The upcoming SOS Peoples Convention in D.C. Aug. 3-5, is really shaping up nicely. This announcement came today from Stan Karp at Rethinking Schools.
Last summer, the Save Our Schools march brought thousands of teachers, parents, and supporters of public education to Washington, D.C. The march and rally were hopeful signs of pushback against corporate ed reform.
From August 3 to 5, Save Our Schools supporters will gather again in D.C., this time for a "people's convention" focused on giving more shape and substance to the SOS effort. Rethinking Schools will be there, joining longtime friends and advocates for educational justice like Jonathan Kozol, Deborah Meier, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, and many others. We hope you will join us. More info here.
Rethinking Schools editor and parent activist Helen Gym and I will host a workshop session Saturday morning on education activism. We'll share some lessons from Rethinking Schools' 25-year history as a voice for social justice inside classrooms and communities. We'll also share our experience with efforts to create local, state, and national coalitions to defend and improve public education, and we'll invite discussion about how SOS might move that effort forward amidst the strongest corporate attack on public schooling we have seen in our lifetimes.
One topic will be strategies for countering the current mainstream narrative about education reform. That narrative is based on fundamentally inaccurate descriptions of the central problems public schools face and disastrous policy prescriptions misframed as the solutions our schools need.
For corporate reformers, the main problems in public education are low test scores, "bad teachers," and union contracts.
But in the real world, the core problems facing public education are poverty, inadequate resources, systemic inequality and racism, and the misuse of standards and tests. The real solutions are fair and sustainable school funding, poverty reduction, curricula that reflects the real world our students live in and engages them in improving it, better preparation and support for educators, and stronger partnerships with parents and communities.
Solutions like these will only emerge from broad social movements that challenge the lack of democracy and equity both inside our schools and in the society around them.
As SOS re-gathers, we look forward to working with you and other activists to realize the potential of a grassroots national movement for educational and social justice.
Rethinking Schools editor
P.S. Learn more about the SOS people's convention and sign up here.