Defending Public Education

Date: 
Sunday, August 1, 2010 - 2:00pm
Location: 
CUNY Grad Center, Room 5414 at 365 5th Ave. btw 34th & 35th, driver-type photo ID required; #6 train to 33 St. (at Park); B, D, F, M, N, Q, R to 34 St.-Herald Sq.(at 6th Av. & Broadway);
Contact: 

it can be a place where the movement can get together to build for the 7th, check it out...

Defending Public Education: Organizing for the Fall and Beyond

Sun, Aug 1 from 2:00pm until 6:30pm
CUNY Grad Center, Room 5414
(365 5th Ave, btw 34th and 35th, photo ID required)

On March 4th, all across the country, we saw the first nationally coordinated day of action to defend public education. It was neither the beginning nor the end, but an expression of the developing struggle to defend public education both in k-12 and higher ed. Now a call for another national day of action this fall on Oct 7 has been issued, the text of which can be found below. This is another opportunity to bring together students, teachers, parents, and ordinary working people as part of an on-going effort to stop the cuts and other attacks on education.

We are calling on all activists, students, teachers and whoever wants to get together and fight for public education to attend an organizing meeting on Aug 1st to discuss Oct 7 and how to build the struggle this fall. Atached is a leaflet for the Aug 1st meeting.

Discussions will include:
• the nature of the attacks on education
• the experience organizing so far and the current level of struggle
• Oct 7 as the next national day of action
• how to continue to build a movement this fall and beyond

-organized by the March 4th Committee

The national call for action for October 7th is reprinted below.

National Actions to Defend Public Education, October 7th 2010

Last fall, California sparked a movement that has grown drastically over the past year. Much energy went toward building March 4th 2010, National Day of Action to Defend Education, which as a resounding success in the struggle to defend public education. Thousands organized and participated in the events of that day which took place in 32 states. Major actions took place throughout California, but also in Milwaukee, New York City, Illinois, and Baltimore with hundreds of actions planned nationwide. University of Puerto Rico students capped off a two-month strike with a victory receiving many concessions from administration.

What is clear is that this fight is not over. The lines are drawn. As working families struggle to recover from the crisis, access to education is diminishing as cuts continue to come. California activists have proposed October 7th as the next Day of Action. Internationally, activists are focusing on October and November as crucial moments in the struggle to fight back against neoliberalism and defend education rights. We, the below signed organizations and individuals, call on students, teachers, faculty, staff, workers, and parents to unite together and Defend Public Education this fall.

In Texas, the Board of Education has drastically changed the content of Texas textbooks, to include praise of Joseph McCarthy, and many other clauses. In Arizona, The state has passed the racist SB1070 that mandates police detain anyone looks like an undocumented worker. Following this, Arizona is also shutting down ethnic studies programs. In New York City, Chicago, and Detroit, districts are facing massive school closings. Public universities throughout the country are raising tuition costs and looking for more private investors. Budget cuts, tuition hikes, school closings, and right-wing reforms are hitting working families the hardest, especially in communities of color.

As these cuts continue to come, we see the costs of neoliberalism hit home harder than they have before. Public education has been losing funding for years, much of which disappeared because of neoliberal changes to the economy. The current budget crisis in many states will result in further drastic cuts to public education, including further cuts to underfunded schools, increases in unpaid days off for staff, a incentive program promoting “reforms” that are outright attacks on teachers, a restructuring of the public university around the needs of private business – largely supported by massive private grants, and tuition hikes that threaten accessibility to higher education for working families and people of color.

As the education disparities between poor and affluent grow ever wider, public schools serving communities of color are swiftly being re-segregated, provided fewer resources, and less-experienced teachers. These students are being tracked into non-academic, dead-end programs while ethnic and multi-cultural classes and opportunities are being cut.

This crisis and this solution are a direct result of neoliberal-era ideology, reducing or dissolving taxes on the rich and corporations while working people struggle to provide for their families out of their ever-shrinking pockets. As private interests gain more power, as the private dollar begins to strengthen its influence in education, our democratic rights are being stripped away.

The time to act is now, students teachers and staff are preparing for the next wave of actions. We need your support and participation to make this day a historic moment in American history. To get involved please Email: fall_actions@defendeducation.org or call us at 860-916-2761.
-Wes Strong