ADVISORY FOR CONTACT: Ira Arlook
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2016 202-258-5437, firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents, Students and Teachers Plan “Walk-Ins”
at 800 Public Schools in 30 Cities to Demand the Kind of Education that All Children Deserve
Call for Adequate Funding Too Long Denied to Public Schools Serving African American & Latino Communities
Decry Role of Wall St. & Corporate Billionaires
in Attacks on Public Education
Thousands of parents, teachers and students will stage “Walk-Ins” at over 800 public elementary and high schools in 30 cities on the morning of Wednesday, February 17, as classes begin. They will gather, placards in hand, thirty minutes before the start of the school day, then walk into their public school buildings to show support for an adequately funded approach to public education that they call “community schools,” now implemented in systems serving five million students. The largely African American and Latino parents and students want the benefits afforded by community schools for their children. In some cities, Walk-In participants will focus on efforts to secure tax revenues for their public schools, to stop over-testing, to end school takeovers, and other local issues.
The Walk-Ins are the opening salvo in a major battle--a national campaign--to ensure that the country that invented public education as an essential feature of a democratic society continues to offer it. Here are the basic demands in the words of the campaign’s participants:
- We demand a world class public education for all children—the kind of education that all children deserve and the very kind that has often been denied to black, brown and poor children. Our country has the resources to fully fund our schools and the obligation to our children to do so.
- We demand accountability and transparency for Charter Schools and operators. Every school that receives public funds is held to the same high standards of transparency and student success, including schools serving students of color, students with special needs and low-income students. And we want to stop the growing involvement of billionaires, like the Walton Family, in public education.
- We demand revenue to fully fund our schools. We want those Wall Street and corporate titans who claim to be education reformers to contribute their fair share of the tax dollars needed to ensure adequate public school funding for the low-income African American and Latino communities that need it most.
Public schools and public education are under attack and most aggressively by Wall Street and hedge fund billionaires—many of whom nearly brought down the entire U.S. economy in 2008—and companies like Walmart, infamous for the mistreatment of its employees and low wages that harm communities that need the most help. Wall Street and Walmart lobbyists continue to press for unaccountable charter schools and other dubious approaches that promise much but so often fall short in practice, while siphoning off taxpayer dollars that our public schools need to succeed. These are the people who have received the lion’s share of the nation’s wealth over the past several decades but who continue to resist paying their fair share of the taxes needed to fund our public schools adequately.
We know that our public schools can provide tools, time and support that students need whatever their zip code to inspire their natural curiosity, imagination and desire to learn. But only if they are funded to offer relevant and challenging curriculums, emphasize high quality teaching rather than constant high-stakes testing, more one-on-one instruction time, positive discipline, needed support services like vision testing and food banks as well as parent involvement in planning and decision-making.
Schools that incorporate these features produce better results than other approaches and do so without closing schools – a problem that now plagues so many neighborhoods where insufficient or misallocated resources have failed our students. This effective approach to educating our children, embodied in community schools, is much needed in low-income African American and Latino communities.
It is a bitter irony that so many of those Wall Street billionaires and corporate CEOs who have acquired almost all of the new wealth created over the past several decades continue to deny and deflect attention from what African American and Latino communities know only too well, that their public schools have been sabotaged by consistent, long-term underfunding. These moguls foist upon us failed, undemocratic alternatives including school takeovers and for-profit control of our schools rather than pay their fair share of the tax revenues needed to provide the education that all our children deserve. Over the coming months, and however long it takes, we will fight to reverse this state of affairs and ensure that public schools in low-income communities of color survive and flourish.