While the rest of the country was forced to watch our nations leaders act like petulant children as they debate whether or not to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, something far more important was happening…an awaking of sorts, a movement, a grassroots call to arms over something near and dear to our hearts….children…..specifically, teaching them, and the need for education reform. However, unless you had been following this grassroots effort, aptly titled -S.O.S or Save Our Schools , from the planning stages, you probably knew nothing about this march because the main stream media didn’t cover it. They were too busy jockeying for air time to report that nothing had changed on Capitol Hill, they are still at an impasse, and the deadline was looming. Nothing we have not heard for the weeks leading up to the August 2nd deadline imposed by President Obama.
The purpose of the march was to take back public education, and thousands of parents, teachers, community members and a few celebrities, showed up to show their support for this cause. They want reform that will allow teachers to teach, and students to learn, but remove drill and kill test prep, high-states testing and performance based-pay from the equation. It was a small march by typical standards but at the same time around the country there were state and local events taking place simultaneously with the march. And I guess since Mark Zuckerberg nor Bill Gates were speaking at this event, the mainstream media chose to ignore it. Reminds me of the education reform meetings Arne Duncan held earlier this year, when he neglected to invite a single teacher. Instead he fawned over Zuckerberg and Gates (neither of which hold a degree in education, not have they taught a single child, ever).
March leaders even met with officials from the D.O.E. earlier in the week. Arne Duncan made an appearance at that meeting for about 10 minutes then made sure to get his sound bite in with the media to say it was a “good meeting” and there was lots of common ground between the two groups. Organizers for the march had a very different perspective on the meeting, and say there is still a great divide between them and Duncan in their ideas for education reform.
Some want to make this movement about job security and teacher pay. It is not. It is about allowing teachers to teach and students to learn without the boundaries placed on them by high-states testing. The answer is not vouchers and charter schools, the answer is reform.
Matt Damon, whose mother is a professor of Early Childhood Education, spoke very eloquently about teacher, including his mom and the teacher he had growing up, and going to public school. Here is a clip from his speech…
What come out of this march remains to be seen…will we stand back nd be silent or do we want our voices heard. As a parent I want my child to be taught how I was, to think for himself, to be creative, to ask questions, to seek knowledge. As a teacher I want the very same for my students. However if I and my child’s teacher are forced to spend our time teaching our students how to take and pass a standardized test, we are robbing them of their most fundamental right, an education.
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