Linda and I had an exhilarating experience at the Save Our Schools March in Washington DC this Saturday! 5,000 people gathered at the Ellipse Park behind the White House and rallied for more resources for public schools. Rally speakers included Diane Ravitch, Jonathan Kozol, Pedro Noguera and other education experts, all calling for less testing, less punishing and more teaching. Matt Damon
was there too. He’s not an education expert but his mom was a teacher and he supports public schools.
After the rally we all marched around the Whitehouse chanting “Save Our Schools!” Many marchers carried signs and banners to share the messages including:
· Equitable funding for all public school communities
· End disastrous corporate takeover of our nation’s schools
· Education should not be a “Race to the Top” because only a few people win a race.
· Teacher, Family and Community leadership in making education policy
· Less money to corporations and more to education
The best part for Linda and me was being there to meet the buses that came in from New Jersey! As a member of NJEOC (New Jersey Education Organizing Collaborative), PEF, along with the other partners, organized 3 buses to take marchers from Paterson, Newark and Jersey City to DC. Folks gathered in the 3 cities at 6am in order to make it to DC in time for the rally. We had 130 students, parents and community members from NJ get on the bus to join the rally and March. They knew before they left town that we would be marching in 100 degree heat, and they still came. That’s conviction!
As we marched, drivers were blowing their car horns in support, bystanders waved and gave us thumbs up signs and 2 unrelated anti-war groups of protesters joined the Save Our Schools’ chanting.
The March and Rally were preceded by a conference at the American University. It was apparent that the groups and individuals gathered had separate agendas about how to fix our public schools. The one thing that united us was that the Federal Government should move from a “tests and sanctions” position to “helping schools improve.”
The young people from the New Orleans Re-Think Freedom Riders from said it best in their rap performance, “I’m not a bubble that you can erase!”
So here we are after the hype knowing that we must keep the momentum going or nothing will change.
We need to continue local action and get more voices to join the campaign. We’ll send you action alerts as the national organizers continue the campaign. We’re planning to share the video “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman” as soon as we can get our hands on it. Also, NJEOC will host “Teach In” events in the 3 cities this fall.
Next spring, PEF will host our Annual Graduating Every Paterson Child Conference. If you’re not yet a subscriber to this blog, join us now!
Our kids need you!
Linda and Rosie