Occupy the DOE in DC, Friday, March 30th: Take Our Message to Capitol Hill
10:00 a.m. Welcome Rally at the DOE!!!! United Opt Out Administrators speak up: Morna McDermott McNulty, Laurie Murphy, Peggy Robertson, Tim Slekar and Ceresta Smith. Why we are here and what we hope to accomplish – we plan to create a greater awareness of the negative effects of corporate education reform and share tools for action. We opt out of corporate education reform.
11:00 a.m. Mic-check: Share our stories, our dreams for public education and more.
Noon: ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) awareness session by United Opt Out Administrators
1:30 p.m. March to Capitol Hill to share our demands. Route/guidelines/permit for march to Capitol Hill can be found here. Map can be found here. We will share a copy of the Parental Rights Opt Out Bill (currently going to committee to allow a parent the right to opt a child out of the state test with no punitive consequences to the child, school or district) from Colorado – we suggest this bill become a model for opt out bills in every state. This is a proclamation for issuing bills across the land; opting out needs to be protected in all fifty states. We will share our concerns regarding ALEC legislation, NCLB, RTTT and our demands for a public education system that provides a whole and equitable education for all children – without high stakes testing and punitive consequences for students, teachers, schools, communities and our democracy.
3:00 p.m. Appointment with Senator Sanders educational counsel, Jessica Cardichon.
4:00 p.m. Return to the DOE to continue our occupation.
9:30 p.m. at Saint Stephens with Bill Moyer of Backbone Campaign: Strategy, Conflict, & Creativity – Tools for Harmonizing Grassroots Power
In the wake of a tumultuous Fall and in anticipation of a vibrant Spring how will the populist uprising manifest and draw new members to the cause? How can we build movement identity that is sympathetic and inviting? Overcoming obstacles, misconceptions, and confusion about the nature of conflict, the activist-organizer’s role in building movement power, and understanding grand strategic principles are essential if we are to deliver meaningful victories.
Occupy the DOE in DC, Saturday, March 31st: We OCCUPY the DOE
10:00 a.m. Wake Up Call – Join us in the morning to rally and mic-check at the DOE. We want to hear your voice!!
11:00 a.m. Liza Campbell, teacher and education organizer in NYC and Brian Jones, teacher and co-narrator for the Inconvenient Truth about Waiting for Superman: Building a Grassroots Movement to Defend Public Education
NYC public school teachers Liza Campbell and Brian Jones will describe their experiences fighting privatization, charter school co-locations, school closings and high-stakes standardized testing. These activists will share lessons from the struggle in New York, and discuss the challenges facing our movement today.
Brian Jones is a teacher, actor and activist in New York. He is the co-narrator of the film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, and a contributing author to the new book, Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation (Haymarket Books).
Liza Campbell is a teacher and education organizer in New York City. Currently she focuses her activism energy on building a movement of parents and teachers to fight high stakes testing, combating the school-to-prison pipeline while pushing for restorative alternatives, and occupying the New York City Department of Education. She teaches high school math.
1:30 p.m. – Linda Nathan, Ann O’Halloran, Ruth Rodriguez-Fay. Getting Beyond the Madness of High-Stakes Testing: Occupy the Classroom!
Linda Nathan is the founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy, the city’s first and only public high school for the visual and performing arts. Dr. Nathan has written a widely-praised book about teaching and leadership in urban schools, “The Hardest Questions Aren’t on the Test,” which was recently published in Spanish. Ann O’Halloran was the 2007 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year and is a member of Citizens for Public Schools. Ruth Rodríguez-Fay (pictured here) is past President of Citizens for Public Schools and a “Save Our Schools” interim committee member.
2:30 Jim Horn: KIPP and the Total Compliance Model of Schooling the Poor: Ending the KIPP-nosis
Since 2000 when KIPP, Inc. presented a student skit at the Republican National Convention, thus making its debut onto the world political stage, this corporate charter franchise has attracted hundreds of millions of dollars to promote KIPP and the KIPP pedagogical model as the segregated, no-excuses solution to urban schooling. This presentation will share research on KIPP schools that tells a very different story than the one presented in the corporate media. Also included will be excerpts from firsthand accounts of former teachers who taught within the KIPP organization and lived to tell about it.
Jim Horn is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Foundations at Cambridge College. He also publishes and contributes to Schools Matter, a weblog devoted to the preservation and renewal of public education. He has close to four decades of experience as a K-12 educator and as professor of social foundations and research. He publishes opinion pieces regularly in various venues, and he is committed to the social justice leadership mission in schools here and abroad.
3:30 p.m. Dave Greene: The Inconvenient Truths behind TFA and its Inadequate Version of Teacher Training.
SUMMARY: Most CM’s (TFA teachers) are nice, well intentioned, upper middle class suburban white kids with no bicultural literacy. They usually see their two years as “community service” on the road to a “higher” calling. Many of them would make excellent teachers, if they stayed.
They, and we, are told they are the solution to the problems facing education. TFA propaganda is all we see. TFA is very good at marketing their product, which is not education; it is TFA.
TFA is the Emperor with no clothes. It’s time to tell the Emperor we see.
Mr. Greene co-presented a workshop on TFA at the SOS Conference last July. He has had work published in Ed Week on line and has also been referenced by Valerie Strauss in her Washington Post web based column, The Answer Sheet. He has given several talks on how NCLB and RTTP have negatively affected the success of boys in public schools. He is a regular contributor to The Teachers Talk Back Blog, was featured on “Bronx Talk”, blogs at his website, DCG Mentoring, and is still working on a book tentatively titled, So You Think You Know Education, A Teacher’s Perspective.
Location: American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016
The TEACH documentary, TEACH, Teachers are Talking, Is the Nation Listening? is a film that features conversations about the art of teaching and learning by teachers themselves. We have interviewed over 40 teachers from many school districts including Boston, Brooklyn, NY, Madison, WI, Key West, FL, North Conway, NH, Cambridge, MA, Newton, MA, Lincoln-Sudbury,MA, and others. Additional parts of the movie include legislative hearings, speeches by Bradley Whitford, Diane Ravitch, and others, debates between union and school officials, various public hearings about school closings, and various teacher rallies. Recently we traveled to Wisconsin to take part in the rallies and document the multitude of happenings there to fight to protect their unions. We have interviews and many scenes from their recent protests there including the rally of more than 100,000 people on February 26.
Robert Lamothe and Yvonne Lamothe are teachers in the Boston Public Schools. Since we started this movie around 4 years ago we have become increasing concerned and dismayed by what has been happening to our schools and education in general. People are making decisions about our schools that don’t really know what they are doing and don’t have the interests of children and our schools as the determining factor in setting our education policies. The joys of learning and teaching are being destroyed by this terrible emphasis on testing and standards. We have become increasingly frustrated by the fact that very seldom do teachers voices get heard. Teachers who should be a leading part of education policy and “reform” are for the most part not part of the process, not part of the national and local debates.
Each day we hear about teaching and teachers through the eyes of administrators, politicians and business leaders. Public education in the US is under attack. Seldom is voice given to those dedicated and experienced teachers who work in our public schools. Interviews with teachers from many school districts illuminate what’s happening to schools across the country, what is impacting their performance, and offers their analysis of the performance and purpose of the charter movement. This documentary hopes to give dignity and appreciation to the passion, commitment and insight of those who make the choice to devote their lives to educating all of our nation’s children.
As stated in the subtitle, Teachers are Talking, Is the Nation Listening. We hope to bring the voices and wisdom of teachers to the nation.
Robert Lamothe and Yvonne Lamothe
Director / Producer
Film Our Way Films
Race to the Top – We Won’t be Fooled Again.
10:00 a.m. Wake Up Call – Join us in the morning to rally, mic-check and wake up America with our stories, our hopes and our demands!
11:00 a.m. – Jesse Turner: Children More than Data
Jesse will discuss how the current NCLB/RTTT assessment framework is both unethical and unbalanced. He wants to engage participants in an interactive dialogue – what does an Inclusive Balanced Assessment Framework look like? A balanced framework using authentic measures that values the voice of students, teachers, and parents is within our reach.
Dr. Jesse Turner is the Director of the Central Connecticut State University Literacy Center, teaching advanced clinical graduate courses for literacy specialists. As part of his department’s community engagement mission, the Literacy Center at CCSU provides over $130,000.00 worth of tutoring by certified teachers to local children, free of charge, every year. Dr. Turner works closely on a daily basis with children, parents, and teachers and is an activist and advocate for children, parents, and teachers. He has spoken to audiences across the nation about the problems created by the No Child Left Behind Act, In 2010 Jesse created the Facebook group “Children Are More Than Test Scores” as a way to connect individuals and communities struggling against the NCLB law. Two years ago Jesse walked 400 miles in 40 days from Connecticut to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of the negative impact NCLB/RTTT was having on children, parents, teachers, and schools. With a core group of people he met on his walk, and online Jesse helped build the coalition that became the Save Our Schools March, and Week of Action. His work includes advocating for children, parents and teachers, chairing conferences, writing grants, and organizing community based projects.
1:30 p.m. – Mark Naison and Ira Shor: The Occupy Movement and the Struggle to Save Public Education in the United States
Mark and Ira will discuss the intense attack on public education while connecting it to larger policy campaigns in a class war underway in America. Further discussion will focus on the banning of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed in the MAS program at Tuscon.
Mark Naison is Professor of History and African American Studies at Fordham University. He is the author of four books and over 100 articles on African American politics, social movements and American culture and sports. Dr. Naison is the Principal Investigator of the Bronx African American History Project, one of the largest community based oral history projects in the nation and has begun work on an book of oral histories from the BAAHP, with Robert Gumbs, entitled Before the Fires: An Oral History of African American Life in the Bronx from the 1030’s to the 1960’s. His articles about Bronx music and Bronx culture have been published in German, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese as well as English. When not doing historical research, Naison likes to play tennis and golf, post commentary on his blog “With a Brooklyn Accent” and make periodic forays into the media. He has appeared on the O’Reilly Factor, the Discovery Channel’s Greatest American Competition (as Dr King’s advocate), and on the Dave Chappell Show, where his “performance” has been preserved on that show’s Second Year DVD. Most recently, he has begun presenting historical “raps” in Bronx schools under the nickname of “Notorious Phd” and was the subject of stories about his use of hip hop in teaching in the Daily News, and on Bronx 12 Cablevision, and Fox Business.
IRA SHOR works with Prof. Mark Naison of Fordham University on starting “99% clubs” affiliated with the Occupy movement. Shor is a Professor of Rhetoric/Composition at the City University of NY’s Graduate Center(Phd Program in English) and in the Dept. of English at the College of Staten Island/CUNY. Shor started the new doctorate in Rhetoric/Composition at the CUNY Grad Center in 1993. There, he directs dissertations and offers seminars in literacy, Paulo Freire and critical pedagogy, whiteness studies, composition theory and practice, and the rhetorics of domination and resistance. At the College of Staten Island/CUNY, he teaches first-year writing, non-fiction, coming-of-age narratives, multicultural literature, and mass media.
His 9 published books include a 3-volume set in honor of the late Paulo Freire, the noted Brazilian educator who was his friend and mentor: CRITICAL LITERACY IN ACTION(college language arts) and EDUCATION IS POLITICS(Vol 1, k-12, and Vol. 2, Postsecondary Across the Curriculum). Shor’s work with Freire began in the early 1980s and lasted until Freire’s unfortunate passing in 1997. He and Freire co-authored A PEDAGOGY FOR LIBERATION in 1986, the first “talking” book Freire published with a collaborator. Shor also authored the widely used EMPOWERING EDUCATION(1992) and WHEN STUDENTS HAVE POWER(1996), two foundational texts in critical teaching. His CRITICAL TEACHING AND EVERYDAY LIFE(1980)was the first book-length treatment of Freire-based critical methods in the North American context. That book grew out of Shor’s teaching for Open Admission students in the City University in the 1970s, where he helped build an experimental writing program recognized as one of three successful efforts in higher education. Coming to the CUNY in 1971 after a PhD at Wisconsin, he experimented with critical literacy, taught Basic Writing for 15 years, and now offers doctoral courses.
Born into a working-class family in 1945 in the South Bronx of New York City, Shor attended mediocre local public schools until he was selected for the premier public high school then in the nation, New York City’s Bronx High School of Science. There, he saw how differently education for the elite is managed compared to the education for the majority he took part in before. In the Jewish South Bronx of the 1950s, he grew up in a rent-controlled apartment among Eastern European families, his being Russian. Shor’s father, a son of immigrants, became a sheet-metal worker after he dropped out of school at 15. He learned his trade from a family friend; during World War II and the Korean War, he built battleships and aircraft carriers at the old Brooklyn Navy Yard. Shor’s mother, also first-generation, was a bookkeeper for small businesses who finished high school but could not afford to go to college, which broke her heart.
After graduating from Bronx Science High School, Shor attended the University of Michigan(BA, English, 1966), then the University of Wisconsin(MA, 1968, and Phd, 1971), both sites of vigorous student activism in the 1960s. Shor joined the antiwar, civil rights, and students’ rights movements of that time. His dissertation was on Kurt Vonnegut whose fiction stood for equality, peace, and kindness. After finishing his Phd, Shor started teaching comp and basic writing at Staten Island Community College, then a 2-year unit of CUNY. He joined the CUNY faculty when the democratic policies of Open Admissions and Free Tuition were under attack. Shor joined the long defense of democratic rights at CUNY, 1971-1976, while also experimenting with critical literacy for his working-class students. He worked with Paulo Freire in the 80s and 90s, when Freire and he co-authored A Pedagogy for Liberation.
2:30 p.m. – The Education of Sam Sanders with author Thomas S. Poetter
Set in 2029, The Education of Sam Sanders tells the story of an 8th grader searching for meaning in his school experiences. In a public school system beset by the finality and rigidity of standardized tests and curriculums, Sam Sanders, with the help of his teacher and mother, defies the system and creates something new: a curriculum that enlightens rather than categorizes students. In this hopeful yet frightening look at an educational future not too far from our own, we encounter the high cost of inquiry-oriented learning and the even higher cost of a system that suppresses it. The Education of Sam Sanders is a valuable book for young adults in schools, students of teaching, teachers, and parents/citizens concerned by current trends in public education. This inspiring work offers a unique and in-depth analysis of the high stakes testing and standardization movements and surfaces ideas for how we might change our current direction.
Thomas S. Poetter is a Professor of Curriculum Studies in the Department of Educational Leadership at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. A longtime public school advocate and partner, Poetter continues to write and teach with remarkably talented,focused students and colleagues at Miami in the areas of curriculum, teaching, and public education renewal. Among his many published journal articles and books is his recent edited book with doctoral students, 10 Great Curricula: Lived Conversations of Progressive, Democratic Curriculum in School and Society (2011, Information Age Publishers). He can be reached at email@example.com.
3:30 p.m. – Stephen Krashen
Is American Education Backing the Wrong Horse? (Yes)
The movement for national standards and tests is based on these claims: (1) Our educational system is broken, as revealed by US students’ scores on international tests; (2) We must improve education to improve the economy; (3) The way to improve education is to have national standards and national tests that enforce the standards, and rate teachers on the basis of student performance (value-added measures). Each of these claims is unfounded. Dr. Krashen will discuss each claim and how to refute it. And – Stephen has a solution – join us to hear more.
Stephen Krashen is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southern California. He is best known for developing the first comprehensive theory of second language acquisition, introducing the concept of sheltered subject matter teaching, and as the co-inventor of the Natural Approach to foreign language teaching. He has also contributed to theory and application in the area of bilingual education, and has done important work in the area of reading. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from UCLA, was the 1977 Incline Bench Press champion of Venice Beach and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He is the author of The Power of Reading (Heinemann, 2004, second edition). His recent papers can be found at http://www.sdkrashen.com.
7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Bus Boys & Poets: Barry Lane Cabaret
Location: Cullen Room @ Busboys and Poets, 5th & K
Barry Lane is an author, teacher, comedian and singer. Barry’s Cabaret celebrates teachers. He states: These are difficult times for teachers. There are serious issues in educational accountability and instruction raised by the new Common Core Standards. There are one-size-fits-all bubble tests that rank teachers. There are politico-pundits who blame teachers for all the problems of public education. Time to forget about all that, let your hair down, and concentrate on what’s real. Time to DANCE, LAUGH, SING.
After years of doing stand-up and parody karaoke singing as part of his academic presentations, Barry Lane has put together a genuine interactive, improvisational, nightclub act for teachers. You will sing, you will dance and you will learn to laugh at yourself and the crazy world around you. You may also begin to realize once again, that you have the most important job in the world.
10:00 a.m. Solutions for Communities – Mike Klonsky: “This is how we do it: Parents Organizing to Save Our Schools”
Michael Klonsky, Ph.D. is on the education faculty at DePaul University in Chicago. He currently serves as the national director of the Small Schools Workshop and is a member of the National Steering Committee of Save Our Schools (SOS). Dr. Klonsky is a teacher educator who has spoken and written extensively on school reform issues with a focus on urban school restructuring. He is also the parent of three children who have been educated in Chicago’s public schools. His latest book (with Susan Klonsky), Small Schools: Public School Reform Meets the Ownership Society (Routledge), is a critique of top-down school reform and the push towards privatization of public schools. He is also the author of Small Schools: The Numbers Tell a Story (University of Illinois Small Schools Workshop) and co-author of A Simple Justice: The Challenge for Teachers in Small Schools (Teachers College Press). He has served as a member of the National Advisory Council on Youth Violence and is past president of the board of Catalyst, Chicago’s school-reform journal. He has also written extensively on the history and progress of Chicago’s school reform movement and has assisted teachers, parents, and community groups in efforts to save, rethink, and transform their public schools.
His work is profiled at http://klonsky.blogspot.com/
His SmallTalk blog can be found at http://michaelklonsky.blogspot.com/
His Schooling in the Ownership Society blog is at http://schoolingintheownershipsociety.blogspot.com/
11:00 a.m. Solutions for Educators – Bess Altwerger, Morna McDermott McNulty and Peggy Robertson (more info. to follow): Professional Schools of Conscience for Educators and the Declaration by Ken Goodman
Return to the DOE where we pass the torch to Save Our Schools: A national movement dedicated to saving, rethinking and transforming public schools.
4:00 p.m. Save Our Schools Steering Committee members announce the next action. (current steering committee members attending: Don Bartalo, Peggy Robertson, Ceresta Smith and Jesse Turner)