The SOS March in DC was an inspiring event.
See pictures here: http://sosmarchgem.shutterfly.com/4
Checkout video at the bottom of this post. Two videos you are unlikely to see anywhere else that are must sees are here:
Seattle Teacher discussing recent trip to Palestine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cnnfwr51JA
Karen Harper-Royal, New Orleans Parent, PAA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZlRTxHsY0o
Top Ten Event Highlights:
1. Diane Ravitch, Deb Meier, Johnathan Kozol and other education ‘superstars’ hanging out everyday throughout the conference and wowing us with thoughtful workshops, insight, and speeches.
2. GEM’s film being shown to an audience of more than 250 people on Friday night and everyone loving it! Folks were very generous in the support of the film. “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman” was not only shown in DC but all over the country as part of SOS activities including in Utah, St. Louis, Sacramento, Las Vegas and elsewhere. Reports are coming in and we will update the film site, www.waitingforsupermantruth.org shortly. Our film was mentioned in/on: CNN, Washington Post, WBAI and other Pacifica Network stations, NPR, Gotham Schools, and featured here: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile/52284068-90/schools-education-charter-film.html.csp
3. Matt Damon’s inspiring speech on Saturday (there was not a dry eye in the house!).
4. Meeting folks from around the country, nearly every state, who are fighting for public education and against the corporate reform movement. Words cannot describe the dedication and the passion of the thousands of parents, young people, educators and community members who were in attendance! Their stories, their support, inspires and invigorates us!
5. SOS event organizers turning down a late invitation to the White House because it was clear the invitation was an attempt to co-opt the march and change the narrative. Organizers had previously met w/ Arne Duncan and the Dept of Ed. In published reports, including on his facebook page, Duncan claimed there was not much disagreement between his office and the organizers. This couldn’t be further from the truth. By declining the invitation, the SOS organizers kept the narrative in the media focused on their list of demands rather than allowing the Obama administration to control the narrative and make it seem like there was not distance between their testing-based corporate reforms, and our demands for Real Reform. (for a full list of demands and for more information, visit the SOS site: www.saveourschoolsmarch.org )
6. Holding a GEM workshop on “Building a Grassroots Movement to Defend Public Education” to a packed room of more than 40 people at Thursday’s conference. See the montage of the year in review we showed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vge-rx6QXgQ
7. Attending conference workshops for two days led by advocates and activists from around the country; some of our favorites? Rethinking Schools (Peterson, Karp, Fine) on activism, Deb Meier on democracy in education; running open classrooms and the importance of play and inquiry in schools, Florida parents showing in amazing detail how they have advocated using law and finance research, everything done by Parents Across America.
8. Meeting, seeing and hearing from young people from New Orleans who are fighting for their education system. They shared poems, raps, and stories about their fight in a system that has become even more segregated and offers no choice, even though Duncan claims it is a model. One young person from the 9th Ward shared that there is only one school in his area, a charter school. They are working on a ‘home school collective’ of sorts to try and take back their education system.
9. The march! How amazing to see a sea of committed folks, in oppressive weather, standing together for our children, our teachers, and our public education system. It really felt like the tide was turning and this was the beginning of a national movement. Walking through the streets of DC and standing in front of the White House, in front of the Treasury Department was so symbolic and a reminder that we do live in a democracy and our elected leaders must be responsive to the people they serve; when we are exhausted we will all remember these moments and find strength.
10. Spending time with each other. We learned and laughed for days on end; what could be better? Our thanks to the SOS organizers and for all of those who attended and held events nationwide. Together we fight to stop the corporate reform agenda, to defend public education and for the promise of what our education system and our democracy is supposed to be.
John Stewart’s Message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byDYrI2qXTk
Diane Ravitch at March: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wWQmwPZEr8
Matt Damon at March: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ErbOMXkVg0
Marching in DC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvpHDmsO12o