National Day of Action for Education - March 1

From the Occupy Seattle Public Education Working Group, and reprinted without edits:

March 1 National Day of Action for Education:  Full Public Funding and Full Public Control!

On Thursday, March 1, Seattle will join cities across the country taking action to support Public Education.

The Seattle events will start with a rally at Westlake Center at 2:45 p.m., followed by a 3:30 p.m. march to the Gates Foundation to support a ‘Grade-In’ conducted by teachers from the Seattle Education Association and a teach-In about charters by UW Professor Wayne Au.  At 4:30 p.m.,  members of the group plan to challenge Gates Foundation policy analysts to a “Policy Throwdown” -- a General Assembly style open discussion of education and charter issues facilitated by Jesse Hagopian.

The purpose of the action is to oppose charter school legislation being pushed by the Gates Foundation and other wealthy individuals against the wishes of voters.  We believe that schools should be fully funded by public dollars and school policy should be fully governed by public representatives - not manipulated in secret by the 1%.

The Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled that the State is out of compliance with its “paramount constitutional duty” to fully fund education. K-12 education's share of the state budget has been in decline since 1981. Since the "Great Recession", Washington State has cut $10 billion from public education and social services, with over $3 billion slashed from K-12 funding alone. Washington State now ranks 42nd in the nation in per-pupil spending and has the 3rd highest class sizes in the country. State universities have raised tuition by over 47% in the last three years.

But rather than devote more funding to providing quality public education, state politicians are putting forward legislation that would open the door to charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately controlled. These unaccountable schools are exempt from state standards and union contracts. The Gates Foundation is a leading backer and promoter of charter schools nationwide, despite the fact that their own CREDO study showed that only 17% of charters perform better and 37% performed worse.
This article from the Washington Post, and the leaked secret memo it excerpts, describe the Gates Foundation’s plans to secretly manipulate public opinion by taking advantage of the dire financial condition of the national school districts:

We call on all students, teachers, workers, and parents from all levels of education -- pre-K-12 through higher education -- and all Occupiers, labor unions, and organizations of oppressed communities to mobilize on March 1st to tell those in power: The resources exist for high-quality, publicly-controlled education for all.

We demand:
- Full funding for public education and social services
- Full public control of education policy
- Tax the 1%
- No budget cuts
- No tuition hikes
- No attacks on teacher unions
- No privatization of public education

Students and teachers should not have to pay for the crisis created by the 1%. We refuse to accept the dismantling of our schools and universities, while the banks and corporations make record profits. We refuse to accept budget cuts, educational re-segregation, attacks on teacher unions, rising class sizes, massive tuition increases, outrageous student debt, and increasing privatization and corporate control.


Sahila said…
national Teacher Walkout in Support of Global General Strike - May 1st: National Teacher Walkout Poster
Tina said…
The system we have today is failing too many students: Failing in the sense that students are failing within the system to meet the myriad requirements to graduate and find a lifelong occupation but also failing in the sense that barring some pockets of happy children and parents, there seems to be general misery with the factory model of education inherited from the 1920s. Somehow, the model itself -- the schoolhouse, the adults who work with young people, the outcomes, the cost -- has to be recrafted. I am not a supporter of charter schools, but neither am I a believer in the current system. Too many people are unhappy with teachers, too many students seem bored and alienated, and too many parents seem to be scrambling for new answers. I will not be attending the March 1 event because I can no longer support 100% the current model or 100% the unions. Some compromise in this country needs to be achieved and I am not sure charter schools isn't the destructive force needed to blast the current model into a position of renewal. Charter schools will fail so miserably that all players will slouch back to the drawing table and find a way to create a system that does not waste students lives in dull classrooms with a test-prep curriculum, will pay teachers what they rightly should be earning ($100, 000 or more is what an excellent teacher should earn), and will give parents and families options ranging from specialized elementary schools (aviation, language immersion, Montessori, whatever) to early access to college credit to homeshool models that would include trips and travel to special education services that would require one-on one tutoring.
Get Real said…
We ALL deserve 100K or more!!

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