This UPDATED National April 10th Call is going out to both BAMN and the Equal Opportunity Now (EON) caucus of the NEA and AFT.)
National Conference Call to Plan March on Washington to Defend Public Education Pre-K – College
Join us on Saturday, April 3rd at 1:00pm (Eastern Time) to discuss plans for the April 10th March on Washington to Defend Public Education. Conference call agenda will include an introductory statement by BAMN National Chair Shanta Driver on WHY this event is critical to the future of education in America, its historic character in being the FIRST public action to oppose Arne Duncan’s education scheme and why YOU should organize a contingent from your school or community to attend. There will also be discussion on publicity and outreach, logistical questions, etc.
Conference Dial-in Number: (712) 775-7400
Host Access Code: 141550*
Participant Access Code: 141550#
CALL IN & PARTICIPATE!!
ALL OUT TO WASHINGTON DC!
MARCH AND RALLY TO DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION PRE-K THROUGH COLLEGE
Demand that Arne Duncan Stop Toying with Our Students’ Lives!
End the “Race to the Top” Scheme Now
Release All Federal Education Funds to the States Based on Need
Provide Massive Federal Aid With No Strings Attached to Maintain Public Higher Education!
SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 2010, NOON
U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW (Washington DC)
End the Attacks against Teachers, Black, Latina/o, and Poor,
Working-Class and Middle-Class Students of All Races
No Privatization of Public Education
No Tuition/Fee Hikes - No Program Cuts in Higher Education
No Layoffs/No Furloughs
(View & download online at BAMN.COM)
Our children are NOT for sale. For the last six months, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has cynically and dishonestly hidden behind the needs of poor, black and Latina/o students to receive equal, quality educational opportunities, to institute his controversial, unpopular and educationally indefensible plan to create a national network of 5,000 publicly-financed, privately-run, minimally-regulated charter schools. Precious resources have already been taken away from public schools and given to charter schools to assure that charter schools win the “competition” against resource-starved, inner-city urban public school systems. His scheme, if successful, would end public education as a right and would increase, not decrease, educational inequality based on race and class.
Duncan has exploited the economic crisis to demand that union officials, local school districts, public officials and politicians unquestioningly and uncritically sign on to his unpopular, reactionary, anti-union, anti-democratic, pro-business policies in order to even stand a chance of receiving “Race To The Top” money. The most impoverished black and Latina/o communities with the proudest history of support for civil rights, union rights and public education are being asked to undertake a set of draconian reforms and to abandon every progressive principle they have stood on and believe in to get federal money to prevent the decimation of their schools.
The mildest resistance by the unions, Latina/o, black, immigrant or poor communities, students, parents, or politicians to Duncan’s plan has led to whole states being denied access to funds. Duncan has fanatically demanded that unions abandon seniority protections, free-speech rights, set pay rates, academic freedom, etc. to qualify for federal money. Black and Latina/o parents, students and communities that have opposed taking away precious public resources from public schools and giving those same resources to charters, or who object to Latina/o and black students being asked to embrace separate and unequal, segregated, stripped-down, vocational/technical education instead of traditional broad-based education with art, music, science, sports and a full array of AP classes and extra-curricular activities-that succeeds in preparing wealthier suburban students for success in college-are being punished for even questioning Duncan’s advocacy of private paternalistic offerings, reminiscent of the old Booker T. Washington-Jim Crow era.
Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston and other majority minority cities in Michigan, California and Texas that are experiencing unemployment rates three times the national average and record numbers of foreclosures, bankruptcies, plant closings and job losses, are ineligible for “Race To The Top,” because they resisted Duncan’s attempts to scapegoat teachers, blame the students for the conditions they did not create, and replace or marginalize democratically-elected, publicly-accountable school boards and superintendents with pro-charter mayoral school-takeover administrators or state appointed “education czars,” some of whom are paid in part by the charter companies themselves.
No More Separate and Unequal
Restore Dr. King’s Vision for America
Arne Duncan Must Go
The young people in states eliminated from consideration for “Race To The Top” and those living in states still in the running for “Race To The Top” are losing ground every day. School closings, teacher lay-offs and program cuts abound. The whole application process has weakened public education everywhere and distorted all reform efforts. The mad scramble to abandon all tried-and-true reforms to get desperately needed federal funding and the insane competition of school-against-school, state-against-state, etc. consistent with Duncan’s free-market maximum-competition ideology, have wreaked havoc and encouraged divisiveness everywhere. We cannot allow this to continue any longer. United we win, divided we fall. Now is the time to stand together and fight. If Arne Duncan were a Republican, every progressive force in America would be demanding his resignation or firing. We cannot allow him to destroy public education or give him a free pass because he’s a Democrat. For any real pro-student educational reforms to occur, Duncan must go now.
We can win our fight to stop the privatization of public education by telling the truth and taking action. While Duncan’s current efforts are focused on majority-Latina/o and -black urban districts, his plan to convert 5,000 public schools into charters means that suburban districts-increasingly resource-starved themselves-will be targeted next. No one disagrees that public education needs to be vastly improved or that the achievement gap between black and Latina/o, and poor, working-class and middle-class students of all races and more privileged students must be closed.
Proven Ways to Improve Student Achievement
It is as true now as it was in 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education was decided: the single most important factor in closing the achievement gap and improving every student’s educational outcomes is school integration. Creating diverse student bodies, offering a variety of traditional and non-traditional course offerings, giving young people the right to explore and experiment with art, music, athletics, different cultures, etc., produces the greatest success rates. Giving resource-starved urban and rural schools the funds for books, supplies and smaller class sizes, supporting efforts to desegregate education through the creation of magnet school programs, and uniting urban and suburban districts to share services, prevent duplication of efforts, provide an economy of scale that allows for more experimentation with educational alternatives, and allows for the creation of more diverse student populations, are all reforms that work.
The Duncan reform plan is premised on the view that human creativity, scientific discovery and social progress are best furthered through purely individual competition for personal, individual gain. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The greatest scientific breakthroughs, creative endeavors and social progress have always been produced as collective endeavors. When we have great minds focused on our shared and common interests and working together, human societies advance more rapidly. Educational reform is not that daunting when there is the will to act.
No Tuition Hikes or Program Cuts in Higher Ed!
The attack on public education is occurring in higher education in every state of the nation. Flagship public universities are being forced to rely more and more on private funding and rich or out-of-state students to fund their basic operating costs. State universities like the California State University (CSU) system that have traditionally focused more on teaching than on research are facing massive program cuts and tuition increases. Community colleges, once the gateway to higher education for poor and working-class students, are turning away hundreds of thousands of candidates that they can no longer accommodate because of the cuts.
The only way to resolve the crisis of funding for universities and colleges is for a massive infusion of federal aid. The banks, corporations and super rich that created the economic crisis that is now devastating higher education should be made to pay for the recovery, not poor and working-class students through tuition hikes.
Duncan’s educational policy begins from two false political premises: first, that we cannot tax the corporations, banks or the very rich to obtain the money needed to fund public education; and second, that we cannot reorder our social or political priorities so that education receives more funds. Both premises are wrong. Presented with the actual facts, there is no doubt that public education, which is the most popular and universally-treasured achievement of the great civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, would easily beat out the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as funding priorities. Secondly, there is broadly felt and expressed frustration and anger over how little the very people who caused the economic crisis have had to pay to rectify the conditions they created. Taxing the corporations, banks and very rich might make them squeal, but it would hardly be an unpopular policy.
When We Fight, We Win
Last fall, students in California, led by University of California at Berkeley and UCLA students, gave birth to a student movement. They stood up and successfully defended public education. The student movement had the backing of the unions and California’s powerful Latina/o, immigrant, black, poor, working-class and middle-class communities. The power of the movement is its independence and its understanding that it speaks for the majority. The student movement lifted all of us. The marches, sit-ins, occupations and rallies reminded us that when we stand and fight together, we can win and, maybe just as importantly, restore our own sense of collective purpose, joy, hope and optimism. To move this new movement forward and to move forward the civil rights, immigrant rights, and labor movements, we need to march on Washington. It is time for us to deliver our demands to Arne Duncan directly, massively and strongly.
Join us in Washington on April 10-make this spring vacation one you will not forget.
Get on the Bus! www.BAMN.com; [email protected]; 313 438-3748 or 313-575-9329.
If you can’t come yourself, send a check to sponsor a student!!!(make out checks to: Defend Public Education, PO Box 24834, Detroit MI 48224)
Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)
Defend Public Education/Save Our Students Caucus
Rally and march endorsed by:
Detroit Federation of Teachers
Detroit Board of Education
California Teachers Association
California Federation of Teachers
West Haven Federation of Teachers
Oakland Education Association
Jim Hamilton (member of the Executive Board of the Missouri Education Association)*
Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education (ILACHE)
Caucus of Rank and File Educators — Chicago, IL (CORE)
Nathan Saunders (general vice president of Washington Teachers Union)
Candi Peterson (member of board of trustees of Washington Teachers Union)
*Affiliation listed for identification purposes only.
Sponsor students to join the march in Washington! Make a donation at http://www.BAMN.com/1/donate.asp or write a check to: Defend Public Education, PO Box 24834, Detroit MI 48224
BAMN - Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary | PO Box 24834 | Detroit | MI | 48224