by Duane Campbell
Parents, teachers and families from around the country say they are fed up with so-called school “reform” policies that falsely label more than 80% of U.S. public schools as failures. A coalition of individuals and organizations is mobilizing for a national day of action in support of public schools. On Saturday, July 30, 2011, thousands of people will gather at the White House in Washington, DC and at locations around the nation for “Save Our Schools” marches. The events are being organized by a network of teachers, parents and community activists. You can contact the march efforts and locate your regional demonstration at http://www.saveourschoolsmarch.org,
“For too long, public school stakeholders have been treated like second class citizens in our own communities,” said Sabrina Stevens Shupe, a former Colorado teacher, who is a member of the March’s organizing committee. “Teachers’ knowledge has been dismissed because we are falsely presumed to be self-interested and incompetent. Students and parents who vocally oppose the disruption and destruction of their schools are often entirely ignored. At the same time, ideologues with little to no experience in public schools have made misguided decisions that devastate educational quality and equal opportunity.”
The Save Our Schools March is being held in response to recent destructive “reform” efforts which have undermined our public educational system, demoralized teachers, and reduced the education of too many of our children to nothing more than test preparation. Something must be done – and it must be done now!
The Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action is calling on Americans everywhere to demand:
- Equitable funding for all public school communities
- An end to high stakes testing for student, teacher, and school evaluation
- Curriculum developed for and by local school communities
- Teacher and community leadership in forming public education policies
July 30 Rally & March in Washington, DC and in local areas.
The Washington rally will officially begin at noon at the Ellipse, At noon, Diane Ravitch, Jonathan Kozol, José Vilson, Deborah Meier, Monty Neill, and other speakers, musicians, performance poets, and more will encourage, educate, and support this movement and the Save Our Schools March demands.
At 1:30 p.m., we will march to the White House, where the demands will be read, we’ll demonstrate, and engage in a call for continued action to reclaim schools as places of learning, joy, and democracy.
The media selected school reform “performers” use their privileged access to public discussion and the media to cast a linguistic fog around school conditions and to hide the issues of power and economics. They pit their slogans , such as “All Children Can Learn, “ “No Excuses.” or “No Child Left Behind,” – wrapped up in the populist appeal to common sense – against the vocabularies of the media elites, academics and other members of the “liberal establishment,”. At the same time they oppose discussion any notion of social and economic justice. They hide their reactionary politics and their corporate funding, beneath their appeal to over simplified slogans that fail to deal with budget realities and school realities during this economic crisis (see Reforming the Reformers, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/magazine/reforming-the-school-reformers.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all)
The anti-democratic tendencies of fast food thought and sound bite discourse are clear in the media recognized voices of “school reform” from Joel Klien, Michele Rhee to Arne Duncan and dozens more. The media portrays these advocates as school reformers as in the film “Waiting for Superman”. (see reviews on this blog site).
For these alleged “reformers”, over simplification of complex school issues is wrapped up in slogans, while eliminating any pretense to thoughtful argumentation on issues such as the validity of most testing and the use of test scores to evaluate teachers. These over simplification, and particularly false dichotomies undercuts the ability of the public to participate in making informed decisions.
Both of the major teachers unions are supporting this march. It is not led nor organized by the unions but by concerned parents and citizens.
Filed under: Conferences and Events, Economy, Politics, Solidarity Tagged: | Arne Duncan, Deborah Meier, Diane Ravitch, Education, Jonathan Kozol, Michelle Rhee, Save Our Schools, Washington D.C., White House