A new network for public education has been announced in the United States. Its role is to fight against high stakes testing and the privatisation of public education and to connect grassroots activists from communities across the country to share information, ideas and resources. This is a statement the Network released upon its launch.
Our public schools are at risk. As public awareness grows about the unfair attacks on public education, parents, teachers, and concerned citizens are organizing to protect our public schools.
Public education is an essential institution in a democratic society.
We believe that we must stand together to resist any efforts to privatize it.
We must also stand together to oppose unsound policies that undermine the quality of education, like high-stakes testing and school closings.
High-stakes testing takes the joy out of learning. It crushes creativity and critical thinking, the very qualities our society needs most for success in the 21st century. High-stakes testing does not tell us whether and how well students are learning or teachers are teaching; it does waste precious time and resources.
No school was ever improved by closing it. Every community should have good public schools, and we believe that public officials have a solemn responsibility to improve public schools, not close or privatize them.
The movement to support public education is growing every day: From teachers in Seattle who are boycotting the MAP test, to students testifying in Washington about the devastating effect of school closures, to children, parents and teachers standing together in Chicago, to voters in Indiana, to students organizing against excessive testing in Providence, Rhode Island, and Portland, Oregon; from school boards in Texas opposing high-stakes testing; parents, educators, students, and other citizens are taking bold action to speak out for our schools.
We reject phony reforms that undermine our schools and set them up for failure and privatization. We oppose the constant increase in testing, with ever higher stakes attached to them. We have had enough of school closures, and the rapid expansion of selective charter schools.
Our public schools need our support. Our schools are part of our democratic heritage. They should be anchors of stability and hope in our communities.
We believe in keeping public education public. We oppose efforts to transfer public funds to private corporations. We oppose the transfer of public funds and students to for-profit corporations. We say to big business: hands off our public schools!
Today we are launching a new organization, the Network for Public Education. This group will serve to connect all those who are passionate about our schools – students, parents, teachers and OTHER citizens. We will share information an research on vital issues that concern the future of public education. We hope to inspire one another as we work together and learn together about how to resist the attacks on public education.
We are many. There is power in our numbers. Together, we will save our schools.
We hope to help support the growing social movement to support public schools. When you join this network, you will become a part of this movement. We will send out regular bulletins, and use our website to share the latest information about what is happening around the country. We will link activists, grassroots organizations, and bloggers from coast to coast, and whenever possible, support one another.
Our neighborhood schools are not just a local concern any more. It took the work of many before us to build our schools, and it will take the work of many more of us to make sure they are standing for the next generation. Let’s get started.