liberation group meeting regional conferences coalition for public education and others involved Reaching out to persons of color.

Illinois

  • Superintendent tells parents what matters most – and it’s not Common Core
  • By Valerie Strauss August 25: Here’s a rather unusual back-to-school letter. It was written by Superintendent Mark R. Cross to the parents of students attending Peru Elementary School District 124, which serves the community of Peru in north-central Illinois with three schools: Northview Elementary School (grades PreK – 1), Washington Elementary School (grades 2 – 4), and Parkside Middle School (grades 5 – 8). There are about 1,000 students in the district.

Chicago

  • Dyett High School daily support and actions to  create a  viable Neighborhood  Global Leadership and Green Technology HS. Volunteers working at the school from 7 am to 5 pm daily. Dyett 13 students held press conference with their demand. KOCO and Dyett coalition got an impromptu meeting with Mayor
  • Why did more than 100 people (students, parents, grandparents, and community members) demonstrate and sit-in outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office today? Why? did 11 activists change themselves together and refuse to leave?
  • We, the people, wish to right a wrong. Our Neighborhood High School Walter H Dyett High School is under siege. The School Board, Alderman Will Burns, and the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel have given us ample reason to believe we must save our children, save their schools; take action. We can no longer stand by and watch our public education system bleed.

Oklahoma

The First State to Lose Its NCLB Waiver Over Standards

  • The latest round of waiver decisions from the U.S. Department of Education produced a first: The agency denied Oklahoma’s request because of the quality of its academic standards. In the three years that the federal government has been offering states waivers from No Child Left Behind, it’s been most likely to find fault with states’ requests because of the way they plan to handle teacher evaluations. Sometimes there have been hitches over their accountability plans. But never has a state been denied a waiver, or a waiver-extension request, because its standards were deemed not good enough.

Texas

  • Tom Ratliff, a member of the Texas state Board of Education, wrote this article. It is a warning to parents not to assume that charter schools are better than public schools. On average, he says, the opposite is true.

Vermont

  •  Rebecca Holcombe, Hero of American Education. This is a good news story about a state commissioner of education who stood up and said, with quiet determination, that the emperor has no clothes.

Pennsylvania

  • York City, Pennsylvania: Protests Attempted Corporate Takeover of Public Schools on Wednesday YORK CITIZENS TO SCHOOL BOARD: STOP THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF OUR SCHOOLS. Community members will march outside School Board, Community Education Council meetings York, Pa. (Sept. 12, 2014) – Parents, educators, and members of the York community are calling on York City School Board members to reject the bids of two out-of-state charter corporations competing to take over the city’s public schools. The School Board is reviewing proposals from Charter Schools USA and Mosaica Education, Inc. to take over every one of the city’s public schools. York City is located close to Harrisburg, PA, the state capital.

Nevada 

  • Nevada is giving more than $1 Billion in tax breaks to woo automaker Tesla to build a huge factory to produce electric batteries.The deal is controversial but not among Nevada legislators, who expect it to produce economic benefits and 6,500 jobs. Education also produces economic benefits and jobs, but legislators don’t mind underfunding their schools, increasing class sizes, and short changing the next generation of Nevadans. The New York Times says that Nevada is paying about $200,000 for each job that might be created.

Massachusetts

  •  An Interview with Barbara Madeloni about the Failure of Testing”That we reclaim the vision of public education as a space for democracy, for joy, for hope, for a better future for all of our children. All of our children.”

Florida

  • The resistance to high-stakes testing has picked up some serious pace this month in Florida! In a somewhat surprising move, Lee County School Board initially voted to opt their district out of state-mandated tests. After a few days of pressure from the state, however, they reconvened and rescinded their vote a few days later. Regardless, these circumstances had important and beneficial impacts for the movement: it signified that parents, activists, and some courage Lee County board members were effectively pushing questions about the absurdity of testing into the forefront of the public conversation.
  • Also, Susan Bowles, a courageous kindergarten teacher in Alachua County, took a huge stand in support of her students and her profession. Susan publicly refused to give the Florida Assessment for Instruction in Reading to her kindergarten students because she feels it is inappropriate and unconscionable. Shortly after her public protest, the state Education Commissioner released a statement that said the state would suspend that particular assessment for k-2nd grade this year. Susan, your actions have energized and inspired so many in this struggle!
  • Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Education continues to push ahead with its plan to roll out the new statewide assessment this spring. The new FSA, which was created by the infamous testing corporation AIR, has yet to be field-tested in the state. Supporters of public education have long argued, therefore, that students and schools should be released from the high-stakes tied to the FSA (schools grades, promotion, graduation, teacher evaluation, etc.) while the state and district work out the kinks. This week the Florida Education Association released a resolution calling for such a pause. Their move was further reiterated in a similar statement that was released by the Florida PTA.
  • It took a few weeks, but the actions in Lee County eventually rippled across the state to converge in Palm Beach this week. First, Palm Beach County drafted and passed the Resolution on Accountability (the resolution that mirrored the pause that was called for earlier by the Florida Education Association and the Florida PTA). Palm Beach County then took the resolution to the Greater Florida Consortium of School Boards, a group comprised of members from 11 school districts. Together, the 11 districts began laying out plans to pressure the state legislature to decrease the emphasis on testing as well as the numbers of tests forced on Florida students.
  • Undoubtedly, a ‘pause’ to the high-stakesness of testing is not the ideal solution to this appendage of corporate education reform. But, the conversation is changing and a broader portion of the public is beginning to engage. We have to keep the pressure on!
  • Florida District Reverses Decision to Opt Out of State Testing

Rhode Island

  • The Providence Student Union Is an inspirational group of high school students who have shaken up Rhode Island. Due to their creative protests against high-stakes testing, especially the use of a normed, standardized test for graduation, they won the support of the Boston Globe and then the state legislature, which declared a moratorium on using tests for high stakes purposes.
  • This is a letter from Aaron Regunberg, one of the PSU leaders who just won the Democratic primary for a seat in the State Senate: “PSU was nominated for an award from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation for $100,000 dollars. Here’s all the information, and here is the award site.

California

  • California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Monday, Sept. 29, a sweeping measure aimed at restricting the use of students’ educational data by third-party vendors, marking one of the most aggressive legislative attempts to date to balance the promise of digital learning technologies with concerns about the privacy and security of children’s sensitive information.
  • The Student Online Personal Information Protection Act, or SOPIPA, prohibits operators of online educational services from selling student data and using such information to target advertising to students or to “amass a profile” on students for a non-educational purpose. The law also requires online service providers to maintain adequate security procedures and to delete student information at the request of a school or district.
  • Gov. Jerry Brown has appealed the Vergara v. California ruling that found the state’s teacher-tenure and -dismissal laws unfairly saddle disadvantaged students with weaker teachers.
  • (Associated Press) * Opinion: Gov. Brown Appeals Vergara, Creating Electoral Issue

Got News?

Send a synopsis of what’s happening in your state to Jane Watson, SOS Washington State at SOS1evergreen@hotmail.com

Sign up to receive this newsletter and other SOS information!

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A Rousing 2nd Annual Campaign for Artful Resistance http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/10/a-rousing-2nd-annual-campaign-for-artful-resistance/ http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/10/a-rousing-2nd-annual-campaign-for-artful-resistance/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 14:36:18 +0000 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/?p=16816 We had a grand 2nd Annual Campaign for Artful Resistance: A Celebration of the Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, N.Y. on Saturday. Folks who attended had a fabulous experience. Attached is a photo of Tom Chapin, the Chapin Sisters, Terry and myself. Dave Greene also attended, was an emcee for the event, and focused on CAR and our SOS Principles. Terry had the honor of being invited to close the Celebration on stage with Tom Chapin and the Chapin Sisters with an audience sing-along of Terry’s adaptation of Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land is Your Land” to “This School is Your School.” All attendees had the lyrics to sing along. It was awesome!!! I was also thrilled that the Storycrafters, interactive musical storytellers who coordinate the Storytelling Stage at the Clearwater Festival, focused their stories on promoting teaching and learning that totally supports our Principles along with promoting advocacy. Our Coordinating Committee has already begun brainstorming ways to increase attendance for out third CAR Arts Celebration event next September. See video footage from this year’s event here!

Keep on keepin’ on…

Michael Shaw
SOS Steering Committee Member

“I really enjoyed the whole program, but for me, to be called up on stage do an interactive sing of This School is Your School by Tom Chapin (one of my musical inspirations) with his daughters (my favorite female harmony group), was my reward. Rousing end to an arts filled Saturday.”

Terry Moore
Information Coordinator

 

Schedule
1:00 – 1:15 Welcome and Introduction
Dr. Michael Shaw
David Greene
1:15 – 1:45 Christopher Dean Sullivan Jazz Quartet
1:45 – 2:30 Hands on Interactive Workshops (Mix and Match)
Theater Improvisation – Spartan Comedy Club Theater
Painting/Yoga – Tenley Escoffery and the St. Thomas Aquinas
Art Therapy Club
2:30-3:00 The Storycrafters Interactive Storytelling
3:00-3:30 Chiku Awali African Dance Theater
3:30-4:30 Tom Chapin and the Chapin Sisters

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We ACT Radio – Every Thursday! http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/09/we-act-radio-every-thursday/ http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/09/we-act-radio-every-thursday/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:04:47 +0000 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/?p=16804 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.

http://weacted.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/bus-for-movie.jpg


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 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/09/the-climate-march-2014/ http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/09/the-climate-march-2014/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 02:52:02 +0000 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/?p=16799 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 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/08/justice-for-michael-brown-petition/ http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/08/justice-for-michael-brown-petition/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:19:20 +0000 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/?p=16780 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:

http://action.naacp.org/send-them-a-message

In solidarity,

Cornell William Brooks
President and CEO – NAACP

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Michael Brown – In Memorial, In Solidarity http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/08/michael-brown-in-memorial/ http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/08/michael-brown-in-memorial/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:28:12 +0000 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/?p=16786      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 ColorOfChange.org’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 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/06/sos-at-the-clearwater-festival/ http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/06/sos-at-the-clearwater-festival/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:12:59 +0000 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/?p=16737 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 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/05/corporate-reform-civil-rights-fraud/ http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/05/corporate-reform-civil-rights-fraud/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 19:46:12 +0000 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/?p=16729 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.

http://mobile.edweek.org/c.jsp?DISPATCHED=true&cid=25983841&item=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.edweek.org%2Fteachers%2Fliving-in-dialogue%2F2014%2F05%2Fdevastating_report_condemns_co.html

 

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Press Release – SOS NYC Metro Rally May 17th http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/04/press-release-sos-nyc-metro-rally-may-17th/ http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/04/press-release-sos-nyc-metro-rally-may-17th/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:20:59 +0000 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/?p=16551 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2014
For more information contact:
David Greene, (914)523-6835, Save Our Schools, dcmentor@gmail.com
Lisa Rudley, (917) 414-9190, NYS Allies for Public Education nys.allies@gmail.com
saveourschoolsmarch.org & nysape.org

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 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/event/nyc-metro-spring-action/) 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 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/04/selma-jubilee-2014-recap/ http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/2014/04/selma-jubilee-2014-recap/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:51:25 +0000 http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/?p=16717 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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