Friday, July 20, 2012

Save Our Schools


Save Our Schools returns

by Stan Karp
Last summer, the Save Our Schools march brought thousands of teachers, parents, and supporters of public education to Washington, D.C. The march and rally were hopeful signs of pushback against corporate ed reform.A school year that began with the media blitz around the pro-charter propaganda film Waiting for Supermanended with the voices of grassroots resistance in the nation’s capital.
From August 3 to 5, Save Our Schools supporters will gather again in D.C., this time for a “peoples convention” focused on giving more shape and substance to the SOS effort.
Rethinking Schools will be there, joining longtime friends and advocates for educational justice like Jonathan Kozol, Deborah Meier, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, and many others. We hope you will join us. More info here.
Rethinking Schools editor and parent activist Helen Gym and I will host a workshop session Saturday morning on education activism. We’ll share some lessons from Rethinking Schools’ 25-year history as a voice for social justice inside classrooms and communities. We’ll also share our experience with efforts to create local, state, and national coalitions to defend and improve public education, and we’ll invite discussion about how SOS might move that effort forward amidst the strongest corporate counterattack on public schooling we have seen in our lifetimes.

One topic will be strategies for countering the current mainstream narrative about education reform. That narrative is based on fundamentally inaccurate descriptions of the central problems public schools face and disastrous policy prescriptions misframed as the solutions our schools need.
For corporate reformers, the main problems in public education are low test scores, “bad teachers,” and union contracts. Their “solutions” are more standards and tests; creation of a less secure, less experienced, and less expensive professional staff; and more privatized, corporate management of schools, districts, and education policy.
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