This Week in Education Organizing - December 2, 2016

Students Stand Up, Walk Out

“A lot of my friends are disabled, a lot of my friends are immigrants, a lot of my friends are undocumented. This is scary. Everyone was just so distraught, and we all want to do something.”  This quote, from Hebh Jamal, a student at Beacon High School in New York City, pretty much sums up the emotions.  But students there, and around the country have done more than speak up.  They’ve taken their fear to the streets in the wake of the November 8th elections.

In New York City,  Portland, OR, Washington, DC, Oakland, Los Angeles and elsewhere, students have marched and demonstrated against the anticipated agenda of president-elect Trump. While students at colleges and universities have also walked out, high school students – most of them too young to vote – have been in the forefront of the protests.

Eva Moskowitz Laughs in Face of Protesters' Fears Over Her Ties to Trump

On November 23rd, parents and community members in New York City protested outside Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz’ Harlem home to raise their voices against her ties to President-elect Donald Trump.  Moskowitz met with the president-elect to discuss the possibility of becoming his Secretary of Education, withdrawing her name from the list only after Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) issued a strongly-worded statement calling on their members to refuse to serve a Trump administration.

Rather than facing the protesters and hearing their concerns, Moskowitz met the group with laughter and flippancy, effectively minimizing their grievances and dismissing the validity of their fears over what a Trump presidency will bring. 

The Alliance for Quality Education issued a statement.  “This is no laughing matter. People are living in fear. Undocumented people have been told their families will be deported. Muslim communities are afraid they will be forced to register. White supremacists are raising victory flags with cheers that they will “take America back.” This fear goes deeper than rhetoric: New York City, where nearly 90 percent of voters cast their ballots against Trump, has experienced an over 30-percent jump in reports of hate crimes since Election Day.”

 AQE called on Moskowitz to publicly denounce the president-elect, and acknowledge the hurt that Trump’s rhetoric has provoked in New York City and across the country.  

AFT President Randi Weingarten blasts DeVos appointment

AFT president Randi Weingarten penned a powerful commentary about president-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Michigan billionaire and voucher advocate as his secretary of education.  Betsy DeVos is “the most ideological, anti-public school nominee for secretary of education since the U.S. Department of Education was created,” notes Weingarten.  Read the full commentary here.

Texas Organizing Project and Partners Host Parent Summit at Pilot Community School

On Saturday, November 12, the Texas Organizing Project (TOP), Dallas Independent School District, Alliance/AFT, NEA-Dallas, Austin Voices for Education and Youth, and the Our Community, Our Schools (OCOS) coalition hosted the Third Annual Parent Summit at John Neely Bryan Elementary School, to build on the progress at the new pilot community school, and to continue the coalition's efforts to partner with educators to create a quality education for all students.

At this year’s summit, parents, educators, and local and national experts all dug in on what makes a community school, and how other cities across the country are using the model at dozens of schools to create excellent schools for all students. A large part of the interactive event will focus on how the community school model is emerging at John Neely Bryan.

The six pillars of community schools include engaging curriculum that is culturally relevant, high quality instruction, ample wrap-around supports, positive discipline practices (such as restorative justice), transformative parent and community engagement, and inclusive school leadership.

TOP and partners will be hosting more activities and events at John Neely Bryan Elementary in the weeks and months to come.

Miami’s Power U is hiring
 Power U in Miami, with a strong history of anti-racist youth-led organizing, particularly work against the School to Prison Pipeline, is hiring for two new positions - Operations & Development Coordinator and Community Organizer. Job descriptions can be accessed here:
Operations & Development Coordinator
Community Organizer 

Applications are due by December 9th.  For more information please contact info@poweru.org



Follow the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools on Facebook and Twitter and learn more at www.reclaimourschools.org.