Defend Public Education

Report from March and Rally to Defend Public Education April 10 2010

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on April 16, 2010

Teachers, Students, Parents, BAMN members and other Activists from Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, California, and Florida marched in Washington DC Saturday April 10 to Defend Public Education from attacks of further privatization. This important event marked a coming together of educators from across the country despite efforts to force them to compete for Federal fudnig  through “Race to the Top”

Coverage of March and Rally to Defend Public Education in Washington DC April 10 2010 from the Grassroots Education Movement Blog in NYC

Following report submitted by Donna Stern:

SEE VIDEOS BELOW:
The April 10th March on Washington to Defend Public Education was a tremendous success – and the movement is still reaping its benefits days afterward.  Here is a full report:
An advance crew of BAMN organizers went to DC about 10 days before the march, gallantly stuffing up to  11 people into two hotel rooms and living on bologna sandwiches. They mobilized at Howard, the University of Maryland, Gallaudet University and DC high schools in the days leading up to the rally.
The day before the rally, a CNN crew interviewed many of the organizers and taped the conference call between all the contingents planning to come. A reporter from the major Japanese broadcasting network, NHK, did several interviews in advance and then traveled down to DC from NYC to cover the march. A writer from the Washington Post curiously called to declare that the Post would NOT be covering the event, but then ended up talking to us for over an hour, and concluded by saying he would be in touch because he was writing a piece about Detroit.  Our march was also reported in the Huffington Post, Black Agenda Report and several other prominent internet blogs and news outlets, including our most loyal supporter, dailycensored.com.
Despite two transport breakdowns which prevented 45 people from Detroit (along with the banners, picket signs, bull horns, literature and permit) and one of the contingents from New York from attending, the march had about 200-250 at its height. Contingents participated from New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Oakland, Detroit, Miami and, of course, the District of Columbia.
The high school and middle school students from Philadelphia led the march with exuberance. Not the slightest bit bothered by the last-minute hand-written signs, or the consternation of the police that the permit was in Youngstown where the Detroit bus had broken down, they were thrilled to be there and they set the tone for the event. The rally began at the U.S. Department of Education and then marched to the Capitol. The power of our message was palpable. As we marched, tourists who had come to Washington for the Cherry Blossom parade started applauding when they saw our signs. A troop of boy scouts joined us for part of the march, as did other bystanders along the route. 
We ended the march at the national offices of the American Federation of Teachers, who opened their facilities to us to hold our post-march meeting.  At that meeting the long-term significance of the day became clear.  Every participant was extremely serious and determined to use the occasion to form a national alliance in defense of public education.  Everyone expressed how isolated they felt fighting their local battles, and how re-moralizing it was to realize they had allies all around the country who could provide the organizational strength to meet a national attack with a national defense campaign. The three contingents from New York City didn’t even know each other before the event – just meeting other organizations from New York City greatly expanded their local capacity.
We didn’t wait a minute to build on the gains we had made.  We held a conference call on Sunday to provide a report to all those who didn’t make it and to strategize with teachers from Florida about how we could support the movement in Florida to defeat SB6 – a draconian piece of legislation that, if passed,  would cement the Duncan plan into state law, hastening the privatization of public education and the proliferation of charters in Florida, penalizing teachers who teach the least privileged students and punishing students who perform poorly on standardized tests (particularly English language learners) by withholding a high school diploma from even those who have earned the highest grades.
On Monday there were two great developments. Most significantly, over 6,700 teachers in Miami/Dade called in sick to persuade Governor Crist to veto SB6, accompanied by several student walkouts and then thousands gathered in Tropical Park for a rally which continued into the night. BAMN immediately sent two organizers to Florida to help with the mobilization.
Secondly, we received a call from a group of anti-charter activists from New Orleans who heard about the march and want to join our national alliance. We had been seeking contacts from New Orleans for months, and the widespread publicity about the march brought them to us.
On Tuesday, we were invited to be guests on the hour-long Santita Jackson show on WVON, Talk of Chicago, to discuss the march and what we are fighting for. Ms. Jackson, the daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson, received us very warmly and promised to urge Rev. Jackson and Congressman Jackson to join our fight. We were also interviewed by a reporter from Congress.org.
On Wednesday (this report gets longer with each passing day) BAMN’s organizers met up with eleven Miami teachers (one of whom attended the march in DC) who drove 10 hours overnight to rally at the Governor’s office in Tallahassee. Governor Crist met with them and they were able demonstrate the determination of teachers to fight this attack on students and teachers in Florida.
So, all in all, we have gotten a lot of mileage out of an event that might have been modest in numbers, but was mighty in its impact. Everyone who participated in any way – by making a donation, helping to fundraise, leafleting, making phone calls or sitting in a broken bus for hours should be proud to be associated with the first national action against Race to the Top.
 
the march
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbJJGiZJG7s
 
Rodney Deas – “Radio Rahim”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuDEivkouTU
 
Philly Bamn  – Lauren Deslonde
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFza2lgjTB0
Nathan Saunders
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlFvyRvD7DY
 

Stanley Heller
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX7-q1E9Tu8

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4 Responses

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  1. Jawaralal B said, on April 22, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    People keep talking about the rally here in DC, but I can’t find anyone in my area who attended, except the WTU guy and a few of his buds. It sounded like a good, noisy event just the same. Best of luck to you all.

    • weilunion said, on April 22, 2010 at 11:20 PM

      Jawaralal-

      Go to http://www.dailycensored.com and look at my articles on the rally and the one I did today from De’Von Burt wyho is 16 years old who was there.

      Check out below is the site for the radio show. just click and listen

      http://www.blogtalkradio.com/your-world-news

      You can hear De’von on radio last night. He was there; read his article listen to his words!

      I hope you and I will be there the next time and the next time as you will see at http://www.dailycensored.com, is now! You can see my work by going to the cite and going to Author’s posts, finding my name and clicking. There are at least 50 articles and much about not just Detroit, Florida, walk outs, sick ins!

      Best brother

      Danny

  2. […] Report from March and Rally to Defend Public […]

  3. weilunion said, on April 16, 2010 at 10:44 PM

    I just wish to thank all of you for mentioning Dailycensored as a supporter of your cause. That was very kind of you and personally gives me the spirit and support to go on covering what is an amazing group of American citizens, Detroit parents, their teachers and yes, especially their students! Now the news must go national for as you know there has been a grand ‘coverup’ and Detroit teachers and their stakeholders and strong, leraning community of students deserve more!

    My best!

    Danny Weil


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