Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Save Our Schools March- Sacramento


Educators and families from around the country say they are fed up with so-called “reform” policies so poorly designed that they may falsely label more than 80% of U.S. public schools as failures. To counter what they see as relentless attacks on teachers and the institution of public education, a growing 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 Ellipse in Washington, DC and at other locations around the nation-- including Sacramento, California-- to express their desire to reclaim the right to determine the path of school reform in their own communities. The “Save Our Schools” March and allied events are being organized by a network of teachers, parents and community activists.

“For too long, public school stakeholders have been treated like second class citizens in our own communities,” said Sabrina Stevens Shupe, a former teacher, who is a member of the March’s organizing committee. “Teachers’ knowledge and insight 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 the public school system have made misguided decisions that devastate our schools.”

Addressing high-stakes “accountability” policies, such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, businesswoman and parent advocate Rita Solnet explained, “A decade of NCLB's incessant focus on high-stakes tests narrowed curriculum in many schools. Each new initiative ratcheting up the stakes behind these tests, has resulted in the abandonment of the very children NCLB sought to serve. NCLB has not improved overall achievement, and it has diminished the quality of education in our public schools. We must reverse this wrong-headed direction.”

March organizers and supporters are angry about federal and state policies that punish already-struggling schools through privatization and the transfer of control over curricular and staffing decisions to politicians.
A statement on the Save Our Schools website, http://www.saveourschoolsmarch.org, states: ”We stand united by one belief – it’s time for teachers and parents to organize and reclaim control of our schools. As concerned citizens, we demand an end to the destructive policies and rhetoric that have eroded confidence in our public schools, demoralized teachers, and reduced the education of too many of our children to nothing more than test preparation.”

Save Our Schools organizers are also calling for equitable funding for all school communities; an end to high-stakes uses of testing for student, teacher, and school assessment; teacher, family, and community leadership in education policy; and curriculum developed by and for local school communities.

Noting that this summer’s demonstrations are intended as a beginning, not an end to their activism, professor Rick Meyer concluded that “We are working to build the connections, resources, and organizational skills needed to end this era of wrong-headed policy, and reclaim our public schools as places of joy, learning, and democracy.”

A state-by-state list of contacts for the Save Our Schools March and related local events is available online at http://www.saveourschoolsmarch.org/event_info/state-and-regional

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