By Anne Slater
Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party have endorsed the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action (SOS), July 28-31 in Washington, D.C. We are writing to encourage you to get involved in this nationwide effort of teachers, parents, students and working people to fight for accessible quality public education.
It has become the rage among politicians on both sides of the aisle to blame the problems of education on teachers, and their unions. They are simply scapegoating the workers — mostly women and people of color — for social problems.
Poverty is on the rise, more students are hungry and need social services that local government are slashing. Schools are overcrowded, underfunded and sometimes mismanaged. Politicians claim the solution is a corporate takeover of public schools, falsely advertising charter schools as an answer. Teaching materials are developed at the behest of corporate entities, like the recent fourth grade energy curriculum paid for by the American Coal Foundation. Meanwhile, more and more time is allocated to “teach to the test,” while art, music and PE are quickly becoming a distant memory.
It’s time to say no more! We do not want our teachers to be mindless automatons. We do not want our children treated as commodities to be rolled out on the factory floor.
The points of unity for the Save Our Schools campaign are: equitable funding for all public school communities; an end to high-stakes testing used for the purpose of student, teacher and school evaluation; curriculum developed for and by local school communities; and teacher, family and community leadership in forming public education policies.
Activities in Washington D.C. include:
July 28-29, Conference to “learn, connect and get active.” Two days of activism workshops and keynotes at American University in D.C. Radical Women will be offering a workshop entitled, “It’s a class thing: the galvanizing impact of multi-issue organizing for public education.” Register for the conference online at www.SaveOurSchoolsMarch.org.
July 30, Rally and March. The rally begins noon at the Ellipse, followed by a 1:30 p.m. march to the White House. SOS’s website says “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.”
July 31, Organizational Congress at American University in DC. This four-hour congress will focus on organizing efforts following the march.
Regardless of whether you can get to D.C., you can still help. Join the Save Our Schools Union Roll Call campaign. SOS organizers are urging people to ask unions to endorse this important effort to take back our public schools.
An ever-increasing list of endorsers is available online, including endorsements from the national American Federation of Teachers and over twenty state teacher unions.
It’s time to take back our schools from the politicians and corporations who want to balance state and local budgets on the backs of young people, teachers, public workers, immigrants and the poor. It’s time to make big business pay taxes. Ending the wars of aggression will also free funds to be used for education, social services and health care.