On Saturday, July 30, 2011, thousands of people will gather at the White House in Washington, DC and at locations around the nation to express their desire to reclaim the right to determine the path of education reform in their own communities. The “Save Our Schools” March and allied events are being organized by a network of teachers, parents and community activists.
“For too long, public school stakeholders have been treated like second class citizens in our own communities,” said Sabrina Stevens Shupe, a former Colorado teacher, who is a member of the March’s organizing committee. “Teachers’ knowledge has been dismissed because we are falsely presumed to be self-interested and incompetent. Students and parents who vocally oppose the disruption and destruction of their schools are often entirely ignored. At the same time, ideologues with little to no experience in public schools have made misguided decisions that devastate educational quality and equal opportunity.”
Addressing high-stakes “accountability” policies, such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, Florida businesswoman and parent advocate Rita Solnet explained, “A decade of NCLB’s incessant focus on high-stakes tests narrowed curriculum in many schools. Each new initiative ratcheting up the stakes behind these tests, has resulted in the abandonment of the very children NCLB sought to serve. NCLB has not improved overall achievement, and it has diminished the quality of teaching and learning. We must reverse this wrong-headed direction.”
March organizers and supporters say they are angry about federal and state policies that punish already-struggling schools through privatization and the transfer of control over curricular and staffing decisions to politicians.
Save Our Schools organizers are also calling for equitable funding for all school communities; an end to inappropriate, high-stakes uses of testing for student, teacher, and school assessment; teacher, family, and community leadership in education policy; and curriculum developed by and for local school communities.
A state-by-state list of contacts for the Save Our Schools March and related local events is available online.
Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one's best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.