Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action
For the future of our children,
we demand the following . . .
* Equitable funding for all public school communities
* An end to high stakes testing for student, teacher, and school evaluation
* Teacher and community leadership in forming public education policies
* Curricula developed by and for local school communities
Those the four key demands of an important initiative on public education.
It is geared towards a gathering in our nation’s capital, July 28-31.
We want your help and support.
Here’s our website
Let me tell you more, including why I am involved, and you should be as well.
This is an outgrowth of efforts by many educators to have our voices heard in the discussions over education policy over the past few years. When Anthony Cody established the movement of Teachers Letters To Obama, we got the support of thousands, but in conversations with the Department of Education, including with Secretary of Education Duncan, somehow we were not listened to, but rather talked at.
Let me share from the About Us page of our website:
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.
Where we are today is due to the efforts of many people. Diane Ravitch had the integrity and the courage to speak up when she saw first-hand the unintended consequences of No Child Left Behind. Jesse Turner (Children are More than Test Scores) walked from Connecticut to Washington, D.C. in support of public schools. The list of those who have inspired us goes on and on.
Ken Bernstein (teacherken), Nancy Flanagan, Anthony Cody, Rita Solnet – so many people began to step up, saying, “It’s time to do something.” And here we are in January 2011. With thousands and thousands of voices shouting, “No, no, no” to NCLB and RTTT, and with few policymakers listening, we say, IT IS TIME TO TAKE ACTION.
I am honored to be a part of this group, although there are others doing far more than am I. They include university professors, retired principals, teachers, parents, educational advocates.
Our list of endorsers can be seen here, although it is hard for us to stay up to date, as more and more people involved with education, well known and ordinary people, step up to support us.
We are planning a four-day event. It will include a gathering near the White House. It will include workshops and addresses based at American University. Diane Ravitch has already agreed to speak to us.
Those of us involved in doing the work to prepare for this are doing it on top of our other responsibilities, because we believe in its importance. We are working with a professional organizer who has previously helped organize similar events in DC for non-profits. We understand what we have to do for permits, we have reserved space for both the demonstration and for the conference.
But now we need more.
We need support.
We need endorsements.
We need more volunteers.
We can surely use contributions.
Look again at some of the major names in education who have endorse this
David Berliner, past president of American Educational Research Association
Yong Zhao of Michigan State University
Kenneth Goodman, emeritus at U of Arizona
Sam Meisels, President of the Erickson Institute in Chicago – an expert on early childhood education
Note the leaders of parent groups:
Julie Woestehoff of PURE in Chicago
Rita Solnet of Parents Across America
Mona David of New York Parents Charter Association
we have former state teachers of the year
we have university professors
we have film makers
we have ordinary teachers and principals
We have much of the leadership of Rethinking Schools
we have ordinary folks who care deeply about what is happening to public education
We are not being funded by the Gates or Broad Foundations.
We do not have the access to media of Davis Guggenheim with Waiting for Superman, or Michele Rhee being on the covers of Time and Newsweek
We have something far more important. We have the voices of those most committed to public education and the student in all of our schools, including charters.
We need more.
We need you.
Please consider how you can help.
You can contribute
You can sign up to stay informed.
You can volunteer by emailing our volunteer coordinator at elwaingortji at cbe dot ab dot ca
You can pass on the information about Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action to others – via email, Twitter, Facebook or other means.
Thank you in advance for anything you can do.
July 28-31, 2011
Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action