Monday, August 1, 2011

Cheers to the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action

Over the weekend, thousands of teachers simultaneously braved temperatures over 100 degrees and a chilling political climate that has worked to silence many educators to speak out at the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action in Washington D.C. This grassroots, teacher-led organization (spearheaded by teachers Anthony Cody and Nancy Flanagan) brought together teachers from around the country in support of four principles: equitable funding for all public schools, an end to overreliance on high stakes tests for punitive ends, teacher and family leadership in forming education policies, and curriculum development within local communities. Hundreds gathered beforehand at a two-day conference at the end of the week, while thousands appeared Saturday for speeches and a march from the Ellipse to the White House. The march was kicked off by speeches by higher education leaders Jonathan Kozol, Deborah Meier, Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Pedro Noguera, as well as passionate talks and songs by teachers, preservice teachers, and administrators. Finally, some Hollywood sparkle lent support to the teachers’ movement via a heartfelt speech by Matt Damon and a brief comical piece by Jon Stewart. As Ravitch noted in her speech, this event was the first of its kind in a long history of teacher frustrations with educational policy, especially in the past decade. Here’s to hoping that it’s the first of a sustained and effective movement to truly champion educators’ voices in school reform.

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