"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, August 17, 2012

Parents, Teachers and Citizens Organize to Save Public Education

With three months before the election, parents, teachers and citizens join in fight to save public schools and end the reign of high stakes testing as a weapon of mass destruction.  Instead of just one tool, or measurement of ability in a particular area, the tests have produced a steady stream of cash for those who sell them and track the data and a way to close down failing public schools and replace them with for profit private charters or religious schools.

Isn't it time to invest in all children and their teachers, mentors, guidance counselors, librarians, nurses, mental health professionals, and school buildings instead of the tests? The answer seems to be a resounding yes, but is anyone listening?

Parents Across America, United Opt Out National and Save Our Schools, along with many other activists and organizations are doing great work in tracking legislators and candidates on education policy and educating the public. The information is there to be used and shared to make phone calls, visits and write letters to you local, state and national representatives. Demand a town hall on education.

It's time to hold legislators and policy makers accountable for the destruction being wrought on public schools, teachers and children for a profit. It's clear the way to privatization has been paved by draining precious resources from public schools and funneling too much to for profit corporations interested in increasing price per share, net income for shareholders. Meanwhile,  it's garbage in and garbage out for teachers and students whose parents can't afford to send them to a private school or those rare semi private charters where they cream the best students from the regular public school. Those private schools where real books are actually used and there are libraries, tennis courts, gyms track fields, and sushi in the cafeteria. Music and trips around the world to different countries.

Parents, teachers, and citizens, even those who have no children, see the obvious result of 10 years of testing mania and data driven madness under No Child Left Behind. With 20 percent of all children and closer to 40 percent of minority or children of color living in poverty, these kids don't need more testing. That's why the parents are finally standing up and saying no more. They have joined together because they are no longer willing to drink the poison that's killing their kids futures by labeling them failures at an earlier and earlier age. Just like it's time to go back and reinstate Glass Steagall, it is also time to reinstate the NAEP and go back to recess, gym, music, dance, art and a collaborative community environment with the only focus is on helping kids become well rounded, functioning, healthy, well-adjusted people who are able to recognize bullshit, like these standardized tests, when they see it.

This was sent out to SOS to the thousands of supporters who marched on Washington in 100 degree heat last summer.

Dear SOS Members and Supporters,

On Friday, August 17th, CBS will air “Teachers Rock 2012” a live broadcast of a star studded concert promoted as a celebration of teachers and education.  While SOS welcomes media events that honor teachers, we believe that this concert and special WILL NOT benefit the teaching profession or public education. First, proceeds from the special will, in part, benefit Teach for America, an organization that sends underprepared, temporary “teachers” into our most needy, poverty stricken public schools, displaces career professionals, and pumps non-union staff into private charter schools.
Second, the sponsors of “Teachers Rock 2012,” Walmart and Walden Media, will use it to publicize the upcoming movie “Won’t Back Down,” an emotionally charged and manipulative account of a fictional event that will be used to whip up public support for passage of a “Parent Trigger Law” in every state.  Save Our Schools, along with Parents Across America, opposes this law that supposedly promotes parent empowerment, but is really a thinly veiled scheme to hasten the takeover of public schools by private charters.  Walden Media brought us the 2010 film, “Waiting for Superman,” which demonized unions and promoted private charter schools. The Walton Family Foundation, the owners of Walmart, has given over $159 million in support of charter schools and vouchers  and is one of the most anti-union corporations in America. 

We need your help in spreading the word about the real goals of “Teacher’s Rock 2012” and the truth about Teach for America!

In 2010, when Walden Media released “Waiting for Superman” we were not prepared with a plan of action to counter its promotion of charter schools and its demonizing of teachers’ unions. This time, Save Our Schools is prepared with a two step campaign to counter the dangerous messages of both the CBS special and the upcoming film.  The first step of the campaign is to counter the messages of the “Teachers Rock 2012” CBS special. We are calling on all SOS supporters to take immediate action to inform your local communities, media, elected officials, parent groups, and fellow teachers about the failures of Teach for America and the need for well-prepared, certified, career professionals in our classrooms. To support your efforts, we are attaching information, model letters, and a press release that you can adapt to your own local actions.

You will be receiving another action alert shortly regarding the second step in our campaign timed around the release of “Won’t Back Down” and targeting the Parent Trigger Law.  Together we can change the dialogue on public education!

For complete information visit our website at saveourschoolsmarch.org

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