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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Grassroots “Save Our Schools” March on Washington & National Call to Action on July 28-31

This blog has tried to follow some of the grassroots movements in this country as a balance to the official messages coming from Secretary Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education that are often reflected in the mainstream media. We have learned about a march on Washington that will take place July 30th.

This grassroots movement of parents, teachers, students, community activists, and “everyday working people” has been endorsed by educational voices like Diane Ravitch, Deborah Meier, Alfie Kohn, Joel Spring, Rethinking Schools' editors, David Berliner, among many others. Diane Ravitch will be one of the speakers at the DC rally. Prior to the march and rally in the park, participants will be able to participate in a number of seminars, workshops and advocacy meetings hosted by American University.


Here is their call to action:

DEMAND JUSTICE FOR OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM

For the future of our children, we demand the following…

Equitable funding for all public school communities

• Equitable funding across all public schools and school systems
• Full public funding of family and community support services
• Full funding for 21st century school and neighborhood libraries

End to economically and racially re-segregated schools

End to high stakes testing for student, teacher, and school evaluation

• Multiple and varied assessments to evaluate students, teachers and schools
• No pay per test performance for teachers and administrators
• End to public school closures based upon test performance

Curriculum developed for and by local school communities

• Support teacher and student access to a wide-range of instructional programs and technologies
• Well-rounded education that develops every students’ intellectual, creative, and physical potential
• Opportunities for multicultural/multilingual curriculum for all students
• Small class sizes that foster caring, democratic learning communities


Teacher, parent and community leadership in forming public education policies

• Educator, parent and community leadership in drafting of new ESEA legislation
• Federal support for local school programs free of punitive and competitive funding
• End political and corporate control of curriculum, instruction and assessment decisions



Finding the current educational policies destructive and their own efforts to speak out largely marginalized, the organizers explain the motivation behind the movement:


Getting to this point has been a long journey. For the last few years, thousands of teachers and parents have been calling for action against No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and, more recently, questioning Race to the Top (RTTT).

Teachers, students, and parents from across the country have staged protests, started blogs, written op-eds, and called and written the White House and the U.S. Department of Education to try to halt the destruction of their local schools.

Numerous efforts have been made to get U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama to listen to US – the teachers, parents, and students who experience the effects of these disastrous policies every day. WE know that NCLB is not working. Unfortunately, it has been almost impossible to make our voices heard. Although we have the knowledge, the expertise, and the relationships with students that make education possible, we have been shut out of the conversation about school reform.

We, like all teachers and parents, want better schools. For our children’s sake, we are organizing to improve our schools – but not through the vehicle known as NCLB. It has been a disaster. Although there are various opinions about the many issues involved with school reform, it is now time to speak with ONE VOICE – that is, No Child Left Behind must not be reauthorized. We reclaim our right to determine how our children will be educated. We are organizing to revitalize an educational system that for too many children focuses more on test preparation than meaningful learning.We demand a humane, empowering education for every child in America.



For more information, go to: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch.org/

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