The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools is linking together parents, educators, students, school staff and community members in dozens of cities across the country on and around February 17 as they WALK-IN to support the quality public schools that all our students deserve.
What are Walk-Ins?
Just that! Parents, teachers and students gather out front of their school 30-45 minutes before their duty-day starts. They picket, have donuts, coffee, etc. And then they all walk in to their schools together.
Given the never ending attacks on public education that many of our cities endure, this provides a positive action that that says that these are our schools and our communities. It also builds solidarity amongst our members as they will feel the power of collective action without risking arrest or retaliation. Walk-ins build relationships. Walk-ins build power. Walk-ins build hope.
National Message / Local Flavor
The Walk-Ins will have a national message frame something like this:
Teachers, parents and students are walking in to reclaim our schools and advocate for the public schools all children deserve.
But each individual city will have its own local focus or flavor. In Milwaukee, folks are fighting against the takeover and chartering of their schools. In San Diego, the focus is opting out of high-stakes tests. In Seattle, they’re fighting for more funding. In your city, your coalition of labor and community partners will tailor your walk-in to the issue that is right for you.
What’s the Point?
The walk-ins have been used in different cities for different reasons and purposes:
During their contract campaign two years ago, The St. Paul Federation of Teachers organized walk-ins. The actions gave them the high road message of taking back our schools, and gave people courage and built confidence in their ability to pull off big collective actions. They report that the walk-in effort also gave them a very solid assessment of where their membership was at. And the district settled almost immediately afterwards because they knew a strike threat was real and that community support was on the side of educators. Watch this great video showing and describing a St. Paul walk-in.
In Milwaukee (MTEA), two sets of walk-ins have protested a new law that could result in Milwaukee public schools being taken over and converted to charters. As a result of the walk-ins, by a united coalition of parents, educators and students, the power brokers are backing off. By organizing walk-ins at over 105 schools MTEA has built 105 community organizations ready to defend their public schools. The actions have also created an incredible opportunity to build a base of parents and community members who can be allies in future events. Watch some videos from Milwaukee walk-ins here and here.
Where Will Walk-Ins Be Happening in February?
So far, the following cities have committed to coordinated walk-ins. Most cities will be walking in on February 17, but some will participate on a different day due to local schedules. The alternative date is noted in parentheses.
Green Bay (2/12)
We hope you can join us on February 17!
For more information, check out the resources below or email to Ldingerson@gmail.com.