Washington, D.C. March and Rally • Sat., July 30
Pre-March Conference • July 28-29
Post-March Next Steps • July 31
If America needs to reform its public schools, why aren’t public school teachers, students, and families leading the education reform movement? We are the ones most familiar with the problems with our current school system. Why aren’t our voices being heard?
These questions, posed by education blogger Sabrina Stevens-Shupe, lie at the heart of Save Our Schools (SOS). As teachers, parents, and education activists, we have asked to be heard and been ignored. So this summer we are bringing a protest focused on education issues to our nation’s capital. This is a grassroots movement united around these principles:
SOS, which has been endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers, has generated exciting developments nationally. For example, this summer is the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Rides, when anti-racist activists risked their lives to desegregate public transportation in the South. To honor those heroes, a new Freedom Ride, organized by the Plessy and Ferguson Foundation, will bring education activists to SOS.
Phoebe Ferguson is the great-great-granddaughter of Judge Ferguson, whose 1896 ruling legalized segregated facilities. The plaintiff in that case was Homer Plessy, Keith Plessy’s great-grandfather. Two years ago Phoebe and Keith joined forces to form the Plessy and Ferguson Foundation for Education and Reconciliation to support public schools in New Orleans. Plans for this summer’s Freedom Ride include having participants from the original Freedom Rides launch the buses and greet them at historic sites along their way to Washington, D.C.
Two days before the SOS march and rally, a conference focused on connecting and educating grassroots activists will take place at American University. Speakers will include Washington Post blogger Valerie Strauss, FairTest Executive Director Monty Neill, and education activists and authors Diane Ravitch and Jonathan Kozol. There will be panels and workshops on defending and transforming public education, including one led by Rethinking Schools editor Stan Karp. (Attendance at the conference is limited.)