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Articles tagged education


Seeing Red: Chicago Teachers Elevate Anti-Privatization Fight to National Level

Posted 1 year ago on Sept. 10, 2012, 9:47 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: labor, strike, teachers, education, solidarity, union, chicago

"United We Bargain, Divided We Beg"

via the Occupied Chicago Tribune:

When a teachers’ strike started to look like a realistic possibility earlier this spring, CPS Chief Communications Officer Becky Carroll warned the readers of Catalyst, “Any talk of a strike is the wrong message to send our schools, students and taxpayers.” For her, and the rest of the privatization evangelists at CPS, the “right” message is simple—shut up and do what you’re told.

Of course, Carroll, who makes $165,000 per year, isn’t paid that kind of money to tell the truth. Luckily for us, neither Chicago teachers nor the larger education community are giving much credence to CPS talking points.

The corporate education “reformers” have been experimenting on Chicago’s most underserved students and schools for more than two decades, trying any quick-fix makeovers so long as such schemes keep the public out of the discussion on how best to educate our city’s children. The so-called innovations taking place in charter and turnaround schools are making chaos of students’ formative years and relegating the art of teaching to rote instruction.

Faced with such a dire situation, the Chicago Teachers Union’s decision to strike is perhaps the best lesson they could have planned—when the powers that be are shutting you out of your life, you must take a stand. And it’s a lesson that teachers themselves learned from the communities they serve.

Before CTU President Karen Lewis and members of the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) became the new union leadership in 2010, the CTU, like its national union, the American Federation of Teachers, was a willing pawn in the privatization game. CORE broke from the CTU leadership and won respect from the majority of union members by actively supporting parent- and student-led protests at schools across the city. After gaining office, they continued to organize against privatization with the already active education community, and to educate its own members about the importance of doing so.

Chicago students are already at the forefront of the fight. Dyett High School students, along with students from 16 other states, have petitioned the Department of Education to investigate racial disparities in the allocation of school resources. They’ve already met with officials at the Department of Education, and on September 20, they’ll be taking “Freedom Rides” to Washington, D.C., to bring more attention to their cause.

Meanwhile, hundreds of students at Social Justice High School in Little Village have disrupted their school day with sit-ins to protest the dismantling of their school. So CPS shouldn’t worry about the strike giving “wrong” ideas to students—the students are already leading the charge, and are just in their cause.

If anything, they should worry about these students further influencing the CTU. Unlike its portrayal as a selfish bully in the 1% Chicago Tribune, the CORE-led CTU has been a partner to community groups fighting for quality public education. Now, hostile contract negotiations have opened a window for the union to elevate the anti-privatization fight to a national level.

As former CPS CEO Arne Duncan continues to spread the hollow gospel of corporate reform as the nation’s secretary of education, and as his predecessor Paul Vallas preaches the same throughout South America, it’s about time that Chicago, the birthplace of this failed faith, denounces it publicly.

Parents for the CTU

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NYC: Solidarity March for Chicago Teachers, Monday 9/10

Posted 1 year ago on Sept. 9, 2012, 1:29 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: labor, strike, teachers, education, solidarity, union, chicago, nyc

Solidarity with CTU

Chicago teachers are likely to strike tomorrow, Monday, September 10th. Please join MORE (Movement of Rank-and-File Educators) and Occupy Wall Street to stand with them in solidarity!

When: Monday, September 10th at 5pm
Where: Meet at the south side of Union Square (14th Street)

Teachers in Chicago are striking for increased resources and quality programs for students and fair working conditions for teachers.

MORE sees the Chicago teachers’ fight as part of a growing national resistance movement against corporate-backed education reformers who bash teachers, push high stakes testing, and promote school privatization as solutions to the problems in our public education system. The destructive “reforms” being pushed in Chicago are the same as those we see here in New York.

Come early at 4:30 to make signs. We’ll have some supplies, but folks are strongly encouraged to bring extra poster board and markers. After a rally with speeches from several union activists, we’ll march at 5:30 to the New York office of Democrats for Education reform, a PAC made up of hedge fund managers seeking to profit from school privatization schemes. DFER has sponsored anti-CTU ads and petitions in Chicago and supports pro-charter, pro-reform candidates and policies here in New York. The DFER office is at 928 Broadway between 21st and 22nd Streets.

Links and Resources:

download flyer here
CTU: Strike Central
Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign
MORECaucusNYC.org

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Students Converge At Obama Office To Reclaim Voice

Posted 2 years ago on Aug. 14, 2012, 12:52 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: anti-war, gender & sexuality, racial justice, education, student activism, student power 2012

crowd of students marching in columbus

via StudentPower2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Students from across the country marched from Ohio State University Student Union to President Obama’s campaign office to hold a press conference yesterday, calling into question the injustices of our current economic and political system. In an era where our political process is gridlocked by the influence of money and corporate power, our society has systematically diverted resources from the bottom to the top to fund a frenzy of profit seeking.

The demonstration highlighted how our electoral system and politicians have failed our youth on the critical issues of education, gender equality, racial justice, environmental sustainability, and basic respect for human rights. Neither party has the audacity to confront these injustices, nor do they attempt to facilitate any type of connection with us on these issues, which disproportionately affect women, LGBTQ people, youth, and people of color.

Akin Olla, an organizer from New Jersey, states: “It is important to recognize that not only are racism and discrimination against people of color still present in the United States, but they are playing a huge factor in the future for the youth of color by limiting our access to education, personal liberty and the right to feel safe in our own communities.”

Although women and LGBTQ people have won notable gains in recent years, Raquel Valesquez of Arizona gets to the heart of how the current system is one of structural inequality: “As we speak, women and LGBTQ people are refusing to accept the old idea of what our rights should be and are demanding change towards the true needs of our communities. As we are denied security in the workplace and safety in the streets; as our survivors of violence are blamed for their traumas while perpetrators are excused; while the state tightens its grip on our bodies through criminalization, incarceration, and abortion bans, we demand more than the right to military and marriage.”

Along with gender and sexuality injustice, we have learned that no matter who we vote for, we cannot avoid the controlling interests of corporations such as Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil dominating our political process. The corporate framework dictates infinite growth and accumulation of profit no matter what the environmental and human costs are. Tabitha Skervin of Michigan State University sums it up by saying, “You can preach economic growth all day but there are no jobs on a dying planet."

The United States currently maintains a massive military machine responsible for the inhuman attempt to maintain and increase domination over the planet. We are outraged that more than $1 trillion of the annual federal budget is allocated towards sustaining the military-industrial complex instead of socially beneficial services such as accessible education. Within our borders, youth are growing up in a militarized society. The United States military targets low income and youth of color with manipulative promises of enlistment being the doorway to education and enrichment. We do not condemn individual soldiers whose bodies becomes tools of the state, used and then discarded to suffer untreated from the traumatic consequences of their service. Aislinn Bauer from New York City states, “We believe that the massive expenditures of taxpayer money should be redirected towards enhancing socially beneficial services like accessible education rather than furthering the interests of multinational corporations such as Big Oil and agribusiness and monitoring and criminalizing our own population. Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!”

We are now raising our voices to join the rallying cry of student movements across the world, addressing common global grievances, and resisting a system that does not serve the majority of us. Noting that access to higher education has become increasingly out of reach for much of the population due to skyrocketing tuition and burdensome loans, Lainie Rini of Ohio State University compares our education system to a factory: “Our current education system denies anyone but the privileged access to quality education. It is farming students for profit rather than being a space for inquiry and thought.”

The current situation has demonstrated that we cannot passively depend upon our leaders to save our society. We call for American youth to take action much like students across the globe in places like Quebec, Mexico, Chile, Spain, and Puerto Rico, who are mobilizing to demand their rights. Democracy cannot exist without demonstration and debate in public spaces. This fall, regardless of where we lie on the political spectrum, it is crucial that we come together on campuses across the country to reclaim our future before it’s too late. Join us November 14th-21st as part of a global week of student action, demonstrating that we in the U.S. are committed to global justice and the international student movement. Here. Us. Now.

WEB: www.studentpower2012.org
TWITTER: @studentpower12 #HereUsNow
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/StudentPower2012

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