As you know I have spent a great deal of time bringing you the news regarding the efforts of ‘By any Means Necessary’, or BAMN (www.bamn.com) and their efforts to stop privatization city by city, but especially in Detroit. I have done this for the purpose of letting readers know about the struggles against Race to the Top and the citywide and statewide movements to both implement privatization policies designed to decimate student learning and teachers’ occupations and unions; to inform you of the privatization efforts in education implemented most notoriously under NCLB through “drill baby drill” private testing companies and policies; and I wished you to see the growing and massive resistance, largely led by organized high school students, to mount an all-out campaign to let the cruel policy makers know that this privatization of education is not only unacceptable, it will be fought tooth and nail by progressive educators, teachers and again, especially students.
I wanted to leave you with this summation of the Washington DC rally from Donna Stern of BAMN. As you know, save a few corporate news networks, none of the victories of BAMN, teachers and students, either in Detroit or Florida, now the rally was captured by the corporate sock-puppet press.
Yet Dailycensored was there throughout the long protracted struggles that so notably won the day in both Florida and Detroit.
In her following summation of the Washington rally event (of which I was fortunate to be on a conference call discussing with students, teachers and Donna some days ago) special thanks is given to www.dailycensored.com in our implacable attempt to offer up to the minute coverage of the courageous struggles of these admirable citizens and to give you, the reader, a sense of hope and impulse to fight the good fight in your cities and neighborhoods in order to assure that the segregation and unequal school privatization policies are met with direct action.
There will be many more battles heating up in Detroit, among them the appeal of the recent decision stripping Robert Bobb, the Eli Broad fixer of his tyrannical control of academic policies from school closures to Wal-Mart internships; from testing abuse to erasure of essential programs for kids. Detroit will also face the battle over mayoral control which will heat up again now that Mayor David Bing cannot count on Bobb to dismantle education.
I will be moving on to New Jersey in the next week or so to bring to you the story of ‘Lady Liberty Charter School’ and their refusal to obey open record laws in New Jersey. They are being sued but refuse under NJ public record laws and other legal statutes but they continue to refuse to release essential documents. We will explore their connection to Mayor Booker of Newark and the money trail that leads back to Bret Schundler, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Walton Family and New York, where billionaire courtesans were stage coached to Newark to aid and abet the new ‘philanthropy fund’ set up to grease the wheels of charterization for the school privatization plans for New Jersey. We will also look at Oceanside Charter School in mobbed-up New Jersey and the fight to obtain essential public records from the school. Finally we will seat all of this within the political economy of New Jersey itself and how the budget crisis is demanding teachers pay 1.5% for their health care as well as give up many rights.
In the interim, I wish to thank all readers who helped in the fight to support our students in their courageous walkouts, organizing efforts in their communities and in others. By continuing to follow the efforts of teachers, students and progressives in the fight to defeat Arne Duncan and his celebrated but rarely reported on Race to the Top.
In the interim, here is the summation of the April 10, 2010 rally by BAMN and Donna Stern which will allow you to see show we can make a difference and the plans we have to continue to do so.
Thank you, readers for supporting Dailycensored!
Posted by detroitteacher on April 16, 2010
Teachers, Students, Parents, BAMN members and other Activists from Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, California, and Florida marched in Washington DC Saturday April 10 to Defend Public Education from attacks of further privatization. This important event marked a coming together of educators from across the country despite efforts to force them to compete for Federal fudnig through “Race to the Top”
Following report submitted by Donna Stern:
SEE VIDEOS BELOW:
The April 10th March on Washington to Defend Public Education was a tremendous success – and the movement is still reaping its benefits days afterward. Here is a full report:
An advance crew of BAMN organizers went to DC about 10 days before the march, gallantly stuffing up to 11 people into two hotel rooms and living on bologna sandwiches. They mobilized at Howard, the University of Maryland, Gallaudet University and DC high schools in the days leading up to the rally.
The day before the rally, a CNN crew interviewed many of the organizers and taped the conference call between all the contingents planning to come. A reporter from the major Japanese broadcasting network, NHK, did several interviews in advance and then traveled down to DC from NYC to cover the march. A writer from the Washington Post curiously called to declare that the Post would NOT be covering the event, but then ended up talking to us for over an hour, and concluded by saying he would be in touch because he was writing a piece about Detroit. Our march was also reported in the Huffington Post, Black Agenda Report and several other prominent internet blogs and news outlets, including our most loyal supporter, dailycensored.com.
Despite two transport breakdowns which prevented 45 people from Detroit (along with the banners, picket signs, bull horns, literature and permit) and one of the contingents from New York from attending, the march had about 200-250 at its height. Contingents participated from New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Oakland, Detroit, Miami and, of course, the District of Columbia.
The high school and middle school students from Philadelphia led the march with exuberance.
Not the slightest bit bothered by the last-minute hand-written signs, or the consternation of the police that the permit was in Youngstown where the Detroit bus had broken down, they were thrilled to be there and they set the tone for the event. The rally began at the U.S. Department of Education and then marched to the Capitol. The power of our message was palpable. As we marched, tourists who had come to Washington for the Cherry Blossom parade started applauding when they saw our signs. A troop of boy scouts joined us for part of the march, as did other bystanders along the route.
We ended the march at the national offices of the American Federation of Teachers, who opened their facilities to us to hold our post-march meeting. At that meeting the long-term significance of the day became clear. Every participant was extremely serious and determined to use the occasion to form a national alliance in defense of public education. Everyone expressed how isolated they felt fighting their local battles, and how re-moralizing it was to realize they had allies all around the country who could provide the organizational strength to meet a national attack with a national defense campaign. The three contingents from New York City didn’t even know each other before the event – just meeting other organizations from New York City greatly expanded their local capacity.
We didn’t wait a minute to build on the gains we had made. We held a conference call on Sunday to provide a report to all those who didn’t make it and to strategize with teachers from Florida about how we could support the movement in Florida to defeat SB6 – a draconian piece of legislation that, if passed, would cement the Duncan plan into state law, hastening the privatization of public education and the proliferation of charters in Florida, penalizing teachers who teach the least privileged students and punishing students who perform poorly on standardized tests (particularly English language learners) by withholding a high school diploma from even those who have earned the highest grades.
On Monday there were two great developments. Most significantly, over 6,700 teachers in Miami/Dade called in sick to persuade Governor Crist to veto SB6, accompanied by several student walkouts and then thousands gathered in Tropical Park for a rally which continued into the night. BAMN immediately sent two organizers to Florida to help with the mobilization.
Secondly, we received a call from a group of anti-charter activists from New Orleans who heard about the march and want to join our national alliance. We had been seeking contacts from New Orleans for months, and the widespread publicity about the march brought them to us.
On Tuesday, we were invited to be guests on the hour-long Santita Jackson show on WVON, Talk of Chicago, to discuss the march and what we are fighting for. Ms. Jackson, the daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson, received us very warmly and promised to urge Rev. Jackson and Congressman Jackson to join our fight. We were also interviewed by a reporter from Congress.org.
On Wednesday (this report gets longer with each passing day) BAMN’s organizers met up with eleven Miami teachers (one of whom attended the march in DC) who drove 10 hours overnight to rally at the Governor’s office in Tallahassee. Governor Crist met with them and they were able demonstrate the determination of teachers to fight this attack on students and teachers in Florida.
So, all in all, we have gotten a lot of mileage out of an event that might have been modest in numbers, but was mighty in its impact. Everyone who participated in any way – by making a donation, helping to fundraise, leafleting, making phone calls or sitting in a broken bus for hours should be proud to be associated with the first national action against Race to the Top.
Rodney Deas – “Radio Rahim”